Moderation Comment Period: PM Access

Author: bsh1 ,

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  • bsh1
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    Imagine the following (hypothetical) situation: "User Q doxxes User T in a PM with User W. User T becomes suspicious that they have been doxxed, and reports Users Q and W to moderation. Users Q and W deny any wrongdoing and offer (selectively chosen or doctored) screenshots to 'verify' their innocence. Users Q and W in turn accuse User T of framing them/lying about them to moderation." The only means moderation has of resolving this dilemma would be to access the PMs of the users involved through the moderation portal. However, the ability of mods to access users' PM would naturally raise substantial privacy concerns.

    Virt and I, and I believe Mike as well (but I will let him speak for himself), feel that it is occasionally necessary that mods have access to users' PMs to resolve situations like the one described above. That said, because of the substantial privacy concerns implicated by such a power, we believe that such authority should be limited. As a limiting measure, we believe that Virt, Mike, and I must all approve access to a user's PM in order for that access to be granted to any one of us. In other words, in order for any one of us to gain access to any PM, the three of us would need to unanimously agree that (a) reasonable suspicion of a COC violation exists, (b) the violation of the COC may be severe, and (c) accessing the PM is the only way to definitively resolve the issue (i.e. there are no less intrusive ways for moderation to resolve the issue). This tripartite test and the requirement for unanimity would act as checks against spurious or inappropriate use of any power to access users' PMs.

    However, I can imagine that many may feel as if moderation should never, in any circumstance, no matter how grave, have such authority. While I disagree with that position, it is one which I can respect and abide by if the community decides that is best. For the record, this is not a power mods currently have. Therefore, I am using this post to pose the following questions to the DART usership:

    1. Should moderators be able to access a user's PM if (1) all three admin officials unanimously agree that (2) the three part test outlines above is met?
    2. Should moderators never--in any circumstance--have the ability to access a user's PM
    3. Is there another solution to this problem or a suggestion for how to improve the proposed checks?

    Please feel free to comment or to ask questions. Moderation will respect any majority decision reached by the community.
  • Outplayz
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    --> @bsh1
    1. Should moderators be able to access a user's PM if (1) all three admin officials unanimously agree that (2) the three part test outlines above is met?
    2. Should moderators never--in any circumstance--have the ability to access a user's PM
    3. Is there another solution to this problem or a suggestion for how to improve the proposed checks?

    I think the whole mods voting thing is kinda ridiculous bc we have no idea or can we see the vote. Plus, you guys will always agree on it anyways so why even vote. Since this is all done in the background we have no idea whats going on, being said, or being done. 

    However, in your scenario... yes you need to access the PM to solve the problem. I would be in favor of saying you should never be allowed to, but i'm not bc of the hypothetical you laid out. I think if you had to, you should, but only if the PMs you accessed were known. For instance, having a message or notification sent to the person that you've accessed their PMs. This is the only way i can think of that wouldn't get every on this site paranoid that mods can now access PMs. Bc honestly, we have no idea what you guys do in the background. So if there is some kind of notification sent to the person you accessed... I would be fine with you being able to enter PMs. 

  • Polytheist-Witch
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    Why are you always into other's pm's. If the doxxing is private is really doxxing? 
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @bsh1 @David @DebateArt.com

  • bsh1
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    --> @Outplayz
    A notification is a good suggestion and something I am open to. I would be interested in hearing other's thoughts on that kind of suggestion.
  • bsh1
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    --> @Polytheist-Witch
    Why are you always into other's pm's.
    I'm not...?

    If the doxxing is private is really doxxing? 
    Yes. If someone gave out my personal information to someone who wished me ill, there is a lot they could do that would be problematic for me. Imagine if you gave someone's stalker their home address or something like that. Just because it happens in PMs doesn't mean it isn't doxxing.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @bsh1
    But you post PM from hangouts and call a guy a coward, sissy and other things you're all good ye?

    You get told off for warning people of mod action ye?

    You aren't the enforcers of the weak and vulnerable ye? 

    You can, at any time, say 'i think RM is doxxing me, let me check in case he doctors the screenshots'. :)
  • RationalMadman
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    Just so you know, I am gonna pm dox myself here. I told Castin, argent_tongue and others that others watch PMs and they laughed at me. Mike reads all of it as and when he wants to wank to my hot sexts fuck yeah motherfucker read em and weep.
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @ArgentTongue @Castin
    watch and learn.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @bsh1
    If you think someone is dangerous should the be allowed on that site? Why not do something about those making open threats. 
  • bsh1
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    --> @Polytheist-Witch
    I can only take action in those cases in which I am aware of the problem (which is why reporting is beneficial) and in which there is sufficient evidence to act.
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    Jesus fucking Christ it just doesn't stop doesn't. As much as you guys talk the talk about having user privacy as a priority you sure are eager to snap up any chance to rob them of it.

    Imagine the following (hypothetical) situation: User Q doxxes User T in a PM with User W.
    That's not Doxxing. Doxxing means to publish such info. As in, make it public.

    User T becomes suspicious that they have been doxxed, and reports Users Q and W to moderation. Users Q and W deny any wrongdoing and offer (selectively chosen or doctored) screenshots to verify their innocence. Users Q and W in turn accuse User T of framing them/lying about them to moderation. The only means moderation has of resolving this dilemma would be to access the PMs of the users involved through the moderation portal.
    NO IT ISN'T. NO IT ISN'T. NO IT ISN'T. NO IT ISN'T.

    This is only a dilemma if you operate from the premise that access to these PMs is somehow needed or warranted. "Resolving this" is simply a response to T saying: "The content of a PM is the business only of the people involved in that PM." It's none of T's business what Q and W are talking about.

    However, the ability of mods to access users' PM would naturally raise substantial privacy concerns.
    Virt and I, and I believe Mike as well (but I will let him speak for himself), feel that it is occasionally necessary that mods have access to users' PMs to resolve situations like the one described above.
    Wrong. There is NEVER a case where a mod needs access to a PM. Mike can argue a case to access a PM when it becomes a legal issue and such a PM is evidence.

    That said, because of the substantial privacy concerns implicated by such a power, we believe that such authority should be limited.
    Wrong again. Because of the substantial privacy concerns, such authority should be non-existent for mods.

    As a limiting measure, we believe that Virt, Mike, and I must all approve access to a user's PM in order for that access to be granted to any one of us.
    That's not a limiting measure. The mod circle you've established simply parrots whatever you say, almost verbatim, and Mike has basically checked out of moderation that he's willing to let you do whatever you want. A limiting measure would be people with diverse and independent viewpoints that are actually willing to disagree and limit the others' (that is, your) power.

    In other words, in order for any one of us to gain access to any PM, the three of us would need to unanimously agree that (a) reasonable suspicion of a COC violation exists, (b) the violation of the COC may be severe, and (c) accessing the PM is the only way to definitively resolve the issue (i.e. there are no less intrusive ways for moderation to resolve the issue). This tripartite test and the requirement for unanimity would act as checks against spurious or inappropriate use of any power to access users' PMs.
    No it wouldn't. For the above reasons. There is absolutely no reason why you or any mod needs access to a PM.

    However, I can imagine that many may feel as if moderation should never, in any circumstance, no matter how grave, have such authority. While I disagree with that position, it is one which I can respect and abide by if the community decides that is best. For the record, this is not a power mods currently have.
    You shouldn't have access to the identity of reporting users either, but fuck all good that has done the community.

    Therefore, I am using this post to pose the following questions to the DART usership:

    1. Should moderators be able to access a user's PM if (1) all three admin officials unanimously agree that (2) the three part test outlines above is met?
    No.

    2. Should moderators never--in any circumstance--have the ability to access a user's PM
    Correct.

    3. Is there another solution to this problem or a suggestion for how to improve the proposed checks?
    Nothing you've presented is a "problem."

    Please feel free to comment or to ask questions. Moderation will respect any majority decision reached by the community.
    Really? The majority wanted anonymous reporting and you basically flipped your middle finger at that one.


  • RationalMadman
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    The Earth is round, there is no abuse of power here, no loopholes the benevolent mods would dare abuse.

    All is well, see a therapist if you think otherwise.

  • drafterman
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    I've already pretty much checked out of this site because of the loss of reporting anonymity but I swear to Christ if Mike gives mods access to PMs I'm doneso permanently.

  • RationalMadman
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    --> @bsh1 @David @DebateArt.com
    Just to be clear, I am not really certain I understand which side is correct here. Sometimes I really do think Illuminati is the only way to run the world since I have seen all other ways fail but in the optimal society all spy on all at all times (I mean ALL on ALL, this way no 'threat of exposure to enemy' argument works) so I like this and all but really I don't know what's right or wrong here.

    Spy on me all you want hombres but just know I see you too. Your all seeing eye is nothing to my third eye.


    Also, bsh1 darling, Mike's read all your PM's every single letter against your will. Think about it, who really has the power here. Do not be ashamed of it, I sometimes get off on the idea of illuminati getting off to me getting off to others.
  • drafterman
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    Mods have complete discretion in determining whether or not a CoC violation has happened. They don't need "proof" let alone proof from a PM. This is just crazy.
  • drafterman
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    --> @Outplayz
    Don't accept bs1h false premise that the presented scenario is a "problem" and evaluate it independently. What is the "problem" and why is accessing user PMs the only "solution"? Are we saying literally no other action could be taken?
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    That's not Doxxing. Doxxing means to publish such info. As in, make it public.
    I disagree. As I said to Poly: "If someone gave out my personal information to someone who wished me ill, there is a lot they could do that would be problematic for me. Imagine if you gave someone's stalker their home address or something like that. Just because it happens in PMs doesn't mean it isn't doxxing." One of the primary reasons doxxing is such a severe violation of the rules is precisely that it could entail real-life consequences for the user; the potential for real-life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum.

    Moreover, the reason this discussion was started was precisely to put this decision in the hands of the community, not in the hands of the mods. Ultimately, the community will decide. 
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    I disagree.
    It doesn't matter whether you agree or not. That's the definition of the word.

    As I said to Poly: "If someone gave out my personal information to someone who wished me ill, there is a lot they could do that would be problematic for me.
    Which has fuck all to do with the above scenario which doesn't say anything about the motives of the participants. Having access to PMs certainly doesn't prevent that exchange of information and even if it acts as a deterrent they'll just exchange it via personal e-mail. What, you want everyone's e-mail login's now, too?

    Imagine if you gave someone's stalker their home address or something like that. Just because it happens in PMs doesn't mean it isn't doxxing."
    Yes it does. It means exactly that. The public nature of the disclosure is inherent in the definition.

    One of the primary reasons doxxing is such a severe violation of the rules is precisely that it could entail real-life consequences for the user; the potential for real life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum.
    No it doesn't.

    But, the reason this discussion was started was precisely to put this decision in the hands of the community, not in the hands of the mods. Ultimately, the community will decide.
    Bullshit. The community decided on anonymous reporting. When is that going to be restored? Until it is restored, should anyone give two shits about your promises?
  • RationalMadman
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    --> @bsh1
    May I suggest something on PM?
  • bsh1
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    --> @drafterman
    No it doesn't.
    The eloquence of this reply notwithstanding, indeed it is the case that "the potential for real life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum."

    Suppose for example that User W hated User T, and was willing to use the personal information revealed to them to out User T as gay or to harass them at work or to message all their friends on facebook or to send them threatening letters in the mail (among other potential harms). The fact that the information was revealed in a PM does not change that revelation's potential to have real-life, negative consequences for User T. 

    Doxxing is banned in part to prevent such real-life consequences from occurring. This kind of activity is incurs the exact same harm. So, as I said, "the potential for real life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum."
  • bsh1
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    --> @RationalMadman
    Please do.
  • Polytheist-Witch
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    --> @drafterman
    Aren't you the guy who reports every debate vote. Troll. 
  • Outplayz
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    --> @drafterman
    I actually agree with you in your scenarios that it's not a problem and why originally i am very against it. But what if someone PM's my personal info to someone else? That is the only scenario i think it will be a problem that happens exclusively in PMs. But i don't see how the mods would be aware of that, or even me for that matter, unless the user that got my information rats. That doesn't seem likely though since both will probably have something against me. That is why i'm increasingly starting to agree with you. The only way to stop that is for him to police PMs... which i am 100% against. You changed my mind a bit... i don't think access to PMs should be a thing at this point now. Unless he can give me a convincing scenario where it would be a positive.
  • drafterman
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    --> @bsh1
    The eloquence of this reply notwithstanding, indeed it is the case that "the potential for real life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum."
    But not in the same degree. Which is why actually Doxxing is bad and should be prevented and stopped, but private individuals privately discussing other individuals isn't.

    Suppose for example that User W hated User T, and was willing to use the personal information revealed to them to out User T as gay or to harass them at work or to message all their friends on facebook or to send them threatening letters in the mail (among other potential harms). The fact that the information was revealed in a PM does not change that revelation's potential to have real-life, negative consequences for User T.
    And giving you access to everyone's PMs doesn't alter that situation. Ergo, you don't need it.

    Doxxing is banned in part to prevent such real-life consequences from occurring. This kind of activity is incurs the exact same harm. So, as I said, "the potential for real life consequences holds whether their personal information was revealed in a PM or in a public forum."
    Two private individuals talking about another individual privately does not have the "exact same harm" as someone's private information being made publicly available to the entire user base.

    When is voting anonymity going to be restored? The majority of the community voted on that.