About those snarky (and political) posts...

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Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
Dec 30, 2008
Dear Mods,
There is something I've been meaning to ask for quite a while. Each time I think of this I back out with the thought, "I'm being too sensitive."

1) Is there still an infraction system in place? I just noticed the sticky post in admin forum about it, and was wondering if it is ever used?

Without being a smart A$$, I think I see the same individuals go in a direction that is not very helpful. More times than not (I don't have stats to back this up, just an observation I guess) an admin posts a warning in the thread, with a closing post not long after. The result is that some useful threads get closed.

2) I realize there is no perfect system, but why allow a snarky (or political) post to sit there, attracting more attention? Wouldn't it be more effective (and much easier for admins) to delete offending posts when they happen?

I hope I haven't botched these questions too badly. Anyways, thanks for hanging in there and doing the thankless job.

The Mod team relies on members to be aware of the community rules, and report troublesome posts for our review. Yes, we have a system in place for dealing with offenses, but to address your specific areas of concern:

Snark and/or politics by themselves are not verboten. Saying "I hate congress" is not partisan. Saying "I hate the Green Party chairman and the state he lives in" is. We do not disallow all politics, but partisanship and side-ism, which is where conflict arises. Often politics is thinly-veiled by similar posts on media, taxes, States, etc., but we view these the same way.

And snark, well, it's often in-the-eye-of-the-beholder to define when someone has been straight-up rude vs. snippy and sarcastic. Unfortunately, if we deleted all snippy and sarcastic comments, we'd have much shorter threads. We do draw the line at personal attacks, and probably spend more time, sadly, as moderators discussing rudeness in disagreements than other types of reports.

We also try to keep as light a hand as possible in moderation. Often, members will self-regulate, or gently chide one another when a comment is uncalled-for, and the thread moves on without our involvement. This is how normal conversations work among acquaintances.

If more members considered they are not shouting into the void, or attempting to win debate trophies, but, rather, engaging in a dialog with a group with shared interests, perhaps less moderation would be needed.
With respect to the choice of moderator warnings, post deletions and thread closures - that is a judgment call by the moderators, guided by our desire to foster informative, useful, on-topic and polite discussion. We do not like to close threads or delete posts unnecessarily.

If there is some snark or minor rudeness, or topic drift more than normal, we will often post a moderator warning in the hope that people will take it to heart and steer the thread back in an acceptable direction. If that fails, or for very rude, snarky or argumentative members, we may resort to editing or deleting posts. If we do delete a post, we will usually send a PM to the member who posted, explaining why and requesting better posting behavior. However, no one else will know that offending posts have been deleted unless they specifically notice that a certain post has disappeared. In heated threads, there may have been many deletions by the moderators that you will never know about. Especially if the moderators are actively monitoring the thread and catch offending posts immediately rather than relying on member reports.

Unfortunately, sometimes we find that despite warnings and post deletions the thread continues to attract posts in violation of the Community Rules. If in our estimation that conduct is likely to continue, or if it would take major effort to edit and delete a number of prior posts to make the thread acceptable, we will just close the thread. This is particularly likely where a thread has run its useful course and all that remains is bickering. When we close a thread, we may leave the offending posts to serve as an example for others. We may note that posts have been deleted. Or we may simply close the thread without comment.

So, what you see is the end result of an often long and arduous process, involving multiple discussions among and between members of the moderator team. You can rest assured that we have done our best to save the thread before closing it, whether that be moderator notes in thread, editing or deleting posts, and/or PMs directly to offenders.
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We don’t normally discuss or debate moderation in thread but thought it important to explain how it all works.

We do use the infraction system which is explained in the Forum Admin:


Finally, just a reminder, taken from the Community Rules about how to question a Moderator’s action. A link to the Community Rules can be found at the bottom of every page.
Moderation: If we feel the guidelines are violated we may remove, edit or delete posts and if necessary ban or remove members. Any abuse toward our administrators or moderators may result in immediate suspension of your account. Complaints about a moderator's decision regarding a particular post are not to be made in posts; instead send a private message to a moderator. If a moderator deletes or edits one of your posts and you disagree with the action, please contact any moderator or administrator via PM with your concerns. Do not repost deleted material.

This forum is largely self-policing, which means that moderators will respond and react to problems reported through the REPORT POST option, via the CONTACT FORM at the bottom of each page, or via PM. Do not hesitate to use these tools to report any problems regarding the forum.
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