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Old 20th February 2010, 02:23 AM   #11
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Trevor,
Now there is an old refrain!

From my point of view? I can only speak of what I have direct knowledge of.

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I'd like to know how many of the people who have vested commercial interests and who sponsor this forum have been banned verses the people who don't sponsor this forum ??
I really wish I knew. I do know that at least one moderator isn't any more, due to this issue. I don't know whether anything was out of kilter or not, but sometimes the impression is enough.

Think about this a bit though. If you have a commercial interest, doesn't it follow that you are a business person? Now, if you are a (good) business person, you understand that acting professionally is a prime requirement. Knowing this, and remembering that everything you post is a matter of public record, aren't you going to treat your posts as if they were business communications? You don't want anything to come back and bite you - right? Not only that, but if you are supporting a web site financially, wouldn't it be really stupid to act so badly that you get yourself banned?

This, I know about. I ran a business successfully for 16 years, then sold it. I find that I have to reduce my expectations and posting standards in mixed forums far lower than in a private forum that is not open to the public.

My point? The very fact that a business person is here at all sort of preselects the behavior you should see from them. The same should apply to an industry personality, and in fact we do see this in people like Nelson Pass (sorry Nelson for singling you out). Scott Wurcer is another, look at his style. Ever talk with Walt Jung? Jan Didden? There are more. This is what I am talking about. These people know how to represent themselves, as opposed to some that have been banned. Most people who are banned are so because of the way they treat others, then there are the rules we have. They are there to try and maintain a positive environment for all members to post in. Read them again and think. Aren't they really there to maintain what could be called a polite society? That's my take on it, yours may differ - or not.

Quote:
How can there be any objectivity in a public forum when certain members have vested commercial interests in it ?
Now that is a constant headache we all face. The difference is that the moderating team has to deal with it. There are things that go on behind the scenes all the time. Communication with the member who is really being a problem with this takes time - but things are happening that you don't see. There are times when another member is a bigger problem and takes up a lot of our time as well. We can't be everywhere, all the time.

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Banning people is a form of censorship.
No it isn't! There we disagree completely!

People are not banned because we don't care for what they say. People are banned for the reasons laid out in the forum rules. Anyone who says they were banned for reasons other than those are mistaken. Also, normally we take great efforts to correct a situation before we take the step of banning someone. That is unless they go way over the top, with the knowledge of what they are doing. Remember, "suicide by cop". Understand too that a member may be banned for the contents of an email directed at a moderator or forum staff (the guys who own this place and pay for the servers, software and hosting). Threats will do it almost every time, so will a repeated rant or swearing. There is no place in this world for people who cannot behave within reason. That's stuff you learn in kindergarten.

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I think a public forum such as this is immediately compromised when certain members pay for privileges which the rest of us don't have. Until this inequality is stopped there will continue to be an exodus of valuable posters who have something of value to offer and who are passionate about what they contribute.
Anyone can pay or donate some. Do you have any idea what privileges they receive? I do. They get a title and a "star". Period. So there is no "privileged class" that has been bought - unless you want to count the owner. He bought the entire thing.

I will agree there are some problems, but these issues are not systemic and we are doing our best to solve them as we can. These issues have nothing to do with who paid what, who's selling what or anything else. The issues are more the members who feel entitled. They usually freak once they understand that they are only important within a context - not the gods they want to be seen as.

We also have members who have contributed a lot over the years. They may become unhappy with something and become resentful an perhaps hurt. Those are the people who we hate to lose, but we can't stop them. If that member decides to force a ban, there is no choice but to oblige them. After all, it is a public forum and we can't treat them better than anyone else. Here is where the same argument is being argued from both sides Trevor. How much more special are these people than you or I? Isn't that the very question you are concerned about? It's a heck of a tight line I have to admit. We do (and did) treat these people specially. We went out of our way to try and resolve any issues before we banned them. The latest member to go I think was andy_c. I wasn't around to see the mess, but an attempt was made and he did make the final move that forced action. I know nothing more, other than what he and I talked about off-line, after the fact. That, I am not willing to reveal in any detail.

I have personally tried to intervene to calm things down with some other members who left, and I can tell you how hard we try to work things out when possible. BTW, it takes a lot of time and effort to do this. Sometimes people are unhappy and there is nothing that is acceptable to them. What can you do? They set the tone and conditions, we simply try to make things work within reason.

So, the old complaints about preferred access and privileges will never go away. An old tiresome complaint because there is no way to disprove a conspiracy theory. Believe me, life just isn't that eventful here, it's mostly people getting out of line in the forums. It makes for a good story - and that's the problem. It's only a story.

Now, who doesn't believe me? There is an easy way to find out the truth.

Donate and see what happens. I can promise you that you might feel good about it, but it will not open any doors for you here, sorry.

-Chris
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Old 20th February 2010, 03:33 AM   #12
Bigun is online now Bigun  Canada
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I don't wish to become involved with any specific people issues referred to directly or indirectly above, but since this is a public forum I'd like to add my 2c.

I would like to add a balancing comment, a comment of thanks and appreciation to those who do moderate this forum. I have found it to be a very helpful place, I have learned a great deal from the membership and it has been a big part of my enjoyment of learning about DIY audio. I find that the vast majority of members here are very polite and helpful contributors. I have no doubt that the moderators are partly responsible for the constructive environment that exists and rarely if ever receive credit for their work. You can't please everyone all the time, but from what I have seen over the past year this forum comes close.
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Old 20th February 2010, 03:44 AM   #13
godfrey is offline godfrey  South Africa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Anyone else have an opinion or comment?
Hi Chris

I think it would be nice if all the stuff in the last few pages about member's attitudes and expectations, personal relationships, moderation, banned members, commercial interests etc could be split out into a separate thread - perhaps under "everything else"?

As a mod, perhaps you could do the necessary?
Sorry to make extra work, but you did contribute a fair share of the OT yourself.

Regards - Godfrey
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Old 20th February 2010, 04:07 AM   #14
godfrey is offline godfrey  South Africa
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Another to add to the OT...

I think the Sin Bin thread is very valuable, but sadly under-used.

When Andy_c was banned, there was a huge amount of protest, anger, accusations and other nastiness that only subsided when the mods and editor gave a little background and explained the reasons for the banning.

I'm sure that if an explanation of the reasons had been posted earlier in the Sin Bin thread, most of that unpleasantness could have been avoided. Ultimately there would have been a lot less work for the mods.

More recently Borat was binned then banned, but there is no mention of this in the Sin Bin thread. While I doubt anyone will be too upset about the banning, a simple "Borat has been banned for sock-puppeting" in the Sin Bin thread would be nice (and would avoid all the "Hey, what happened to Borat?" questions popping up in various threads).

Cheers - Godfrey

p.s. Agree with Bigun's comments above
There's often too much "I demand..." and "I resent..." and not enough "I appreciate..."
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Old 20th February 2010, 04:49 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anatech View Post
Think about this a bit though. If you have a commercial interest, doesn't it follow that you are a business person? Now, if you are a (good) business person, you understand that acting professionally is a prime requirement. Knowing this, and remembering that everything you post is a matter of public record, aren't you going to treat your posts as if they were business communications? You don't want anything to come back and bite you - right? Not only that, but if you are supporting a web site financially, wouldn't it be really stupid to act so badly that you get yourself banned?
That may be the theory. However I've got nothing against people with commercial interests posting on this forum so long as there is no conflict of interests with the forum itself. But once sponsors have access to the forum then this presents a gray area, so much so that how do we know that their opinions and defense of such is not influenced by their own commercial self interests ?? How do we know that when they go complaining to the moderators about another poster they aren't really trying to defend their own self interests rather than the interests of the forum as a whole ??

To maintain complete objectivity I don't believe major commercial sponsors should be posting on this forum. They should make up their minds as to whether they want to be a participant on an objective forum with equal rights to all other members or do they want to an be an advertiser selling their wares. IMHO I don't believe you can wear two hats and maintain an objective forum.

regards
trev
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Old 20th February 2010, 10:53 PM   #16
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Trevor,
Everyone here has some interest behind their posts. Manufacturers presumably post in accordance with what they believe to be true. If they do not, there are plenty of knowledgeable members around to point out these problems. I've done this over the years, even before I became a moderator.

We do have reported complaints about every real or imagined problem you can think of. However, no one responds blindly. If there is any question about validity, the moderators talk about it first. Many complaints get ignored as well, our own private noise that we have to read. Remember something else as well, often there are two sides to a story, and both members may be in the wrong. Many times a moderator mediates the problem, or at least will communicate with one or more members involved. You have to see how many reports we get in a day to believe it. If every report was actionable, we would have to hire staff and extra moderators just to deal with the mechanics!

Quote:
To maintain complete objectivity I don't believe major commercial sponsors should be posting on this forum.
I really must disagree with you on this.
Firstly, what you are suggesting is unfair, plus you are censoring these people simply because of commercial success. Why? Their viewpoints are often of high value and represent the real world. Some began as hobbyists and became successful too.

So let's show a couple situations, you tell me what you think.

1. Nelson Pass.
The man has contributed so much valuable information and guidance here, I can't imagine things without him. He does support this site, and also gives some parts away at the Burning Amp show. Here you get a chance to meet and speak with a successful person who enjoys his work. I hold him (and many others) in the highest regard and am deeply grateful for the amount of effort he expends here. I have to find another example! I use Nelson as a positive example more than anyone else.

Should we muzzle Nelson Pass?

2. Me, Chris Bridge.
I don't know. I do my best to help people out and as a moderator. I am not objective by any means if you look at my professional past and as my involvement as a moderator. In fact, simply by being a moderator there are people who write me off as having a viewpoint aligned with this site. I did run a business for a period of 16 years. It was an audio and recording studio service company supporting many manufacturers. We did business internationally as well. I can't help but look at things differently than you do.

Should I be allowed to post?

Consider too, all those members who may work for an audio company or electronic component supplier. How about them?

How about all the members who used to run their own business?

I think the determination can only be made on the record of a person's posts, and that is what we look at when the question comes up. I really don't know how to approach this in a manner that is more in our members best interests.

I know it's possible to remain objective while wearing two hats. The moderating team does this every single time we post. Anyone who represents a company will also do the same unless they want to lose market share. Honesty is far easier than attempting to hide the truth and remember what the story is.

-Chris
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Old 20th February 2010, 10:54 PM   #17
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Bigun, Godfrey,
Thank you both. We do our best and it's nice to be appreciated.

-Chris
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Last edited by anatech; 20th February 2010 at 11:04 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:13 PM   #18
anatech is offline anatech  Canada
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Hi Godfrey,
This has been said many times, and I guess will many times again.

Dealing with a problem involving a member, or some members, is never an easy thing to do. There is a great deal of work that goes on out of view. Most times, the communications are personal and private. Anyone who sends email to a moderator does have the expectation and right of privacy, and they do. Unless a member requests that we make an announcement, we do not divulge any details at all. Of course, there is an expectation that all communication via email is private and we will delete anything posted that is copied from an email without the permission of the author. It's actually considered a very serious offense to post things like that. At the very least it is in extremely poor taste to do so (by our rules anyway).

What this does in a practical sense is hide most of what goes on from the view of the public. Make no mistake, posts are public here. One thing is for sure though, well a couple things actually. We normally do not want anyone to be banned, it's work and not real fun to begin with, and no one moderator has the authority to do this. A group decision - more work. To ban a member is always the very last option we use. We try everything to settle the issue(s) first. This is a great deal of time and work on our part, so no one is ever surprised they are banned. It doesn't come out of the blue, or at least unless the member is in denial. It has happened that a member takes matter into their own hands and forces our hand. They do something for which there is no other option but to ban them. I refer to this as "suicide by cop", as you have seen. Normally, they do this to create the most amount of noise, and possibly sympathy. It can be effective since the moderating team will not release details (privacy), but an ex-member may not honor that code. I have seen a few completely misrepresent the facts surrounding their departure or conversations with us - knowing we will not release the exact details. That pretty much ensures that stories of how they were unfairly persecuted will circulate.

There is no fix and you can't expect absolute truth from everyone.

One more thing. Each moderator is subject to peer review. We can't get away with anything such as abuse. The other people keep us honest, and that includes the forum owner and mechanic as well. Stories such as plots hatched by moderators will always be claimed, but the way the place is set up really does prevent such things. Believe it or not, that is the honest truth.

-Chris
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Old 20th February 2010, 11:19 PM   #19
Magura is offline Magura  Denmark
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Really, the only issue I can see, is that sponsors with sponsored forums, have moderating rights.
That is just plain wrong, and has already been abused by at least one person.
That a vendor is allowed to moderate anything negative regarding his products, simply makes the credibility of the forum a whole lot lower.
This should be a place for finding honest answers and information, not advertisement disguised as honest answers and information.

The rest of the whining, I find hard to believe.


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Old 20th February 2010, 11:26 PM   #20
SY is offline SY  United States
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magura: They only have limited moderating privileges in their own forums.
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