Sensationalism in CAaSS

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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Kate » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:44 pm

I think a big part of the problem is that your first post involved no actual examples and did not reach any further than one user; it was a summation of how you see Damiana's (Jenna's, if you prefer!) behavior and a judgment on her intentions and character. There were no links, no pointing out how the titles were lies (and even then, something that is inaccurate is not necessarily a lie - lie assumes intent. The Magic Schoolbus did not lie when it called Pluto a planet in the same way Mercury is a planet. A reporter who says there are 30 people confirmed dead in an explosion when it turns out there are only 27 is not lying, he's just wrong.), no examples of discussion being shut down.

It is difficult to tell from the first post alone what the issue was. The entire first page was unclear whether you meant this behavior in general or this behavior from one specific person, unless someone already understood which one of those you meant. Two staff members perceived it as the latter and addressed it as such.

If you have an issue with a specific user, you can always report it privately. That is not a personal attack. But a thread with an opening post that merely states how a particular user has misbehaved in your opinion and why that is bad for a forum is not giving an example of how this is a problem in general, it absolutely comes across as a direct attack and makes it difficult to understand immediately what your actual grievance is without further clarification.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Crimson847 » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:06 pm

Tesseracts wrote:The following is my personal political opinion.


Lindvaettr wrote:As an infrequent contributor...


JamishT wrote:I have at least one thought about this, though there may be more. And I guess I should say that I am speaking as a person, not a mod (because we all know that mods aren't people).


Marcuse wrote:Okay, let's clarify from the start that I'm speaking as a member of staff, on behalf of staff, in response to the concerns that have been raised regarding the moderation of the "Police Instantly Kill Innocent Man Over Prank Call" thread.


Lindvaettr wrote:Damiana, from one user to another...


Kate wrote:And I'm not posting as an admin because I literally got my new, not broken computer like an hour ago and my first thing I did after installing chrome and getting rid of IE and downloading Steam (priorities, guys) was come on TCS and this is the first place I ended up. Actually, it's inaccurate to say I'm not posting as an admin as I'm reading this response over; this is from the perspective of a staff member, but not an official staff position, if that makes sense.


sunglasses wrote:Edit: To be clear, I'm speaking as a user foremost.


Just to be clear, I'm speaking as an ornamental cactus.


To address the question about why the problem wasn't reported: I personally haven't complained to the staff about the situation because I don't think mod intervention is the right solution. I'd been meaning to address the matter myself by talking it over with Damiana Jenna at an appropriate time, but life has had me on the ropes since November thanks to a rapid series of frankly unsporting sucker punches and ensuing mistakes, so IRL matters have taken precedence.

As far as this turning into a "trial" and Marc's apparent concern that an angry mob is assembling, frankly I like Jenna. She's relentlessly enthusiastic, thoroughly vulgar, and doesn't have much of a filter--reminds me a lot of two of my best friends, in fact. I think she often goes too far in the grip of anger, but my impression is that the cause is a hyper-developed "mama bear" instinct, and I have a lot of instinctive sympathy for someone whose error is trying too hard to protect the vulnerable.

Yet, I was still bothered by those inflammatory titles and OPs, just as I've been bothered by similar behavior from completely different users in the past. I'm sure the staff can attest to that, given that exhausting battle over the "Social Justice Absurdity Thread" back in the Before-Time. :)

I can't answer the question of whether gisambards has some personal animus toward Jenna. I can certainly understand suspecting a grudge in light of the personal attacks they've thrown at each other recently, but it's also true that people can fight and get frustrated with each other without actually disliking each other as people. I am certain that it's possible to like Jenna just fine and still object to one-sided and inflammatory discussion prompts on principle. I am also certain that assuming ill intent on gisambards' part is just as unfair as assuming ill intent on Jenna's part.

In light of that, I think I can help pinpoint what gis found unfair about the staff response. Here's two specific remarks I noticed early in the thread:

Marcuse wrote:this is driven less by a broad concern about the state of moderation and more to do with anima against a particular user. We're not here to prosecute the personal grudge of one user against another.


(context)

Marcuse wrote:The claim that we should "discourage" such thread, notwithstanding the point that thread title was found to be within the guidelines based on the information at the time of its creation, appears to be caused by a complaint against a user and their actions, not a general problem with thread creation.


(context)

If I'm reading them correctly, both of these passages contain an explicit assertion that the cause of gisambards' complaint is personal animus toward Jenna, not any broadly applicable principle. Moreover, in context these were both cited as reasons not to act on the underlying complaint, which could give the impression that an unfair assumption of malicious intent by a staff member was then allowed to affect an official staff decision. That could easily infuriate someone who already felt wronged and was already frustrated to begin with.

And if I'm not reading them correctly...well, what do you want from me? I'm a cactus.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby DamianaRaven » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:35 pm

Crimson847 wrote:Damiana Jenna


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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Tesseracts » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:23 am

gisambards wrote:
Tesseracts wrote:Yeah Gis, I won't "address" the double standard because the double standard doesn't exist. Unless you have actual evidence with examples that it exists, but so far all it seems like you have is accusations.

Evidence:
Tesseracts wrote:This is kind of off topic but for a while I have considered locking the Trump thread, which has gone way off into echo chamber territory.

And yet your response to another, actually much more blatant example of echo chamber behaviour, has been to accuse me of just not liking the opinion those threads are intended to reinforce. That's a double standard.

I don't think it's a good idea to make threads for the purpose of discussing the posting habits of particular users, no matter who the user is. This isn't some kind of reality TV show where we vote people off the island.

This is a shitty excuse for ignoring the actual issue I've been trying to raise. I acknowledge my initial post might seem like a personal attack, however I stand by my assertion that Damiana's threads were the best example of the issue. By this logic, no-one should be able to report any questionable behaviour because it will be seen as a personal attack.

This is what a double standard is, according to the dictionary.

dou·ble stand·ard
ˈdəbəl ˈstandərd/Submit
noun
a rule or principle that is unfairly applied in different ways to different people or groups.
"the smaller pay received by black soldiers demonstrated a double standard"


I don't think your example qualifies as a double standard. In the post where I complained about your opinion, I wasn't speaking about site policy. I made it as clear as I could that I was speaking as a user. I wrote that post because I just don't understand why you are so mad about the police. When your complaints about site policy became more apparent, I began speaking in a more official capacity and tried to address your concerns. It was my second post in this thread which brought up my concerns about the Trump thread. I mentioned this because I was trying to be reasonable and show that I think the concerns raised by you and Jim are valid, but you just took it as evidence that I'm irrational and just not listening. It's clear being conciliatory doesn't fly with you, and it's maddening that any attempt to respond to your concerns is brushed off as more evidence that I'm ignoring you.

Another reason I brought up the Trump thread is because I think it's a more extreme example of the issue you're complaining about than any of the threads who have been linked here. If we are going to discuss this issue and where we draw the line, it makes sense to bring up the most extreme example of the problem.
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Crimson847 wrote:
Tesseracts wrote:The following is my personal political opinion.


Lindvaettr wrote:As an infrequent contributor...


JamishT wrote:I have at least one thought about this, though there may be more. And I guess I should say that I am speaking as a person, not a mod (because we all know that mods aren't people).


Marcuse wrote:Okay, let's clarify from the start that I'm speaking as a member of staff, on behalf of staff, in response to the concerns that have been raised regarding the moderation of the "Police Instantly Kill Innocent Man Over Prank Call" thread.


Lindvaettr wrote:Damiana, from one user to another...


Kate wrote:And I'm not posting as an admin because I literally got my new, not broken computer like an hour ago and my first thing I did after installing chrome and getting rid of IE and downloading Steam (priorities, guys) was come on TCS and this is the first place I ended up. Actually, it's inaccurate to say I'm not posting as an admin as I'm reading this response over; this is from the perspective of a staff member, but not an official staff position, if that makes sense.


sunglasses wrote:Edit: To be clear, I'm speaking as a user foremost.


Just to be clear, I'm speaking as an ornamental cactus.


To address the question about why the problem wasn't reported: I personally haven't complained to the staff about the situation because I don't think mod intervention is the right solution. I'd been meaning to address the matter myself by talking it over with Damiana Jenna at an appropriate time, but life has had me on the ropes since November thanks to a rapid series of frankly unsporting sucker punches and ensuing mistakes, so IRL matters have taken precedence.

As far as this turning into a "trial" and Marc's apparent concern that an angry mob is assembling, frankly I like Jenna. She's relentlessly enthusiastic, thoroughly vulgar, and doesn't have much of a filter--reminds me a lot of two of my best friends, in fact. I think she often goes too far in the grip of anger, but my impression is that the cause is a hyper-developed "mama bear" instinct, and I have a lot of instinctive sympathy for someone whose error is trying too hard to protect the vulnerable.

Yet, I was still bothered by those inflammatory titles and OPs, just as I've been bothered by similar behavior from completely different users in the past. I'm sure the staff can attest to that, given that exhausting battle over the "Social Justice Absurdity Thread" back in the Before-Time. :)

I can't answer the question of whether gisambards has some personal animus toward Jenna. I can certainly understand suspecting a grudge in light of the personal attacks they've thrown at each other recently, but it's also true that people can fight and get frustrated with each other without actually disliking each other as people. I am certain that it's possible to like Jenna just fine and still object to one-sided and inflammatory discussion prompts on principle. I am also certain that assuming ill intent on gisambards' part is just as unfair as assuming ill intent on Jenna's part.

In light of that, I think I can help pinpoint what gis found unfair about the staff response. Here's two specific remarks I noticed early in the thread:

Marcuse wrote:this is driven less by a broad concern about the state of moderation and more to do with anima against a particular user. We're not here to prosecute the personal grudge of one user against another.


(context)

Marcuse wrote:The claim that we should "discourage" such thread, notwithstanding the point that thread title was found to be within the guidelines based on the information at the time of its creation, appears to be caused by a complaint against a user and their actions, not a general problem with thread creation.


(context)

If I'm reading them correctly, both of these passages contain an explicit assertion that the cause of gisambards' complaint is personal animus toward Jenna, not any broadly applicable principle. Moreover, in context these were both cited as reasons not to act on the underlying complaint, which could give the impression that an unfair assumption of malicious intent by a staff member was then allowed to affect an official staff decision. That could easily infuriate someone who already felt wronged and was already frustrated to begin with.

And if I'm not reading them correctly...well, what do you want from me? I'm a cactus.
I think you're slightly missing the mark here. I can't speak for Marc but as far as I'm concerned, it's not about who has a grudge against who. It's about the point of this thread. As has been thoroughly pointed out, Gis began the thread by talking about Damiana, and continued to talk about Damiana (and my personal attitude about her, which apparently is What's Wrong With The State of Moderation) and nobody else in the thread. You made a post which linked to a ton of Damiana threads and Gis kept referring to it to support her argument. So forgive me if I believe the thread focuses too much on one individual. However you want to retcon this thread to be about a more expansive issue than the habits of one poster, be my guest.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby FaceTheCitizen » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:42 am

Crimson847 wrote:Just to be clear, I'm speaking as an ornamental cactus.


When a mod says "I'm speaking as a user, not as a mod," it means they are not speaking in an official mod capacity, only giving their opinion and their opinion shouldn't be taken as an official stance in mod policy.

By the by, Lind isn't a mod anymore, so.

To be clear, I'm speaking as Crimson's hate boner for Marcuse and Tesseracts.
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Last edited by FaceTheCitizen on Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby SandTea » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:45 am

gisambards wrote:And any suggestions for the staff's failings demonstrated on this thread are surely going to be ignored at this point, so why bother?


While I didn't consider it a failing of the staff, my suggestion was addressed by a doctor. After reading it, I do agree with the doctor that "from x.com" would probably not be a good idea. Not that I have any say over that though.

So the issue is attempting to stop inflammatory threads that have no purpose other than to either hate or love other posters? I think the mods suggestion of reporting it is a decent solution. I'm not sure what more you want done but you haven't exactly elaborated beyond that there is a double standard when someone calls trump an asshole vs calling someone else ( who is not a user) an asshole. I would be fine with a rule to not call anyone, asshole or not, an asshole if that is what you're asking.

I would recommend submitting a suggestion if you have one, even if you think it will be ignored by the staff. The mods are always looking for things that would improve the site. I am also hopeful that (what I think to be) your issue can be resolved.

I want to apologize to you for my misbehavior in that thread. I am sorry about the things I wrote. The reasons do not matter but the outcome does, to me.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:47 am

*breaks out the search function and a hand tally*

Not including quotes or my own posts or other such peripheral or redundant mentions, the word "Damiana" appears uniquely in this thread no fewer than THIRTY-FIVE times... and that's not even counting the times I'm referred to as Jenna! My name has been brought up an average of seven times on every page of this conversation, so forgive me if I'm not buying that this isn't personally directed at me in some way.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Marcuse » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:06 am

If I'm reading them correctly, both of these passages contain an explicit assertion that the cause of gisambards' complaint is personal animus toward Jenna, not any broadly applicable principle. Moreover, in context these were both cited as reasons not to act on the underlying complaint, which could give the impression that an unfair assumption of malicious intent by a staff member was then allowed to affect an official staff decision. That could easily infuriate someone who already felt wronged and was already frustrated to begin with.


I don't think you're reading the comments you quoted incorrectly, however I do think I should admit that I made a mistake in emphasising this to the degree that I did. I still think, as others have said, that the way the thread ended up presented in such a way that it made it look and feel very strongly that it was an attack on a single user. I can accept the premise that it wasn't, and try to address the broad principle, however it still leaves me with the same conclusion that you came to; that moderation isn't the right tool to address this.

First and foremost, I can't think of a way we can adequately define the type of titles we're discussing to the point where we'll be able to craft a rule or guideline approaching it. The term means different things to different people and I don't know how we'd be able to do so in a way that allows us to broadly agree on what does and does not qualify. At the minimum, we would have to have a serious discussion about it if we were to choose to implement anything of that ilk.

Secondly, the only proposed possible solution to this (from Avi) was to rely on moderator discretion to judge which threads are and are not clickbaity. I think this suffers from a twofold problem. On one hand, this hands too much power to moderators to pass judgement on posts. I personally think that mods shouldn't be saying what posts are and aren't acceptable as in, actively moderating them, not expressing opinions on them. This leaves a clear avenue for moderator abuse, either now or in the future, which I would prefer not to create if at all avoidable. Secondly, and please consider this an assessment of the broad issue, it does leave the possibility that particular users will be subject to complaints and be investigated and moderated when maybe that might not be necessary.

As a [2a] and to explain some of my other comments in more detail, the lack of user reports or PMs regarding this issue suggest that if we were to adopt such a policy, moderators would be placed in the circumstance of having to judge thread titles essentially alone, and this increases the likelihood of mistakes being made.

Thirdly, we come to an issue of prescription and proscription. In the Cracked forum we prescribed what kind of titles we wanted in the threads, primarily for ease of access and reference. It's simple: titles should be the name of the article they're about. However, what we're discussing here is subtly different, the proscription of sensational or clickbait titles, which is where the difficulty about identifying what exactly should be proscribed and how we should identify it arises. I think it's probably way too heavy handed to adopt the same approach across the board, notwithstanding the subsequent discussion we would have to have about what exactly we would proscribe.

Taken as a whole, I can't see a way to set a clear and workable moderation policy for this issue that's fair and doesn't rely on high levels of discretionary moderation that can't be linked to and judged by as objective a scale as possible to ensure both consistent enforcement for users and accountability among moderation. I'm open to suggestions as to how this might work, but my reservations going forward lead me to think that the concept of active moderation of clickbait titles may cause more problems than it purports to solve.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby aviel » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:19 am

I'm kind of confused by your concern over a workable standard, Marcuse, because we already have relevant guidelines, to which people have linked in this thread. As far as I can tell, nobody is asking for new guidelines, just for moderators to take a role in ensuring that people are compliant with the existing ones. If the existing ones aren't workable, then why do we have them?
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby sunglasses » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:30 am

But guidelines aren't rules. We do not impose warnings and bans for guideline violations. The guidelines exist to help and encourage people in developing high quality posts.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Marcuse » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:33 am

aviel wrote:I'm kind of confused by your concern over a workable standard, Marcuse, because we already have relevant guidelines, to which people have linked in this thread. As far as I can tell, nobody is asking for new guidelines, just for moderators to take a role in ensuring that people are compliant with the existing ones. If the existing ones aren't workable, then why do we have them?


As far as I can see, because nobody has any idea about what "take a role" means. Are we talking about moderating people, as in warning them and banning them if they don't do it? That turns the guides into rules, and personally I don't think the guides are written closely enough to be useful as rules. The guides are fine as suggestions to make posts better, but I don't know that they were ever intended to be enforced by warnings/bans etc.

If we mean "speak to people sometimes about keeping to them" then, honestly, we do that. Usually we do that when we get a report through usual channels like the report button or a PM to a mod, and I'm pretty sure there's examples of that being done in the past. This is why I brought up people not making such a report earlier, because we really didn't have much to go on in terms of a concern being brought to us. Kate has described how we do often rely on people bringing concerns to us. I do personally try to read every post on the site, but I miss things and having a report is a good prompt.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby DamianaRaven » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:33 am

sunglasses wrote:But guidelines aren't rules. We do not impose warnings and bans for guideline violations. The guidelines exist to help and encourage people in developing high quality posts.


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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby aviel » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:39 am

sunglasses wrote:But guidelines aren't rules. We do not impose warnings and bans for guideline violations.

Marcuse wrote:As far as I can see, because nobody has any idea about what "take a role" means.

From the CAaSS Guidelines:

TCS Staff wrote:First offense gets you a warning. Second gets the thread temporary locked. The third is a permanent lock.


The guidelines lay out the relevant standards, and their mechanism for enforcement.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby Marcuse » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:47 am

aviel wrote:
sunglasses wrote:But guidelines aren't rules. We do not impose warnings and bans for guideline violations.

Marcuse wrote:As far as I can see, because nobody has any idea about what "take a role" means.

From the CAaSS Guidelines:

TCS Staff wrote:First offense gets you a warning. Second gets the thread temporary locked. The third is a permanent lock.


The guidelines lay out the relevant standards, and their mechanism for enforcement.


I was actually in the process of updating that when you posted this. That statement appended at the base of a guideline post made in 2013 is and has been out of date for a number of years. Sunglasses is completely correct that no warnings or bans are or have been made as a result of not following the guidelines. We have amended this to:

In some cases, not complying with guidelines may lead to a lock, at moderator discretion


This more accurately reflects current operating procedure.
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Re: Sensationalism in CAaSS

Postby DoglovingJim » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:42 am

Marcuse wrote:
aviel wrote:
sunglasses wrote:But guidelines aren't rules. We do not impose warnings and bans for guideline violations.

Marcuse wrote:As far as I can see, because nobody has any idea about what "take a role" means.

From the CAaSS Guidelines:

TCS Staff wrote:First offense gets you a warning. Second gets the thread temporary locked. The third is a permanent lock.


The guidelines lay out the relevant standards, and their mechanism for enforcement.


I was actually in the process of updating that when you posted this. That statement appended at the base of a guideline post made in 2013 is and has been out of date for a number of years. Sunglasses is completely correct that no warnings or bans are or have been made as a result of not following the guidelines. We have amended this to:

In some cases, not complying with guidelines may lead to a lock, at moderator discretion


This more accurately reflects current operating procedure.

Personally I don't think it's outdated, much prefer that to the "current operating procedure" since it is straight forward and not vague. This potential update has the potential of being one-sided and biased, as some cases of non-compliance would lead to a lock and others would be perceived as fine and permitted. It seems a lot like choosing favourites instead of following the rule of law, and that isn't very fair.
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