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The Moderators
02-16-2011, 01:11 PM
DPF owners are increasingly frustrated at abuse, ad hominems and wild unsubstantiated allegations being made in threads. To ensure that all members concentrate on the evidence and interpretation of the evidence, we are proposing the introduction of an infractions system which is easily facilitated by the vBulletin site software. The system is suitable for the moderation of defined infractions and two are initially proposed as outlined below. If a member is consistently guilty of infractions, they will automatically be placed on moderation.

Before introducing the system, we welcome the views - pro and con - of members. This is not a done deal, so please all let us know your views in this thread.

System Description
The system allows moderators/administrators to penalize users for individual offending posts, using a semi-automated 'infractions' system built into the site software.

Each infraction has a points value and is remembered by the system for a defined period. Points values are cumulative during the time they are remembered. When a defined number of points have been accumulated, the user is automatically placed on post moderation. Removal from moderated status is NOT automated, but at the discretion of the Moderators.

There just 2 types of infraction proposed initially, with points values defined as follows:


Insulting other member(s) - 3 points
Unnecessary re-quoting of entire posts - 1 point

The proposed initial accumulated points total that triggers the penalty is 12.

The proposed initial 'remembered' period is 42 days.

Both the remembered period and points values will be subject to individual adjustment in light of experience.

When an infraction is incurred, the offending user will receive a private notifying message from the moderator issuing the infraction.

Neither Infractions nor infraction points levels will visible to anyone other than the Moderators.

It will be possible to appeal an infraction and for Moderators/Administrators to revoke or adjust the accrued points manually

Infractions explanation:


Insults to other members. This has become endemic, often couched in the subtlest and cleverest of disguises and language constructs, but endemic and unacceptable nonetheless. DPF are determined it should be stopped. The proposed settings will mean that just 3 infractions in 6 weeks will get the recipient placed on moderation.
Unnecessary re-quoting. This has been addressed several times before but seems to have had no discernible effect. The problem is mainly one of re-posting entire articles when replying to a post that contains the original. It is probably the biggest single unnecessary consumer of both disk-space and bandwidth on the site. If a comment or response is deemed useful, then the minor additional time required to eliminate or reduce the original post down to the relevant parts should not be an issue. To do otherwise is frankly lazy and almost akin to spam in that it is annoying, distracting and makes the thread difficult to navigate. The points value of an infraction is low because it is hoped that the necessary learning curve will be climbed before auto-moderation occurs. IOW - users should not get incensed on receipt of this infraction because 12 will be needed in any 6 week period to trigger the penalty.

Notes


The 'Insults' infraction is aimed at clearly venomous personal attacks and blatant ad-hominem distraction from substantive issues. It is NOT intended to outlaw rhetorical devices such as the use of sarcasm, anger, mockery, humour and many others - provided they are aimed squarely at a proposition or argument rather than the person making it. Venomous personal attack is usually clear enough, no matter the subtlety of the language constructs employed; identifying it as such involves some judgment, but that is what is being targeted here.



The system is NOT intended as a substitute for all previous moderator activity. It is simply an attempt to ensure that a far higher proportion of infractions are acted upon than hitherto.



The two initial infractions are included because they are clearly definable recurring problems.

Lauren Johnson
02-16-2011, 08:53 PM
but has been irritated at the direction this site has been taking.

Although I don't intend to join in the big group fights that are going on. Nevertheless, I am not sure that it is obvious you distinction is at all clear as you try to make it in the following paragraph.

he 'Insults' infraction is aimed at clearly venomous personal attacks and blatant ad-hominem distraction from substantive issues. It is NOT intended to outlaw rhetorical devices such as the use of sarcasm, anger, mockery, humour and many others - provided they are aimed squarely at a proposition or argument rather than the person making it. Venomous personal attack is usually clear enough, no matter the subtlety of the language constructs employed; identifying it as such involves some judgment, but that is what is being targeted here.

I suggest that you include some quotes from previous posts to demonstrate the difference. It appears to me that some of the founders of this forum should end up spending time in the DPF slammer. But who would put them there. Remember, one person's "rhetorical device" is another persons "venomous personal attacks and blatant ad-hominem distraction."

Anyway, that's my two cents.

Phil Dragoo
02-16-2011, 09:00 PM
For some time now the persistent insult has pointed back in time to the Saturday Night Live skit Point Counterpoint with Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd. No amount of in-thread moderation has stopped the galvanic reflex still observed.


http://www.poptent.net/media/14416/1

Bernice Moore
02-17-2011, 05:24 AM
IMO I DO NOT BELIEVE IN CENSORSHIP OF ANY KIND on the other hand it is not what some say but how they say it, all one must do imo is reread what they have written before hitting post, they are suppose to all be adults, so therefore adults all know an insult when thrown, so delete such, then post, if not you will and are forcing, the administration here in enabling a service of infractions tools, you know who you are, so if. do not cry about it after, as yes it will be partly your fault,that you will of course deny, but it will be too damn late, just act and post as an adult,and do not take yourself too seriously...b..

Jack White
02-17-2011, 04:26 PM
Nix.

Many "personal attacks" are just a descriptive for the behavior
of someone. If SMITH makes blatantly untrue statements and
JONES calls him a "liar" it is NOT a personal attack, but a description
of SMITH'S behavior. If JONES says SMITH appears to be doing the
work of an "agent provocateur for the CIA", that is not a personal
attack, but a description of Jones' evaluation of Smith's activity.

I think we all can differentiate between PERSONAL ATTACKS and
STATEMENTS OF OPINION.

As for penalizing use of the REPLY WITH QUOTE button...simple!
Simply REMOVE THE BUTTON instead of penalizing those who use
it. I find it very handy...especially if responding to a message
which has already cycled off of TODAY'S POSTS.

I think both suggested "solutions" are ill-advised and unnecessary.

Jack

Peter Presland
02-17-2011, 07:28 PM
Interesting comments. Agreed, it is not possible to be 100% objective on the insults one. The re-posting of long articles through lazy use of the 'reply-with-quote' button IS a problem though - for the reasons stated.

Feedback to date - minimal as it is - clearly sits somewhere between 'Not Bothered' and 'No' - so there's a poll gone up. It'll stay there fore a few days and we'll see how it goes.

Addendum:

The poll is anonymous - FWIW.

Trowbridge H. Ford
02-17-2011, 07:45 PM
I have just voted for the proposed system, not that I am in favor of censorship of any kind, or that it is a fine-tuned instrument for keeping ravers under restraint.

It is just a first step for marking some line in the sand about what is permissible and what isn't, a kind of sanction against those who think because of their long-time posting, subsidizing the thread, or simply recognized nutiness are permitted to say whatever they want about anyone or anything without any kind of penalty.

Enforeable rules are the beginning of any civilized community.

Bernice Moore
02-19-2011, 04:42 PM
i just went and voted but it tells me, i already have, i did not, though i did express my opinion, in a post, the vote was not uploaded at that time, to click...:shrug:not as far as i recall.thanks b

John Kowalski
02-20-2011, 03:13 AM
I am all for the system. Posters should stay focused on the evidence and not on personalities. This board will be much more pleasant that way. By the way, if two posters can't agree with each, and spend endless amount of time exchanging
ad homs and sarcasm, what they are really saying is that they refuse to consider the other person's point of view, which really defeats the purpose of being here.

About the band with issue. A way we can all save band with is by recognizing that if
an issue can't be settled within a few exchanges, why not just drop it? A while back there was a certain issue regarding a certain woman that had hundreds of posts and I really doubt anything was settled.

John

Peter Lemkin
02-24-2011, 06:27 AM
i just went and voted but it tells me, i already have, i did not, though i did express my opinion, in a post, the vote was not uploaded at that time, to click...:shrug:not as far as i recall.thanks b

I just replied with a quote...for a reason...I wanted to highlight that the same apparent thing happened to me. I voted and was shown a screen with a tally, but it saying 'you have already voted'.

I can understand a request for the reduction of long quotes being repeated, but often people read only the last one or few post on a thread - especially fast growing ones and persons repeat all or parts of what they think are important articles/comments, etc. A banner request to keep that to the absolute minimum, yes, an 'infractions system', no.

While I am aware of, and acknowledge the 'problem' of [I]ad hom attacks, and related, I suggest making it very clear that this is not to be encouraged; in fact, it is to be frowned upon! That said, an automated system doesn't sit well with me. In the end, those who run the show will do as they please. One can only hope they do so fairly and with an even hand. Once you set up a penalty system there are experts at baiting others to 'step over the line', while just having their own toes on the line - any fair system has to be human based, in the end, IMO.

As a victim of moderation myself on another forum and having been a moderator on that very forum, I know well the problems and biases inherent in such as system. I also know there begins a slippery slope once one institutes such a system, which has a tenancy to grow, and become more problematic for all. Has the DPF become a victim of its own success or has Sunnstein and others started their cognitive infiltration? I think a bit of both - with the Sunnstein-clones the minor factor, so far. Many of the issues we deal with here are ones of great personal [I]and often World importance. Many of us have spent years working on these (or related) issues and have very firm opinions. Sometimes those opinions clash and things do, yes, sometimes get heated. And yes, all reasonable persons would agree that any 'attack' should be on the ideas and positions, not on the person. Jack, above, pointed-out how difficult the nuance between those two can be.

Just as I do not like the idea of prisons; but rather favor the idea of encouraging persons to be better able to interact without harming others in society [in our case here the forum], I urge whatever measures are taken to ere on the side of 'carrots', rather than 'stick' alone. One last warning, debate over the type and nature/strength of a 'moderation' system can, at times, become as divisive and disruptive as the 'wrongs' they seek to address....proceed with caution and don't say I didn't warn all.....

Greg Burnham
03-06-2011, 09:57 PM
Nix.

Many "personal attacks" are just a descriptive for the behavior
of someone. If SMITH makes blatantly untrue statements and
JONES calls him a "liar" it is NOT a personal attack, but a description
of SMITH'S behavior... [snip]
Jack

I agree, Jack. As an example:

I might think a less personal reply would be preferable, such as Jones saying: "That is a lie." Or even perhaps, "You are lying." -- (As opposed to Jones simply labeling Smith: "a liar")

The latter ("You are lying") would only be appropriate if "Jones" had reason to believe that "Smith" was privy to the "truth" of the matter and reason to believe that "Smith" was deliberately prevaricating. The label--"You're a liar"--is another matter.

I think the difference between saying "That is a lie" and saying "You are a liar" is a very fine line, but technically the former conforms more closely to Forum Policy (as I understand it), whereas the latter probably does not...even if true.

There are four (or more) potential replies to consider in the above example used by Jack. Although variations exist, each of these reflects the perceived "position" of its author:

1) "That is incorrect" (reads: that claim is false; you are mistaken) [This one needs no clarification]

2) "That is a lie" (reads: that claim is false; you made it up, or you either intentionally or inadvertently repeated a false statement made by another) not[/b] ad hominem is the one in which there is an allowance that the false claim may have been made inadvertently by repeating what was heard from a trusted 3rd party]

3) "You are lying" (reads: [i]your claim is false and you do know better) [this is a tough one because it is clearly ad hominem, on its face, but it also could be a simple reportage of fact, as well]

4) "You are a liar" (reads: you regularly employ methods of deception and you are not trust worthy) [clearly, this is ad hominem--even if true. However, some folks deserve to be personally attacked, but distinguishing between "who deserves it" and who doesn't is a slippery slope, indeed]



IMO: These are subtle but significant distinctions. I am fairly certain that the software is ill equipped to deal with such linguistic nuances.

Did you see "WATSON" play Jeopardy? He won on his ability to produce "facts" [raw data] and deliver them with superior speed. However, he was entirely inept at interpretation, application, and relevance to the human context.







...

Ed Jewett
03-07-2011, 04:49 PM
Having been absent a lot lately and limited to working from a timed-out library interface, I won't comment much except to say that I am against censorship of content, would prefer less ad hominens et al -- except where warranted (perhaps this can be modified by an appeals process, changes in workding, etc.) and very much in favor of limiting useless extraneous copies of long post, I voted yes, with the proviso that it's a first step and will be modified in time.