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Author Topic: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?  (Read 872 times)

skiltao

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Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess, and is it possible to sort them back out into their more logical & topical locations? ???

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Daryk

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #1 on: 02 January 2019, 18:24:24 »
Seconded!  I thought the OP did a good job sorting his large list of questions into the appropriate sub-forums, and I figured that was a result of his communication with JadeHellbringer the week prior.

JadeHellbringer

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #2 on: 03 January 2019, 10:27:17 »
They were combined because we didn't need half a dozen of the same thread. If they need further clean-up, the OP can do so, or can contact us himself about any help he needs.
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ActionButler

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #3 on: 03 January 2019, 11:30:32 »
Adding to what JadeHellbringer has said, with Giorgio76's permission, we have

1) moved the combined thread back to the A Time of War section

and

2) edited the first post in the unified thread to include all of his questions in one place.  Each set of questions is listed underneath a heading that reflects the title of whatever thread they were first published in.
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skiltao

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #4 on: 03 January 2019, 13:48:54 »
They were combined because we didn't need half a dozen of the same thread.

Describing them as "the same thread" is a gross misrepresentation of their contents.

Despite starting off with a boilerplate intro, they actually addressed a wide variety of topics - primarily historical or political questions of the type normally found in the "Universe" section of the forums, along with a number of boardgame questions. Only a minority of the items address roleplaying or the RPG.

Adding to what JadeHellbringer has said, with Giorgio76's permission, we have

That's good, but the smaller, more focused threads were easier to engage with.

The giant merge reduces both the number of people who open it in the first place and the number of readers who maintain interest long enough to respond. Smaller chunks would not only produce healthier discussion in themselves but also, it seemed to me, were providing some much-needed seed activity across the currently quiet boards.
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Daryk

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #5 on: 03 January 2019, 17:14:26 »
Thanks for the explanations... while I agree with Skiltao, I'm not going to argue with moderator action.

JadeHellbringer

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #6 on: 04 January 2019, 10:20:43 »
Describing them as "the same thread" is a gross misrepresentation of their contents.

[snip]


It's been discussed with the person who posted the threads, and doesn't require a third party jumping in. Your concern is noted, the situation is resolved.
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skiltao

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #7 on: 04 January 2019, 14:30:09 »
My concern is that mods appear to be making decisions without actually reading the stuff they make decisions on; they appear unable to acknowledge when their decisions are in error; they do not seem to recognize that their actions can be counterproductive to the health of the forum; and in a sample case where the damage is obvious and undoing it equally simple, they prefer to stonewall (trying to save face? ???) instead of fix things.

Those issues are not new and have not been resolved. If the staff are not taking action to correct them (and with the kind of answers you give I am obliged to assume action isn't), then yes, they do require a third party to speak up.

These things are not the end of the world. They are fairly important within the scope of your modest moderatorial domain, though, and fixing them is not the end of the world either.
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #8 on: 04 January 2019, 14:43:00 »
My concern is that mods appear to be making decisions without actually reading the stuff they make decisions on; they appear unable to acknowledge when their decisions are in error; they do not seem to recognize that their actions can be counterproductive to the health of the forum; and in a sample case where the damage is obvious and undoing it equally simple, they prefer to stonewall (trying to save face? ???) instead of fix things.

You're not the only one.  I'd say it's even a bit generous to put as you did.

skiltao

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #9 on: 04 January 2019, 14:53:08 »
You're not the only one.  I'd say it's even a bit generous to put as you did.

While the mods posts can come across as defensive, I believe they are trying to reasonable. Focusing on action items seems to be their version of diplomacy and I wish to be diplomatic, even if distrust on both sides makes that difficult.
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ActionButler

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #10 on: 05 January 2019, 10:32:54 »
You guys seem to want to have a frank discussion about this, and that’s good because the health of this forum certainly depends on real concern from the user community.  Some of the assertions being thrown about in this thread are either very misleading or outright false (which I assume is simply due to misunderstanding at not malice), though, so I’m going to jump off script for a second to (try to) both address the concerns (as best I can) and clear up some misconceptions.

My concern is that mods appear to be making decisions without actually reading the stuff they make decisions on;

Objectively false.  As anyone who has received a forum warning should know, mod decisions are not made by any single individual. Posts are flagged, the mod team discusses, and a decision is made. For an action to be taken against a post or user without a mod having read the offending post, someone would either have to have gone rogue (for want of a better term) OR multiple moderators would have had to have weighed in on a flag without reading it. I’ll add, too, that more often than not, the mod who actually executes an action is not the person who raised the flag in the first place.  In this case, I consolidated the threads, but I was neither the person who originally flagged them nor was I the first mod to weigh in on them.

Now... one issue that I think this concern does raise is how/how quickly those decisions are made when the mods are short-staffed, such as holiday time. Should we raise the magic number of mods weighing in on a flag before an action can be executed? Maybe that is a question worth asking. But where do you draw the line? If someone posts a racist, profanity-laden rant somewhere in the wee small hours of the night, do we let the post stay as we wait for X number of mods to agree or can someone take emergency powers?  What kind of post would qualify for emergency action?  These are all things that would need to be addressed and planned for. 


Quote
they appear unable to acknowledge when their decisions are in error; they do not seem to recognize that their actions can be counterproductive to the health of the forum;

Two parts... 1) Again, as anyone who has received a warning should know, there are mechanisms for appealing a decision made by the mod team in the event that we have made an error. As I mentioned above, we did not execute this action in a vacuum.  We messaged Giorgio76 about the changes and I have personally done what I can to work with him to reach an agreeable compromise.

2) This unilaterally suggests that an error was made in this case, and that is very subjective. Again, I appreciate that you are concerned for the health of the forum.  However no single user - not you, not me, not anyone - gets to decide what is and is not in the interest in the health of the forum. Battletech is a big game with a lot of different branches and some very, very passionate fans. If we let a certain subset of the old school players decide what is healthy for the forum, CBT 3025 would be the main sub-forum and anything post-Invasion would be relegated to Off Topic. If we only catered to certain new and returning players, Alpha Strike would be the headline section.

In THIS case, one of the balancing concerns is what is healthy for the actual discussion? What is the best way for Giorgio76 to get his answers? Should his questions be distributed to some of the dark corners of the forums or should the be concentrated somewhere where more people will see them? Personally, I think that this forum is here for people to get answers, not to advertise that we have a dedicated sub-forum for the Periphery.

Now, looping back around to whether or not errors were made or the mods are willing to admit fault, consider that after the threads were consolidated, we moved them back to the ATOW section because, on reflection, the Challenges and Gatherings section was the wrong spot. In retrospect, could some of the consolidated threads have been left alone? Perhaps. We aren’t infalible, even using consensus to reach decisions. HOWEVER, I will say, again, that what is best for the forum and for the successful resolution of Giorgio76’s thread is a matter of opinion.

Quote
and in a sample case where the damage is obvious and undoing it equally simple, they prefer to stonewall (trying to save face? ???) instead of fix things.

I won’t lie, I am little disappointed that you believe that we are stonewalling you.  I honestly can’t remember the last time that we tried to share our rationale for our actions as JadeHellbringer and I did above. It was probably the LAM thread, now that I think of it, and that was before I was a mod. 

I’m not sure where you got the idea that undoing what has been done is “equally simple”.  I can assure that, unless someone is hiding it from me, there is no single button that automaticaly un-Voltrons a thread with one simple click.  At any rate, once more, the “fix” for this situation is a matter of opinion. You are clearly very attached to the belief that we made a mistake and the the thread should be exploded back out into its component pieces.  I would hope that the fact that I’ve taken the time to address your concerns does, in fact, confirm that your objections have been noted.  I’m not here to tell you that you are wrong about that, but again, the mod staff operates by consensus precisely so that one person’s opinion, or even the shared opinion of two or three people, does not become the rule. 

I would like to close this by saying that I’m happy to answer anymore of your questions, but this is already an abnormally frank discussion about what goes on in mod space, so I’m afraid that I cannot guarantee further explanation if the above is not sufficient.

ActionButler
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #11 on: 05 January 2019, 10:56:50 »
You guys seem to want to have a frank discussion about this, and that’s good because the health of this forum certainly depends on real concern from the user community...

For what it's worth, I don't have an opinion on the thread merging that is the focus of the original post.  I was expressing agreement with the general opinion that the Mods (as a group, not necessarily each and every individual)

1) Sometimes make decisions without fully paying attention to the issue at hand.
2) Are usually unwilling to admit when they're wrong.
3) Will almost always stonewall and save face rather than performing a fix if it means admitting they were wrong.
4) Are apparently unaware or uncaring that 1-3 negatively impacts the community.

Skilltao didn't say it, but I'd add a 5th problem:

5) People the mods don't like get unwarranted warnings simply because the mods don't like them.

I'd be happy to discuss at much more length, but honestly I'm afraid I'm already getting an unwarranted warning for this post and it'll just be hidden from regular users' views as is.

ActionButler

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #12 on: 05 January 2019, 11:43:35 »
And you are entitled to those opinions.  If what I’ve posted above doesn’t help mitigate your concerns about points 1-4, I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what else I can say beyond that.

As for point 5, all I can say, once again, is that any moderator action is made by consensus specifically to avoid that. The forum rules are all very clearly laid out in the rules tab. In order for an unwarranted action to be taken as a part of a personal grudge, multiple people would have to agree to it and the action would still be reviewable by the admins.

Now, if you really do believe that this is a common enough occurrence but are worried about discussion it in public, you are welcome to send my a PM with any concerns or examples you might have. I won’t promise you that I can say anymore than I already have, though.
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Skyth

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #13 on: 05 January 2019, 12:44:48 »
Just to chime in, I've been frequenting these boards for close to two decades and don't have a problem with the moderation (well... I don't trust one due to an incident over 15 years ago from before he was a mod/admin...).

I've been involved in a couple heated discussions and only got 1 warning ever.  The rational for that warning was clearly explained via a private message.  I may disagree that it rose the level of a warning but I thought the process was fair.

I'm sure a lot of mod action is resolved privately (as it should be).  Unfortunately, this may give the appearance of being singled out because you don't see other people being chastised.  I still think this is the better of the two options even though it's not perfect.

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #14 on: 05 January 2019, 14:39:14 »
5) People the mods don't like get unwarranted warnings simply because the mods don't like them.

The exact opposite is the truth. We work VERY hard to avoid bias, either in appearance or in fact. There are folks on this forum that I dislike. There are folks on this forum that are universally loathed by the entire mod and admin staff. In practice, those people are the hardest to issue warnings to, because we discuss their cases to absolute death, to make completely sure our biases are not a factor in the warning.

It should also be noted that appeals can and do overturn warnings, more often than you might think. But people who are rude and confrontational in their appeal, or who respond to a warning by angrily declaring that an appeal obviously wouldn't go through and thus isn't worth their time? How often do you really think that is going to work?
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Daryk

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #15 on: 05 January 2019, 14:49:41 »
People actually fight warnings?  The one I received last year was very clearly explained, and politely so.

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #16 on: 05 January 2019, 15:11:39 »
All warnings can be appealed, unless explicitly told otherwise.
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Daryk

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #17 on: 05 January 2019, 15:34:12 »
It just never occurred to me anyone would want to.  We all make mistakes, and the system here seems to be pretty forgiving.

Bedwyr

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #18 on: 05 January 2019, 18:39:43 »
It just never occurred to me anyone would want to.  We all make mistakes, and the system here seems to be pretty forgiving.

That's actually the intent. It's mostly warning-by-committee by practice and tradition. We don't honestly trust ourselves and wait for cross-checks and counter-points from other mods to reduce mistaken judgment. It's not perfect and we're not perfect. We're volunteers doing this 'for fun' and we fully acknowledge our imperfections. But the forum uses more active moderation by design. Deliberation at least helps reduce mistakes, especially where there are brow-furrowing close calls. That's also why both the appeals system and the warning ladder works the way it does; it captures those mistakes and close calls that get through. Appeals apply final cross-checks by requiring an extra round of judgment and justification for the ruling (and yes, they do get overturned, often to our relief, believe it or not). Warnings also expire, giving people a chance to adjust to behavioral expectations.

On the whole, I can't help the perceptions that TDC voiced, but in large part they're not true. Not trying to dis this perception, but it's not a reflection of reality. My guess (and I'm still not trying to dis those points) is that they're most probably perceptions stemming from behavioral expectations brought over from more free-wheeling communities that exercise light-handed moderation to a forum that long ago made the choice to be pretty active in preventing flame-wars rather than simply cleaning up afterward.

Now we could have a long discussion and disagree reasonably about whether one forum's approach is better than another's (like Bethsoft vs. Blizzard vs. Shadowrun vs. Reddit vs. 4/8 Chan). Ultimately it's philosophical. This is the choice that's been made about how active the moderation should be and what rules are good combination of community and company interests. The rules and enforcement approaches shift somewhat over time, mostly toward greater generosity (note that the unseen posting rule is gone and other rules get occasional rephrasing treatments), but this is the general calibration. It may not work for you or your friends, but that's not the same thing as the forum community as a whole (in other words, a self-selecting sample of 8 or so != the population for stats nerds).
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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #19 on: 05 January 2019, 18:49:19 »
I'll add ahead of time that we are being unusually frank here in the interests of openness. Most moderation is handled privately to prevent it from being litigated in public in ways that harm the users, so let this be a hopefully helpful peek behind the curtain. It's highly unlikely that wishes for change in moderation practice are going to result from this. It's too big a question for such a thread. If I see the thread circling the drain of productive discussion, I won't hesitate to lock.

Just setting expectations here.
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Daryk

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #20 on: 05 January 2019, 19:04:00 »
I appreciate the frankness!  It's always good to know the people wielding the ban hammer are reasonable, and have taken steps to reinforce that reasonableness.  Honestly, I have no idea what might have given TDC the impressions he's formed, but I also don't read everything posted on the forum.

skiltao

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #21 on: 05 January 2019, 19:06:44 »
There's a lot of misunderstandings here and it's taking me a while to compose a response.

If everyone could refrain from throwing their two-cents in the meantime, that would be GREAT.
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skiltao

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #22 on: 06 January 2019, 06:29:31 »
Thanks everybody for waiting.

ActionButler, thank you for going off-script. I appreciate that the initial responses and your extended response are more than you guys usually do.

The fact that it is unusual is part of the issue. If you guys were just a little more open we would not be having this extended discussion. I might certainly have tried to push a different discussion, but it would be on a more practical subject with a much more finite length rather than this evergreen one.

Objectively false.  As anyone who has received a forum warning should know

If someone had actually read Giorgio's posts, you could tell me how such a diverse variety of questions seemed to them to be a single topic, and then either I could acknowledge that logic as reasonable or you could acknowledge that logic as flawed. :-\

You instead choose to call my claim false while deflecting away from it, and then concede more generally that you guys maybe sometimes can be a little uncareful. I realize that this isn't the most comfortable thing for you guys to discuss, but you do understand that you are being unnecessarily evasive and that your evasiveness contributes to the problem?

(And no, before anyone inevitably brings this up, the criteria for merging the threads is not a private matter. The posts remain public and whatever standard was applied also applies to the rest of the public.)

The "magic number" of mods to evaluate something is a notion worth raising, but - if your purpose really is to understand and note my concerns - please trust me that the discussion of warning and appeals procedure is generally irrelevant and unrevealing. For our purposes here, suffice to say that my experience with the staff, along with the manner in which you raised those points (plus Weirdo's comments later) do not create an image of diverse perspectives.

I am aware that the image may not accurately reflect the reality, but the issue at hand isn't what you're like behind the curtain. It's to do with how you guys interface out here with us.

Quote
Now... one issue that I think this concern does raise is how/how quickly those decisions are made when the mods are short-staffed

I appreciate that you guys may sometimes feel shorted, but comparing the Giorgio merge to "racist, profanity-ridden rants" is disingenuous. Surely, no matter where we set the bar, the merging of Giorgio's threads wasn't something that had to be rushed.

You say you value diversity of perspectives, and recognize that any given opinion - even from a mod - might not be the "best" for BattleTech. Since you feel that having more eyes on a subject is a positive thing, then if an interested third party were to start a thread on a public-facing issue like the Giorgio merge where warnings and appeals aren't a consideration, why wouldn't you stop and take advantage of that discussion to check and refine your approach?

As a more general thing, if the mod staff feel like you don't have enough hands for what you want to do, you ought to consider more than just the "magic number" slider. There may be other factors to streamline, and it may even be possible to diffuse some load from behind the curtain out across the userbase.

Quote
Two parts... 1) Again, as anyone who has received a warning should know, there are mechanisms for appealing a decision

Again, that's not the point I'm making. Using this thread as an example:
  • my OP falls into what one might call the "best practices" genre of questions
  • JHB gives a fair answer, given his knowledge at the time
  • your response acknowledges that your original reaction to Giorgio's threads wasn't ideal, but you also emphasize that you have acquired Giorgio's permission to partially remedy your error.
The issue I raised in my OP was never one of permission or authority. The fact that Giorgio gave you permission to undo some of the damage is irrelevant to the question of how much damage was done or the best way to undo it.

It's fine that you guys have permission and authority to make mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, and this Giorgio merger in particular shouldn't have been a big deal. What makes it a big deal is this:
  • in my next post I point out very plausible, fairly major flaws in your reasoning
  • JHB stonewalls instead of engaging with those points or admitting even the possibility of error.
Questions of "how does this make sense" should not ever be answered with "we're allowed to make things worse and you shouldn't question us when we do."

If you guys really did think your response to Giorgio was correct and just wanted me to go away, something like "We think our move will get Giorgio more responses and keep regular topics from being pushed off the front page of other boards. It's possible we're mistaken - let's give it a week and see how it goes" would have been ideal. It acknowledges the possibility of error, might get me to wait long enough I lose interest, the thread's probably unsavable in a week regardless, and everybody comes away better informed for the next time.

2) This unilaterally suggests that an error was made in this case, and that is very subjective.

Posts (pre-merge) from
01 January 2019, 13:26:51
to
02 January 2019, 10:21:06     
     
Posts (post-merge) from
02 January 2019, 16:03:58
to
05 January 2019, 16:34:14

Giorgio Thread

 34

 0

Forum totals
(ignoring users who
responded to Giorgio)   


 270-ish


 540-ish

"I'm new, help me do BattleTech" type threads normally accrue responses over more than a 24-hour period, and most of Giorgio's topics had not reached a natural stopping point by the time of the merge.

So on the topic of whether or not mods can admit fault:
  • did you really not know that the move & merge would produce these results?
  • do you acknowledge that these results are clear-cut and objective?
  • do you acknowledge that these results show clear damage?
  • ignoring feasibility for the moment, would reversing these results be something you consider desirable (and if not, why)?
Putting the merged Master thread in Challenges and Gatherings was bizarre and it's good that you took it out. But trying to hold that up as proof of anything while denying the evidence and arguing that the very idea of "error" is too nebulous for an error to have occurred? You're being evasive twice in a row! You're stonewalling! You get that, right?

I understand that maybe my questions are difficult to address and you might be rhetorically tripping a bit just from the unusualness of it. If we accomplish nothing else today, it'd be great if the staff could understand how much more productive it is to trip towards constructive, concrete tests of fact rather than into the evasive stonewalling that started this whole thing off.

Quote
once more, the “fix” for this situation is a matter of opinion.

Is it? Moving the Master Thread into General Discussion would help a little (getting it out from the "dark corner" of the RPG forum into a place where people will actually see it), but I don't think that addresses the root causes. I think the root causes are measurable and can be identified empirically.

Quote
I’m not sure where you got the idea that undoing what has been done is “equally simple”.  I can assure that, unless someone is hiding it from me, there is no single button that automaticaly un-Voltrons a thread with one simple click.

You're either presenting a strawman or assuming I know how the backend moderation tools work, and either way it's unhelpful. Surely you're not claiming that you can move and merge those threads, then also rearrange the OP contents, all with a single click?

The Giorgioverse thread isn't very long. Without knowing the backend tools specifically, I would assume that you can select multiple posts to move as a batch - is that not the case? Can posts only be moved individually, one by one? (And even if that is the case, are you really saying that editing and culling OPs from the merged thread took fewer clicks?)

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You are clearly very attached to the belief that we made a mistake and the the thread should be exploded back out into its component pieces.  I would hope that the fact that I’ve taken the time to address your concerns does, in fact, confirm that your objections have been noted. 

I started the thread by asking "how does this make sense" and then, when you guys were confronted with the possibility that your logic might be flawed, your collective response has been to tell me I'm wrong or misguided to raise that possibility. For my part, I am and have always been open to having my reasoning disputed. It's frankly kind of bizarre that you would assume otherwise.

I wasn't even asking you to explode the thread back out into its component pieces.

If you ever needed proof that you guys don't read, that's it. You didn't give me enough information to decide anything therefore I hadn't yet decided anything. But the fact you think that's where we would have ended up just again makes it look (and again, talking about the appearance out here rather than whatever the truth is behind the curtain) like you guys can't admit when you're wrong.

I'm not saying mistakes are a big deal. I'm not asking you to be perfect, and I'm not asking you to act like I'm perfect.

If you want to address my concerns and note my objections, the most important is this: it is not wrong to contest a moderator's reasoning, and moderators should not be so difficult when a reasonable possibility of error has been raised.

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It was probably the LAM thread

My big 2007 one? My tiff with PerkinsC there is one of my two big embarassments on this site. It's where I learned that content producers (in that case, me) could be unjustifiably difficult when challenged on their logic or material. ;D

My guess (and I'm still not trying to dis those points) is that they're most probably perceptions stemming from behavioral expectations brought over from more free-wheeling communities

I don't mean to single you out, so forgive me for quoting you, but what you've said is convenient to a point I want to make:

Guessing at people's intentions, instead of inspecting the specific points at hand and making inquiries on those tangible points, is part of my problem with the mods' culture here.

I realize that's hypocritical given that my long-time habit when talking to you guys is to guess what you're thinking and then try to talk through each logic branch. I don't like doing that though. I do it because - historically - you guys have a habit of clamming up instead of responding to even the most basic of points and you routinely (as ActionButler has above) misconstrue my points. Lengthy screeds have somehow become the shortest and fastest way to communicate with you guys.

That's kind of awful and I can only meet you halfway.

People actually fight warnings?  The one I received last year was very clearly explained, and politely so.

I certainly have, though it was years ago now. Warnings have not always been issued so smoothly, and the system has not always been forgiving.
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ActionButler

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #23 on: 06 January 2019, 10:20:09 »
Alright, so that was a proper wall of text. I’m going to try to reply to as much of it as I can, but I’m in more of a hurry this morning than I was yesterday, so I’ll ask you to forgive me if I miss some pieces...


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If someone had actually read Giorgio's posts, you could tell me how such a diverse variety of questions seemed to them to be a single topic, and then either I could acknowledge that logic as reasonable or you could acknowledge that logic as flawed. :-\

You instead choose to call my claim false while deflecting away from it, and then concede more generally that you guys maybe sometimes can be a little uncareful. I realize that this isn't the most comfortable thing for you guys to discuss, but you do understand that you are being unnecessarily evasive and that your evasiveness contributes to the problem?

So, again, without trying to be flippant, this is false. We did read Giorgio’s posts. Full stop. Why were they combined? Because many of them were, regardless of what list he had originally posted them to, displayed a lot of overlap. Were the Periphery question, for example, REALLY best served by only having eyes from the Periphery forum?  Additionally, since all of the questions served to meet the same goal, the preparation of Giorgio’s RPG campaign, in the opinion of the group, it made sense to combine them.

I’ll add, too, that I did concede that some of them could have stayed put. I was particularly iffy about the Alpha Strike question and the tokens question.



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For our purposes here, suffice to say that my experience with the staff, along with the manner in which you raised those points (plus Weirdo's comments later) do not create an image of diverse perspectives.

I am aware that the image may not accurately reflect the reality, but the issue at hand isn't what you're like behind the curtain. It's to do with how you guys interface out here with us.

And, once again, that is a matter of opinion.  You are entitled to that opinion, and I don’t think I can dissuade you of it, but I can tell you that the whole reason that we discuss actions prior to execution is because we have different opinions.  I’ve personally watched flagged posts sit for a week or more as we go back and forth discussing them.

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Surely, no matter where we set the bar, the merging of Giorgio's threads wasn't something that had to be rushed.


Again, opinion. You are arguing that the decision was rushed. For our part, we just try to act as efficiently as possible.

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You say you value diversity of perspectives, and recognize that any given opinion - even from a mod - might not be the "best" for BattleTech. Since you feel that having more eyes on a subject is a positive thing, then if an interested third party were to start a thread on a public-facing issue like the Giorgio merge where warnings and appeals aren't a consideration, why wouldn't you stop and take advantage of that discussion to check and refine your approach?

I mean, we are having this discussion.  We are taking the opportunity to have a frank discussion with you. We’re doing our best to give you as much insight as we can about how things work behind the curtain both generally and specifically. 

I’ll add, too, that nobody, including the mods, added anymore to the discussion after you previous bolded request, which, to be perfectly up front with you, was something that nobody on a public forum was under any obligation to honor.  Following from that, because this is a single instance, raised by a single third party, it is highly unlikely that there will be any significant changes to the moderation style. 

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As a more general thing, if the mod staff feel like you don't have enough hands for what you want to do, you ought to consider more than just the "magic number" slider. There may be other factors to streamline, and it may even be possible to diffuse some load from behind the curtain out across the userbase.

In addition to my above comment, to my knowledge, there are no plans to crowdsource moderation beyond asking our users to abide by the forum rules.

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Again, that's not the point I'm making. Using this thread as an example:

...snip...

If you guys really did think your response to Giorgio was correct and just wanted me to go away, something like "We think our move will get Giorgio more responses and keep regular topics from being pushed off the front page of other boards. It's possible we're mistaken - let's give it a week and see how it goes" would have been ideal. It acknowledges the possibility of error, might get me to wait long enough I lose interest, the thread's probably unsavable in a week regardless, and everybody comes away better informed for the next time.

...snip...

"I'm new, help me do BattleTech" type threads normally accrue responses over more than a 24-hour period, and most of Giorgio's topics had not reached a natural stopping point by the time of the merge.

So on the topic of whether or not mods can admit fault:
  • did you really not know that the move & merge would produce these results?
  • do you acknowledge that these results are clear-cut and objective?
  • do you acknowledge that these results show clear damage?
  • ignoring feasibility for the moment, would reversing these results be something you consider desirable (and if not, why)?
Putting the merged Master thread in Challenges and Gatherings was bizarre and it's good that you took it out. But trying to hold that up as proof of anything while denying the evidence and arguing that the very idea of "error" is too nebulous for an error to have occurred? You're being evasive twice in a row! You're stonewalling! You get that, right?

Once more... we are having this discussion.  Multiple mods have chimed in to admit, very clearly, that we recognize that we are not perfect and that, sometimes, our judgements are in error.  Why have their been no responses to the Giorgio threads after the move? I don’t know. Could it have been because of the merge? Or course. Could it have been because of the holiday? Maybe.  Could it have been because nobody else was interested in answering the questions? Also maybe. You are clearly of the mindset that it is our fault, that we are trying to dodge the questions and the responsibility, and that we are simply imposing our will without any concern for the forum.  Beyond what I, and others, have already told you, I don’t know what else to say.


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Is it? Moving the Master Thread into General Discussion would help a little (getting it out from the "dark corner" of the RPG forum into a place where people will actually see it), but I don't think that addresses the root causes. I think the root causes are measurable and can be identified empirically.

Moderating these forums is not an empirical science. It is a handful of volunteers doing their best to apply the listed rules as fairly and consistently as possible while trying to keep everything moving forward.

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You're either presenting a strawman or assuming I know how the backend moderation tools work, and either way it's unhelpful. Surely you're not claiming that you can move and merge those threads, then also rearrange the OP contents, all with a single click?

The Giorgioverse thread isn't very long. Without knowing the backend tools specifically, I would assume that you can select multiple posts to move as a batch - is that not the case? Can posts only be moved individually, one by one? (And even if that is the case, are you really saying that editing and culling OPs from the merged thread took fewer clicks?)

...snip...

I wasn't even asking you to explode the thread back out into its component pieces.

If you ever needed proof that you guys don't read, that's it. You didn't give me enough information to decide anything therefore I hadn't yet decided anything. But the fact you think that's where we would have ended up just again makes it look (and again, talking about the appearance out here rather than whatever the truth is behind the curtain) like you guys can't admit when you're wrong.

You literally said...

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and in a sample case where the damage is obvious and undoing it equally simple, they prefer to stonewall (trying to save face? ???) instead of fix things.

I’m genuinely unsure of how else I was supposed to interpret that.

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I started the thread by asking "how does this make sense" and then, when you guys were confronted with the possibility that your logic might be flawed, your collective response has been to tell me I'm wrong or misguided to raise that possibility. For my part, I am and have always been open to having my reasoning disputed. It's frankly kind of bizarre that you would assume otherwise.

You aren’t going to like hearing this again, but the fact is that many of your assertions were, in fact, wrong.  Yes, we do read the posts. Yes, we do allow for challenges to our actions.  Yes, we do consider the long term health of the forum. Otherwise, what would be the point of the moderation staff?

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If you want to address my concerns and note my objections, the most important is this: it is not wrong to contest a moderator's reasoning, and moderators should not be so difficult when a reasonable possibility of error has been raised.

Nobody has said it is.  We, literally, include an opportunity to contest our actions in every warning we issue.

I won’t address the rest of your post, as it was not directed at me.  I will say, however, that we are coming dangerously close to starting a circular discussion. You have made your concerns known.  We have done our best to address these concerns by explaining how we operate and why.  For my part, I think this is a very healthy exercise, but if it starts to lean too far in the direction of unproductive conversation, there is the very real chance that you will notice either a distinct lack of future mod response or a thread lock. 
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Bedwyr

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Re: Why were the Giorgioverse threads merged into a single giant mess?
« Reply #24 on: 06 January 2019, 15:50:58 »
A postscript.

I've locked the thread. I fail to see how this is going to go anywhere productive and warned as much in my earlier comment. AB has forthrightly answered as well as he can and it's clear that the discussion isn't going to go anywhere but south. Again, this is a forum better equipped to deal with smaller, specific issues. The smaller specific Giorgioverse question has been answered about as well as it can:

- Parts of the decision could be wrong
- We've judged as best we can
- We've tried to respond as best we can
- We are not perfect
- There are systems in place that check our mistakes
- In the end it's a judgment call and ours to make. Refer to rule 11 please. We don't invoke it a lot and do our best to justify decisions. At this point, my final response is simply to just deal with it.

The larger philosophical questions (are the mods being stubborn bums?) have also been graciously and unusually answered by ActionButler in the interests of disclosure and some open discussion. The mods pretty much affirm his accounts and answers. Any further discussions aren't going to change things and will merely end in hot tempers and bad blood, so discussion ends here. It may not satisfying. It may not cathartic. It may not lay down the righteous judgment you see in movies. But it is how this ends. If that's not satisfactory, I'm sorry. We can't please everyone and cater a forum experience more to your tastes. If that makes you angry and you don't want to be here anymore, that's ok, peace be upon you. But we're done here.
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