Moderation discussion August 23, 2006 7:01 PM   Subscribe

Leon says: (There's a serious discussion to be had about how moderation systems tend towards broken as community size increases, but this isn't the place.)

This is the place, if my watching MeTa for the last month is any indication. We have a little bit o' this, in the flagging facility -- and even that is misunderstood by many. And yet people suggest more.

posted by baylink to MetaFilter-Related at 7:01 PM (25 comments total)

What's there to discuss? Every large community suffers growing pains and the bigger it gets the worse they can become.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:03 PM on August 23, 2006

posted by kosem at 7:04 PM on August 23, 2006

Also, I hear the sky tends towards blue.

posted by mathowie (staff) at 7:05 PM on August 23, 2006

But why is it blue?
posted by dg at 7:08 PM on August 23, 2006

Even the sky is a liberal echo chamber!
posted by brownpau at 7:12 PM on August 23, 2006

Clearly, he was wrong; there's *not* a serious discussion to be had.

posted by baylink at 7:16 PM on August 23, 2006

What in the hell are you talking about? You're not being very clear.
posted by loquacious at 7:18 PM on August 23, 2006

yeah, your link to my "people suggest more" post is totally wrong headed. I wasn't suggesting more moderation, I was suggesting a way for those who were interested to easily track cool items that have been marked as "favorite". Moderation implies moderators, cutting out noise and correcting mistakes manually. What I suggested was just a list of flags on the db, automatically sorting cool comments & posts to the top.
posted by jonson at 7:33 PM on August 23, 2006

Moderation goes in both directions.

But clearly, everyone was just looking for a target tonight, so, as I said, nevermind.
posted by baylink at 7:42 PM on August 23, 2006

I believe we should only take moderation in moderation.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:42 PM on August 23, 2006

I think this is easily the most idiotic day ever for metatalk posts.
posted by bob sarabia at 7:51 PM on August 23, 2006


Ok, sure. Moderation blows pedophilic clown cock. I propose no moderation of comments whatsoever, only bannination when one steps over the very, very faint line in the sand. So it is written, so it shall be done.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 8:01 PM on August 23, 2006

No. Oh, wait, I mean, NO! Or how about STFU! Seriously. Really. Not kidding here.
posted by snsranch at 8:15 PM on August 23, 2006

Ok, so it is not "race day" it is "wuh?" day.

"This is the place, if my watching MeTa for the last month is any indication. We have a little bit o' this, in the flagging facility -- and even that is misunderstood by many. And yet people suggest more.


fuck, no more navel gazing please.

It's Useless to Talk

No witty words, no cliché claims,
No perfect phrase can e'er describe
How I would like to tell you all
About the ways you could be cheered.

Won't even try, won't try to say.
I'll stop my tongue and use my ears
To say I can, I will, I want
To take you far from darkened lands.

---Daniel Nairn
posted by edgeways at 8:16 PM on August 23, 2006

Ok, I'm the head moderator over at another (quite successful) site.

Although the site was in existence for a few years before I came on, there really was no community. There were available forums, but they weren't used for more than 5-10 posts a day. I ran in and built up the community from that to about 9000 users and ~1500 posts per day; where it is currently at.

At around 1000ppd, we had a crunch. There were a very few people who were just skirting the line of the rules, pissing people off, starting arguments, and generally requiring more time of things than we wanted to give, just to maintain a reasonable place to be. What ended up happening was the removal of a few key people who were really at the heart of the problem. There was a real backlash at first, with the people who were shoved out starting a group offsite of "banished" users (with, heh, me as the only user of any sort who was explicitly forbidden to participate). The people who were not banished included a number who disagreed with the banishments and said so. Some of them left of their own accord over the next few months (including some volunteer moderators who didn't appreciate the changes). Through all of it, I felt like absolute hell. I cried, real tears, over the failure of the community to remain 'whole' as I saw it at the time.

However, the community grew much stronger for it. The rebound back was not long, and the efforts I took during the really rough time paid off in huge ways. Not only was the community stronger, but it has also become a much friendlier, happier, place that is far easier to maintain. I like the people better on average, and I don't feel like I have to watch like a hawk.

How was it all justified? One primary directive: Don't make the forum a worse place by your participation. It's a rule that doesn't need to be specific, and when it's violated it's pretty clear.
posted by Kickstart70 at 9:09 PM on August 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

do not want.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:11 PM on August 23, 2006

Is it just a misapprehension on my part, or has the whole site gone fucking moonjuice today? I fucking swear: I do not know what you people are going on about.
posted by cortex at 10:19 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


posted by Kickstart70 at 10:22 PM on August 23, 2006 [2 favorites]

*screams, faints*
posted by cortex at 10:30 PM on August 23, 2006

What Kickstart70 said. Especially the part about the winged monkeys and the floating sky-islands of malfunctioning pants robots.
posted by loquacious at 10:35 PM on August 23, 2006

This went much better than I had expected.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:35 AM on August 24, 2006

clearly, everyone was just is always looking for a target tonight on MeTa

posted by raedyn at 7:34 AM on August 24, 2006

Moderation blows pedophilic clown cock.

That is so going to be in a bathroom stall somewhere.

posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:13 AM on August 24, 2006

Damn; no Mark Best Answer in MeTa.

Thanks, Kickstart.
posted by baylink at 8:58 AM on August 24, 2006

I saw an interesting study about online communities awhile back. It probably was even linked to from here, so I imagine many of you saw it too.

Basically, the thing I came away with was this: please your core community. Any online group has a center. Determine what that center is, bend over backward to please it, and don't even worry about the fringe. They may whine and complain, but they'll either adapt or go away. If you have a solid core, you will never want for additional users.

My other personal observation about online communities: they degenerate over time, because good people come and go, while psychos and assholes accumulate. The good folks have a multitude of options, where the jerks find places that just barely tolerate them. That drags the community down. The jerks attract people who are just a little bit meaner/crazier, dragging down the site further. Assholes like each other, and they like to hang out together.

The cool people, who have many options, drift elsewhere. Site degenerates more. For awhile, everyone is aware that the community has lost 'something', without being able to quite put their fingers on what it is. Eventually, they shrug and resign themselves, or move on. Ultimately, it becomes a cesspool.

And it is the jerks who will be the loudest and most obnoxious screamers about any attempts at policing, and will inevitably gather at least some support from the community. They (correctly) determine that the attempts at moderation/bannination are aimed at them, and can usually muster up support for their position, which is generally, "I'm just as good as everyone else here, I contribute!" This is true no matter how much of a constant problem they are. And some people will always agree with them, but very rarely will the agreement come from the core users.

Basically, tolerating assholes means that you get more assholes.

I'm NOT suggesting a moderation system, by the way. I think cheerful and frequent subscription refunds and waves goodbye would be in order.

Reader's Digest version: pay attention to Kickstart up there. He knows whereof he speaks.
posted by Malor at 5:14 PM on August 24, 2006 [2 favorites]

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