60 votes

Daily Tildes discussion - how can we maintain quality without drifting too far into "gatekeeping"?

The daily discussion from Friday about the site's activity level has been great, with a ton of solid insight, feedback and suggestions from many different people. Today I want to continue discussing one particular theme that came up in there multiple times: a number of people seem to feel like they're not "worthy" of posting on the site, with it seemingly exacerbated by seeing complaints about the quality of other people's posts.

This is a bit of a tricky thing to balance: we want to try to keep the quality of content on Tildes up, but it can be unwelcoming and discouraging if people feel that they're likely to get berated for posting something that isn't "good enough". By its very nature, being more selective about content means that we have to discourage (or remove) some types of content, but how can we do it in a way that doesn't feel quite so antagonistic to the people submitting?

A good way of thinking about this is to try to consider it from the submitter's perspective. If you were to post something that wasn't really suitable, how would you like to be informed of that? And (just as importantly), how would you not like to be informed of it?

As always, all thoughts and suggestions are welcome. Tildes is still going to require a lot of growth, so it's important to figure out how we'll be able to integrate people into the site's culture over time without feeling overly hostile towards new users.

79 comments

  1. [4]
    demifiend
    Link
    Distinguishing between moderation and gatekeeping sounds a bit like trying to distinguish between erotica and pornography. It's one of those subjective "I know it when I see it" where you can't...

    how can we maintain quality without drifting too far into "gatekeeping"?

    Distinguishing between moderation and gatekeeping sounds a bit like trying to distinguish between erotica and pornography. It's one of those subjective "I know it when I see it" where you can't please everybody, and you're bound to displease somebody. It might be better to just come out and admit to a bit of gatekeeping, but commit to doing so with as light a hand as possible.

    Web communities are gardens, aren't they? Sometimes good plants get overgrown and need to be pruned back. And sometimes you need to pull a few weeds.

    If you were to post something that wasn't really suitable, how would you like to be informed of that?

    A PM saying something like, "This isn't really what we had in mind for tildes.net, so we're going to move it to ~slushpile, but you're welcome to submit something else," would be fine for me, if technically feasible.

    29 votes
    1. Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      Why not just call a spade "a spade"? It is moderating. That's what Deimos is talking about: how do we moderate the posts on this forum?

      Distinguishing between moderation and gatekeeping sounds a bit like trying to distinguish between erotica and pornography. [...] It might be better to just come out and admit to a bit of gatekeeping

      Why not just call a spade "a spade"? It is moderating. That's what Deimos is talking about: how do we moderate the posts on this forum?

      16 votes
    2. [2]
      teaearlgraycold
      Link Parent
      Wait, what's the difference? I would have thought them the same thing.

      distinguish between erotica and pornography

      Wait, what's the difference? I would have thought them the same thing.

      4 votes
      1. woop
        Link Parent
        There's a difference between sexual art and blatant masturbatory fantasy, though it can be hard to draw the line between the two, depending on who you're talking to.

        There's a difference between sexual art and blatant masturbatory fantasy, though it can be hard to draw the line between the two, depending on who you're talking to.

        11 votes
  2. BuckeyeSundae
    Link
    Unfortunately, a lot of the trust that would help this sort of problem would come from the most design intense features (reputation, vote weights, community specific/selected moderators and...

    Unfortunately, a lot of the trust that would help this sort of problem would come from the most design intense features (reputation, vote weights, community specific/selected moderators and standards, etc). Without those systems in place, there's more emphasis on each of us to self-censor as the main system to use (and to encourage others to self-censor, which is something we spent a lot of time talking about in that other activity thread).

    I tend to think that you get what you design a space for. So if there is a space for lower-barrier content, there will be more lower-barrier activity in that space (and that will be more accessible). If you design a space to favor thoughtful content, you'll get a community that values thoughtful content and have that implicitly higher barrier to entry that can exclude people from participating. I don't think either is inherently a bad thing, we just need to be intentional about what it is we want a space to be used for. Especially because we as the community are the only system in place to enforce whatever purpose we have for a space.

    20 votes
  3. [2]
    Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I think a big part of the problem is that there are no moderators on Tildes yet. People see a post they think is not up to Tildes' standards, and they know that there are no official Tildes...

    I think a big part of the problem is that there are no moderators on Tildes yet.

    People see a post they think is not up to Tildes' standards, and they know that there are no official Tildes representatives to take care of it, so they feel obliged to step in and take care of it themselves. This leads to a sort of "stacks on" effect, where quite a few people will tell the poster their post isn't up to scratch (in various styles, from polite to less-polite).

    Then, because everyone has a slightly different idea about what Tildes' standards actually are, other people start arguing with the first responders, telling them that the post actually is suitable. This all starts a great big meta-argument about the standards of Tildes, and derails the thread.

    A newbie looks at this behaviour and gets intimidated. It's not only that they might make a sub-standard post, it's that they'll get a whole mob of people attacking them for that post, and then other people attacking those people, and so on until the whole thread becomes a battlefield. Noone wants that! Noone wants to be at the centre of a big argument like that. So it's safer not to post.

    I think this problem will reduce when there are some moderators on this site. Random tilders will feel less obligated to step in themselves when they know they can just report a perceived sub-standard post and let someone else deal with it. When one moderator has explained things to a poster, other people can see it's already taken care of, and will be less likely to step in. If there's a team of moderators doing this, they can work out a consistent standard among themselves (or be given a consistent standard by you, Deimos), so they're less likely to start arguing in threads (one would hope they could have those discussions about standards behind the scenes rather than derailing a thread). Finally, if there are official representatives explaining the standards, there's less likely to be arguments from other tilders about what is and isn't suitable here. The moderators know what's suitable because they've been instructed directly by you, so other tilders can rely on them to know what's right, rather than trying to guess for themselves.

    This might sound impractical because you can't have moderators because there aren't any moderation tools, but it's achievable right now. This is a problem that can be handled by people rather than by tools.

    You can nominate some official "helpers".

    You hand-pick some people to act as content-helpers. Their job is to help people make better posts and provide better content. You tell these people what is and isn't acceptable. These people are then the only people who should be instructing posters about Tildes' standards. Hopefully, this will reduce the problem of dozens of people jumping on to a poor innocent newbie poster, and will also provide some consistency.

    Failing that...

    • If someone feels that a post is not up to Tildes' standards, they should tell the poster politely and helpfully. They should aim to educate the poster, rather than chastise them. Instead of saying "this isn't good enough", try saying "here's how to make this post better" or "here's a better type of post to make instead".

    • If someone sees that one person has already tried to educate a poster about their post, they should back off. One reminder is enough. We don't need multiple people telling the poster the same thing.

    • If someone disagrees with someone else's attempt to educate a poster, they shouldn't try to derail the thread with meta-arguments about what Tildes is and isn't about. Make a post in ~Tildes, link back to the disputed post, and discuss it away from the original post.

    18 votes
    1. Gyrfalcon
      Link Parent
      I think the focus on constructive criticism is really the key here. Whether or not the decision is made to have some stop gap moderators, the feedback from posting should be constructive criticism...

      I think the focus on constructive criticism is really the key here. Whether or not the decision is made to have some stop gap moderators, the feedback from posting should be constructive criticism at worst.

      Perhaps a way to help avoid overwhelming submitters is that anyone with additional constructive comments should respond to the first constructive comment. That keeps that discussion together. Any new moderators could mention it at the end of their constructive comments.

      7 votes
  4. Catt
    Link
    I already comment but thought this is a different point. Discussion comes from both the original topic and comments. So, even a supposedly low-effort post may still be good for discussion. High...

    I already comment but thought this is a different point.

    Discussion comes from both the original topic and comments. So, even a supposedly low-effort post may still be good for discussion.

    High quality content must include both posts and comments.

    13 votes
  5. [2]
    NubWizard
    Link
    This is a tricky scenario and I will attempt to answer it using perspectives gleaned from my interactions on other forums as I haven't particularly felt opposed to posting on the basis of quality...

    This is a tricky scenario and I will attempt to answer it using perspectives gleaned from my interactions on other forums as I haven't particularly felt opposed to posting on the basis of quality with tildes.

    By its very nature, being more selective about content means that we have to discourage (or remove) some types of content, but how can we do it in a way that doesn't feel quite so antagonistic to the people submitting?

    With regards to being antagonistic to people submitting, there are two things I would suggest:

    1. Clearly defined rules for posting with examples that highlight what quality content looks like vs. low-quality content.

    I think the more context you add to the rules, the better. But I would emphasize that if there are going to be rules surrounding 'intent', such as when you see users debating and declaring the other is "disingenous" or "arguing in bad-faith", the bar for action must be high. I think /r/neutralpolitics is a good example that encourages quality posting and removes posts if they don't fit a certain criteria such as mandatory sourcing. I don't often see posts that are removed from that subreddit because moderators feel the user isn't interacting with integrity.

    1. Clearly defined rules for correcting low-quality posting behavior.

    With this, I think clear, public warnings are a good tool to use that gives more examples that new users can use as a basis to what is acceptable. However, I think its just as important to emphasize how the community should react in these situations. Too often, I find other forums have a habit of 'dog-piling' when a user breaks a norm that is otherwise known in high-context internet forum cultures. This leads the offending user feeling attacked for an otherwise trivial mistake or misunderstanding and giving the feeling that a community is unwelcome to new users and different ideas.

    However, I think its also important to flip this question in the opposite direction:

    being more selective about content means that we have to encourage some types of content, but how can we do it in a way that doesn't feel there is a big burden to the people submitting?

    So, how can we encourage people to post that comment they have been holding onto because they are in fear its not good enough?

    I think a good approach here is positive psychology and where maybe Tildes can build a commendation system (maybe using the old comment tags system!) that will give users positive feedback on their posts and give them a sense of direction on how they want to frame a comment. Additionally, you can make it a requirement that a user pre-tags their comment based on how they believe it will contribute to a conversation, giving them a frame of mind and maybe examples on what a well-written comment looks like. Commendation/Comment tags could look like:

    • Sourced (i.e. a comment that is particularly link heavy that includes information)
    • Information-seeking (i.e. a comment that is asking a follow-up question(s) to another poster)
    • Personal Anecdote (i.e. adds an interesting story that is related to an article)
    • Additional Information (i.e. adding context to a link or comment)
    • Objective Viewpoint (i.e. a well-written counter argument to a comment or post)

    I think you could do some interesting things building a "Commentation" system that encourages through positive re-inforcement and that provides a frame-of-reference for writing a good comment.

    12 votes
    1. Gyrfalcon
      Link Parent
      I think a constructive criticism tag could be good in conjunction with some of @Algernon_Asimov 's points.

      I think a constructive criticism tag could be good in conjunction with some of @Algernon_Asimov 's points.

      2 votes
  6. [2]
    MetArtScroll
    Link
    Some scattered thoughts: While there is certain Tildes-wide minimum quality level, quality requirements differ across groups. As I already commented elsewhere, if ~science and ~talk are subject to...

    Some scattered thoughts:

    1. While there is certain Tildes-wide minimum quality level, quality requirements differ across groups. As I already commented elsewhere, if ~science and ~talk are subject to the same quality standards, then either the former will be crappy or the latter will be bland.
    2. Gatekeep the gatekeepers. While ~movies / ~tv is not my stuff, from the discussions I have got an impression that the gatekeeping reaction to that “All Episodes” post was excessive if not outright kneejerk. “Don't be an asshole” applies to gatekeepers too.
    3. Emphasise in the “Welcome to the Tildes” message that users are encouraged to post content that can result in good discussion. Maybe remove “Please avoid posting topics that are primarily for entertainment or that don't have discussion value.” from the topic submission form and definitely remove the italics as this can discourage some new users.
    4. Think about the content whose quality is around the boundary of what is OK here. It is clear that yet another advice animal or a deepfake involving Justin Bieber and a basketball team of 7' tall black stallions are not OK but there are topics in ~talk or ~misc or ~sports that might seem too low-quality especially for those who normally contribute to SciTech groups. In particular, would match threads be eventually acceptable within ~sports subgroups (the problem here is the comment quality)?
    11 votes
    1. woop
      Link Parent
      I agree with all points, really. An over-arching quality level isn't applicable towards a website with a lot of different groups and the sub-cultures that develop within. Websites and communities...

      I agree with all points, really. An over-arching quality level isn't applicable towards a website with a lot of different groups and the sub-cultures that develop within.

      Websites and communities need to be welcoming in order to develop and prevent a stagnated or stunted community. Like another poster mentioned, pictures and what some would consider to be "fluff" could also promote discussion between users, especially with the structuring of Tildes and it's voting system. Being welcoming doesn't mean shirking all moderation practices, or accepting any sort of post that comes on to this site, though. There's a fine line.

      3 votes
  7. [11]
    Eva
    Link
    I think, personally, that recommendations along the line of "Moderators will do it for you!" aren't particularly great. Moderators generally ~ shouldn't ~ be trusted with maintaining a culture of...

    I think, personally, that recommendations along the line of "Moderators will do it for you!" aren't particularly great. Moderators generally ~ shouldn't ~ be trusted with maintaining a culture of a site; especially not people who push "Moderators!" as an end-all solution for pretty much every problem a site has.

    Maintaining quality's not that hard; HN, /., Metafilter and co. have all done it to various degrees of success. People join sites of people they want to have discussions with, which naturally maintains roughly the same amount of quality the site had before. The only way this changes is if whoever's running any given site makes a push to get users outside of the norm of the site. Then the quality-norm will shift, for better or for worse. Community selection's a really effective thing.

    Increasing quality's the difficult thing, but can generally be done well by just convincing good users to invite more people before letting open the floodgates. After that it's smooth sailing.

    9 votes
    1. hungariantoast
      Link Parent
      Right now Tildes has an issue with gatekeeping, which is not the same thing as moderating, even if the gatekeeper in question is an actual moderator. For that reason, I agree with your comment....

      Right now Tildes has an issue with gatekeeping, which is not the same thing as moderating, even if the gatekeeper in question is an actual moderator. For that reason, I agree with your comment. The site is too small and too concentrated (only 19 topics and one sub topic) to be handing out moderation powers to users yet, and the issue of being inclusive and kind to users who makes mistakes shouldn't be solved by handing out mods.

      I think, personally, that recommendations along the line of "Moderators will do it for you!" aren't particularly great. Moderators generally ~ shouldn't ~ be trusted with maintaining a culture of a site; especially not people who push "Moderators!" as an end-all solution for pretty much every problem a site has.

      I agree with this. There are already some very active users on this site that I would hate to see with the ability to moderate me, and I honestly feel like the biggest con to Tildes right now are these growing pains coming from the constant bickering about what posts and comments shouldn't exist or should be their own topic.

      If we are going to get moderators, I don't want the selection process to be based on the activity of a user, because I've noticed that more often than not, the more active users are stonewalled in their ways. I'd much prefer a lurker whose just content to keep the rubbish off the site than a very active mod who enforces very strict interaction guidelines.

      At what point does Tildes draw the line between casual discussion and high quality discussion?

      When I think about what I really dislike about Reddit and other websites, it often comes down to the moderators, and also the admins in Reddit's case. I see moderators as a generally bad thing, and something that should only be relied upon as a last resort.

      Again, I also agree with your other comment down below:

      BAD POST HAPPENS

      No one interacts with it.

      BAD POST FADES INTO NOTHINGNESS

      The norms are already set, more or less.

      Because you're right. Tildes is way too small and way too concentrated (IMO) to be handing out moderation powers to users. We have what, 19 topics, and one sub-topic? How many of those are so active that they could even benefit from moderation at the moment? Zero, in my opinion.

      We already have everything we need to solve content issues at the moment by just ignoring the content we don't like.

      9 votes
    2. [8]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      If not moderators, then what? What's your solution to the problem of unsuitable content? How do we set the norms of this site in these early stages? How do we let people know their post isn't...

      If not moderators, then what? What's your solution to the problem of unsuitable content? How do we set the norms of this site in these early stages? How do we let people know their post isn't suitable?

      2 votes
      1. [7]
        Eva
        Link Parent
        If not moderators, then what? What's your solution to the problem of unsuitable content? How do we set the norms of this site in these early stages? BAD POST HAPPENS No one interacts with it. BAD...

        If not moderators, then what? What's your solution to the problem of unsuitable content? How do we set the norms of this site in these early stages?

        BAD POST HAPPENS

        No one interacts with it.

        BAD POST FADES INTO NOTHINGNESS

        The norms are already set, more or less.

        How do we let people know their post isn't suitable?

        Pretty simple; just don't interact with it, or allow a report feature that nukes a post after eight or so reports; giving @deimos the option to bring it back.

        8 votes
        1. [5]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          In your proposed method, how does the poster tell the difference between "noone saw my post" and "my post wasn't good enough"?

          In your proposed method, how does the poster tell the difference between "noone saw my post" and "my post wasn't good enough"?

          4 votes
          1. [4]
            Eva
            Link Parent
            View count. Also, it's pretty hard to get "No one saw my post," from the current state of Tildes; where you might remain on the front page for an hour or two with the default sort without interaction.

            View count. Also, it's pretty hard to get "No one saw my post," from the current state of Tildes; where you might remain on the front page for an hour or two with the default sort without interaction.

            3 votes
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              There are no view counts on Tildes. I assume you're proposing that this be added as a feature.

              View count.

              There are no view counts on Tildes. I assume you're proposing that this be added as a feature.

              4 votes
              1. [2]
                Eva
                Link Parent
                There are no moderators on Tildes, either.

                There are no moderators on Tildes, either.

                4 votes
                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Correct. However, I believe it would be quicker to add proto-mods ("content-helpers") than view counts.

                  Correct.

                  However, I believe it would be quicker to add proto-mods ("content-helpers") than view counts.

                  1 vote
        2. moriarty
          Link Parent
          This relies on all users sticking to the rules (no one interacts with it) which is demonstrably not what happens in these situations. Particularly because trolls are experts at soliciting...

          This relies on all users sticking to the rules (no one interacts with it) which is demonstrably not what happens in these situations. Particularly because trolls are experts at soliciting controversy and getting people angry enough to respond. And if indeed it's an honest mistake, the poster has no way to know what they did wrong
          I'm generally wary of solutions that presume a tacit uniform reaction from people over active and proactive measures to prevent it

          2 votes
    3. Whom
      Link Parent
      This is a weird comment to make on a site where half of the (planned) idea is that we'll have such an overflow of trusted users given varying levels of mod powers that we'll be able to have...

      This is a weird comment to make on a site where half of the (planned) idea is that we'll have such an overflow of trusted users given varying levels of mod powers that we'll be able to have moderators act on everything you'd want them to.

      1 vote
  8. [2]
    meghan
    Link
    Posts from companies is not what I want to see, I know that. https://tildes.net/~tech/3h6/how_tildes_helped_launch_our_vpn

    Posts from companies is not what I want to see, I know that.
    https://tildes.net/~tech/3h6/how_tildes_helped_launch_our_vpn

    8 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      Thanks—I'll make the daily discussion today about that, it's worth discussing in more detail and this makes a good example.

      Thanks—I'll make the daily discussion today about that, it's worth discussing in more detail and this makes a good example.

      5 votes
  9. [18]
    vektor
    Link
    My gut feeling would be a "low-effort" tilde. Still prohibits easy, obviously-low-effort nonsense like non-OC memes or cat gifs, but allows you to with a much lower expectation of quality. A rule...

    My gut feeling would be a "low-effort" tilde. Still prohibits easy, obviously-low-effort nonsense like non-OC memes or cat gifs, but allows you to with a much lower expectation of quality. A rule there would be "if you see content you want to see on the main tildes for it, you tell OP so". So if you were to look at my ~games post the other day, if I was unsure about posting it (because I had no idea of my own for example), I'd just post it to ~newbies (because I'm terrible with names), and tag it appropriately. A ~games user who sees my stuff there would then tell me to go ahead and put that on games; all the while, the discussion would get started on ~newbies, regardless of whether it's low-effort or not.

    Beyond that, I think for now we can stick to just telling people they're a bit on the low-effort side. If they keep that up without a credible effort to change, soft moderation action is ok.

    OT: is it showing that I'm procrastinating studying?

    6 votes
    1. [12]
      meghan
      Link Parent
      you're thinking of a down-vote. or at least what the down-vote is supposed to be from reddiquette:

      "low-effort" tilde

      you're thinking of a down-vote. or at least what the down-vote is supposed to be

      from reddiquette:

      please don't

      Downvote an otherwise acceptable post because you don't personally like it. Think before you downvote and take a moment to ensure you're downvoting someone because they are not contributing to the community dialogue or discussion.

      3 votes
      1. [11]
        Algernon_Asimov
        Link Parent
        No, they're clearly thinking of a new group on Tildes, specifically for people to post in when they're not confident: ~newbies. If you're not confident about your post, you put it in ~newbies...

        you're thinking of a down-vote.

        No, they're clearly thinking of a new group on Tildes, specifically for people to post in when they're not confident: ~newbies. If you're not confident about your post, you put it in ~newbies instead of in a main group like ~games,

        Basically, it's a test bed for posts. By posting something in ~newbies, you're asking "Is this post good enough for Tildes?"

        4 votes
        1. [10]
          meghan
          Link Parent
          I disagree with the idea of ~newbies, but I'll go with whatever Deimos wants

          I disagree with the idea of ~newbies, but I'll go with whatever Deimos wants

          2 votes
          1. [9]
            Algernon_Asimov
            Link Parent
            I don't necessarily agree with it. I was just explaining it because you seemed confused.

            I don't necessarily agree with it. I was just explaining it because you seemed confused.

            2 votes
            1. [8]
              meghan
              Link Parent
              oh, thanks :)

              oh, thanks :)

              3 votes
              1. [7]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                What Asimov said. Except I admit that the name is terrible and should definitely be revised. As I said, I'm terrible with names.

                What Asimov said. Except I admit that the name is terrible and should definitely be revised. As I said, I'm terrible with names.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  meghan
                  Link Parent
                  oh the name is fine :) I just don't really agree with the idea of a testing ground ~ for new users. I feel like it would be more helpful if they published in the group they thought was most...

                  oh the name is fine :)
                  I just don't really agree with the idea of a testing ground ~ for new users. I feel like it would be more helpful if they published in the group they thought was most appropriate and then pushed in the right direction if community members disagree

                  2 votes
                  1. vektor
                    Link Parent
                    Well, it wasn't meant as a quarantine to stuff newbies in until they get it. More as a testing ground for those who think their stuff is not good enough. I guess the name does change people's...

                    Well, it wasn't meant as a quarantine to stuff newbies in until they get it. More as a testing ground for those who think their stuff is not good enough. I guess the name does change people's perception, since I meant it more as a ~fluff or ~wheredoiputthis board.

                    1 vote
                2. [4]
                  Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Interesting. On Reddit, most people call me "Algernon" (or "AA"). Here, they call me "Asimov" (this is the third time now). That's strange.

                  What Asimov said.

                  Interesting. On Reddit, most people call me "Algernon" (or "AA"). Here, they call me "Asimov" (this is the third time now). That's strange.

                  2 votes
                  1. [2]
                    BuckeyeSundae
                    Link Parent
                    Might be user preference? I typically went for "Asimov" because it reminded me of the author (isaac). One thread not to long ago you made a small joking comment about us being able to be on a...

                    Might be user preference? I typically went for "Asimov" because it reminded me of the author (isaac). One thread not to long ago you made a small joking comment about us being able to be on a first name basis, which I took to mean you preferred being referred to as Algernon, so I've switched completely since then.

                    You gotta admit too, it sounds a lot more bad ass to refer to soemthing "asimov" said than something "Algie" said.

                    3 votes
                    1. Algernon_Asimov
                      Link Parent
                      Correct. :)

                      I took to mean you preferred being referred to as Algernon

                      Correct. :)

                      1 vote
                  2. vektor
                    Link Parent
                    I was more confident my auto-correct wouldn't throw a fit at that. :D

                    I was more confident my auto-correct wouldn't throw a fit at that. :D

                    1 vote
    2. [5]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      I can't make head nor tail of this. Could you please explain what this means for us dunderheads?

      A rule there would be "if you see content you want to see on the main tildes for it, you tell OP so".

      I can't make head nor tail of this. Could you please explain what this means for us dunderheads?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        woop
        Link Parent
        Non-native English speaker, maybe? English is fairly weird; "apart" and "a part," for instance. My brother and I have been trying to figure it out, and the best he came up with is: "If you see...

        Non-native English speaker, maybe? English is fairly weird; "apart" and "a part," for instance.

        My brother and I have been trying to figure it out, and the best he came up with is:

        "If you see content you'd rather see on it's sub-tildes, tell them. If your post is more fluff-related, put it in the hypothetical ~fluff."

        3 votes
        1. vektor
          Link Parent
          So, on newbies or fluff or whatever, anyone is invited to tell OP that their post would be appropriate for ~games or whatever. So posting on fluff is basically saying "i wanna post this. Should I?...

          So, on newbies or fluff or whatever, anyone is invited to tell OP that their post would be appropriate for ~games or whatever. So posting on fluff is basically saying "i wanna post this. Should I? Where?" So you were half correct.

          Definitely non-native. I like to think people understand me... How would you have phrased it?

          2 votes
      2. [2]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        So if on newbies you see a fluff post, don't engage. If you see quality stuff, you tell OP that you think it's quality and that you'd like to see that stuff on, say, games. Makes sense now? How'd...

        So if on newbies you see a fluff post, don't engage. If you see quality stuff, you tell OP that you think it's quality and that you'd like to see that stuff on, say, games.

        Makes sense now? How'd you have expressed that?

        1 vote
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          "If you see a post on ~newbies that's good enough to post in one of the main groups, tell the OP."

          "If you see a post on ~newbies that's good enough to post in one of the main groups, tell the OP."

  10. Catt
    Link
    I think it's important to clearly and politely explain why something may not belong. And if applicable, how it could belong. Ultimately, I believe it will help if each user kept in mind that their...

    I think it's important to clearly and politely explain why something may not belong. And if applicable, how it could belong. Ultimately, I believe it will help if each user kept in mind that their opinions about a post's worth is still an opinion, and try to keep an open mind about the content.

    Edit to add: we should be careful not to pile-on. If a post already has a few comments explaining that it's low effort, it doesn't 20 more.

    6 votes
  11. [12]
    flaque
    Link
    Once again, I'd like to suggest ~fluff. Tildes needs a baby-steps guide. Right now there's a chilling effect on posting. Prominent high profile bans and lots of talk about culture are often scary...

    Once again, I'd like to suggest ~fluff.

    Tildes needs a baby-steps guide.

    Right now there's a chilling effect on posting. Prominent high profile bans and lots of talk about culture are often scary for new users who haven't figured everything out yet. If you get the culture, then it's natural and normal, but most people don't right off the bat.

    Most people who come here see a reddit-clone with an option for themes. Culture is not obvious or apparent. It's learned.

    People need to be allowed to make mistakes and adapt. You just can't learn if you feel like posting something is going to get you banned or heavily complained about. There should be a friendly process for moving stuff over to ~fluff and ~fluff shouldn't be a bad place. We should make having a post being moved to fluff like a right of passage. It should be a mark of learning and like an inside joke that's shared with the participant.

    But seriously, ~ would be better with ~fluff.

    6 votes
    1. [11]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      What's the difference between ~fluff and ~trash?

      What's the difference between ~fluff and ~trash?

      3 votes
      1. NubWizard
        Link Parent
        Some people like fluff. I don't think moving someone's post to a ~ called trash is going to address the idea that the barrier is too high to post.

        Some people like fluff.

        I don't think moving someone's post to a ~ called trash is going to address the idea that the barrier is too high to post.

        7 votes
      2. [3]
        flaque
        Link Parent
        ~fluff isn't necessarily negative. It could/should be spun as a cutesy beginners playground, not a jail. ~trash implies that the thing you posted was "bad," which doesn't help people who make...

        ~fluff isn't necessarily negative. It could/should be spun as a cutesy beginners playground, not a jail. ~trash implies that the thing you posted was "bad," which doesn't help people who make mistakes. ~fluff isn't for "bad" stuff, it's for things that don't belong on ~tildes.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          A trashcan by any other name stinks as bad. It doesn't matter whether you call it ~trash or ~fluff, the process is still the same: remove content from Tildes and hide it somewhere else. If it's...

          ~trash implies that the thing you posted was "bad," which doesn't help people who make mistakes.

          A trashcan by any other name stinks as bad. It doesn't matter whether you call it ~trash or ~fluff, the process is still the same: remove content from Tildes and hide it somewhere else.

          it's for things that don't belong on ~tildes.

          If it's for things that don't belong on Tildes, why are we keeping it in a ~fluff group on Tildes?

          It could/should be spun as a cutesy beginners playground

          In that case, I prefer @vektor's suggestion of ~newbies, or @hook's suggestion of ~sandbox. ~fluff looks like the sort of place that encourages fluffy content.

          2 votes
          1. flaque
            Link Parent
            It definitely shouldn't be a trashcan. Absolutely not. Nor should it necessarily be a dumping ground for bad content. The term ~fluff came from an earlier thread from a few months ago that was...

            It definitely shouldn't be a trashcan. Absolutely not. Nor should it necessarily be a dumping ground for bad content.

            The term ~fluff came from an earlier thread from a few months ago that was specifically for fuzzy animals. Hence fluffy content.

            1 vote
      3. [6]
        Catt
        Link Parent
        I'm not sure if you're being serious, but this comment doesn't seem constructive. ~fluff is content that's on the lower side of quality and effort (but perhaps not actually dropping below the bar...

        I'm not sure if you're being serious, but this comment doesn't seem constructive.

        ~fluff is content that's on the lower side of quality and effort (but perhaps not actually dropping below the bar of Tildes).

        ~trash is honestly just rude. Perhaps you're suggesting all questionable content should simply be removed?

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          I'm deadly serious. I see no difference between @flaque's suggestion for a ~fluff group and its associated process, and the "trash can" or "recycle bin" in a computer's operating system. It's...

          I'm not sure if you're being serious, but this comment doesn't seem constructive.

          I'm deadly serious. I see no difference between @flaque's suggestion for a ~fluff group and its associated process, and the "trash can" or "recycle bin" in a computer's operating system. It's somewhere where you move items that you don't want without actually deleting them. So this question was an (admittedly brief) attempt to elicit further information about how this proposed ~fluff group might be different to a trash can (or to confirm that there is no difference).

          ~fluff is content that's on the lower side of quality and effort

          Read @flaque's suggestion again. While other people have suggested that ~fluff be a home for low-quality content, @flaque is suggesting that it's the place you send posts that aren't good enough. As they later said: "~fluff isn't for "bad" stuff, it's for things that don't belong on ~tildes." Well, if that content doesn't belong on Tildes, why would we have a group on Tildes for it? That seems contradictory to me. "That stuff doesn't belong on this website, so we made a place on this website for it." "I don't want you bringing your dog into my home, so I put a dog mat in my living room for it to sit on." "You can't drink alcohol at work, so we've put a table in the corner of the office for you to drink at."

          Perhaps you're suggesting all questionable content should simply be removed?

          Yes. The poster should be advised why their post was removed, educated about how to post better next time, and encouraged to revise their post and submit it again... but their sub-standard post should be removed.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Catt
            Link Parent
            I think we may have read that differently. I saw it more as a sandbox for new users that can also act as examples. For the record, I don't a separate space either, but I think calling it trash is...

            I think we may have read that differently.

            People need to be allowed to make mistakes and adapt. You just can't learn if you feel like posting something is going to get you banned or heavily complained about. There should be a friendly process for moving stuff over to ~fluff and ~fluff shouldn't be a bad place.

            I saw it more as a sandbox for new users that can also act as examples.

            For the record, I don't a separate space either, but I think calling it trash is a bit harsh.

            The poster should be advised why their post was removed, educated about how to post better next time, and encouraged to revise their post and submit it again... but their sub-standard post should be removed.

            I agree with this. Users need feedback. However, considering there's be a few posts labelled as low-effort that I don't agree with, I think we need to be careful about removing posts too.

            I think you mentioned you were a mod before, do people usually resubmit a removed post?

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              Why? Why do you think sub-standard or unsuitable posts should remain? What's the benefit in saying "X is not allowed here" and then allowing X to remain here when it's posted? Regardless, it's not...

              However, considering there's be a few posts labelled as low-effort that I don't agree with, I think we need to be careful about removing posts too.

              Why? Why do you think sub-standard or unsuitable posts should remain? What's the benefit in saying "X is not allowed here" and then allowing X to remain here when it's posted?

              Regardless, it's not up to you or me to decide what is and isn't acceptable here. It's up to Deimos, and his future moderators. If they decide a post is low-quality (people keep saying "low-effort" for some reason, but they're not the same thing) and not suitable here, then it's not suitable here. Full stop.

              Deimos seems to have a good idea of what he wants for this site. If someone wants something different, they can now take a copy of Tildes' code and make their own version. Meanwhile, this version of Tildes will operate to Deimos' standards, not yours or mine.

              I think you mentioned you were a mod before, do people usually resubmit a removed post?

              I'm still a mod. I currently moderate a few subreddits on Reddit. I've been a moderator there for about 6 years, in various subreddits (including a subreddit for moderators to ask for help!).

              Sadly, people usually don't re-submit a removed post. Even when I've practically written the new post for them, they just won't submit it. Whether it's laziness or sulking or apathy, I don't know. But most posts don't get re-submitted. That doesn't justify keeping bad posts up, though.

              However, that problem will be partially addressed here on Tildes, because I believe that Deimos intends for some moderators to have the power to edit posts (like they can do on StackExchange). Therefore, this means that editorialised titles (which is one problem I see a lot) can be changed by moderators, rather than having to remove the post and re-submit it with a new title. Another problem that will be addressed here is that some moderators will have the power to move posts. This means that posts in the wrong group can be shifted by moderators, rather than having to remove the post in the wrong group and re-submit it in the right group.

              1. [2]
                Soptik
                Link Parent
                Most of the time, from my experience, it's because user loses the "lust" for posting - they don't want me (my posts) here, why should I bother? ^^ When we don't delete post and tell users to try...

                people usually don't re-submit a removed post

                Most of the time, from my experience, it's because user loses the "lust" for posting - they don't want me (my posts) here, why should I bother?

                Why do you think sub-standard or unsuitable posts should remain?

                ^^

                When we don't delete post and tell users to try it again, but instead, we suggest users to edit the post (as a friendly advice, rather than rejection of their work), users will feel much more welcome and will come back and post more often. Instead of removing (which I think should be reserved for direct rules-breaking posts), we could just do something less radical - for example just lower post visibility - it will be lower on the frontpage, eventually even disappearing from the posts list.

                The point is, if we don't just reject user's posts, but we advice them to change them, he will feel welcome and will come back.

                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  Not all posts can be edited. Post titles can't be edited. Links can't be edited. That doesn't teach the poster how to do better next time.

                  instead, we suggest users to edit the post

                  Not all posts can be edited. Post titles can't be edited. Links can't be edited.

                  we could just do something less radical - for example just lower post visibility

                  That doesn't teach the poster how to do better next time.

                  1 vote
  12. [6]
    hungariantoast
    Link
    If you want to discourage a certain type of post or comment, lock it. You've already built the functionality to do this, and it's something we don't need moderators to do for us (yet, maybe ever),...

    but how can we do it in a way that doesn't feel quite so antagonistic to the people submitting?

    If you want to discourage a certain type of post or comment, lock it. You've already built the functionality to do this, and it's something we don't need moderators to do for us (yet, maybe ever), so just lock the post/comment so people can't reply to it, but maybe can still vote on it.

    Then you provide an explanation for why it was locked, or refer to another comment or post that already explained it.

    If you were to post something that wasn't really suitable, how would you like to be informed of that? And (just as importantly), how would you not like to be informed of it?

    It's way easier to be told your post belongs somewhere else than to be told that your post doesn't belong at all, so obviously how I would like to be informed would depend on just how badly I messed up.

    If I posted something in the wrong topic, let me know it belongs somewhere else and move it for me. If I post something that doesn't belong on Tildes at all, lock it and send me a private message, or just a public comment, because I personally won't feel ashamed on the Internet, and just explain why the content doesn't fit.

    What I don't want, even if I am not the person who did something wrong, is to see twelve people all tell me my post/comment is bad, regardless of the length or detail of their comments. It really just takes one person to very plainly say "this belongs in topic x for reason y" or "this isn't within the lines of what we want here on Tildes for reason x" and if anyone has any words of wisdom they think they should add, then it can be in a reply to the original discouraging/correcting comment.

    How do other sites deal with issues like this? Tildes doesn't have to re-invent the wheel just to be a unique and excellent website, but you already know that.

    I'll just be blunt, nearly two days ago I got told I "derailed" a thread, and sure, there's probably some truth to that comment, but my questions that I posed, which were relevant to the comment I was replying to, wouldn't have derailed anything had users just ignored it, and it could have easily been locked to prevent replies if it were actually a problem.

    I'll admit that it annoyed me, partly because I disagreed with being called out on derailing anything, but also because the comment that accused me of derailing the post was a poor example of how we should handle discouraging content we don't want to see.

    Do you really need to derail a thread about antifa with your questions about some other website?

    That's it. That's the reply I got. There's not a lot of information to work with there. So, let's assume I'm fairly new to online communities, how am I supposed to take anything away from that?

    Are my comments supposed to be 100% relevant to the topic of the post? No one told me that before hand, and I disagree that comments need to be relevant to the post at all, I only think they need to at least be relevant to the comment they are replying to, with the preferable occurrence being a comment is relevant to its parent comment and the post.

    Discouragement doesn't need to be hostile at all, and it shouldn't be unless a user is a repeat offender, but only then within reason as a warning of their impending ban. Not everyone is so capable when it comes to participating in online communities, but those people can offer up the best content. We definitely need to learn how to get the community as a whole to strike a balance between setting an example of what we want, and not driving people away with our attitude about it, because the only people who lose anything by users leaving this site, is the people who continue to stay here.

    6 votes
    1. [2]
      BuckeyeSundae
      Link Parent
      Yeah, I think we can be more mindful (especially the handful of us that are speaking up about the on-topicness of a particular comment chain). I know I've been on the wrong side on that behavior...

      I'll just be blunt, nearly two days ago I got told I "derailed" a thread, and sure, there's probably some truth to that comment, but my questions that I posed, which were relevant to the comment I was replying to, wouldn't have derailed anything had users just ignored it, and it could have easily been locked to prevent replies if it were actually a problem.

      I'll admit that it annoyed me, partly because I disagreed with being called out on derailing anything, but also because the comment that accused me of derailing the post was a poor example of how we should handle discouraging content we don't want to see.

      Yeah, I think we can be more mindful (especially the handful of us that are speaking up about the on-topicness of a particular comment chain). I know I've been on the wrong side on that behavior myself, and I've tried to adopted more friendly way of approaching comments that I think might be better suited as their own threads.

      There is and will always be a massive difference between commenting in a thread to the effect of "Hey, I love the enthusiasm, but do you think that maybe this could be its own thread topic? I've love to give a review of my own, but I think it might be a little too off topic here. Maybe you could make a review of this website in ~misc?" and "Oh god, are you making even more off-topic comments, ugh." I think we should probably aim for the former example rather than the latter, and I'm sorry for having done my part in responding to what I've perceived to be hostile, off-topic comments with similarly hostile tones myself.

      5 votes
      1. Crespyl
        Link Parent
        I also think threads which start off on-topic can often slowly drift farther off-topic while still remaining high-effort and valuable, especially when the thread lasts for several days which is...

        I also think threads which start off on-topic can often slowly drift farther off-topic while still remaining high-effort and valuable, especially when the thread lasts for several days which is fairly common here.

        Having tools to manage off-topic but valuable comments without completely shutting them down is important, and I strongly believe that comment tags are a good way to do that, especially if there's a mechanism for optionally auto-collapsing or sorting such comments lower by default.

        4 votes
    2. [3]
      Catt
      Link Parent
      I honestly believe we should be able to go off topic a bit. Just whatever would happen organically in a real conversation. I mean, are we a virtual gathering of people discussing something...

      That's it. That's the reply I got. There's not a lot of information to work with there. So, let's assume I'm fairly new to online communities, how am I supposed to take anything away from that?

      I honestly believe we should be able to go off topic a bit. Just whatever would happen organically in a real conversation. I mean, are we a virtual gathering of people discussing something interesting or are we submitting papers for peer-review and grants?

      I'm not saying we shouldn't have super-high level content and responses, just that I think some people are taking this a bit too seriously.

      It was a while back, so I'm not going to go digging for it, but I remember being called for "not answering the question" for topic where I honestly thought I did.

      Edit to add: I believe if someone honestly thought you were derailing the discussion, maybe a gentle "that's interesting, maybe consider starting a new topic for it" would be much better.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        BuckeyeSundae
        Link Parent
        I remember that thread and thought that I, too, had answered the core question of the topic about as thoroughly as I possibly could. I think that it's highly likely that we will err on all sides...

        I remember that thread and thought that I, too, had answered the core question of the topic about as thoroughly as I possibly could. I think that it's highly likely that we will err on all sides of this topic. A comment won't necessarily be as off-topic as someone thinks; a comment might be wholly off topic but really interesting; a comment might be a little hostile to someone's baby (and justifiably so) and a bit off topic.

        I think we'd do well to be a bit more lax about such things, but I think we're also demonstrating a bit of our own insecurity about expectations with the community when we do act on these things. The one time I got angriest about this sort of thing was when someone was telling me to post my thread in a space that I didn't think was appropriate for it, while being seemingly uninterested with why I felt it wasn't the best fit for the thread. It probably wasn't the off-topicness that made me so angry so much as the slap in the face that felt like they were saying "you don't matter; your words don't matter; get out of my face."

        What I'm saying is I think accusations of something being "off topic" are probably a mask for deeper problems that someone has with a comment. While it would be better to focus on that deeper problem, sometimes we'll not easily be able to identify it ourselves. We'll just have emotional RAWR reaction and not have any clear articulation of what's actually going on. It's hard to be constructive in that sort of mental state, so I guess I get why the impulse is to focus on something's relationship with the thread itself.

        3 votes
        1. Catt
          Link Parent
          I definitely agree that we should be a bit more lax, and I can see the overzealous comments being a reflection of our own hopes and fears. After all, a lot of us are here because we are looking...

          I definitely agree that we should be a bit more lax, and I can see the overzealous comments being a reflection of our own hopes and fears. After all, a lot of us are here because we are looking for higher quality content and don't want a second Reddit.

          2 votes
  13. [11]
    Diet_Coke
    Link
    What if there was a 12 hour moratorium on questioning whether a post can spark a good discussion, or if the source is up to par? Maybe with the caveat that it's ok to do so as part of a...

    What if there was a 12 hour moratorium on questioning whether a post can spark a good discussion, or if the source is up to par? Maybe with the caveat that it's ok to do so as part of a discussion.

    Sometimes flowers grow from cracks in the sidewalk; I think we should give them a chance. 12 hours is enough time for it to happen if it's going to, but also long enough that if someone objects, it won't sting as bad. It's also long enough that the person who wants to offer the rebuke should have a cooler, maybe even kinder frame of mind.

    4 votes
    1. [9]
      Algernon_Asimov
      Link Parent
      So... if someone makes a one-line post saying "flowers r dum coz their just dead sex organs of plants", but the thread results in scientific discussions about horticulture and botany, as well as...

      So... if someone makes a one-line post saying "flowers r dum coz their just dead sex organs of plants", but the thread results in scientific discussions about horticulture and botany, as well as sociological observations about courting rituals across cultures, we should give the original poster a free pass because their post sparked good discussion?

      3 votes
      1. [6]
        Diet_Coke
        Link Parent
        Why not? At least until too much content becomes a problem. And it's only a free pass for 12 hours.

        Why not? At least until too much content becomes a problem. And it's only a free pass for 12 hours.

        3 votes
        1. [5]
          Algernon_Asimov
          Link Parent
          Because, in that 12 hours, everyone else can see it, and other newbies can assume it's okay to post content like that.

          Why not?

          Because, in that 12 hours, everyone else can see it, and other newbies can assume it's okay to post content like that.

          5 votes
          1. [4]
            Diet_Coke
            Link Parent
            I would say for the really egregious stuff, let Deimos know so he can take care of it. Or frame your correction of the base post as part of your answer: "flowers are not dumb, they're actually...

            I would say for the really egregious stuff, let Deimos know so he can take care of it. Or frame your correction of the base post as part of your answer: "flowers are not dumb, they're actually pretty great. In general we try to set a higher bar here on Tildes. Consider this information about flowers you might not have known about" - serves the purpose of gently letting OP know what they could have done better and also contributes to a greater discussion.

            A lot of us are here from Reddit. If you want an example of really dumb posts creating good discussion, check out the AskHistorians subreddit. Many questions there are objectively terrible but result in very interesting answers.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Algernon_Asimov
              Link Parent
              I don't see how that response educates the poster about how to post better next time. I used to moderate /r/AskHistorians a while back. Even then, we had rules about what questions were suitable...

              Or frame your correction of the base post as part of your answer: "flowers are not dumb, they're actually pretty great. In general we try to set a higher bar here on Tildes. Consider this information about flowers you might not have known about"

              I don't see how that response educates the poster about how to post better next time.

              If you want an example of really dumb posts creating good discussion, check out the AskHistorians subreddit. Many questions there are objectively terrible but result in very interesting answers.

              I used to moderate /r/AskHistorians a while back. Even then, we had rules about what questions were suitable (no "survey" questions, no "biggest/richest/smallest/oldest/most" questions, etc), and how questions should be presented in order to have the best chance of prompting useful answers.

              And Tildes isn't a question-and-answer forum. The expectations for an uninformed layperson asking questions are different than for someone trying to post high-quality content. I'd say that my current subreddit /r/DaystromInstitute is a better model for this - and we have standards about the discussion prompts posted there.

              3 votes
              1. [2]
                Diet_Coke
                Link Parent
                It was just an example, but the 'we try to set a higher bar on Tildes' is where I was trying to incorporate that. Notice how it is sandwiched between a gently correcting opener and then a positive...

                I don't see how that response educates the poster about how to post better next time.

                It was just an example, but the 'we try to set a higher bar on Tildes' is where I was trying to incorporate that. Notice how it is sandwiched between a gently correcting opener and then a positive example of what good discussion looks like.

                3 votes
                1. Algernon_Asimov
                  Link Parent
                  What is that higher bar? How could the poster's post have been improved to meet that bar? There are people in this thread complaining that some feedback they've received did not include enough...

                  the 'we try to set a higher bar on Tildes' is where I was trying to incorporate that.

                  What is that higher bar? How could the poster's post have been improved to meet that bar? There are people in this thread complaining that some feedback they've received did not include enough information. Your suggested response fails that test.

                  1 vote
      2. [2]
        Catt
        Link Parent
        How we handle something like this says a lot about us too. Are we assuming that they're trolling, in which case, we should just message Deimos. Are we assuming they're just dumb and therefore...

        "flowers r dum coz their just dead sex organs of plants"

        How we handle something like this says a lot about us too.

        • Are we assuming that they're trolling, in which case, we should just message Deimos.
        • Are we assuming they're just dumb and therefore unworthy of creating and joining in discussion?

        I think a little benefit of a doubt or good faith isn't crazy. If I saw something like this, my first response maybe to ask for clarification on what they're trying to say and what discussion they hope to have.

        3 votes
        1. Algernon_Asimov
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          @Diet_Coke's idea was that we just leave that post alone for 12 hours and see what develops - not message Deimos or ask the poster for clarification. Just leave it. If it prompts good discussion,...

          @Diet_Coke's idea was that we just leave that post alone for 12 hours and see what develops - not message Deimos or ask the poster for clarification. Just leave it. If it prompts good discussion, then it's fine.

          Diet_Coke has clarified that egregious stuff could be referred to Deimos but that clarification came only after I asked this question.

          EDIT: Tidied up the phrasing.

          1 vote
    2. Catt
      Link Parent
      I think this is a good idea. I know the Flash post has been brought up a few times, but I believe if it was given a chance, users might have seen good conversation from it.

      I think this is a good idea. I know the Flash post has been brought up a few times, but I believe if it was given a chance, users might have seen good conversation from it.

      3 votes
  14. Tau_Zero
    Link
    Some initial thoughts Moderating We can break things down into "identifying" (i.e. how do we find and agree on issues) and "handling" (i.e. what to do when an issue is identified). Through all of...

    Some initial thoughts

    Moderating

    We can break things down into "identifying" (i.e. how do we find and agree on issues) and "handling" (i.e. what to do when an issue is identified). Through all of this, a key factor is going to be accountability and transparency. There should be a thorough, visible audit of the entire process.

    Identifying

    Reporting

    Users should be able to report a post or comment. A report should include some general category and a mandatory explaination to get the reporter to articulate specifics. There should be a visual indicator on the post/comment and a way from there to read reports, but only visible to the OP and moderators; full public visibility can lead to easy dogpiling. A user can attempt to edit their content based on that initial feedback (tracking full edit history), and it should show up in a moderating queue for further discussion/handling.

    Discussion

    Discussion is needed, particularly early on, to see whether reported/flagged things are truely undesirable, but we need to get the long thread-derailing meta discussions out of the main threads. One way would be to provide a link from reported comments/threads to a separate discussion page, not entirely unlike Wikipedia. Any meta-discussion in the primary thread should be treated as bad/off-topic content (reported and handled). Discussion should be OP, moderators, and...

    Jury of Peers

    To avoid heavy handed moderation by the elite, a set of randomly selected peers can be involved in the discussion and determining/voting for the final verdict. It would be useful to have a majority based on active on the sub (some small minimum threshold, not only the most active) as well as some from the community at large. In that way, each community can have it's own rules while still fitting with the overall feel and goals of the site.

    Handling

    All verdicts

    No matter how it's handled, there should be information about what went on, what the verdict and why, how it was handled, and the users involved (mods + jury), link back to the discussion. Transparency and accountability is important. OP should also be notified directly with all relevant information.

    Locking Bad Content

    If an identified post or comment is deemed a problem after discussion, it and all child threads should be locked. Locked comment trees can be auto-collapsed and locked posts can be visually demoted in the listings, but all should remain accessible. I hesitate to do any complete removal except for illegal content, and in such cases would prefer redaction with meaningful placeholders so we keep context.

    Moving a Thread

    While we're small and working out what kinds of things go where, and then when we're large and have a lot of subgroups, this is going to come up a lot. Moving the post rather than simply locking and telling OP to recreate is the way to go here. The latter is extra hassle that will only discourage OP, in addition to killing all existing discussion.

    There are some downsides to moving which we'd have to think about. Assuming we extract the meta-discussion, only relevant reporting flags will need to be cleared. Perhaps in the notification to OP, we provide two time sensitive options, "Move with context" or "Blank-slate". There can be some reasonable time threshold (a day?) where either the user selects an option for their thread after which it's auto-moved. During this time, it should be visually indicated that it will be moving and further reports for wrong group blocked.

    The other big issue is of thread lifecycle; if a post is, say, older than 3 days in the wrong topic and it gets moved to the right one, it may already be outside the average user's feed age threshold and never get seen. I'd suggest a secondary timestamp on posts, like "moved_on", and time threshold filters be based on that if defined, created time if not.

    Suggested Edits

    Many times, a post or comment doesn't need to be moved or killed, but simply polished up a bit. Some sources included, a bit more context added, ad hominem attacks omitted, etc. OP can be given the option of fixing the content as directed or removing it, after which it goes back for final review.

    General

    Edit History

    We allow deletion and editing of posts. A post that's edited should have a full history attached and for child responses, there should be an easy way to see what version of the post was being replied to. This can help eliminate accidental confusion as well as people making inflamatory remarks, getting riled up responses, and editing it such that it looks like they're being unfairly attacked. It would be interesting to keep deleted posts around once there is a reply, but I know that runs counter to the privacy goals of Tildes.

    Publicity and lurking

    There's no good way to lurk yet and get a feel for things without an invite. On the other hand once a user gets an invite after waiting without seeing anything, they're going to more excided about getting into the club and dive right in without "wasting" time on lurking. Once we open it up, this will get better.

    Similarly, I think it could be useful, eventually, to have a showcase Best Of, curated by something other than raw vote or comment counts. Determining such is difficult, but I think it can be attractive to clearly see "Look at these awesome, deep, nuanced, civil discussion we've had", things to aspire to.

    Broader Recruitment

    From what I can tell, right now a lot of recruitment is being done mostly on Reddit, and people are naturally going to bring over Reddit behaviors, quality, etc. People are used to this style of platform being a link and meme aggregator with real discussion secondary. I wonder if we'll have better luck reaching out to debate groups, academic groups, book / media clubs, etc. Places where discussion is more the focus and where the platform is not so close in look and functionality that it's hard to make the mental distinction.

    4 votes
  15. joelthelion
    Link
    One way to keep quality high without becoming too hostile to newcomers is to favor content filtering/sorting (giving more weight to good posts) over moderation (removing/forbidding bad posts)....

    One way to keep quality high without becoming too hostile to newcomers is to favor content filtering/sorting (giving more weight to good posts) over moderation (removing/forbidding bad posts).

    There is clearly a place for both. But it's better for newcomers to have few rules and less risk of getting your efforts deleted.

    4 votes
  16. rib
    Link
    To add to this the Dunning-Kruger effect means that more competent posters are likely to underestimate their ability and less competent posters more likely to overestimate their ability. To get...

    a number of people seem to feel like they're not "worthy" of posting on the site

    To add to this the Dunning-Kruger effect means that more competent posters are likely to underestimate their ability and less competent posters more likely to overestimate their ability.

    To get 'quality content' you need to counteract this, don't ask me how though.

    3 votes
  17. [3]
    tevoul
    Link
    If we're talking about posts being removed because they are low quality / low effort enough to not be appropriate for any category (thinking forward to a future state where posts can be...

    If you were to post something that wasn't really suitable, how would you like to be informed of that?

    If we're talking about posts being removed because they are low quality / low effort enough to not be appropriate for any category (thinking forward to a future state where posts can be re-categorized and sub-categories exist) but aren't blatant spam, then I think it's probably important to be as transparent as possible.

    Whether it's removed by a human or an automated filter of sorts, I'd think that the user should get a notification that the post was removed and why. This would probably be in the form of an automated message saying what post was removed, what rule(s) it was removed for, and a link of who to contact if they are confused or want more information. If it was removed by an automated filter you just list a public facing name for a rule (e.g. "Text post submitted without any text"), and if it's by a human probably just have a handful of broad categories they can select from with an optional area for a clarification note that gets sent along to the user.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      starchturrets
      Link Parent
      So, sitewide automoderator then?

      So, sitewide automoderator then?

      1. tevoul
        Link Parent
        I mean, any site like this that gets large will need some sort of automated filter system to deal with the low hanging fruit (spam, empty text posts, stuff that is obviously not appropriate). That...

        I mean, any site like this that gets large will need some sort of automated filter system to deal with the low hanging fruit (spam, empty text posts, stuff that is obviously not appropriate). That could look like AutoModerator, or it could be different - ultimately the implementation here would probably depend a lot on how moderators get implemented (e.g. whether they are linked to a particular category or site-wide, or something else entirely).

        The difference between my proposal and the way reddit currently does it is automated removals would always come with a message to the user (instead of being optionally implemented per subreddit), and removals done by humans would ALSO get an automated message without extra work on top by the moderator.

        1 vote