Mod announcement of involuntary action

Discussion in 'That's So Meta!' started by sirsparklepants, May 30, 2018.

  1. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants *cries in sports*

    Making this thread because it seems like the other one is about cT specifically while I had questions about general mod policy that's related to involuntary restrictions on users. If mods feel it fits better in the existing thread, please feel free to merge it in.

    So in that thread seebs said (quoting so I don't have to keep tabbing back)
    And I had a couple of questions about this. Is this the opinion of the whole mod team or just some of them? And will users be notified privately in the future of involuntary mod actions taken on them, whether or not there's a public announcement? To be clear, I don't have a problem with involuntary restrictions if other methods have been tried first and haven't worked, but I did want to express that the public announcement element does carry a feeling of group shaming or punishment. I don't think the mods intended that, but I don't think anyone would react to news of an involuntary restriction gracefully if they first see it in public, and I was interested in knowing a little more about the reasoning behind this.
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  2. palindromordnilap

    palindromordnilap Well-Known Member

    My understanding is that users are usually notified of mod actions being taken on them, the one exception I can think of is the discourage feature which shouldn't be used anymore according to seebs.
  3. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    As far as I'm aware, users should be notified of actions in some way, whether it's like this instance played out or whether it's a more private conversation. The discourage feature is the only functionality I'm aware of where that wouldn't have been the case, and like Alix said, that's probably off the table for future use.

    The breakdown of other avenues of communication and the way other parties on the site were taking damage during that delay complicated this situation, and the public announcement with full transparency was chosen as the path forward. The flavor of group shaming is not what we wanted from the situation, but we knew it was a hazard and are ready to step in if the conversation takes a turn towards a dogpile. Since mod actions aren't taken often, I think we'll probably continue to play situations by ear as they come up, rather than having a hard and fast plan that may be a poor fit the next time an issue comes up.
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  4. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants *cries in sports*

    Okay. Since (as far as I know) kintsugi policy has been that all policies are guidelines and not rules, what's different with this situation where guidelines that could be adapted later would be worse than simply letting this precedent stand? Genuine question. A lot of users, myself included, have scrupulosity issues, and seeing a precedent like this with no private notification even though public communication had broken down is bothersome, especially when in the past, other users who caused community distress on similar levels didn't receive posting restrictions. It makes it seem like an edict could come down from the mods at any time or for any reason. Logically, I don't believe the mod team would do that, but having the precedent without guidelines is distressing to me personally. I also think it will cause more work for the mods in the long run, as I feel public announcements are more likely to cause spiraling. If mods are worried about abuse from users privately notified (which is a completely legitimate concern), would a PM with responses locked be an option?

    I'd like to emphasize again that I don't have a problem with mods taking mod action when other avenues of attempting to fix a problem have failed and people are in distress, but specifically the public notification only rather than a separate private communication and a public announcement is an uncomfortable concept to me.
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  5. Chiomi

    Chiomi Master of Disaster

    I think usually what we get in terms of involuntary mod action is a post might get wiggled, and we can send notifications about why and then have a conversation about it in the Wiggler itself, so if it's a matter of 'hey dude that needs a spoiler super a lot and it's here until you decide how much of it you want to spoiler or if you just want to edit' then there can be some back and forth. This type of situation is - well, I for one deeply hope it's a one-off.

    In this case, public announcement was felt to be important just because of the way and degree to which people were expressing distress privately and didn't feel safe expressing things publicly at all. There was enough of a concern that other people might have more minor but still persistent discomfort or not felt like they could talk to us that an announcement seemed like the best thing for the community at large. In general issues are solved privately and quietly if possible: talking through problem-solving, PM checkins to see if people are okay, letting people just have their fights if they don't like each other, discussions about post-mod if people feel like they would benefit from some help with impulse control. There's no aim for everyone to get along and always be positive and pro-social. There's an aim to prevent splash damage. Does that disambiguate at all?
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  6. spockandawe

    spockandawe soft and woolen and writhing with curiosity

    I do want to add that the idea of doing a private and public notification plain hadn't occurred to me, my brain had split it up into doing only one or the other. Like Chiomi said, it's mainly applicable to this very specific sort of situation, which hasn't come up before and hopefully won't come up again, but I will try to keep that in mind if it ever does.
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  7. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I would normally talk to someone privately before doing a thing. The exceptions are basically people who have told me not to talk to them, or people with whom we've had prior trouble where communicating privately got misrepresentations and confusion later, and that's pretty rare.

    But I am also leaning much more towards also making public statements in cases where a thing has been a recurring problem for many users. If I have a dozen people with Caring Void complaints about one specific user's postings, I'm going to be inclined to say directly and in public that there's a problem, because when I do that, those dozen people and a half dozen more I didn't know about comment thanking me.

    Note that this may also apply in cases where no "action" is taken. There's been cases where something was a problem, but not a problem I thought moderator tools were suitable for addressing.
    • Informative x 4
  8. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants *cries in sports*

    Okay. Thank you all, this makes sense and helps soothe my paranoia.
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