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The HYO (and G-R) situation

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ethawne2015:
Earlier today, I saw something on another forum I frequent that makes me question the wisdom of giving moderators banning power.  Our moderating staff here is of unquestionably higher quality, but the counterpoint deserves to be discussed.  This is what I saw:

1)  A user posted a link to an external site that apparently went through a link-referral site that's full of malware.
2)  Another user posted the actual link without the referrer.
3)  One of the mods pushed back, snarkily replied to say that link referrers were allowed, and deleted the post with the actual link
4)  The second user got snarky as well and reposted the actual link

This went back and forth for a bit with posts going up, getting deleted, and so forth, until the thread was closed.  Looking at their post histories, the moderator had just been elevated, and from what I can tell, before today the other user seemed to be a member in good standing.  The moderator openly said "If I had the power to ban you I would," and accused the poster of simply being there to disrupt the community.

Thankfully we're not desperate enough for moderators to elevate someone with that kind of attitude to our mod staff.  Since I joined here I've only seen a few cases where an instant ban would've been appropriate, and all of them involved genuine trolls.  I don't want our already hardworking mods to have to spend a lot of time editing or deleting posts, but honestly, better that than run the risk of someone's bad day getting to them and just clicking the button because they can.  (What I call "Goderator Syndrome.")

Again, I'm not saying I think anyone here would actually do that, but that's based on what everyone can do now.  One thing real life has taught me is that even a little bit of power can change a person, and I think banning power is no different.

Mr. Weatherman:
This is a legitimate concern, but I feel like our primary mods here are seasoned enough that they would use fair and reasonable judgement when banning unruly members. Perhaps the power could be given under the condition that it can only be used to ban trolls that pop up, and long-standing members can only be banned after a review process by someone of higher authority.

ethawne2015:

--- Quote from: PayingTheRent on August 15, 2015, 06:41:15 PM ---This is a legitimate concern, but I feel like our primary mods here are seasoned enough that they would use fair and reasonable judgement when banning unruly members.

--- End quote ---

For what it's worth, I agree.  Since I've been here I can't recall even once when our mods have demonstrated poor judgment--that's not to suggest that I've agreed with every decision I've seen made, but that's a discussion for a later time.  Hard as I try, I can't imagine any of our moderators displaying the kind of attitude this one did, even on their worst days.  It was just something I thought deserved a bit of discussion.


--- Quote from: PayingTheRent on August 15, 2015, 06:41:15 PM ---Perhaps the power could be given under the condition that it can only be used to ban trolls that pop up, and long-standing members can only be banned after a review process by someone of higher authority.

--- End quote ---

That sounds like a good plan--some kind of checks-and-balances setup.

Without knowing how our software here works, one feature that might be worth looking into is the ability to issue infractions.  Three forums that I frequent have that, and it seems to be an effective measure; I don't know how they work on the back end, but on the front end, they serve as public reminders of violations of forum rules, and on one forum, the number, type, and severity of infractions issued affects a user's ability to post, but by themselves they don't cause bans even when they accumulate.

(For example, racking up three "Light" infractions or one "Moderate" infraction for violating the no-spoilers rule would mean that for 30 days, all of a user's posts would need to be approved by a moderator; two "Moderate" infractions or one "Severe" infraction for flaming others might disable a user's ability to post or use the PM system for 60 days, but not their ability to read the boards.)

Every circumstance where I've seen infractions in use, they can be based on a number of criteria.  I'll withhold my opinions about what I think the criteria should be here, and what level of severity they should carry, but it's something worth looking into.

therealcu2010:

--- Quote from: ethawne2015 on August 15, 2015, 06:22:52 PM ---1)  A user posted a link to an external site that apparently went through a link-referral site that's full of malware.

--- End quote ---

Slightly off-topic, but this is why, if I had my way (and it is such over on BAV), the use of link shorteners would be banned. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to use them when Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V are faster, and we're not character-limited here.

ethawne2015:

--- Quote from: therealcu2010 on August 15, 2015, 09:12:02 PM ---Slightly off-topic, but this is why, if I had my way (and it is such over on BAV), the use of link shorteners would be banned. There's absolutely no reason whatsoever to use them when Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V are faster, and we're not character-limited here.

--- End quote ---

In fairness, I think this particular case was so the user that posted it could make money every time the link was clicked.  We click the link here, see the ads on the referral site, the advertisers pay the user who posted it each time.  (If anything, that just makes it worse.)

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