Anonymous Coward writes:
I was going to post this to a particular story, but thought this might generate more attention and discussion as a general submission.
Seriously, what is going on with all these troll mods? Just because you disagree with someone, thus earning a "disagree" mod, does not mean that person is a "troll." To steal a definition from Urban Dictionary:
An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.
Just because you disagree with someone, does not mean they are trying to do the above. Be faster on the "disagree" and slower on the "troll." Under such abuse, it is hard to have a good discussion and, in itself, is trollish behavior by "generally disrupt[ing] normal on-topic discussion." Other than people disciplining themselves, a concerted effort to police such abuses, or making moderation logs public on the bottom of a comment where the score is shown now, I'm unsure of what to do about. As it stands, it is getting increasingly ridiculous to read what discussion is here on any topic remotely controversial, and is expanding outside of even those. It is starting to drive me away from the site, and I'm somewhat confident it is doing the same for others. I'd be interested to see what others think about the depth of the problem, if they even believe it even exists at all, and what solutions you all have for it.
[Ed note. This story is published exactly as received. First off, it bears repeating that complaining about moderations in the comments often leads (rightly) to an off-topic moderation. That is a contributing factor to my decision to run this story. Secondly, moderation is something that I on occasion have found I've fat-fingered and given a different moderation than expected. Thirdly, in the grand scheme of things, a comment's moderation is — relatively speaking — small potatoes. It is NOT a measure of your IQ or value as a human being. or standing in the community. Just accept that stuff happens and that as likely as not, someone will be along to moderate it the other way. Which is a good opportunity to say: PLEASE USE YOUR MOD POINTS! Lastly, if you think a comment was moderated in error, then send the CID (Comment ID) link e.g. "(#876543)" in an email to admin (at) soylentnews (dot) org. Keep in mind however that we are all volunteers here and there most likely will be a delay between when you send out an email and when we can get around to it. --martyb]
[Updated: 20190823_111312 UTC See comment from JR who far more precisely and eloquently expressed the idea I was attempting to. I concur with his assessment. If I want people to upmod a comment of mine that I believe was unfairly downmodded, then I need to be willing to upmod other's mis-modded comments. For perspective, so far this month, anywhere from ~150-~350 mod points were used in any given day. It bears repeating: use your mod points!]
And since I'm apparently still here, because despite the fact that I am appalled at a number of things, I once cared about this site, and my heart is sick at the idea of what it is becoming...
Well, since I'm still here, let me just say that trolls don't always come in the same manner. Milo, for example, is a self-declared troll, who liked to argue by being calm and apparently reasoned, while he was spouting stuff that was intended to disrupt, to annoy, and to inflame. In one of my first extended exchanges on this site, I called TMB out for his views on the Milo protests. TMB is in favor of free-speech, so he claims, but he's not in favor of similarly disruptive responses to said speech. I don't agree with everything protesters have done on college campuses, etc. -- in fact, I've explicitly argued against a number of their actions in my posts here. But I respect their right to counter disruptive speech and actions with other disruptive speech and actions. Similarly, I believe that it should be okay for moderation here to counter disruptive speech. I have never argued for suppression or deletion of any posts, only better communal moderation to help us sort through the crap and call out those who are spewing it.
Just because speech has the veneer of civility doesn't mean it is civil. Those who have defended TMB here in response to my admittedly ranty and extreme comment last night are missing the point. This is TMB's modus operandi -- try to act calm and civil, while insincerely using argumentation strategies that obfuscate or ignore criticisms. It was very clear that TMB was saying that it's better to respond to incorrect information with facts, rather than just summarily downmodding something. I acknowledged that in my first reply to him (and elsewhere on this thread). His reply was to reiterate what he clearly already was saying and to ignore the fact that I was asking about subsequent moderation and how we flag posts as actually good for the community vs. useless to the community.
Those who are defending him -- think about his argumentation strategy and realize what's really going on here. He wants to maintain the veneer of civility while arguing disingenuously. What he's really saying is: "I believe it's fine for objectively false information to be shown with high scores on this site." (Note if you read my posts: I wasn't even necessarily arguing for downmods -- I was even just suggesting informative neutral mods to flag incorrect comments for the good of the community.) What he even explicitly said in another post is that he's fine with offensive ethnic-centered rants to have high scores on this site, though maybe we might consider modding them down if they get all the way up to +5.
TMB agrees with Milo's playbook, and he's using it. Appear calm, say stuff that most people will agree with, even if you're ignoring the points of others, and so make yourself look level-headed while steering discourse in your direction. That opens the door then to advocate for increasingly concerning things, because you are ignoring the subtleties of the criticisms against you.
And to his one other reply in this thread -- I completely agree that moderation should NOT be about rewards and punishment. He's pulling something else out of the totalitarian playbook there, because that was actually something I said explicitly in my now missing journal post and twisting it to serve his own agenda. (Even more shocking, and evidence of the culprit who deleted my post, I suppose.) I was trying to argue in that journal entry that we need to look beyond moderation as "punishment" for bad posts, which is mostly what downmods are used for, and actually provide informative mods about the value of posts to the community. I have repeatedly argued for decreasing the influence of single-post moderation on community standing (especially from the perspective of a single user mod-bombing another) in order to remove the benefits of mod-bombing and to promote moderation here that actually scores quality posts highly and those that are not useful to the community lower.
That TMB is so brazen as to coopt the actual language from my deleted journal and use it here to claim to "take the high ground" -- that's the sort of crap that caused me to have such an extreme reaction last night to his obvious bad-faith argumentation (if you pay attention to how he does it). I just never believed he'd take it to this level.