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Open Letter to the SoylentNews Administration

Rejected submission by Anonymous Coward at 2020-09-21 21:26:00

I originally planned this as a comment in a recent journal but decided it would be more impactful to submit as a story.

This site has a small community. Many, perhaps most, of the new accounts are spam accounts, inflating the user account. Continued incivility, harassment, and other abuse will inhibit the growth and drive away current users. Some of these abuses can be defined objectively such as accounts that clearly exist to impersonate other users. Wishing physical harm on other people is another. Spamming multiple articles with hundreds of comments is clearly unacceptable. Left unchecked, these behaviors condone and invite further abuses, yet only one of these three was acted upon by the administrators. If the site policy prohibits acting against blatant and objective abuses, the site policies are flawed.

Administrators have used their access in very questionable ways such as publicly divulging information related to IPIDs. These are recorded to investigate troubleshooting issues but publicly sharing information derived from this calls into question the commitment to respecting user privacy. I have chosen not to link to examples in order to avoid calling out specific users. A lameness filter was apparently added without the knowledge of other administrators []. Although this particular filter blocks a word that is unquestionably awful, the ability of any admin to add filters seemingly without the approve or even the knowledge of other admins opens the door to any censorship including squelching disagreement.

The submission queue [] contains stories that are pending approval. It is very clear that stories submitted by aristarchus [] are routinely and promptly deleted []. Leaving the stories in the queue would allow other users to browse them until they are automatically purged. Other blatantly partisan [] stories are left in the queue, even when the stories are from sites known for propaganda [] (RT []) and other similar fake news sites. Apparently liberal but generally accurate stories get quickly purged from the queue if submitted by certain users but stories from actual propaganda and fake news sites are allowed to remain.

Simply put, why do the administrators employ extremely inconsistent standards that are allowing this site to devolve into toxicity? The people who contribute money through subscriptions deserve a cogent answer to these questions. There is precedent for posting similar submissions [] so I hope the editors will apply the same standard here.

Original Submission