Front page and iOS blog discussions getting political

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by FloatingBones, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. FloatingBones macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #1
    The recent front-page article on the conclusion of the (RED) Auction started getting a bunch of commentary about the worthiness of this cause. Those early comments may have been at the edge of appropriateness, but (IMHO) the later comments about the deductibility of charitable contributions crossed the line into blatant political discussion.

    Today's discussion about the Magpul case showed several members launching into a discussion as to whether or not they should be purchasing from a manufacturer that also made firearms accessories. Such discussion may be interesting to some MR members, but I considered those comments entirely peripheral to the original article.

    Did the moderators consider relegating either of these discussions to the politics, religion, and social issues forum? I noticed (and flagged) several newbie posts that were a clear violation of the rules. Those could have been avoided by putting in minimized by limiting the discussion on these topics.
     
  2. rmwebs, Nov 27, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013

    rmwebs macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    #2
    This happens way to often, and as much as I hate to say it, it's entirely the fault of the MacRumors staff. There's a strong community here that's been allowed to get away with too much, so threads quickly turn bad.

    The amount of trolls here that seem to get let off is unbelievable. Most of them are 'die-hard' Apple fans, that seem either deluded or hellbent on pissing everyone else off.

    The moderators need to get a lot, lot harder with people regarding political debates and even things like Apple vs Google/Samsung/MS/etc as it's gotten way out of hand.
     
  3. FloatingBones, Nov 27, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2013

    FloatingBones thread starter macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #3
    This is completely different from what I'm talking about, @rmwebs. I am talking about a discussion starting on a news forum turning into a political discussion -- typically one that has nothing to do with the subject matter of the news story.

    Perhaps. But your observation has nothing to do with what I started this thread for. Did you read the comment chains on the two news items that I referenced in the first message?

    FWIW, I fully expect to have discussions between the enthusiasts Apple, Google, Samsung, etc. I see no reason to restrict them to the 100-message minimum of politics, religion, and social issues. They are grist proper of the forums here.
     
  4. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    FloatingBones,

    As with many decisions about managing the forums, there's a tradeoff and we consider both sides. The writers and editors make the first call on where to put a news story's discussion thread, but the rest of the staff and volunteers can discuss it and change the choice.

    When a news story has a political aspect we consider the pros and cons of three approaches:
    1. Put the thread in the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum.

      Advantages for the moderators: Less work to do following and managing the thread.

      Disadvantages for the moderators: None.

      Advantages for forum members: Freedom for users with enough posts to express their opinions. No problem with hit-and-run newbies who signed up just to troll that particular news story.

      Disadvantages for forum members: Users with insufficient posts are locked out. Thread is likely to veer more into the political side even if it's tangential to the news story.

    2. Put the thread in the News forum and weed out political or trolling comments.

      Advantages for the moderators: None.

      Disadvantages for the moderators: More post reports to handle and more work managing the thread and making judgement calls on individual posts.

      Advantages for forum members: All users can express their opinion on the primary news topic. When the moderators pounce on inappropriate posts promptly, the thread stays on topic.

      Disadvantages for forum members: If there's more work than the moderaetors can keep up with, the thread may be derailed by off-topic political posts and hit-and-run newbies may sign up just to troll that particular news story.

    3. Put the thread in the News forum and allow on-topic political comments but not trolling.

      Advantages for the moderators: None.

      Disadvantages for the moderators: More post reports to handle and more work managing the thread and making judgement calls on individual posts.

      Advantages for forum members: All users can express their opinion on the primary news topic, but only "within reason". When the moderators pounce on inappropriate posts promptly, the thread stays on topic.

      Disadvantages for forum members: The thread may be derailed by trolling or over-the-top political posts.

      Choice #3 has not worked well in the past, and would be considered only when a news story is inherently political and directly Apple related. We mostly don't use this choice any more, so it's between Choice #1 and Choice #2.
    We make the choice based on the advantages and disadvantages for forum members, rather than on the advantages and disadvantages for moderators. It often depends on how directly relevant the political issues are.
    A news story like "Apple Encourages You To Vote for Such-and-Such" would likely be moved to the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum because the entire discussion will be about politics.

    A news story about Foxconn staffing, or about Apple encouraging typhoon relief donations, isn't directly about political issues, but political subjects could easily enter the discussion. We typically leave them in the News forum.

    The story you mention about iPad cases is one of those borderline cases. It's not likely to attract lots of posts, but it wouldn't be surprising to find political posts among them. The moderators talked about the tradeoffs and decided it was worth having in the News forum as long as it went well, but they're been monitoring it.
    Sometimes seemingly innocuous stories can be turned political by those who are so inclined. The moderators can't read every post so they rely on users (including the alert users who ask questions like yours) to point out when threads fall off the rails.

    Anyone can second-guess our choice about whether a story belongs in the Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. We second-guess ourselves all the time!


    rmwebs,

    Are the moderators too lenient or too tough? You'll find forum members on both sides of that debate. We draw the line on what's acceptable and what's not acceptable based on a middle-of-the-road approach, and it doesn't surprise us if others might draw the lines elsewhere. What's more important to us is that we provide rules that are clear, answer questions, and that we are as consistent as possible in moderating the posts that are reported.

    You are welcome to help us out by reporting specific posts that you think violate the rules.


    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  5. FloatingBones thread starter macrumors 65816

    FloatingBones

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    #5
    Thanks, Q. Interesting discussion of the tradeoffs. I hadn't realized some of the side-effects of moving a discussion, but all you said makes sense.

    One other Q: I noticed that the discussion for the front-page Apple Once Again Recognizes World AIDS Day In-Store and Online got moved this morning, but I didn't see a notice get placed on the original article. Is it policy to explicitly note when a news article's discussion gets moved to the political discussions forum?

    I saw some of the absolute nonsense that got filtered from that comment chain this morning. Thanks to the mods collectively. :)
     
  6. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    #6
    Maybe the forum has always been like and I haven't noticed this but it certainly seems to be getting worse and worse over the last couple of years. Some of the people just leave me speechless and how they manage to turn an innocent good news story into a huge political thing just baffles me.

    I realise its a very tricky thing to deal with but maybe more mods are called for?
     
  7. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    That's one of our after-the-fact switches. With our unsynchronized time zones among the staff and volunteers, and it being Sunday, the notice was requested but not yet added.

    By the way, I didn't mention another choice that we have: to close a news thread to stop the discussion entirely. That's our least favorite choice but it's certainly a time-saver!
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    Its called freedom of speech.
     
  9. Shrink macrumors G3

    Shrink

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    New England, USA
    #9
    As a privately owned forum, the Rules can limit "free speech" in any number of ways.

    Profanity, name calling, personal insults, frivolous and off topic posts are all examples of limitations on "free speech".

    It is not my intent to praise or condemn this reality...simply to point it out.

    The application of these, and other Rules, are often a very difficult task for the Moderation Team. It is my observation that every effort is made to apply the Rules fairly and even handedly.

    It is my opinion that the suggestion that more Mods might help is not out of place. It is my understanding (from reading a post by Dr. Q) that selection of Mods is a difficult process...and not undertaken with great frequency.

    Finally...for what it's worth...I think, considering the size of this Forum, the Moderation and Administrative Team are doing an excellent job.

    Just one man's opinion, of course...;)
     

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