[Foundation-l] Moderation (was: should not web server logs (of requests) be published?)

Ryan Lomonaco wiki.ral315 at gmail.com
Wed Dec 1 01:37:17 UTC 2010

Spinning off the moderation discussion to its own thread.

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 7:45 PM, MZMcBride <z at mzmcbride.com> wrote:

> The phrase you're looking for is, "An ounce of prevention is a pound of
> cure." Either be an active part of this mailing list and moderate as
> appropriate or give up the damn post already. The current system is clearly
> and desperately ineffective.

I agree that we probably should have stepped up and put a halt to things
earlier.  For my part, I didn't check my e-mail for the last 36 hours or so;
I read the first part of the discussion Sunday night, and checked back a few
hours ago.  That said, we have lives beyond moderating this list.  I would
not be opposed to adding another active moderator to help out, but a few
months ago, when we actively sought additional moderators, I was seriously
underwhelmed by the number of people who volunteered.

On Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 7:47 PM, <WJhonson at aol.com> wrote:

> Yes I agree.  It's pointless to actually allow people to speak freely, when
> you can easily silence your critics by stuffing a sock in their mouth.

We have a fundamental disagreement, then, as to the point of moderation.  To
me, moderation is not to stuff a sock in anyone's mouth, it's to improve the
quality of discussion by adding a gate-keeper for those users who need one.
While Will has made quality posts to the list, he's also made posts that
have hurt discussion, both in the last few days and previously.  Note that
his comments in that thread led the discussion quickly off the topic of
releasing server logs (which was an interesting discussion, in my opinion)
into a few different meta-discussions, and the original subject was
forgotten altogether.  I'm happy to approve posts from Will that are
on-topic, but until he shows the ability to avoid these random posts that
devolve perfectly good discussions, I think moderation is the best option.

I'll share with everyone the reasoning I gave Will as to why he is on
moderation (portion in <brackets> edited from my original message for the
purpose of clarity):

> I've placed you on moderation.  Over the course of 48 hours you posted in
> that discussion 16 times, moving from a few well-argued comments [1, 2] to
> more argumentative comments [3] to bizarrely arguing that someone else is
> not a "reliable source" for a mailing list discussion [4, 5, 6, 7] to
> continuing to criticize what you perceived as a poor choice of words after
> <Russell> had already explained his meaning [8, 9, 10].
> I do not believe you are trolling, but I believe you are assuming bad faith
> in others, and you are missing the big picture.  When you do so, you make
> comments that are perceived by many as trolls, but that are also off-topic,
> and often bordering on personal attacks against others.  As such, I believe
> moderation is appropriate.
> 1.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062702.html
> 2.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062708.html
> 3.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062711.html
> 4.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062715.html
> 5.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062721.html
> 6.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062735.html
> 7.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062739.html
> 8.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062750.html
> 9.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062752.html
> 10.
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2010-November/062766.html

There are a few other things that I want to emphasize:

- There were one or two other posters who exhibited similar behavior, to
some extent baiting Will.  That said, Will was by far the most prolific
poster there, and was generally the one raising the heat of the discussion
throughout.  He's also had similar issues in the past.  I did not feel
moderation was appropriate in the cases of other users, but those users who
were involved should be much more civil in the future, and those with a
history of incivil or off-topic comments will be subject to moderation if
the behavior continues.

- Non-moderators should feel free to take a more active role in cooling down
discussions.  Moderators can't watch the list 24/7, and just one post
imploring a few heated participants to think before they hit "send" can be
very helpful.

- Most importantly, I want to also emphasize that I'm speaking on behalf of
myself only, and not on behalf of the other list moderators.


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