[LINK] Moderation note: Attempting to suppress discussion or opinions (Match Koltai - Was Fukushima scaremongers becoming increasingly desperate)

Craig Sanders cas at taz.net.au
Sun Mar 27 19:21:57 AEDT 2011

On Sun, Mar 27, 2011 at 03:55:48PM +1100, Robin Whittle wrote:
> Short version: I defend kookishness and dispute the assertion that
>                moderation of a list such as Link is "censorship".

over-moderation is censorship. at the very least it has a chilling
effect that discourages anyone from posting anything.

> >>> Now could we stop discussing it, please. Or could we move this rather
> >>> moribund discussion to alt.rec.henny.penny
> >>
> >> I think it is unreasonable of you or anyone else on the list to argue or
> >> assert in such a dismissive fashion that any particular subject
> >> shouldn't be discussed on Link.
> > 
> > FWIW, i think that TK's line above is perfectly reasonable. 
> Do you think Tom is helping the Link list by being dismissive, making
> strong negative value judgements ("claptrap") without proper arguments
> and trying to persuade people not to mention a subject?

IMO, whether or not he is "helping the Link list" is irrelevant.

what is relevant is that your censorship is MUCH MORE harmful than what
Tom said.

(also, sometimes being dismissive and/or making value judgements
- negative or otherwise - is neccessary. banning such things *IS*

> > more to the point, i think you are over-reacting and, worse,
> > changing the moderation style of the list from Tony's minimalist
> > only-in-extreme-cases style to pro-active censorship.
> None of us Three Amigos promised to keep doing things the way Tony
> did.

funny. as i recall it, you all did.

amongst those who commented on the discussion about Tony retiring and
new moderators being sought, there was universal support for maintaining
Tony's light-handed approach to moderation. and all three of you made
statements to the effect that that was your intention.

and i think that's still your intention but since you're new to the job
you probably feel you need to be seen doing it. IMO that's well-meaning
but counter-productive.  we know you're there.  we know you'll step
in if things get out of hand for too long.  that's all that's needed -
it's worked well up until now, so why change it?

> However, as I argued in previous messages I think moderators owe it to
> the list members to put a halt to patterns of behaviour which degrade
> the list.  

and, guess what? censorship and over-moderation *most defintely*
qualifies as something which degrades the list.

far more so than one relatively inoffensive comment from someone who
(AFAICT) is mostly ignored anyway.

> There is broad agreement, I think, that unconstructive
> (without arguments, suggestions for better ways of doing things etc.)
> negative comments, insults, mocking and dismissive comments about other
> people or about what they wrote is a drain on the list.

and there's also broad agreement that the best way to deal with such
things is to ignore them - e.g. "don't feed the troll" or, in this case,
"don't add fuel to the fire".

in most cases, disputes and arguments WILL go away if ignored.
moderating them too early just creates a big fuss over something that
would have died down of its own accord soon enough. over-moderation just
creates more noise and disruption.

(and, worse, "moderating" them days after they have already died down
just revives the argument. i've seen that happen on numerous occasions)

it's only if an over-heated argument DOESN'T die naturally in a
reasonable time that some sort of moderator action is required.


craig sanders <cas at taz.net.au>

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