Spam Reporting and Anonymity

Author: bsh1 ,

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  • bsh1
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    As many of you have now learned, reports made by users are no longer anonymous to moderators. Whether mods should be able to know the identities of users who report comments is something the site should weigh in on, and this thread is a good place to chime in on whether you believe mods should have that authority.

    One concern I had some time ago with the anonymity of reports was that anonymity encouraged "spam reporting." This concern has come to fruition. A user, who chose to identify themselves in a thread, has reported every single vote (as far as I can tell) cast in the last week in, what seems to me, to be an effort to swamp moderation with reports. About 70 reports were submitted--many on full forfeit debates or concessions--in a 4 day period alone. Each report, even on full forfeit debates, takes about 5 minutes to process, and on borderline cases, a report can take up to 10 minutes to process. That's more than 4 hours worth of reports.

    I call these reports "spam" because they seem to be gratuitous, i.e. based more on an effort to overwhelm moderation than on any objection to the votes per se. Similarly, the reports seem to be spam because they are frequently on full forfeit debates and concessions, where clearly no moderation is appropriate.

    In conjunction with the other reports and incidents that moderation has to deal with, as well as moderators' real life obligations, the effort to drown moderation in spam reports makes it difficult for moderation to perform its job. These last 5 days alone, given the deluge of reports, I have put in 18 hours of work on DART alone. I have no objection to being a moderator, and I am happy to put in that level of time when that time is necessary to properly enforce the COC. But, the use of spam reports to swamp moderation seems more like a spiteful attempt at a time suck than anything else.

    I am therefore concerned about the dilemma this activity presents. Users should, I think, have a right to make reports in an unrestricted way, because all users have an interest in the COC being enforced in an even and thorough manner. However, moderators, like any other users, have a right to free time. And, importantly, moderators ability to do their job is undermined when they are forced to divert attention to spam reports; spam reports render moderation procedurally difficult to perform. Should excessive, spam reporting (the definition being up for discussion) be prohibited? 

    Personally, I believe that the COC should be interpreted in a way which prohibits conduct that significantly hinders moderation's ability to enforce it, as any other interpretation would be unreasonable on its face. But, I think this is a controversial enough issue that I cannot unilaterally move forward on that interpretation. So, I am opening up the question to community feedback.

    This is an open discussion, and I am interested in hearing the community's thoughts on these issues. Please feel free to comment.
  • Wylted
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    reported
  • drafterman
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    Whether mods should be able to know the identities of users who report comments is something the site should weigh in on, and this thread is a good place to chime in on whether you believe mods should have that authority.
    No, you shouldn't.

    Should excessive, spam reporting (the definition being up for discussion) be prohibited? 
    Nice pivot from the issue that this thread is supposed to be about to making it about your pet peeve. For what it's worth, vote reporting currently isn't against the CoC so this change in anonymity isn't going to stop me. So not only have users been robbed of the ability to make reports anonymously, it doesn't even fix this issue.

    And let's not forget the real issue is in the overall moderation decision to craft bespoke moderation reports on every single vote that gets reported. That's what's eating up your time. You want that time back? Stop doing it.
  • 1harderthanyouthink
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    Reports weren't anonymous on DDO, as far as I can remember (I recall Max questioning Seventh on his number of reports in a Hangout on one occasion), so this isn't without precedent within the DDO-DART community.

    However, it's clear you've let the lack of anonymity affect the way you deal with reports, and that's less than cool.

    So, meh.

    When I had a lot of reports for Max, I would just list the links all out in a single PM for him, and he'd take care of it as needed. I suggest people try that, but that doesn't mean it was justified to let the number of reports from a single member affect how they were handled.
  • bsh1
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    And let's not forget the real issue is in the overall moderation decision to craft bespoke moderation reports on every single vote that gets reported. That's what's eating up your time. You want that time back? Stop doing it.
    That is something I can start a community discussion on to see if DART's usership supports such a policy change. I am certainly willing to do less work.

    vote reporting currently isn't against the CoC
    As I said in my OP: "Personally, I believe that the COC should be interpreted in a way which prohibits conduct that significantly hinders moderation's ability to enforce it, as any other interpretation would be unreasonable on its face. But, I think this is a controversial enough issue that I cannot unilaterally move forward on that interpretation. So, I am opening up the question to community feedback."
  • Wylted
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    --> @bsh1
    I am certainly willing to do less work

    Please do a lot less work. Virtuous can do the job alone.
  • bsh1
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    --> @1harderthanyouthink
    However, it's clear you've let the lack of anonymity affect the way you deal with reports, and that's less than cool.
    That is neither fair nor accurate. All reports were dealt with as they would have been regardless of who reported them. Some reported votes were removed, many were not. The reports were not dismissed summarily by moderation due to the probability that they were reported out of spite. The very fact that we invested so much time into the reports indicates we treated each one seriously and that we evaluated each with care.
  • Logical-Master
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    1) Knowledge of who is making the report is necessary to determine whether the report is frivolous. I would also add in a feature that requires the user making the report to fill out a 'report' detailing the basis of their report. This would further help in weeding out frivolous reports.

    2) There is no need to give a detailed basis for non-mod-action for every report, much less doing so on a F/F or conceded debate.

    3) There needs to be a much more lax approach to modding debates/posts.

    4) Spam reporting can easily be circumvented by only allowing a maximum number of reports per day.

    5) The CoC should only exist in spirit.
  • Imabench
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    About 70 reports were submitted--many on full forfeit debates or concessions--in a 4 day period alone. Each report, even on full forfeit debates, takes about 5 minutes to process, and on borderline cases, a report can take up to 10 minutes to process. That's more than 4 hours worth of reports.
    If making reports non-anonymous was done purely to cut down on the precise type of stupidity that would push someone to actually do that, then I'm perfectly fine with mods knowing who is being the dipshit 

    Do mods have the ability to take away voting rights or has that not been implemented yet?
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @bsh1
    I support 0 anonymity and support 'report spam' to be a violation in itself that only mods can report to the head mod and which only the head mod can justify and deal with in itself.
  • David
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    Here is what I am propsing regarding votes (not official policy yet):

    1) All "border-line" votes should be permitted
    2) When votes are removed, the moderator will explain **how** the vote could be improved to meet the standard; and
    3) We will contact the user prior to removing and give them a chance to correct it before we delete it. 

  • 1harderthanyouthink
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    --> @bsh1
    You suggested banning "excessive reporting" as if that could be objectively quantified. That's a clear indication the number of reports affected your handling.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Imabench
    They do. It's been done.
  • drafterman
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    Seems like much ado about nothing.

    1. Just decide to stop making the crazy voting report replies that you voluntarily decided to do in the first place.
    2. Strip users of anonymity of any and all reports they make on the site.

    Clearly #2 was the sensible way to go.

    Like, seriously, did no one going: "Man, I'm tired of writing this reports, why don't we just stop?"
  • David
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    --> @Imabench
    Do mods have the ability to take away voting rights or has that not been implemented yet?

    Yes we do. 
  • bsh1
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    --> @Imabench
    Do mods have the ability to take away voting rights or has that not been implemented yet?
    That was recently implemented, yes.
  • Wylted
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    Anyone even reading virtuoso's posts, each one proving he is the only person fit for that job.
  • drafterman
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    --> @Logical-Master
    Totally agree with #2, #3, and #4.
  • drafterman
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    --> @David
    Here is what I am propsing regarding votes (not official policy yet):

    1) All "border-line" votes should be permitted
    2) When votes are removed, the moderator will explain **how** the vote could be improved to meet the standard; and
    3) We will contact the user prior to removing and give them a chance to correct it before we delete it. 

    Holy fuck that makes a lot of sense.
  • Logical-Master
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    --> @David
    Here is what I am propsing regarding votes (not official policy yet):

    1) All "border-line" votes should be permitted
    2) When votes are removed, the moderator will explain **how** the vote could be improved to meet the standard; and
    3) We will contact the user prior to removing and give them a chance to correct it before we delete it. 
    What are "border-line" votes?
  • bsh1
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    --> @1harderthanyouthink
    You suggested banning "excessive reporting" as if that could be objectively quantified. That's a clear indication the number of reports affected your handling.
    How does that even follow, Chris?

    I can say, on the one hand, that the reporting volume was excessive while, on the other hand, still believe my responsibility as a mod requires me to carefully evaluate each report. It is the very fact that I do feel obligated to evaluate each report carefully which has caused the problem of me not being able to do my job in other areas of moderation, simply because I am one person with a finite amount of time. I would challenge you to find just one of those 70 report notices which was not given its due consideration by the handling moderator.
  • Imabench
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    --> @Logical-Master
    My guess would be a vote that uses barely enough examples from a debate to explain why votes were given a certain way, but not in-depth enough to clearly remove any doubt that they actually understood all arguments made in the debate
  • Wylted
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    --> @drafterman
    Holy fuck that makes a lot of sense

    See what I mean. They chose the wrong head mod.
  • David
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    --> @Imabench
    This. 
  • bsh1
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    --> @David
    1) All "border-line" votes should be permitted
    That is already the case, as you know. Still, some votes will always require more careful parsing than others.

    2) When votes are removed, the moderator will explain **how** the vote could be improved to meet the standard; and
    As you know, I already implemented this policy earlier.

    3) We will contact the user prior to removing and give them a chance to correct it before we delete it. 
    That would require still more work, and runs the risk of allowing insufficient votes to stay up close to the voting period closing.