Mods closing threads - why?

Discussion in 'Site and Forum Feedback' started by Mildredop, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Mildredop macrumors 68020

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    Oct 14, 2013
    #1
    I typed out a message and clicked post and got an error. Turns out the thread had been closed down because it had been "beaten to death."

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads...terrible-machine.2027433/page-8#post-24206470

    I can understand a thread being closed if it gets personal/amounts to bullying/is racist etc., but just because a mod deems that people have said enough seems a bit odd.

    What is the harm in leaving a thread open? Do websites like this have a limit on the number of posts that can be made each day or something?
     
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

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    #2
    In the case of the thread you mentioned, it hit an impasse where people are just going around in circles with their arguments. The same things said over and over, page after page, with no real middle ground on either side. Ultimately it doesn't inspire a reasoned dialogue; one person loves it, the other person hates it, and neither of them really want to change their mind. They just want to be right.

    There needs to be a point where you have to say there's nothing of value being added, which I think is hard to disagree with when you read over the content in the thread -- and with 8 pages worth of disagreements and preposterous hyperbole, it's not like there wasn't an opportunity to be a little more open minded.

    Plus with the nMBP, that topic absolutely has been beaten to death. As an example, check any old article on MacRumors about a new data centre, or even the anniversary of Jony Ive's baldness; the first comment is almost guaranteed to be from some toilet brush desperately shoehorning in complaints about the 2016 MBP, no matter how unrelated the article is.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    Threads can be closed for a variety of reasons including excessive reports, off topic bickering with little indication of abating, people talking past each other, and repeating the same arguments over and over. Basically if a thread is taking an inordinate amount of moderator time to keep the discussion civil.
     
  4. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #4
    I agree with everything you said, but you still haven't answered why that means it needs to be closed.

    Is there a rule that says these forums can only be for constructive discussion?

    The people in that thread clearly felt there was still things to be said or they'd have stopped.

    What harm was that thread doing?
     
  5. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #5
    Two points; first we have a number of threads here in the SFF forum indicating how negative MacRumors can be and how people are being somewhat nasty and negative. In the MacBook pro forum, there's been a number of threads that were by nature a rant and people lined up on both sides to agree or disagree. No progress is made when people enter into a discussion, not looking to debate but to force their opinion on others.

    Second point, we do have rules regarding constructive discussions: MacRumors Rules for Appropriate Debate

    Or they could be just talking past each other, continuing the same excuses.
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    Check out PRSI for the quick answer.
     
  7. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #7
    One group says... "hey, there is NO moderation on these forums! Where the hell are the moderators!"
    Another group says... "Moderators are horrible here, closing threads, deleting posts, giving warnings and shutting everything down right and left!"

    It is enough to make you think that people are different
     
  8. Septembersrain Contributor

    Septembersrain

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    #8
    We're all just humans floating on this rock in space. We've all got opinions. Problem isn't varying opinions, it's the intolerance when faced with a different opinion than your own. It's like putting the pedal to the meddle backwards. You aren't moving forward but you feel like you're getting somewhere fast. I think everyone is guilty of this sometimes, so that's why there are rules. To try to keep us all moving ahead.
     
  9. Scepticalscribe, Jan 20, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2017

    Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #9
    No, @Septembersrain the problem is a little more subtle than that.

    One aspect of it is this binary mindset - allowing little by way of examination of nuance, complexity, depth - that seems so prevalent in much US culture, including US political culture.

    The assumption that an encounter must be a zero-sum game, with winners and losers.

    European culture is based a lot more on compromise and negotiation, and on achieving agreed outcomes where each party to the agreement comes away with something. Even European football sometimes draws inspiration from the entirely sensible (if occasionally cynical) concept of the 'draw' where neither team wins, but both share points, neither gaining as many as they would have if either of them had actually won the match.
     
  10. Septembersrain Contributor

    Septembersrain

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    #10
    We have a highly competitive atmosphere here. From the moment you are born, you are placed into a category that will either open a path or close one. It is very difficult to raise yourself above your designed box.

    That's not to say people can't, we have plenty of stories where people have succeeded in moving up in the world or ones where they've lost everything.

    I think sometimes unfortunately we get a sense of entitlement and forget about our fellow man. If we're "Getting ours" then we are satisfied, irregardless of what it may be doing to our neighbor.

    I do think there are things in European culture we could learn from. However, we have our own identity so we likely will never mirror that culture. That's okay too because every country will learn, progress, and evolve in its own creative ways.
     
  11. Cineplex macrumors 6502a

    Cineplex

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    #11
    I don't know. I spend a lot of time in Germany and they seem a lot more "I'm right, you're wrong" there. Several times I've had a waitress/waiter make a mistake and they will not budge! The first response is "no you are wrong". Not exactly the compromising and negotiation you were discussing. But that is a small sample of Europe as a whole. I have other examples but don't really want to write a novel.

    I did find the people of Italy to be very much like you describe. The Villa I stayed in there was fantastic. People from Britain that were staying with us (two different couples), didn't seem to like conversation. Maybe because they knew a rowdy American and a German were in the room. lol
     
  12. Bart Kela macrumors 6502a

    Bart Kela

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    #12
    The biggest problem I see is that many of these threads have no long-term pedagogical value.

    The second issue is that the search engine will retrieve a bunch of marginal conversations when a particular query is entered.

    Third is the basic inability of online communities to scale on a civilized human interaction level. Sure, the software/backend might have plenty of capacity, but it's the human element that fails. For years, there have been tons of complaints about Mac trolls and poor behavior, today it is threatening the existence of this very forum. And it's not just MacRumors, I've seen it in other non-technology forums. Some of it comes from naive newbies who ask the same FREAKING question over and over because they are apparently too lazy to perform a simple Internet search. This takes a toll on the best and brightest contributors.

    Over time, those best and brightest contributors leave and are replaced by less capable, less communicatively adept people. Over the long run, you end up with a vast pool of people who are only slightly more knowledgeable than the newcomers, and you end up with a bunch of replies like "idk, but my best friend's girlfriend's uncle thinks that..."

    Much of it has to do with how any given site wants to be portrayed and excessive amounts of negative forum posts end up as being roadside garbage.

    No one knows for sure if this site has passed the tipping point for negative posters, but I'd say that it is definitely on the threshold of ending up like Slashdot.

    For sure, there are MacRumors competitors whose forums have one-fifth or one-tenth the traffic as MR, but where the conversation hasn't reached the MR level of inanity. Are all of those other sites good? No, they aren't. But for sure, some can claim to be a better value for Joe Reader than other, more popular sites.
     
  13. JarScott macrumors 601

    JarScott

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    #13
    It is my opinion that moderators are too trigger happy around these parts, and that there are many daft and pretentious rules in the MacRumors Big Book of Big Rules.
     
  14. Bart Kela macrumors 6502a

    Bart Kela

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    #14
    Personally, I think there isn't enough moderation in the world's online boards, but I don't blame the moderators since they are largely overworked volunteer positions.

    One of the big reasons why I think that online communities don't scale well is the fact that moderation is unevenly applied. That's the nature of human moderation, just like criminal justice courts, sports umpiring, qualitative academic scoring, etc.

    A better/more scalable online solution would be to let the community moderate the content. That would favor a status quo and possibly risk a rogue faction taking control of a given community, but it would be fairer and more scalable than having select anointed moderation staff cherry pick through posts. I realize that most online community operators don't have a skill set to create the tools/environment necessary to let the community participants police themselves but that is really a better ambition than to seek out an additional moderator or ten.
     
  15. Mildredop thread starter macrumors 68020

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    #15
    I think you're going far too deep into this particular question.

    I was expecting someone to say that MacRumors' servers only had so much space or can only deal with so many posts per day.

    Seems odd to me that the mods see it as their job to stop people simply talking on a forum because it has been "beaten to death" (in that mod's own opinion), like dispersing a bunch of teenagers hanging around a shop.

    I totally understand closing a thread if it just becomes a slanging match, but that thread was perfectly fine albeit slightly repetitive. If MacRumors don't want people on the forums to talk, then why have forums at all?

    I have to agree. I think mods certainly shouldn't let their personal opinions affect their moderation. Nowhere in the rules does it say "Do not beat subjects to death." This was clearly the mod being trigger happy and closing a thread that wasn't actually doing any harm.
     
  16. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

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    #16
    What we don't know and can't see is how many posts had to be removed from that thread: it could be that it was full of slanging matches and taking a lot of time to keep on the rails so the mods decided it was more effort than it was worth.
     
  17. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #17
    We do have a "Repeated problems" rule.
    While it specifically references problem members who cause excessive work for the moderators, the same reasoning can be applied to problem threads. If they are causing us a lot of work and the discussion is just going round and round in circles then we may take the decision to shut the thread down.
     
  18. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    Yes we actually do
    Link
     
  19. RedOrchestra, Jan 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2017

    RedOrchestra Suspended

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    #19

    All I'll say, is tread lightly ... the moderators carry the big stick.
     
  20. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #20
    Exactly - as if timed perfectly :)


     
  21. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

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    #21
    a down-vote option, and repercussions for breaching a threshold could help. I get it, that only up-votes sends a positive message. but that doesn't stop nasty or unhelpful comments from getting likes, which essentially gives them validation. as it is now, if a hundred people like something but 500 don't, all we see is a hundred likes, not that it is actually despised. down-votes will be abused certainly but the forums are already filled with abuse.
     
  22. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #22
    We had them before and they were abused.
     
  23. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #23
    In a classroom, - or at a a meeting - or, even in a pub - you stop - or re-direct - a discussion if it is going nowhere, or is being "beaten to death". Circular discussions can wear anyone out, and may take too much time - ultimately, wasted time - to have to keep an eye on, and to ensure that posts remain civil.


    Absolutely agreed.

    Useful to know, and I have no problem with it being there.

    Yes, they were completely abused, and gave rise to a relay toxic atmosphere on some threads. Good riddance.
     
  24. RedOrchestra Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2012
    #24
    All anyone wants is for the moderation to fair and honest BUT when I read stuff like this and witness what actually happens ... well that even-handedness that is supposedly practiced leaves something to be desired

    From above -

    Rules:
    1. Sources. If you claim that something's a fact, back it up with a source. If you can't produce evidence when someone asks you to cite your sources, we may remove your posts. If you started the thread, then we may remove or close the thread.
     
  25. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #25
    This is a good reflection of the feedback we get. It's very much divided on this issue.

    This is in a way already the system in place. Many post reports do reveal problems that need to be moderated, and there are quite a few reports submitted. So the community is in effect a very real and greatly appreciated part of moderation, and the appearance of "cherry picking" is actually a case of problems not being seen. Based on my experience moderating here since 2009 I'm not sure your suggestion would be fairer on such a large site, because of the rogue element you mention. It would be an interesting experiment! Have you ever been a user on a site that does this? If so, how large was it? I'm not implying that we'll do it here, but I'd be interested to hear.

    Speaking generally I can say that we don't like to close threads, and only do so when the thread has required so much moderation and/or generated so many reports that the noise to signal ratio is such that it's taken up way to much moderation time to the detriment of other issues that need attention. Remember, you don't see deleted posts. In most closed threads there are many, many deleted posts, many of which required discussion and all of which had to be documented. Believe me, this stuff takes time; at some point we just have to close things.

    Moderators moderate on the basis of the rules, our policies, and discussions with the team. They don't moderate on the basis of personal opinions.

    We understand that users who are participating are disappointed when a thread is closed, so closing threads is something we try to avoid, and it involves discussion. The decision is never trigger happy. Before I was a mod I would sometimes spend time to draft a response, only to find that the discussion had been closed. So I do get how frustrating it can be at times. That's why I think it's important to explain when it comes up.
     

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