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Old 10-27-2005, 11:12 AM   #41
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Come on people now, smile on your brother everybody get together try to love one another RIGHT NOW!
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Old 10-27-2005, 12:02 PM   #42
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Come on people now, smile on your brother everybody get together try to love one another RIGHT NOW!
Hippy talk!! Sorry, had a flashback.....
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Old 10-27-2005, 01:47 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Unbelievable.

Ninth, I didn't even REMOTELY imply that everything or even MOST of what people offer is a hindrance. I'm saying there's a line where enough becomes too much. There's also a line between constructive and destructive criticism. And some people some times don't respect or even recognize that line. At that point, it starts becoming a hindrance. I think it's pretty obvious when we tell people that line has been crossed. So please stop looking for reason to be offended by my very general explanation.

EDIT:

(This post needed a smiley to be Emily-approved. This forum is so dictatorial! )
Yeah, I'm known as the kind of guy who's looking for reasons to be offended.
By you, of all people, because we've clashed so much in the past.
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Old 10-27-2005, 07:13 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Ninth
Yeah, I'm known as the kind of guy who's looking for reasons to be offended.
By you, of all people, because we've clashed so much in the past.
And yet you're quite comfortable asserting that I'm insulting people I haven't addressed for reasons that don't exist. You're on your own for taking my comments personally.
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Old 10-27-2005, 10:36 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Jackal
And yet you're quite comfortable asserting that I'm insulting people I haven't addressed for reasons that don't exist. You're on your own for taking my comments personally.
Bah. I'm not even going to try to argue. If it's my fault than I found your post offending, then so be it.
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:02 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fov
Thanks for your post, Snarky. Makes for good reading.
Why, thanks! I do try.

Did you know that the social structures of online communities are being studied intensely by sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, economists, and experts in the field of Human Computer Interactions (HCI) known as Computer-Mediated Communication? There are complex theories describing the relationship between moderators and posters and what effect is has on the health of a community. Several of my university professors had done extensive research in this field.

Which is not to say that my comments were based on science. They were almost entirely derived from experience and intuition.

Quote:
Deleting posts is not something we do lightly. In fact, the only time we ever really do it is in the case of spam.
I'm happy to hear that. Some forum that I'm on will occasionally "clean up" threads by deleting whole subdiscussions, and it grates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
Some people seem to have an exaggerated expectation of what we should or even CAN share publicly. Detailed explanations, full disclosure, documented case histories, whatever. Even if that were desirable, which it isn't (as what exists privately should stay private), it's just not possible. It may seem like a copout to say "everything is complicated", but it's also true. And while it's wonderfully idealistic to think that people would be satisfied with more feedback, it never works that way in practice.
Everything cannot be made public, obviously. I just don't see why having things out in the open is so bad that people are criticized when they raise their concerns in public instead of in a PM.

Well, that's not entirely true. I do realize the problems it causes: the way it can add fuel to conflict, and above all how it generates more work for the moderators. (If Fum hadn't made his post public, I wouldn't have posted a reply, and you wouldn't have to spend time responding to me.)

This is where that difference in perspective comes in. Maybe to you it just means more to deal with, while from where I'm standing it means a healthy, open dialog, and an opportunity to build the social capital of our community.

The people who run things have always found it more convenient to keep information confidential than to release it to the public. (You could even state it as a principle: The amount of classified material as a percentage of documents produced will steadily increase throughout the lifetime of an organization. I work in a company where the process has gone so far that I discovered yesterday I can't even read my own project blog.) However, the most convenient thing is not always the best thing. There's certainly information that shouldn't be made public. Say, the identity of undercover intelligence agents. However, I think most people would agree that the government over-classifies many documents, simply because it's the easiest thing to do.

Hmmm... I don't really mean to compare the mods here to the Bush administration. Just to suggest that increased transparency might be worthwhile, even if it's a hassle (and even if people are never going to be satisfied).

Quote:
I don't think any of us ever said that we think people are TRYING to make trouble for us. That doesn't mean some don't act without thought to the trouble it DOES cause us. Everything anyone does around here takes time and effort, and the more people who think it's fun to publicly debate and question and challenge everything we do ad infinitum is showing no understanding of that. So if our answers start becoming more... blunt... it should hardly come as a surprise. I'm sure people would be much happier if we devoted that fourth hour a day to our answers instead of the three (random numbers here), but sometimes three is enough on this end.

I said this the last time, and I'll say it again. If anyone's goal is REALLY to "create and maintain a better community", we'd love that. And they can start by asking themselves what would help the staff instead of hinder them. Asking or demanding more may sometimes be necessary, but not often.
Hey! If you're implying that I don't sincerely have the best interests of this community at heart, I take offense at that!








Just kidding!
Well, except it did read like that when I first saw it. I guess it's about as silly as when a moderator takes a question about one of their decisions as personal criticism.

Yeah, it's very easy for these things to turn confrontational and escalate. If I may, I suggest we all cut each other some slack, and assume everyone has the best of intentions.
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:07 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky
Just kidding!
Well, except it did read like that when I first saw it. I guess it's about as silly as when a moderator takes a question about one of their decisions as personal criticism.
Good point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky
Yeah, it's very easy for these things to turn confrontational and escalate. If I may, I suggest we all cut each other some slack, and assume everyone has the best of intentions.
Yeah. Done.
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Old 10-28-2005, 01:01 AM   #48
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So speaking as a mod who had to take a vacation for several weeks, I hope people can at least have some idea how I work and how stressful it can be at times.
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Old 10-28-2005, 01:05 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens
So speaking as a mod who had to take a vacation for several weeks, I hope people can at least have some idea how I work and how stressful it can be at times.
Your still on vacation so get back to the sightseeing
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:46 AM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snarky
I just don't see why having things out in the open is so bad that people are criticized when they raise their concerns in public instead of in a PM.
I'm really not convinced people are criticized for "raising concerns" publicly. This was the very point I was trying to make. Nor are they criticized for making suggestions. We want to encourage that, even. But as I said, there is a line where "enough" becomes "too much", or it's approached in such a way that whatever good intentions are behind it are completely wasted. Say what you will about US not taking things personally, but threads that start "You suck! You should do things differently!" is not a reasonable way to open dialogue. Nor is starting one saying, "I insist you explain yourselves, heathens; else I spit at your feet! Ptooie!!" Um... yeah.

(Note to those feeling oversensitive: these are hypothetical examples.)

Quote:
If Fum hadn't made his post public, I wouldn't have posted a reply, and you wouldn't have to spend time responding to me.
And this after having gone through almost this exact discussion a couple weeks ago. As you're saying, Snarky, this is no one's fault. Just a matter of perspective. Those that don't know about other threads and discussions think their's is the only one, and those that had to field those others feel dragged back into the muck.

Quote:
However, the most convenient thing is not always the best thing. There's certainly information that shouldn't be made public. Say, the identity of undercover intelligence agents. However, I think most people would agree that the government over-classifies many documents, simply because it's the easiest thing to do.
I really don't think we deliberately conceal information that often, unless a matter is truly private. What's been asked of us that we haven't disclosed? (That's not a rhetorical question, by the way.) I think what we're discussing here is not justifying ourselves before a court of public opinion, where such discussions some times (ahem) get dragged out, debated and argued indefinitely - not because the ongoing argument is useful, but simply because people CAN. It's an unfortunate reality, but it's the real reality. Believe me, we'd love the idealistic "open dialogue" thing as much as you, but the idealistic contributions have to run both ways to work. Could we explain ourselves better sometimes? Very likely. Should we be required to have every decision dissected and challenged? No, but that's what tends to happen.

Quote:
Hey! If you're implying that I don't sincerely have the best interests of this community at heart, I take offense at that!

Just kidding!
Well, except it did read like that when I first saw it.
I know you're kidding, but I still want to clarify. I certainly wasn't holding anybody's hand, no, but I deliberately didn't cite any specifics or reference any names because I wasn't pronouncing judgement on anyone. (If anyone was likely to take it personally, I assumed it would be Fum, since it came on his thread.) What I was trying to do was to get people to look at their own contributions when these matters arise and ask themselves if they're helping or making things worse. If someone's entirely comfortable with what they're saying, great. If not, there's the challenge to be part of the solution. If I'm really pointing a finger at someone in particular, I don't generally leave much doubt about it.

Quote:
Yeah, it's very easy for these things to turn confrontational and escalate.
And this is why I did the above. If anyone is being openly confrontational with staff, they can be sure it'll escalate. That's not helping. Not because we're a bunch of pansies that cry over hurt feelings, but because authority still needs to be respected, and any authority worth a damn will rightly assert itself. Once again, I'm not saying that means people shouldn't say anything (they should!), or that any hostility is solely a poster's fault. But the responsibility for making things work runs both ways.
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Old 10-28-2005, 10:08 AM   #51
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Thanks Snarky, I agree with what you said about the benefits of open discussions. I understand the mods have been working behind the scenes on some of the issues that have bothered me, but the problem with that is the issues occurred in public, and an empathetic person like me can get very annoyed on someone else’s behalf, and even though the issue might have been resolved with said someone else, the person like me is still annoyed by it. I know no organization wants to discuss their problems in the open (even the minor ones I've brought up), but I really don't see any harm, and much to gain for the community at large.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
If anyone is being openly confrontational with staff, they can be sure it'll escalate. That's not helping. Not because we're a bunch of pansies that cry over hurt feelings, but because authority still needs to be respected, and any authority worth a damn will rightly assert itself.
Well that's really the idea I was getting at, and I don't really agree. Sure when police are dealing with real, potentially dangerous, criminals, they are trained to use "overwhelming force" and leave no doubt as to their authority. But that isn't at all what is needed on an internet forum; I think the problems that arise on forums are more akin to minor domestic disputes, and if you ever watch the well-trained police on "Cops" (i.e. not your average town cop) you know that they try and be as passive and calm about the situation as possible, try to calm everyone down and have an open discussion of the problem. There is no need to assert authority in these purely verbal disputes. That's all I'm saying on that.

And incase it wasn't clear, yeah, the bit in my original post about using authority with restraint really was just for Tobbaco, I'll be honest. I think he already knows it. No one else has bothered me in this regard. But I still can't help but love him, so we'll just let this part of the discussion slide.
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Old 10-28-2005, 10:53 AM   #52
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Well, I'm not going to bother arguing your analogy. For a cop, a teacher, a parent, a boss, a moderator or whatever, sometimes authority needs to be asserted (sometimes not). Depends entirely on the context, but that likelihood jumps dramatically when that authority is challenged. Not surprisingly, a criminal, student, child, employee or forumite are liable to have a different opinion on whether that's true when it concerns them. In any case, everyone knows we don't use "overwhelming force" even if we don't always, absolutely, utterly, 100% of the time wear plastic smiles and detail our every action.

Since you're not discussing specifics, I can't answer specifics. Despite some intelligent comments on the benefits of dialogue, frankly I'm still not even really sure what the gripe is. Apparently one or two threads were closed that someone wanted to stay open? Is that it?
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:15 AM   #53
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I haven't really read all of the posts in this topic, but I don't see how you can complain about the AG mods. This community is one of the most laid-back places you will find. There are other boards I post at where you can really see the staff abuse their power. I think the mods here respect everyone and if a topic is closed it's usually for good reason.
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:39 AM   #54
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I should clarify my last post. Fum, I realize you did actually specify one or two issues earlier. But since we'd gone back to generalizing, my comment was more intended to say that it's impossible to discuss specific incidents in a general way.

So, okay, a thead closing and a (possibly) slightly over-harsh tone, then. I'm still a little hazy on why that needs a town hall meeting. It's hardly endemic, after all.
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Old 10-28-2005, 11:43 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackal
I'm still a little hazy on why that needs a town hall meeting. It's hardly endemic, after all.
Especially when there was extensive follow-up among the people involved in private (which, obviously, the people not involved in the situation weren't aware of).

Err, anyway. Could we go back to talking about chocolate?
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Old 10-28-2005, 12:58 PM   #56
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This thread is really starting to frustrate me. I had nothing to do one night, so I wrote the post up. Was doing this really such a big deal? It's not an epidemic, I know, in fact in my first paragraph I acknowledged that the post really wasn't necessary (did that get skimmed over because it was parenthesized?). And Legolas, if you had read all the posts, you'd see that I also have agreed a few times that this forum isn't under my purely imaginational "syndrome." But some of what I have seen of late worries me that it might be slowly, slowly moving in that direction. Maybe. Probably not, but I'm just making a small effort with the intention of preventing it from falling under the “syndrome.” I have acknowledged that this forum is easily the most sensibly moderated forum when compared to just about every other forum I've visited - all of which I'd easily say are under my “syndrome” - and that is precisely why I care about this place, and why I made this small, harmless, effort to try and keep things cool here.

I will also acknowledge now, Jackal - just to be clear - that you've made a lot of good points in this thread, especially the one about things being a "two way street." You can pretty much assume that every point you've made, and that I haven't yet rebuked, I agree with. Just to be clear.

And fov, watch it with the chocolate talk, that beautiful woman named tobacco might shut us down.
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Old 10-28-2005, 01:07 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fum
This thread is really starting to frustrate me. I had nothing to do one night, so I wrote the post up. Was doing this really such a big deal?
I think the original frustration that people like I had when reading your post was it sounded far more angry and serious than you obviously intended it to be.

But, as a future lesson, this type of post might not be the best to make when you're just looking for something to do .
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Old 10-28-2005, 01:25 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RLacey
I think the original frustration that people like I had when reading your post was it sounded far more angry and serious than you obviously intended it to be.

But, as a future lesson, this type of post might not be the best to make when you're just looking for something to do .
Yeah, maybe I should've used more emoticons or something, because when I go on lengthy rants like that in real life, people know not to take me too seriously.

(And didn't you see my parenthesized disclosure? Or is this forum set to omit all parenthesized text?)
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Old 10-28-2005, 03:06 PM   #59
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Well, written communication is a bitch. It's so much easier to understand each other when we're talking face to face.

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Old 10-28-2005, 03:09 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by Erwin_Br
Well, written communication is a bitch. It's so much easier to understand each other when we're talking face to face.

--Erwin
We should all live in one, big room. Then we wouldn't have these problems .
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