Explain to me the difference between "moderating" and "censoring"

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by glocke12, Feb 14, 2009.

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  1. glocke12 macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #1
    After seeing the "Obama Vacation" thread closed, I have to ask the question..where does being a moderator end and being a censor begin?

    I know there are guidelines for this forum, but it seems that "moderating" is very, very subjective.

    Ive had posts deleted in the past that were on topic and non-inflammatory, but for some reason some moderator saw fit to delete them without any explanation.

    As for the thread about Obama taking a vacation, that seems to me to be a perfectly legitimate topic. Is it closed because criticizing Obama is not acceptable on this forum? There are any number of other threads that are more worthy of being closed than that one....

    FWIW, I highly doubt that even though a president is "on vacation", that they stop working.
     
  2. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #2
    By all means start another one. That one was particularly pointless. Are we going to have a thread about it every time the man takes a weekend off?
     
  3. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #3
    Then you, like Stevento, need to look at the content and it's validity more closely.

    What is legitimate about a thread criticising the president for going on a 'fabulous vacation' when what he's really done is go to Chicago for two (non-working) days. He's not spending a month in Jamaica getting high and playing Bob Marley classics.


    That's a bizarre question. Of course it's acceptable to aim criticism at Obama. It's just not acceptable to make things up in order to criticise him.

    On PRSI? Name them.
     
  4. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #4
    I received a PM about this matter and funnily enough it had the same "can't criticise Obama?" angle.

    My response was essentially:

    Yes perfectly.


    However to do so it must be in the bounds of the forum rules. Deliberately sensationalising an event / article and then following up with a broad attack at the people who posted in the thread is against the rules on trolling. Ergo the thread was closed. Some posts were removed some were edited. The original post remains.
     
  5. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #5
    First, Im in no way critical of Obama getting away for a weekend, as a matter of fact I could care less. As I said, whether he is in DC or elsewhere, I think the president is always doing his job and has access to the tools that allow him to fulfill his duties.

    But what I find disturbing is that there are any number of threads about Bush or any other person on that right could probably be pulled up that were sensaationalized just as much that were not closed or deleted.

    Furthermore, censoring and deleting posts really just seems entirely inappropriate to me. Never have I seen such widespread use of censoring (yes, thats right censoring) of a forum by moderators.
     
  6. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #6
    The posts that were censored were personal / rude. I in no way removed any political material. That is the difference between censorship and moderating.

    It was not just that it was sensationalised. It was deemed there was more purpose behind such sensationalisation as shown by the follow up posts. It is deeper than I can go in to here but the forum rules cover these issues, the highlighted part is what was used in this case:

    Further it was deemed that due to the way that the thread was loaded that the further discussion of the article in that thread in question would require more moderator work.

    Feel free to start a thread discussing that matter.

    Perhaps my failing in closing the thread was the final statement I left.

    Has been edited to

    People are welcome to start another thread on the matter as alluded to by other members above.
     
  7. kavika411 macrumors 6502a

    kavika411

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    #7
    glocke12, the problem with your thread is the title. It should have been more open and inviting to discussion and debate, such as "Israel to launch war against Iran within a month," and "Joe the Plumber - What a Jackass."
     
  8. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #8
    The moderation here has always been heavy handed but its something I've just gotten used to. Anytime I've ever mentioned it I've been told its "just in my head" and to be quiet. I've seen loads of posts which I considered too "personal/rude" but they were never deleted because they reside in a thread that wasn't overly sensational to begin with and therefore may not attract the mod's attention. The thread "Joe the plumber is a jackass" strikes my as a little sensationalist.. but thats just me. I guess its much less offensive than "Obama takes a vacation".

    Anyway, this is the PRSI. Things happen. :)
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #9
    That's a key part of it. If one has a problem with a post or with moderation in a thread, one should please report it. If one's post got deleted and one still needs attention regarding it, the easiest thing to do is to just make a report on the original post in the thread, or another post of one's own nearby in the thread, and in the report comments, explain what the issue is (including some kind of guidance about where in the thread the post was deleted), and we will look into it. Post reports, once again, go to the entire moderating and administrating team, and so they allow for oversight.

    Likewise, the complaint that one's post was deleted for doing something which was not censored when done by another user simply means that one should be reporting the other user's post -- the slight is rarely, if ever, intentional.

    And of course, the least favorable thing in all cases to do about it is to create yet another thread bemoaning the state of moderation on MacRumors, as there are already many such threads. ;)
     
  10. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #10
    The problem is that what's offensive is subjective. I'm guessing that a post where a single user is offended and reports is not taken with the same weight as a post with multiple reports. Besides, who wants to be the guy reporting all those "offensive" posts. After a while it becomes white noise to the mods and borderline annoying.

    Many threads on the state of moderation? *yoda voice* Telling you something I should think, Hmmm?

    lol sorry. :)
     
  11. SLC Flyfishing macrumors 65816

    SLC Flyfishing

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    #11
    I had a few of my posts deleted a while back, and I never got any real explanation as to why. I felt I was being very reasonable, but I was in a debate that one of the moderators was participating in. I made a post that I felt was particularly good, with no personal attacks or inflammatory comments and then it was just deleted.

    I PM'd two moderators and got no response from one, and a shrug off and an explanation as to why my position in that thread was wrong from the other Mod.

    Very suspect if you ask me.

    I've sorta come to expect it, all of our moderators lean the same way on most topics and that can be very problematic in PRSI if you don't agree with them.

    SLC
     
  12. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    #12
    Firstly it wasn't glocke12's thread that sparked this thread.

    Secondly as explained in this thread it was a combination of factors (the thread title wasn't in fact one of these factors).

    Three sceanrios here:

    You see a bad post, you report bad post, bad post gets dealt with.

    You see a bad post, you don't report bad post, mods don't know about it, therefore the bad post stays.

    You see a bad post, you don't report bad post, a mod might stumble over the post as 1 of the 5000 odd that are posted every day, bad post get dealt with.


    The forum rules go someway to expalin what is offensive and we would prefer to have more posts than fewer. If a poster frequently reports posts that moderators deem not to be a problem then a moderator will likely contact the reporter.

    All post reports are treated equally and all post reports are dealt with


    Everyone is responsible for their own posts but there is a collective responsibility on the forum to adhere to the rules and make an atmosphere conducive to debate, reporting posts comes under this.



    The moderators can't send an explanation for every post that is deleted.

    In regards to the PMs without knowing the details I can't really give an answer to this. If you wanted a review of the case then sending a contact us form would have been a better option. As sometimes mods go offline for days, weeks, months at a time. Yes if the mod is online at the time you might expect a reply soon ish. But you have to remember that we are quite busy and as such might delay in sending a reply.

    As to everything there are two sides to the matter so it is quite easy to paint a dark picture with the dark colours while the light colours may not know you are painting the picture.
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #13
    Explain to me the difference between "moderating" and "censoring"

    Moderating is when sticks and stones are removed from your possession, lest you hurt your widdle self.

    Censoring is when they take away your gun.
     
  14. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

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    #14
    Why is this thread in the PSRI?

    My questions to you, gloke12, are;

    How would you like us to do our moderation? Give us some tips.
    And what makes you think this is censorship? This is a private site.
     
  15. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #15
    Actually, I'd say again that this is another reason that you should make use of the Report Post and Contact Us features. We're not a bunch of loose cannons and we don't want to create this impression. If you use the aforementioned mechanisms, then your concern is made available to the whole moderating and administrating team, and this gives the appropriate people an opportunity to look into the situation and make sure that a reasonable outcome is achieved. This will not always result in an outcome you find favorable -- no one will give you a pass on breaking forum rules just because another moderator was involved in the discussion. But it would avoid for you any impression that moderating is not subject to oversight.
     
  16. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #16
    Ive given that a little thought. First Id like to say that deleting posts often is just something that looks bad on any forum. After having several posts of mine that I thought were well thought out deleted on other threads, I asked myself why I even bother returning to this forum. If I am going to take the time to reply to a thread, and my reply is on topic and not offensive, and they still end up getting deleted, why should I bother ? Im sure there are others that have felt the same. But the truth is even though my views differ from the majority on here, I do like this forum and have learned alot here, so that is why I keep returning.

    So, to answer your question, Id say that unless a post or thread is obviously derogatory or offensive (i.e. making an offensive remark about someones religion, race, etc...), or a reply is just utterly and completely off topic is posted in a thread to just leave things alone. If something is posted that is sensational in nature, or just plain stupid, I suspect that the majority here will ignore it and it will go away.

    If that does not work and things get out of hand, than at least be "fair" in moderating. It is very suspect when the Obama/vacation thread is closed using the reasoning that was used, but threads such as:

    "Republicans: Follow the party or else..."

    "Abortion caused Australian Bushfires (religion thread)"

    and these two which someone else pointed out:

    ""Israel to launch war against Iran within a month," and "Joe the Plumber - What a Jackass.""

    are allowed to continue. All of these contain much more inflammatory and misleading titles than the Obama/vacation thread, yet these were not closed.


    Also, if you absloutely have to delete a post to keep a thread on topic or because its offensive, or close a thread, at least do what most other private forums do and leave an explanation...I think something simple would suffice..."Post deleted due to offensive content", "post deleted due to not being on topic". etc..




    good point. Can't argue with that.
     
  17. WinterMute Moderator emeritus

    WinterMute

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    #17
    I'd just like to point out that most of us mods are working full-time and are mods here in our spare time, often leaving detailled feedback is simply too time consuming, and will often be abbreviated to stuff like: "trolling", "offensive" or simply "OT".

    I would agree that deleting posts that are not in breach of the rules is less than ideal, particularly posts which advance polarised arguments however, many such posts are cleaned up in the general moderation of heated or ill-advised exchanges.

    If you have an issue with a particular deleted post that you feel has merit, you should PM the mod and/or one of the admins to discuss the issue, but it's rare to have posts re-instated.
     
  18. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #18
    It looks far worse on the person that is having their posts deleted on a regular basis.

    Then, with respect, maybe you should start looking at the reasons why your posts are getting deleted.

    To be fair, you often post something sensational. Sometimes it's proven false and sometimes it's so far out that it's simply dismissed. Again, think about what you post and maybe check the facts are right before you do that. If they are the truth then you can't be touched.

    I think that's a fair request.
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    After some very careful consideration, I have to say glocke is right about this (surprised?). I don't see a reason for closing the Obama vacation thread, given other threads we have in this forum. Glocke has a definite point, guys. Just my 2 cents.
     
  20. és: macrumors 6502a

    és:

    #20
    The thread claimed and criticised Obama for going on a 'fabulous vacation'. That's nonsense of the highest order and if there are going to be any standards on PRSI then I believe things like that need weeding out.

    Sure, some of those posts had questionable titles but they had credible talking points.
     
  21. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #21
    I understand that, but I also see what glocke is saying, and you have to admit he has a point. I wouldn't normally say anything about this, but in this case I think he's right, that's all. Let's apply the standards equally.
     
  22. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #22

    Isn't that roughly the order of priority? A thread on a President's "vacation" seems a bit away from the #1 goal.

    Judgement call made by the 2nd post. Thread closed with (after editing):

    *Last edited by xUKHCx : Today at 12:11 PM.

    Pretty clear the conditions to open another thread on the subject if so wanted. Pretty lenient really, and open to adult conversation on the topic, if the forum users want to play ball.
     
  23. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #23
    I have to agree, I think I've seen much worse threads in PRSI stay open.
     
  24. glocke12 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    glocke12

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    #24

    Thats arguable. Granted if someone is being an outright idiot all the time thats one thing, but many of my posts that were deleted were sensible, rational, and not inflammatory. They may have reflected a different viewpoint than what the majority on this board have, but thats probably the worst that can be said.


    How can I when none was given?



    Id say that I have posted one topic on this board that was outright sensational, but no more than any of the other posts on here that are sensational against something towards the the "right". But thats not the point.
    The point is if your going to try and have a set of standards for this forum than they should be enforced eqaully, for every thread or post or not at all.
     
  25. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #25
    Exactly. If this is now the standard, I just think it should be applied to all threads that are titled in this fashion. I'm not trying to be a jerk or in anyway nasty to the mods (they do a great job), I just think glocke has a very good point here, and I think he's OK for questioning it.
     
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