[Wikimediaindia-l] Moderation policy on WikimediaIndia-l

Delphine Ménard notafishz at gmail.com
Fri Feb 11 21:37:46 UTC 2011

HI Achal,

On Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 12:44 PM, Achal Prabhala <aprabhala at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear Hari and Anirudh,
> As moderators of WikimediaIndia-l, could you describe the policy you
> normally adopt towards moderation?
> Do you only block obvious spam or other messages, and if so on what basis?
> I am naturally curious since a message from Praveen that you only just
> released seems to have been sent in 3 days ago.

I'm not privy to the settings on this list, but here is what I think
happened. This list is not moderated per ante, or the moderators would
have to approve all of our messages, whether we're subscribed or not.
So it's probably only "auto-moderated" through the spam filter, which
means that messages that the mailman spam filter considers spam are
put on hold. This is where the moderators come into play. They have to
review messages and decide what is spam and what is not.

Being an admin on many other wikimedia mailing lists, I can tell you
from my own experience that on an open subscription list (like this
one), the amount of spam is usually important, but that very few
people actually try to write to the list while not subscribed. Which
means that as an admin, you probably only need to check every few days
to make sure nothing got caught that shouldn't have been.

Now, Praveen's email has an image embedded in it... and that, my
friend, is very quickly considered spam by mailman (the software). So
my take is that his email (although he is a member of this list) was
considered spam and held for moderation by the software. The mods
checking in a fews days later released the message, hence the delay.
So I would not see any act of moderation from anyone human in this
delayed message...in an ideal world, it should not have been blocked
in the first place, but mailman's spam filter is a killer.

> Furthermore, I think we'd benefit from understanding how people may
> apply to become administrators on this list.
> In light of Anirudh's recent appointment to administrator of this list,
> is there an open process by which other members might apply?
> (Foundation-l seems to have three administrators, though I would imagine
> that there is nothing stopping WikimediaIndia-l from having more than
> three).

In such country/chapter-related lists, the "usual practice" is to have
anyone interested to say "I'll moderate", and given they are not a
famous troll, give them the tools. Now, let's face it, moderation is a
big word, unless the list is really heated and personal attacks fly
around all the time. The moderator "work" usually involves more
"janitor work" (see above the spam explanation) than real moderation
and can become really "not fun". So you need motivated people who are
not just trying to make it look as if they'll be doing anything. :P

This said, experience tells me that 3/4 moderators is a good number,
so that when/if moderation needs to occur, mods can exchange between
themselves as to whether moderation is needed on a particular topic/of
a particular individual. More people, in my experience, usually leads
to stagnation, as mods expects the other mods will have cleared the
spam and checked the messages held and don't bother looking at the
queue (been there, done that).




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