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Thread: Prior Warnings = Over Moderation

  1. #1
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Prior Warnings = Over Moderation

    There seems to be a new trend here of posting moderator/owner "warnings" at the beginning of a thread to try to keep things positive or so that it doesn't go off track. We've seen it two days in a row now on article threads.

    This really bothers me. I felt stifled before I even wrote anything and I wasn't going to say anything negative on either of them.

    I understood John's reason for doing so yesterday but really wish he had left out the 2nd paragraph and made his points (which were good ones) and then added just a brief reminder at the end for people to keep it civil.

    Then this morning there is a warning from Glunn on the "Hump Day" thread. Totally unnecessary IMO.

    I read almost all the threads most of the time. While things are getting a little more tense as the Twins keep losing, for the most part people have kept it civil and the moderators do a good job.

    I just don't want to see us get in a situation where we get repeated warnings before the topic is even begun. It just seems heavy handed.

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    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    It's not something we like to do on a regular basis. Lately, we've had a multitude of threads go downhill because of insertion of pet topics into unrelated threads. A warning at the top of the thread is basically saying "Don't derail this thread, we're watching".

    It sucks. We know that. We don't like doing it.

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    Senior Member All-Star crarko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    A warning at the top of the thread is basically saying "Don't derail this thread, we're watching".
    That text would probably work just fine if the extra reminder is needed. It's pretty stance neutral, and should be taken as unspoken truth most of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    This really bothers me. I felt stifled before I even wrote anything and I wasn't going to say anything negative on either of them.
    ....
    I just don't want to see us get in a situation where we get repeated warnings before the topic is even begun. It just seems heavy handed.

    While I appreciate your thoughts and can understand the frustration, the results of the moderation are astounding. For this alone, I applaud the reminders. I feel them to be the sort of gentle redirection you give to a child who is acting out due to frustration rather than actual bad nature (please do not take this example as relegating anyone here to that of a child; it was just a good analogy).

    I also read (but often do not post on) most of the threads. Besides TwinkieTown, it is the only Twins comment section I will read due to the fact that it's not a dumpster fire of asinine commentary (even when things start to go south for our team of choice). I may not agree with everyone, but I can usually see where the thoughts generate from.

    Frankly, I'm quite amazed that it is what it has become and has avoided the fire. I somewhat envision collective moderator e-chats on what should be allowed to be a more detailed and nuanced conversation than simply "warn or ban".

    In addition, I don't believe you should feel any more stifled by the reminders or thread starters than you do by the ground rules established by the owners. If you understand the rules, than a reminder of the same should no more stifle you than a reminder not to put pine tar on your neck
    I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.

  7. #5
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimestoneBaggy View Post

    In addition, I don't believe you should feel any more stifled by the reminders or thread starters than you do by the ground rules established by the owners. If you understand the rules, than a reminder of the same should no more stifle you than a reminder not to put pine tar on your neck

    I think you've missed my point. My concern is not with moderators redirecting the conversation when it starts to derail -- I think they do a good job of that for the most part although on occasion there are threads that I think would benefit from some redirection.

    The problem is with the two prior moderator warnings we saw on the threads from yesterday and today where they hadn't gone off track because no one had even posted on them. And frankly, because of the nature of the threads it was as if TD was pouring "Happy Kool Aid" by putting prior warnings on those threads.

    I wasn't overly concerned yesterday when I saw John's warning because I've seen enough Twins injury/medical threads derail that I knew where he was coming from.

    I was much more concerned this morning when I saw Glunn put the one on the "Hump Day Happy Thoughts" thread.

    If someone posted a thead called "Hump Day Grumpy Thoughts", would there have been a similar reminder?

    I doubt it. And that's where my overmoderation concern comes in. The forums should be a reflection of all of the thinking in the Twins community -- those who are supportive of the organization and those who are critical as well as a whole lot of us who fall somewhere in between.

    There are people who interject certain negative views into almost every thread. But there are also some people who interject front office positivity into almost every thread. Both are annoying to me but if they are "on topic" then they deserve the right to air their views.

    If TD wants to put a "don't derail this thread" warning on every thread, that's fine. But to put moderator warnings BEFORE any posts are made on only SELECTED threads strikes me as directing the conversation and thus, as over moderation.
    Last edited by JB_Iowa; 07-09-2014 at 08:45 AM.

  8. #6
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    One more thing, I raised this now because it was a trend I really don't want go see gain steam.

    Seeing it on a couple of threads doesn't really bother me that much. But putting moderator notes on threads before they have posts is a trend I don't want to see develop unless it is applied evenhandedly across the board and that seems like overkill. A better alternative might be for the original poster to put in a short comment for people to keep the thread on topic.

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    It probably has to do with posters like me who have lost some perspective about respectful posting. I blasted a newbie with snark on an off topic comment and it was toxic enough that I haven't seen them post here since. I was rightfully reprimanded and in retrospect feel horrible about that comment as that is not the person I am or want to be. Somewhere along the way I have gotten a bit lost about proper posting etiquette thus I would guess the reminders are a way of reminding everyone.

    I remember when I first started posting that I had some early posts that were terrible and people were either willing to ignore them or gently set me straight. I have not always been so kind in return. I would guess the extra warnings are for posters like me who get a little to passionate about topics and need greater perspective.

    I echo the comments about the great moderation on this board and I have yet to find a board that equals this one in quality conversation. One where I want to read every comment. Keep up the good work.

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    JB, your counterpoints are fair. I just fall on the side of an "ounce of prevention". Dman's reflections are a good example of how easy it can be to fall into the trap of "blasting".

    I feel the need to warn has been fairly attributable, and the warnings are more frequent during hard times.....I wish the times were better and I had a better attitude myself about the current state of affair but alas "The drinking will continue until morale improves".
    I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.

  12. #9
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimestoneBaggy View Post
    JB, your counterpoints are fair. I just fall on the side of an "ounce of prevention". Dman's reflections are a good example of how easy it can be to fall into the trap of "blasting".

    I feel the need to warn has been fairly attributable, and the warnings are more frequent during hard times.....I wish the times were better and I had a better attitude myself about the current state of affair but alas "The drinking will continue until morale improves".
    I understand and I understand that things have tended to go negative the last few years. Less so on the minor league threads but there's always some frustration there over when prospects will be moved up.

    I just don't want to see TD get in the habit of directing the conversation versus keeping it "on track" because I see those as two different things.

    And as long as I'm venting, I want to add:

    My biggest frustration on TD is when any poster (positive or negative) finds it necessary to start responding to every post counter their position. This can't be moderated as long as they don't break the rules in terms of what they say but to me it is as destructive as most of the snark I've seen.

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  14. #10
    So after reading the offending article and warning it appears the moderator warning was partly targeting the writer of the original article. The moderator pointed out that the headline and the first line of the article were at odds, basically that the article was derailed after just one line. I'm not sure if this was an attempt by the moderator at editing an article or just pointing out that most posters who frequent this site will only read the first line and base their posts on that one line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    And as long as I'm venting, I want to add:

    My biggest frustration on TD is when any poster (positive or negative) finds it necessary to start responding to every post counter their position. This can't be moderated as long as they don't break the rules in terms of what they say but to me it is as destructive as most of the snark I've seen.
    Man do I ever share in this frustration. Personally, if I disagree (unless I really feel like I can add something...which is rare...) I give my head a little shake, disagree and move on to the next point (even if I have to skip a few). As my boy says "one, two, skip a few, thirty-hundred". That boy really takes after his dad (poor kid).
    I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.

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    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    My biggest frustration on TD is when any poster (positive or negative) finds it necessary to start responding to every post counter their position. This can't be moderated as long as they don't break the rules in terms of what they say but to me it is as destructive as most of the snark I've seen.
    I agree that this can be difficult to moderate, though we have had to take action on it from time to time. It can be a form of trolling. It's somewhat difficult to capture from a policy standpoint, so I think I can safely speak for the mods in that we are all ears to any suggestions here. You aren't the only one bothered by it.

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    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    There seems to be a new trend here of posting moderator/owner "warnings" at the beginning of a thread to try to keep things positive or so that it doesn't go off track. We've seen it two days in a row now on article threads.

    This really bothers me. I felt stifled before I even wrote anything and I wasn't going to say anything negative on either of them.

    I understood John's reason for doing so yesterday but really wish he had left out the 2nd paragraph and made his points (which were good ones) and then added just a brief reminder at the end for people to keep it civil.

    Then this morning there is a warning from Glunn on the "Hump Day" thread. Totally unnecessary IMO.

    I read almost all the threads most of the time. While things are getting a little more tense as the Twins keep losing, for the most part people have kept it civil and the moderators do a good job.

    I just don't want to see us get in a situation where we get repeated warnings before the topic is even begun. It just seems heavy handed.
    I'll try to address this a bit. We've had some of our own discussions on some of this, as we recognize that a moderator warning can kill a thread pretty easily. As such, we've been kicking around other ideas to address problems, and potential problems. Some of this is trying to see what works in fostering good discussion while eliminating the bickering that often times follows.

    Echoing Brock, what's driving a lot of this is that the tone at TD of late has been pretty caustic. No one has a problem with people being unhappy with how the season has progressed (and several of us, myself included have voiced our complaints where appropriate), but unfortunately, many threads of late have been hijacked by people turning them into a referendum on management. Glunn's warning was to hopefully catch it before it starts.

    I'm not sure I'll have a satisfactory answer for you at the moment, other than to say that we recognize the potential issue here and are trying to strike a balance.

  19. #14
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    I see JB's point, and I took this into account in posting my moderator note at the beginning of the thread. We are walking a fine line here. We do not want to inhibit discussion, but we also want good threads. I was worried that some people would derail the thread based on their sincere feelings that the negative facts deserve more focus than the positive facts that were discussed in the article.

    I appreciate the feedback. Please keep in mind that all eight moderators are doing their best to find an ideal balance between letting threads develop and not letting them spin out of control. None of us believe that we are perfect or have all of the answers. We are all volunteers who do the best job that we can.

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    It's great to see JB's thoughts being reasonably addressed by the mods.
    I will one day successfully sneak onto the Sportive Podcast, and have nothing intelligent to say or add to the conversation.

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  23. #16
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your responses. As I think I mentioned earlier, I was being a bit pro-active in bringing this up because I don't want to see discussion being directed and I really fear that when there is a warning posted right away in the thread.

    I don't know the answers and frankly I don't know how much different what is happening now is from last summer or the summer before. In fact, it seems to me that discussion is probably more genteel now than it has been in the past (probably because the mods are on top of things).

    I appreciate that you thought about this in advance, Glunn, and that's really all I ask. That the mods keep in mind that posting a warning early in a thread can have not only a directional effect but a chilling one. I know for me, I simply didn't post in the thread -- I didn't have plans to say anything negative but the warning just turned me off.

    As for the frustration that I mentioned earlier about people posting responses to every item in a thread that might have a contrary view, I really never thought of it as trolling. But in effect, that probably defines it best. I know it evokes a very emotional reaction in me (and most of the time the posts they are responding to aren't even mine).

    I don't know what you do about it but I appreciate that you also see the issue. The mods do a great job -- it is certainly not a job I would want. Thanks again for your responses.

  24. #17
    Good discussion.
    I read the moderator post/warning the other day, and was deeply grateful for it.

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    As a relative newcomer to the site, I just want to say I like it. I appreciate it. I come to it regularly. I find the comments so much more civil than those found at the Twins site or the Trib. Keep up the good work, all of you.

    I also love the creative humor that runs rampant in the Daily Thread. I only wished I typed as funny.
    Last edited by ScrapTheNickname; 07-09-2014 at 03:28 PM.

  26. #19
    Senior Member Big-Leaguer
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    an idea or two

    Speaking of derailed threads, see Worley's mechanics threads. The problem is that the derailment steered it away from yet another Anderson complaint session into something interesting.

  27. #20
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wise One View Post
    Speaking of derailed threads, see Worley's mechanics threads. The problem is that the derailment steered it away from yet another Anderson complaint session into something interesting.
    That thread is a perfect example of why we aren't always against thread "derailments". Conversations are organic; let them flow and they'll often lead in unexpected and enlightening directions.

    What we're against is hammering at the same drum in every thread or inserting a pet topic into a completely unrelated conversation. For example, if you don't like Joe Mauer and said so in 14 other threads, feel free to shut up about Joe in a thread about Kevin Correia. If you have a grudge against the medical staff, don't bring it up in a thread about Phil Hughes, who hasn't been injured during his time with the Twins. If you don't like Terry Ryan, not every thread needs to spell out how (fill in blank roster move) is an indictment of his ability as a General Manager. There are plenty of threads that specifically cater to those subjects, just hold on to your britches for a minute and wait for another to pop up.

    Natural thread derailments are fine. We often encourage it, as it extends the life of the conversation and takes it in new directions. What's not fine is smothering the board with the same opinion across 12 threads and three forums. What's not fine is dominating the board with an opinion that everybody already knows you have because you've stated it multiple times. And if that opinion is negative (as people who trumpet the same points so often are), we're going to have an even lower pain threshold until we take action.

    Some people confuse persistent negativity with honesty; in reality, rampant negativity is toxic and it ruins the party for everybody. I often keep my mouth shut in threads because I feel as if I'd only be contributing to the negativity in a thread that already has plenty of it.

    It's not that hard. Wheaton's Law pretty much sums up my thoughts on the subject:

    2D7B9B85EC9678055E979F81656B8_h416_w622_m2_q80_cdYHOljgF.jpg

    It's really that easy.

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