Increasing Transparency: Suggestion Box

Author: bsh1 ,

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  • bsh1
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    Some site users have expressed a desire for greater mod transparency. I recently asked for concrete suggestions on this question, and Castin was gracious enough to offer the following, considered reply:

    - Relax the mod PM rule so that it's only prohibited to post a mod's PM without notice if it exposes information about another user. In all other cases let people post mod PMs without having to notify you to give you a preparatory advantage. 

    - Consider locking threads instead of deleting them. Individual offensive posts within the thread can still be deleted. Destroying evidence and records always strikes people as suppression. Doesn't matter what the reasons are. 

    - Relax your policy of conducting mod actions "behind closed doors", so to speak. You do this to protect member privacy, but your problem is you're not on a forum that values member privacy more than transparency, you're on a forum that values transparency more than member privacy. Which means your priorities are at odds with the priorities of your base. Jmo. Start telling people why members were banned, if they ask. If this is already your policy, I apologize. I thought mod actions were currently private unless the subject of the action chose to share the information. 

    Just off the top of my head. I don't know how reasonable or concrete they are. But they were honest attempts at actionable suggestions. 

    When you ban someone, people don't want to hear "that's classified", they want the scoop. When you send them a PM censuring their behavior, they want to show it to people as it is and say "look guys, do you think this is fair". And even when a thread totally crosses the line, they still want to read it for themselves.
    From my perspective, the public ban proposal was already put to public debate and rejected. That said, I think the other proposals are reasonable and reflect, as Castin notes, the priorities of many site users. Those proposals are:

    1. Allow users to summarily post the contents of mod PMs so long as no non-public information about other users (other = not the sender or receiver of the PM) is revealed by the revelation.

    2. Locking objectionable or COC-violating threads instead of deleting them.

    I think these are reasonable proposals which can be implemented immediately. I am open to other--serious--suggestions on this question (i.e. what concrete things can mods do to increase transparency) and to feedback on the suggestions put forward by Castin. Please feel free to comment.
  • David
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    As I've been saying all along, a public moderation log. 
  • Castin
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    --> @bsh1
    Wow I really wasn't expecting them to be accepted that fast. Thanks for hearing my feedback.

    I wasn't suggesting a public ban list specifically. I recall your concerns were that it would violate member privacy and amount to public shaming. Those aren't bad arguments. I was simply suggesting that mods answer people when they ask why a member was banned. Punitive actions carried out without any explanation always look suspicious and Orwellian.

    But if we're discussing member privacy, I guess my perspective would be this:

    No one is ever banned for something they didn't freely choose to post on a pubic message board. Every time we hit "create post", we are accepting the consequences of that decision. If the crime was public, why should the punishment be private?
  • Wylted
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    I agree with the suggestions
  • bsh1
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    --> @Castin
    I was simply suggesting that mods answer people when they ask why a member was banned.
    I think I am more open to that than a public ban list, but I would want to avoid any call-out threads about the banned member, as that would constitute a personal attack. I think if it were done via the PMs, it would be okay. What are your thoughts on that?
  • RationalMadman
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    For the record I support Castin to be a mod.
  • RationalMadman
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    Under Virtuoso with bsh1 as the other mod.
  • bsh1
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    What about a mandatory public comment period for any changes to moderation policy?
  • Castin
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    --> @RationalMadman
    For the record I support Castin to be a mod.
    I have no ambition to moderate and no desire to be elevated above my friends in power or authority.


  • Castin
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    --> @bsh1
    What about a mandatory public comment period for any changes to moderation policy?
    I don't see how that could go wrong. Sounds like a fine idea. Though it obviously only assures member input on new policies, not existing ones.

  • bsh1
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    --> @Castin
    True. That's food for thought.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @Castin
    You should develop it perhaps, you'd be brilliant at it.
  • bsh1
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    Bump.
  • Castin
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    --> @bsh1
    I was simply suggesting that mods answer people when they ask why a member was banned.
    I think I am more open to that than a public ban list, but I would want to avoid any call-out threads about the banned member, as that would constitute a personal attack. I think if it were done via the PMs, it would be okay. What are your thoughts on that?
    I don't know how I missed this. PM's would be fine with me. They would meet members' desire for information and your desire for discretion.

    What would you do if, say, a member posted a topic with a title like "why was Member X banned?" Would you be okay with answering that in the thread or would you PM the thread author directly?

  • bsh1
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    --> @Castin
    What would you do if, say, a member posted a topic with a title like "why was Member X banned?"
    I'd probably PM the author directly and encourage others to do the same.
  • Castin
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    --> @bsh1
    Once one or more members have found out why Member X was banned, would they be permitted to discuss it with other people in threads?
  • bsh1
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    --> @Castin
    Yeah.
  • Castin
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    --> @bsh1
    All sounds good to me. It may not be as transparent as a public ban log but it seems like an acceptable compromise.
  • bsh1
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    I will be collecting various ideas from all the "suggestion box" threads to put forward in a mega-thread sometime this week. 
  • Wylted
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    For fuck sake. Almost everyone here wants virtuous to create that mega thread and you to step down entirely or atleast as his back up