Vote Moderation and Reporting

Author: bsh1 ,

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  • bsh1
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    Currently, the voting interface is not fully up-and-running for mods (but Mike is working on it--his efforts have been laudable). In the meantime, please reports to myself, Virtuoso, or Tejretics via PM. Thank you.

    Also, I have posted an introduction for new users with some (hopefully) helpful resources for them. You can find that thread here: https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/346
  • bsh1
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    Due to the complications, it's also taking time to have votes removed. If you see a mod notice about vote removal, but the vote hasn't been removed yet, it will be soon. If the vote hasn't been taken down within 48 hours of the notice, feel free to shoot me a PM about it.

  • bsh1
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    Bump
  • drafterman
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    When a vote is deleted, is the person allowed to vote again on that debate?
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    Yes, if they can provide a sufficient RFD. One reason why mods explain why a vote was removed is so that voters can improve their voting practices. A voter might have a perfectly good reason for voting as they did, but just happened to explain it poorly. So, again, yes, a voter may re-vote as long as their re-vote meets the voting standards.
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    My main concern was with the voting functionality would be restored, but this is good information. Thank you.
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    My main concern was with the voting functionality would be restored
    Can you explain what you mean by this?
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    Can you explain what you mean by this?
    Simply that, after I've voted on a debate, the site no longer presents me with the option to vote (for obvious reasons). I was just making sure that when someone's vote is removed, the functionality that let them vote in the first place is returns(e.g. the vote button for them to click).
  • DebateArt.com
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    --> @drafterman
    Simply that, after I've voted on a debate, the site no longer presents me with the option to vote (for obvious reasons). I was just making sure that when someone's vote is removed, the functionality that let them vote in the first place is returns(e.g. the vote button for them to click).
    Yeah, it will return :)

    Unfortunately, at the moment, if your vote gets deleted, no notification is issued since there is not a proper interface for that but hopefully I'll be able to release a change tomorrow that will fix this issue.


  • drafterman
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    Excellent!
  • David
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    Pinning this post for now. 
  • bsh1
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    --> @David
    Good idea. We'll leave it up until the vote moderation interface is up and running.
  • Logical-Master
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    I get the intentions of moderating votes in the fashion which I've seen, but I can't say I really agree with it. In my mind, a vote is only bad if there is indication that the person didn't read the debate, is trolling, is voting for some reason other than the debate itself or any other questionable practice.  Otherwise, we get into a territory that can easily result in otherwise legitimate votes not being counted and possibly discouraging votes altogether. 


  • bsh1
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    --> @Logical-Master
    Please remind me to reply to this post later if I happen to forget. I think it's an important issue to discuss, even if we don't ultimately end in agreement on it.
  • bsh1
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    --> @Logical-Master
    a vote is only bad if there is indication that the person didn't read the debate, is trolling, is voting for some reason other than the debate itself or any other questionable practice
    Sure, those things make a bad vote, but it's the last thing in your list that's the kicker. A bad vote, for example, might be a vote which fails to engage in weighing analysis (the absence of which many would consider a questionable practice). Suppose, for a moment, that I read an entire debate about whether vaccines should be compulsory, and I decided to cast a non-troll vote. Suppose I voted based on one argument made in the first round, which was never discussed again in the debate and which had little to do with the topic at hand. In such a case, a voter is cherry-picking rather than weighing, and that's problematic for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that such a voting style fails to appreciate the debate as a whole.

    The standards we are employing on DART are almost identical to those used on DDO. They seek to ensure a minimum threshold of acceptability among votes by imposing certain criteria which a voter must meet in order for their vote to stand. When a voter's vote is removed, they always have the opportunity to make edits to their vote and to re-vote with those edits, in order to bring their vote into compliance with site policy. That is why moderation notices include reasoning for a vote's removal--not just for moderation transparency, but to educate voters about the voting criteria.

    Certainly, not everyone will agree on which votes ought to be removed or which votes ought to stand as-is (this goes to the so-termed "legitimacy" of a vote). Nonetheless, moderation always strives to impartially and accurately apply the voting standards in all cases. Some disagreement is inevitable, and I can accept that. But, to that extent, no voting policy should be preferred on the basis of the current one being disliked by some, as any voting policy will be subject to dislike by some.

    What I can say about your specific concern--that legitimate votes might be being removed--is that the standards are there to prevent exactly the kind of questionable voting practices you cite. For example, how can the mod tell if a voter has read a debate if the voter isn't required to demonstrate a certain grasp of the issues in their RFD?

    So, while I totally understand where your coming from, I think that current standards are fairly reasonable ones designed to achieve a minimum level of acceptability among votes, and so I stand by those standards and current moderation practices. If you have more individualized concerns, or concerns about specific instances of moderation action, please always feel free to reach out to me in private.

33 days later

  • Logical-Master
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    --> @bsh1 @Tejretics
    Bsh1, I'm going to address your comment and a comment from Tejretics consecutively, since they both weigh into a much broader issue that I've noticed since coming back to this site. Your comments will be used as a foil for a much broader point. Moreover, my response should in no way be construed as an indictment against any one moderator. I've witnessed multiple examples of the problems I'm talking about from every mod here.

    So to start, lets address your above post, bsh1: In principle, there's nothing wrong with requiring all voters to conduct a weighing analysis due to the concerns you just raised (e.g. cherry picking a random issue), but as my well beloved Assassin's Creed 3 antagonist, Haytham Kenway once said, principle and practice are two very different beast! I think drafterman's vote on your Jury Nullification debate is a perfect case of why rigidly requesting a weighing analysis on every debate is not a good idea.  I won't get too deep into what was discussed on the comment section there (due to your concern about addressing specific instances of moderation action in private), but it goes without saying that drafterman clearly read and understood the debate based on the lengthy arguments he was making while disputing the mod action in the comment section, but his vote was still denied. He then passive aggressively turned around and voted against you. I'd say the lesson to be learned there is that  (1) a mod doesn't need to go solely by what is presented in an RFD to determine whether a vote is sufficient (e.g. conduct an independent investigation, be it looking at the comments in the comment section or directly questioning the voter in private) and (2) hell hath no fury like a voter's scorn!

    It's no secret that one of the fundamental problems with DDO and DART is the lack of voting on debates. That's why there is a thread with people asking other users to vote on their debates. That's why people regularly message other users asking that they vote on their debates. In general, people don't read or vote on debates. Reading these debates can be both a chore and very time consuming (especially if it's in regards to a topic you have zero interest in, which appears to be the case for most of the debates here). In that sense, voting is not merely a means to voice one's opinion, but is instead a gracious and unrewarded effort to help the DART community. And so from that standpoint, mods should be very reluctant to do anything that might alienate otherwise legitimate voters from voting.  If I feel like my vote might get removed anyway , my thought process is "Oh well. Time to go do something else." DART needs voters a heck of a lot more than voters need DART and this shows quite painfully on a daily basis. The mere fact that very few people go back and modify their votes upon seeing them get removed is clear indication of this. 

    In light of the reluctance people here have in reading and voting on, mods should be equally reluctant to bring down the mod hammer. One thing I've noticed is that in your efforts to uphold the CoC, youguys are way too quick to take mod action, even if it means splitting hairs on a very small technicality  and that kind of modding is not a good practice to maintain on this kind of website. Instead, instant mod action should only be taken when a violation is overtly egregious (i.e. dealing with a overt spammer/troll) and the spirit of the CoC should always take precedent over the strict letter of it.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Which brings me to my response to Tejretics. This is in response to the comment you made on imabench's Assassin's Creed Debate ( https://www.debateart.com/debates/160 ). I hope you don't take any offense to criticisms here of your decision on this debate. None is intended and you're welcome to disagree, but I feel that if I don't voice these objections, no one else will.

    You said: "Votes don't need to have an issue with every point they award to be removed. They can be removed if their explanation for one point is insufficient. I'd suggest simply (a) recasting the vote and awarding just arguments, or (b) referencing the specific conduct from Pro that you thought warranted awarding the conduct points to Con. This is true even when the conduct violations are "clear," just as it is true when the argument points are "clear" or spelling and grammar is "clear."

    1) Any vote that doesn't violate the rules should never be removed. I can somewhat understand if there's currently a programming deficiency that prevents you from modifying single parts of one's vote (i.e. removing conduct without removing arguments as well), but that's more of an issue in regards to the limitations of this website than anything else and a voter should not be punished accordingly. We already have the issue with alienating voters as described above and this makes said alienation a lot more likely to happen IMHO.

    2) A mod's chief concern when assessing one's vote should be whether they read the debate and whether they gave an actual basis for their vote.  Here, you appear to agree that I read the debate, but penalized my vote on the grounds that I didn't add an additional comment explaining the difference between CON and PRO's conduct. There was no need. PRO clearly sent the debate down the path of personal attacks. CON merely retorted. In my mind, that automatically makes PRO's conduct worse than CON's. I'm not the only voter who made this observation. Whether my explanation constitutes a comparative analysis or not is grossly splitting hairs, which is the last thing a mod should do when making any sort of decision.



  • bsh1
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    --> @Logical-Master
    principle and practice are two very different beast!
    The problem with this analysis is that you would essentially be endorsing allowing the mods to apply different standards to different votes. Drafterman ardently objects to moderator discretion, yet you're suggesting that moderation should use its discretion to make exceptions to the voting policy when it is clear that the debaters have read and comprehended the debate. That (a) puts moderation between a rock and a hard place, (b) leads to unequal voting policy enforcement, and (c) opens spaces for the appearance of moderator favoritism. I cannot agree that such use of discretion is wise.

    Besides, your argument here kind of misses the point. The vote itself should demonstrate comprehension of the debate, and not the arguments in the comments. It is the former that is being examined, the later comes after the examination, and may not always even occur.

    Finally, whether the mods know that a voter read and understood the debate is no replacement for weighing analysis. Let me repeat: "Suppose, for a moment, that I read an entire debate about whether vaccines should be compulsory, and I decided to cast a non-troll vote. Suppose I voted based on one argument made in the first round, which was never discussed again in the debate and which had little to do with the topic at hand. In such a case, a voter is cherry-picking rather than weighing, and that's problematic for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that such a voting style fails to appreciate the debate as a whole."

    one of the fundamental problems with DDO and DART is the lack of voting on debates
    Your logic here proceeds from a mistaken paradigm. A tied debate, in theory, only injures the debater who ought to have one; yet, it injures them less than if they had unjustly lost. An unjust loss, therefore, is worse than a tied debate. While voting moderation is not about policing votes to ensure the "correct" decision, it does establish minimum standards of acceptability for votes in order to minimize unjust losses, given that better voting practices likely leads to better voting decisions. The notion, then, that non-voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid is incorrect; rather, bad voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid, because it inflicts the greatest injury. If maximizing votes is the goal, should voters be able to vote a particular way for any reason whatsoever? 

    Regardless, I don't think moderation on the whole has been too strict on policing votes, though there might be individual exceptions users might identify. The rules are reasonable, and require voters only to do reasonable things, and so I don't find them problematic. As I said earlier, "Certainly, not everyone will agree on which votes ought to be removed or which votes ought to stand as-is (this goes to the so-termed 'legitimacy' of a vote). Nonetheless, moderation always strives to impartially and accurately apply the voting standards in all cases."

    I won't address your comments to Tej, as they appear to be about a specific case in which he was involved. I will allow him to speak for himself if he so chooses.
  • Logical-Master
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    --> @bsh1
    The problem with this analysis is that you would essentially be endorsing allowing the mods to apply different standards to different votes. Drafterman ardently objects to moderator discretion, yet you're suggesting that moderation should use its discretion to make exceptions to the voting policy when it is clear that the debaters have read and comprehended the debate. That (a) puts moderation between a rock and a hard place, (b) leads to unequal voting policy enforcement, and (c) opens spaces for the appearance of moderator favoritism. I cannot agree that such use of discretion is wise.

    Correction: What I would be endorsing is allowing mods to apply different standards in determining whether a vote violates the rules. As to drafterman, I don't speak for him and would reject any position that would require mods to disregard anything outside of an RFD. I would also reject any notion that mods aren't already modding in their discretion. As to your three concerns:

    A) Rock and a hard place comes with the job of being a mod. No matter what you do, you're going to piss somebody off and there will always be suspicions that you are corrupt and/or doing people favors. What really puts one between a rock and a hard place is the decision to continue doing debates while simultaneously having the ability to delete votes. That's a major conflict of interest, but one the community is able to put aside based on their trust in your standing as a member here. A trust that I see no reason cannot equally be applied simply to read a couple of comments in the comment section or do some other brief and transparent investigation.

    B) Any egregious mod action should be appealable to a mod/admin of higher rank. Anything else is something that inherently falls in with the task of being a human moderator and can be applied to anyone in the world who is in any position of authority.

    C) See A. 


    Besides, your argument here kind of misses the point. The vote itself should demonstrate comprehension of the debate, and not the arguments in the comments. It is the former that is being examined, the later comes after the examination, and may not always even occur.

    If the arguments in the comment section are indicative of the debate having been read and comprehended, what exactly is the issue here? What is the overall policy goal for that matter? Suppose we have a situation where Type1 votes on a debate and gives an RFD all three mods here agree is airtight. Suppose that Type1 then turns around and brags in the comment section about his vote only being a troll vote and that he really only voted against PRO because he thinks PRO is a "cunt breathed weasel" or whatever. Is it your position that no mod action ought to be taken against Type1's vote because his RFD was "valid?"

    If we were talking about the task of a formal debate judge or a court of law, it'd be a different story. But we have to be realistic here. DART is neither a formal debate competition or a court of law. You have tons of people who don't want to read or vote on debates. And for the few people who decide to vote on the debates (many of whom do it just because they're asked either in private or in the voting thread), a great many of them decide to say "screw it" when their vote gets taken down (despite having the means of simply modifying their vote). That, my friend, is something mods should strive to prevent. 

    Finally, whether the mods know that a voter read and understood the debate is no replacement for weighing analysis. Let me repeat: "Suppose, for a moment, that I read an entire debate about whether vaccines should be compulsory, and I decided to cast a non-troll vote. Suppose I voted based on one argument made in the first round, which was never discussed again in the debate and which had little to do with the topic at hand. In such a case, a voter is cherry-picking rather than weighing, and that's problematic for a host of reasons, not the least of which is that such a voting style fails to appreciate the debate as a whole."
    I agree that cherry-picking should be discouraged, but if you turn around and see that the cherry picker had some extensive comments in the comment section illustrating that he was not a cherry picker and that he had a fully fleshed out understanding of the dynamics of the debate,  mod action is not the appropriate course of action IMO.
  • Logical-Master
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    --> @bsh1


    Your logic here proceeds from a mistaken paradigm. A tied debate, in theory, only injures the debater who ought to have one; yet, it injures them less than if they had unjustly lost. An unjust loss, therefore, is worse than a tied debate. While voting moderation is not about policing votes to ensure the "correct" decision, it does establish minimum standards of acceptability for votes in order to minimize unjust losses, given that better voting practices likely leads to better voting decisions. The notion, then, that non-voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid is incorrect; rather, bad voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid, because it inflicts the greatest injury. If maximizing votes is the goal, should voters be able to vote a particular way for any reason whatsoever? 
    Your logic that non-voting is worse than bad voting proceeds from a mistaken paradigm. Ties and (arguably even) unjust losses are part of the process, but it's a different issue entirely when nobody is reading the debate. As a debater, I might ask myself "Why am I typing all of this out again?" Tell me which scenario you'd rather be in: Scenario A) You pour 5 10k character rounds of your life into a debate and lose after a great and wide range of feedback/voting/discussion/interest from the voters/readers or Scenario B) You pour 5 10k character rounds of your life into a debate and see a tie as a result of not a single soul voting/reading. Winning can be great, sure, but people come to this site to socialize which is why the forum utterly curb-stomps the debate section in terms of activity and participation. You say better voting practices likely leads to better voting decisions, but all I've seen is people being less interested in voting. Seldom do I see someone take the time to go back and correct their vote after it has been modded and I think the reason speaks for itself.

    As to whether one should be able to vote a particular way for any reason whatsoever, I would not encourage that without some serious modifications to DART. For example, separate one's win/loss column into Judged Debates and Amateur Debates. Judged Debates could follow the current system you have here (with the addition of allowing the option to select the judge or judges) and Amateur Debates could follow the classic system that was on DDO back in the olden days (back when it was called debate.com) where you didn't need to present an RFD (although mods could still intervene to deal with trolling/spamming). Otherwise, no. As I've expressed on DDO in the past, I feel there are several steps that would need to be taken to make the debate section community a lot more active and allowing people to vote for any reason whatsoever (e.g. I vote PRO on this abortion debate because CON does not like cheeseburgers!) is not one of them.  Anyways, that's my two cents. 
  • David
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    --> @Logical-Master
    Speaking as a personal opinion and taking off my admin hat 

    I agree with what you’re saying. On DDO there was a way to opt out of the voting requirements and also to opt in to more stringent requirements. I think that ought to be an option here. 

  • bsh1
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    What I would be endorsing is allowing mods to apply different standards in determining whether a vote violates the rules
    How does that differ from what I understood your position to be?

    Rock and a hard place comes with the job of being a mod. No matter what you do, you're going to piss somebody off and there will always be suspicions that you are corrupt and/or doing people favors...What really puts one between a rock and a hard place is the decision to continue doing debates while simultaneously having the ability to delete votes.
    It certainly does come with the territory, but I think it is worth calling attention to the various demands and interests I am having to balance, so that the reasoning of moderation can be better understood. Moreover, I never adjudicate or remove votes on debates I participate in; those vote reports are always handed off to another moderator.

    Any egregious mod action should be appealable to a mod/admin of higher rank
    Your response does nothing to address my specific concern: your suggestion leads to unequal voting policy enforcement. That is an issue of fairness that appealing won't solve if the kind of moderation discretion you call for is exerciseable. It certainly doesn't address issues of moderator favoritism, and in fact makes it easier to accuse moderators of favoritism because their moderation would be less formulaic.

    If the arguments in the comment section are indicative of the debate having been read and comprehended, what exactly is the issue here? 
    Again, this seems to miss the point. First, your analysis fails to address the concern that comments on voting logic often come only after a vote has been moderated. This means that voters who don't comment extensively in the comments will be disadvantaged relative to ones who do, and that doesn't seem fair to me. Second, moderators cannot be expected to read the debate in its entirety or the comments in their entirety in order to adjudicate the vote. In order to determine whether a debater really understood a debate, entire conversations might need to be read, adding greatly to the practical burden of moderation. Third, the comments are not the vote, unless the RFD was posted in the comments. It is the text of the vote which is up for moderation under the voting policy, and so it is not appropriate for the mods to make judgments external to the vote itself in determining the vote's sufficiency. Comments outside of the vote don't make the vote sufficient; only the content of the vote can make the vote sufficient.

     Is it your position that no mod action ought to be taken against Type1's vote because his RFD was "valid?"
    Of course that's not my position. But an admission of breaking the voting rules is altogether different from making inferences about comments which may or may not demonstrate that a voter understood the debate. Neither set of comments effect the sufficiency of the RFD itself, but the former demonstrates a different kind of voting policy violation altogether.

    Scenario A) You pour 5 10k character rounds of your life into a debate and lose after a great and wide range of feedback/voting/discussion/interest from the voters/readers or Scenario B) You pour 5 10k character rounds of your life into a debate and see a tie as a result of not a single soul voting/reading. 
    This is a bogus scenario because you build in positive presuppositions which may or may not be the case. Of course, debaters want great votes as opposed to none at all, but that's not the issue here. Moderation doesn't remove great votes. The issue here is whether terrible (or even mediocre) votes are better than none at all. The answer to that, I explained thoroughly, is no. No votes and no readers are better than terrible votes with readers. As someone who has done hundreds of debates throughout the last decade, IRL and online, I can tell you I will always prefer a tie over an unjust loss. Unjust losses do just as much, if not more, to discourage debaters from continuing to debate as does a lack of votes.

    It is worth repeating my analysis: "Your logic here proceeds from a mistaken paradigm. A tied debate, in theory, only injures the debater who ought to have one; yet, it injures them less than if they had unjustly lost. An unjust loss, therefore, is worse than a tied debate. While voting moderation is not about policing votes to ensure the "correct" decision, it does establish minimum standards of acceptability for votes in order to minimize unjust losses, given that better voting practices likely leads to better voting decisions. The notion, then, that non-voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid is incorrect; rather, bad voting is the ill we should be attempting most stridently to avoid, because it inflicts the greatest injury. If maximizing votes is the goal, should voters be able to vote a particular way for any reason whatsoever?"
  • bsh1
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    --> @David
    I support have a "No RFD Required" option when setting up the debate (which would constitute a waiver of moderation). Debates with no RFD required would then not be moderated for votes.
  • Logical-Master
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    --> @bsh1
    How does that differ from whatI understood your position to be?
    Just making sure we’re on the same page here. Leaving outthe “violates the rules” distinction sounds a little more . . . autocraticmaybe? :P

    It certainly does come with the territory, but I think itis worth calling attention to the various demands and interests I am having tobalance, so that the reasoning of moderation can be better understood.Moreover, I never adjudicate or remove votes on debates I participate in; thosevote reports are always handed off to another moderator.

    If you know if comes with the territory, then concerns aboutfavoritism and corruption should not, by your own admission, be grounds toreject modding in the fashion I’m proposing. Simply do your job and thecommunity will deal with you if these favoritism/corruption concerns come tofruition. And no, simply opting not to adjudicate or remove votes is nowherenear sufficient to alleviate you of the conflict of interest I described. Youactively work alongside two other mods behind closed doors discussing who knowswhat.  In real life, the minute youbecome a judge, you stop practicing law (crooked counties aside). The minuteyou become a prosecutor, you stop doing private practice. Again, I’m not makingany accusations, but the conflict is as plain as day. It is only your standingin the community that makes it a non-issue. And it would simultaneously be your standing in the community that would give members confidence in your ability to take into account factors outside of an RFD to determine whether a vote is legitimate.

    Your response does nothing to address my specific concern:your suggestion leads to unequal voting policy enforcement.

    I heard your concern just fine and I’m telling you that (1)Egregious mod decisions should be appealable to a higher authority and (2) yourargument can be reduced to absurdity on the grounds that it can made againstjust about anybody in any position of authority. By your logic, neither policeofficers or trial court judges should be permitted to make decisions based onthe totality of the circumstances since it would lead to “unequal policyenforcement.” Much like the law, a set of rules on a website will never beperfect and a human element is thus necessary to recognize situations wherethese imperfections come to play and act accordingly. This, my friend, is incidentallythe premise of something we both strongly agree on: Jury Nullification.

    Will there be unequal policy enforcement? Of course there will!No two human beings have had the same set of experiences and are thus likely tohave a different interpretation of how they perceive the world, no matter howslight. Fortunately, the remedy for any problems this might cause is very clear: Make decisionsappealable and give a higher authority the opportunity to review whether a modhas abused his/her discretion. What’s more, I would imagine that if a rogue modis screwing up enough or giving people favors, enough user feedback will bemore than enough to reign that mod in or relinquish said mod of authority.

    Edit: Having glanced over the CoC just now, this 'unequal voting police enforcement' point shouldn't even be your contention since the CoC cites the legitimacy of mod discretion multiple times and is thus, by your own reasoning, encouraging unequal policy enforcement (e.g. according to CoC Section IV, subpart A, some members might lose their membership privileges and some may not based purely on the mod's own discretion). What's worse is that unlike what I'm proposing, there is no remedy for egregious mod decisions.

  • Logical-Master
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    --> @bsh1
    First, your analysis fails to address the concern thatcomments on voting logic often come only after a vote has been moderated. Thismeans that voters who don't comment extensively in the comments will bedisadvantaged relative to ones who do, and that doesn't seem fair to me.
    My proposal is simply that mods do some due diligence to get to the bottom of whether a voter has read/understood the debate. A mod can do this either by assessing the comments in the comment section or doing some basic follow-up with the voter in question. To address your concerns, let us refer back to the infamous drafterman example. There, rather than remove his vote, a mod could have queried him about it. With hindsight on our side, we know drafterman would’ve been able to provide a sufficient explanation (without getting into a 50+ post comment war) and so the matter would’ve been resolved expediently and with minimal effort on the mods’ part. And so no, what it really boils down to is not necessarily even commenting extensively or not, but a mod using the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the voter read/understood the debate.

    Second, moderators cannot be expected to read the debate inits entirety or the comments in their entirety in order to adjudicate the vote.In order to determine whether a debater really understood a debate, entire conversations might need to be read, adding greatly to the practical burden of moderation.

    A couple of observations I have about this ‘practical burden of moderation’ point. 1) I can much better appreciate this objection as you guys are (presumably) not getting paid for your time and simply doing this task out of love for the community. 2) I would make the constructive criticism that mod-time, as it is now, is greatly mismanaged. For instance, do you really need to spend time posting your justification for non-action on a forfeited debate? I’d also recommend getting away from this practice of modding every single reported vote since someone is always not going to like the outcome of their debate. I’d recommend coming up with practical measures to weed out frivolous reports (e.g. if voters are going to be burdened with typing up something mods might delete anyway, perhaps that burden should be placed on the person doing the reporting and a detailed explanation of why they feel a vote is worthy of moderation should be required). 3) Again referencing the drafterman debate, if mods have time to argue with the voter as a means of justifying mod-action, I don’t buy any notion that they don’t have time to read comments or ask the voter simple questions.

    Third, the comments are not the vote, unless the RFD was posted in the comments. It is the text of the vote which is up for moderation under the voting policy, and so it is not appropriate for the mods to make judgments external to the vote itself in determining the vote's sufficiency.Comments outside of the vote don't make the vote sufficient; only the content of the vote can make the vote sufficient.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree ultimately. In my mind, the only utility of having a moderator mod debates is to make sure voters are actually reading the debates and voting legitimately. That can be achieved without exclusively relying on an RFD. The minute mods start deviating outside of that function, they’ve defeated the purpose.

    This is a bogus scenario because you build in positive presuppositions which may or may not be the case . . .

    It’s a bogus scenario because you’re trying to divert attention away from the fact that you actually agree with the subtle principle being established here. Interaction! Feedback! Conversation! This is what people want in their debates and this is exactly what a voter does whether you win or lose. So of course you’d prefer Scenario A over Scenario B. You come to this site for the same reason everyone else does. 

    You cite your personal experiences, so I'll cite mine as well. I’ve had plenty of unjust losses on DDO. Hell, I was around during the days when there was nothing to be done about vote bombing and a single troll with a lot of free-time and phone numbers had the entire site at his mercy and was effectively in the position to pick and choose who won debates! And you know what we did? We laughed about it went about our days here like it was no big deal. The prospect of winning or losing is great, but it’s really the community that holds this website together(an element that does not come into play IRL). And so no, unjustly losing a debate and lack of participation from voters doesn’t even begin to compare. I’ve never seen anyone leave this site due to a legitimately ‘unjust’ loss(assuming we're not talking about people just complaining because they lost, it's something that is usually either remedied or laughed about), but I have seen scores leave due to inactivity.

    Does moderation remove great votes? Unfortunately, it can based my limited experience here thus far. Even worse, it would appear that it can, good intentions notwithstanding, discourage voting altogether.

  • Logical-Master
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    --> @David
    I agree with what you’re saying. On DDO there was a way to opt out of the voting requirements and also to opt in to more stringent requirements. I think that ought to be an option here. 

    I wasn't around DDO when that became a thing, but as a means of precluding the inevitable accusations that people are manipulating their win/loss record by only doing un-modded debates, I think separating these debates into two separate columns (doesn't even have to be judged/amateur) would help!