Why are the "Posting outside PRSI" rules applied unevenly?

I7guy

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Nov 30, 2013
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Gotta be in it to win it
Exactly how do you learn something, when the response is (according to you) "well, it depends". I mean, unless the lesson here is, don't use MR forums, because the rules are poorly written, and applied randomly.
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Clarifying one specific phrase that could be interpreted two very different ways is not "every nuance".

If you/they can't agree/decide on whether the "controversial" applies to just political or to any PRSI-esque post, how on earth to you expect anyone to follow those rules.

You may as well say "don't post bad stuff. do post good stuff."
From my point of view, ie a MacRumors poster, to me it seems in the 3 examples cited, the first two are uninformed opinions that don't seem controversial. It's like saying "I don't believe the evidence that smoking is linked to cancer". Is that a (uniformed) controversial opinion in your view?

The word controversial, imo, is used to denote hot button topics that the site doesn't want in threads outside of PRSI. And (I'm only guessing) maybe there are some prior infractions, coupled with that particular PRSI type post that led to the suspension.

To be honest I don't know what's more frustrating at this point, the ambiguous rule interpretations, or the sideline/backseat "mods" (no, not actual mods, but posting as if they have some stake in defending some imaginary tarnished honour of actual mods/etc) making posts that, to use a phrase I've seen here often recently, "age like milk".
This is flat out not the way anonymous internet sites works. If you wanted a private conversation then the "contact us" button is the way to go. You posted this in a forum dedicated to "site feedback" and you find it frustrating that "backseat mods" respond to the posts? Some people view this as a community and, in my opinion, want to have as much as possible these days, a nice community experience to hang out in....and as such will respond to posts in this forum with their own opinions.
 
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Doctor Q

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So why was I suspended then?
Minor rules don't lead to suspensions in the same quickly escalating way that serious rules do, but multiple violations of any rule will eventually lead to harsher consequences.

In your case, it resulting in a temporary suspension because it was your 14th overall warning about forum rules, your 7th about political posts, and your 3rd about making political posts outside of the political forums.
 

roland.g

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Apr 11, 2005
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This article: Apple Providing U.S. Employees With Up to Four Hours Paid Time Off to Vote in November Election was not tagged as PRSI. WHY?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!
 
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Stephen.R

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will respond to posts in this forum with their own opinions.
Several of the replies in this thread are borderline trolling, and at best are simply looking for an argument. I'm talking about stuff like
If you truly want this to be examined by the editors, then the contact us form is the way to go.

You complaining that it won’t work is just an excuse.
How’s posting on this thread working out for you these days?
Let's not get into the whole "I went through this entire thread again" ... "Oh I missed where you gave permission, and then where a mod responded and noted that you'd given permission".



But all of that is a digression.

I'll note that it's been 9 days since I responded to @Doctor Q's post, and asked for a clarification of the phrase
controversial political, religious, and social issues
So far, zero response from any mods about this.

Which is kind of what I expected to be honest. I'm not naive enough to believe that the ambiguities and "grey areas" in the rules are some kind of accident.


But you do you MR.
 

Plutonius

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Feb 22, 2003
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Minor rules don't lead to suspensions in the same quickly escalating way that serious rules do, but multiple violations of any rule will eventually lead to harsher consequences.

In your case, it resulting in a temporary suspension because it was your 14th overall warning about forum rules, your 7th about political posts, and your 3rd about making political posts outside of the political forums.
Is it possible to add a users past warning statistics under the "your account" ?

I'm sure that most people have no idea how many multiple violations they have. Being old and forgetful, I'm sure that I have some warnings but have no idea how many and what type :).

I think that when a user sees how many violations they have, there will be less arguments over a suspension and also might lead to a user being more careful as to not get any more warnings.

If you are unable to add it to the "your account", is it possible instead to include a users past warning statistics in any new warning messages that are sent out ?
 
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I7guy

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Several of the replies in this thread are borderline trolling, and at best are simply looking for an argument. I'm talking about stuff like




Let's not get into the whole "I went through this entire thread again" ... "Oh I missed where you gave permission, and then where a mod responded and noted that you'd given permission".



But all of that is a digression.

I'll note that it's been 9 days since I responded to @Doctor Q's post, and asked for a clarification of the phrase


So far, zero response from any mods about this.

Which is kind of what I expected to be honest. I'm not naive enough to believe that the ambiguities and "grey areas" in the rules are some kind of accident.


But you do you MR.
I’m sure a response is coming.

However, it seems you are trying to force the administrators to come up with an air-tight definition of controversial as it relates to how posts are moderated.

Life isn’t that cut and dry in any aspect of it and some amount of discretion is needed. It’s my opinion you will never get a definition that is 100%.

As far as a response taking 9 days, it could be:

  • There is a lot happening site wide that needs the staff attention.
  • They have spent a lot of time working on your overall questions and have to devote time elsewhere.
  • It’s easy to spot controversial, but more difficult to put it into terms for use as a basis of enforcing the rules. This coupled with other workloads could mean it may take some time to craft a definition that’s suitably broad to catch issues, but not to narrow so that everything is flagged.
 

Stephen.R

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However, it seems you are trying to force the administrators to come up with an air-tight definition of controversial as it relates to how posts are moderated.
You clearly didn’t read my original post asking for it to be clarified.

I didn’t ask for a definition of the word controversial. That’s stupid. I have a dictionary.

I asked simply, if controversial is a modifier to only the “political” subject, or if it applies to all “PRSI” topics, in their rule.

Seems like a pretty basic thing to clarify to me, and honestly if they don’t already know the clarification, how are they enforcing the rules?
 

Doctor Q

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Is it:

posts that are controversial, and about politics or religion or social issues

Or is it:

posts that are about controversial politics or religion or social issues.
We thought we made that clear, but we'll try again.

Where the rule refers to "posts on controversial political, religious, and social issues," it means "posts that are about controversial (politics or religion or social issues)," which therefore also means "(posts that are about controversial politics) or (posts that are about controversial religion issues) or (posts that are about controversial social issues)." And since it's hard to name a political topic that isn't controversial (even comments on the technology of voting machines or a legal question about how the U.S. Electoral College works), the rule is almost equivalent to "(posts that are about politics) or (posts that are about controversial religion issues) or (posts that are about controversial social issues)." In any case, PRSI is the most appropriate forum for a political topic, even if it's not necessarily controversial.

Given that so many social issues, such as wearing coronavirus masks, have become political footballs, the rule is almost equivalent to simply "posts that are about controversial politics." But there are still occasional cases where religion or non-political social issues are a thread topic. For example, the She’s black, female, Muslim, covered, and licensed to carry thread should necessarily be in the PRSI forum, but the Checking in to see if any fellow Muslims are here on MacRumors didn't have to be (although the original poster chose to put it there). Both thread topics involve religion, but only one would be deemed controversial.

We've seen that almost any news story discussion about Apple and China turns to politics, but religion can make it even more controversial and suitable for Political News. Example: China Reportedly Used iPhone Exploits to Target Uyghur Muslims. In contrast, I remember a very cordial discussion in the ancient I got my mission call!!! thread. Perhaps, these days, and with a much bigger MacRumors user popoulation, such a thread would be more contentious. A similar thread these days ought to be in PRSI.

I haven't spotted a really recent thread about a social issue that isn't also political -- they are fairly rare -- but older examples include the Suicide at altitude. Fascinating new research on America's "suicide belt" about suicide and the older Prostate Cancer Research and Advocacy Lag thread, about how fundraising for cancer research is lopsided. The discussions didn't go very far, but they weren't a problem either.

The bottom line is that the rule is intended to keep non-established forum members from derailing threads that might otherwise have a discussion worth reading by the majority of members, and to keep non-controversial or less-controversial discussion threads from being turned into flame wars on tangential topics.
 

Wowfunhappy

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Mar 12, 2019
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Because not every event in the universe fits perfectly into a set of arbitrary buckets selected by humans, such as "political" and "non-political". Ergo, many categorization decisions will come down to a series of individual judgements, and humans are not always perfectly consistent—nor do different humans agree on what constitutes consistency.

I'm quite sure the site authors and moderators are not attempting to intentionally screw over people, there's just a lot of gray area in these sorts of things!
 
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compwiz1202

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Those Apple Store ones definitely need to be read only. I think like four posts is the max I've seen before the train skews off into mask battle territory.
 
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Doctor Q

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Those Apple Store ones definitely need to be read only. I think like four posts is the max I've seen before the train skews off into mask battle territory.
Maybe there should be two threads for every news story, one with a "keep it civil" reminder and one with a "flame on" reminder.
 

Plutonius

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Just send a note to the administrators using the Contact Us link and they will be glad to send you your moderation history.

Thank you but I'm still thinking that it might be a good idea if you include a users moderation history along with any warnings you send out.

I may be wrong but I think that many people who are complaining about a suspension might not complain as much if they were reminded about their warning history.

On another question, are suspensions generally based on a dynamic number of warnings (warnings / amount posted) or is it generally an absolute number of warnings independent of how much the person posted.

If it's a dynamic number, how do you handle post in PRSI since they are not counted in the post count.

In the past, I have seen some posters who post a lot but have low counts due to mostly posting in PRSI.
 

annk

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Thank you but I'm still thinking that it might be a good idea if you include a users moderation history along with any warnings you send out.

I may be wrong but I think that many people who are complaining about a suspension might not complain as much if they were reminded about their warning history.
While I understand the idea, what you're suggesting requires additional manual work on every single moderation message sent out. The semi-automatic messages are designed to remind the user of the relevant rule, and include information on how to contact us with any questions. In almost all cases, this is enough. To add the moderation history would involve extra manual steps.

In cases where users don't understand why they were moderated or why the moderation was as severe as it was, they contact us and we explain, often by reminding them of their moderation history. These cases are however the minority. Sending out moderation histories with every moderation message would be quite a bit of extra work that most users don't need. It's just not the best use of the resources we have.

On another question, are suspensions generally based on a dynamic number of warnings (warnings / amount posted) or is it generally an absolute number of warnings independent of how much the person posted.
Suspensions are based on the rule involved, the nature of the violation, and any history of prior violations. It's not an absolute number of warnings.

You can read more here.
 

Weaselboy

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Thank you but I'm still thinking that it might be a good idea if you include a users moderation history along with any warnings you send out.
I agree that would be a nice feature, but the forum software is not setup to do that without mods having to manually copy and paste in the history as @annk said. Like I mentioned, if anybody is curious, just send in a contact us message and the admins are glad to provide you your moderation history.
 

ericgtr12

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Mar 19, 2015
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I agree that would be a nice feature, but the forum software is not setup to do that without mods having to manually copy and paste in the history as @annk said. Like I mentioned, if anybody is curious, just send in a contact us message and the admins are glad to provide you your moderation history.
I'm a former vBulletin developer but as long as groups can be used for permissions and notifications I don't see how this can't be done out of the box on most modern boards. When one is penalized they can be placed into a group, for example when one is "suspended" it shows under their name, presumably that's because they've been added to a group and it adds the label. In that group you can have rules, such as time limits, moving them in and out of other groups, etc.

With the set of rules this place has, IMO it would not only benefit the users, but the staff to manage it properly. Showing the user (even in their own CP) a list of groups they're currently part of and the proper labeling would resolve this issue.
 

Weaselboy

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I'm a former vBulletin developer but as long as groups can be used for permissions and notifications I don't see how this can't be done out of the box on most modern boards. When one is penalized they can be placed into a group, for example when one is "suspended" it shows under their name, presumably that's because they've been added to a group and it adds the label. In that group you can have rules, such as time limits, moving them in and out of other groups, etc.

With the set of rules this place has, IMO it would not only benefit the users, but the staff to manage it properly. Showing the user (even in their own CP) a list of groups they're currently part of and the proper labeling would resolve this issue.
I'm not following how what you described would allow a member to see their moderation history?
 

ericgtr12

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I'm not following how what you described would allow a member to see their moderation history?
Okay, keep in mind I don't know this board software specifically but if you can show the users what groups they are a part of, and label those groups accordingly, then they would know.

So let's say one is banned or suspended for 3 months, there's likely a group they go into and I'm sure you guys see that on the admin side. Now all you have to do is show that group to the user in their profile. I would assume something like this is already setup for paid memberships (or maybe others), it's the same idea.
 

Weaselboy

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I can see how that would show a member how long their current suspension is for, but they would already know that form the initial suspension message they got. I don't see a way to give them access to their moderation history using that method (unless I am missing something).
 

ericgtr12

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2015
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I can see how that would show a member how long their current suspension is for, but they would already know that form the initial suspension message they got. I don't see a way to give them access to their moderation history using that method (unless I am missing something).
Fair enough. If we assume that all moderation is based on moving users in and out of groups, that can be all logged, trimmed and displayed.

A basic example would be something like:
User was placed into group "3 month suspension" on such and such date
Users was removed from group "3 month suspension" on such and such date
and so on. It's already all there, it's just a matter of querying the data and displaying it.

Now log each of these and add some conditional statements around dates (for example show the last 3 years only) then display it to the user in their control panel. It may require a bit of basic coding around conditions this way but not much.
 
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Stephen.R

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We thought we made that clear, but we'll try again.
Well, I thought it meant what you said (i.e. the controversial modifier applies to each of P, R and SI) but then one of the other posters in this thread "helpfully" interpreted it a different way (literally the entire reason I asked you to clarify it - s/he made the entire case for it not being clear), and was most positive s/he was correct... and it took mods over a week to clarify that point.

I'll note that you don't need to go into a huge spiel for every response, if it's going to take so long.


Now.

As we've got clarification that any controversial P/R/SI post should be "disallowed" outside the PRSI thread by that rule, I'll re-ask:

how are the following posts, not considered "controversial":

A person claiming in the midst of the worst pandemic in a ****ing century, and I quote:

So stupid. Just let people live their lives. We’re all going to get this stupid virus so quit prolonging it and just get it over with.

Or, how about the pearler (which I won't quote, due to length) which claims that (a) coronavirus just does not exist, and is all a hoax, and (b) that infectious viruses do not exist.

That is not controversial? Seriously?
 

I7guy

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Gotta be in it to win it
Well, I thought it meant what you said (i.e. the controversial modifier applies to each of P, R and SI) but then one of the other posters in this thread "helpfully" interpreted it a different way (literally the entire reason I asked you to clarify it - s/he made the entire case for it not being clear), and was most positive s/he was correct... and it took mods over a week to clarify that point.

I'll note that you don't need to go into a huge spiel for every response, if it's going to take so long.


Now.

As we've got clarification that any controversial P/R/SI post should be "disallowed" outside the PRSI thread by that rule, I'll re-ask:

how are the following posts, not considered "controversial":

A person claiming in the midst of the worst pandemic in a ****ing century, and I quote:




Or, how about the pearler (which I won't quote, due to length) which claims that (a) coronavirus just does not exist, and is all a hoax, and (b) that infectious viruses do not exist.

That is not controversial? Seriously?
Seems like an over the top hyperbolic opinion. Do you consider over the top hyperbolic opinions, controversial? There is no P or R or SI in that quote..at least in my opinion.

edit: To note this is being posted in a public thread and as such there can be expected to be a variety of responses by participants in this forum. The staff and site owner are freely available, not like the wizard of oz where the wizard is behind the curtain, and provide tech support and answer questions about the running of site.

Everybody hopefully takes away something from these useful exchanges with the staff and other forum participants.
 
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annk

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... and it took mods over a week to clarify that point.
I'll just remind everyone of this:

Moderators and administrators are located around the globe, and are all volunteers. Speaking generally, we discuss when asked to clarify a point. If we were full time employees, it would be reasonable to expect quick respones. We are however neither full time nor employees.

TBH I think we do mange to response rather quickly in almost every instance, despite the "volunteers located in different time zones" aspect of the equation. Some things will take a bit longer, either due to the nature of the question or simply due to practical issues.
 
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