My story of moderation on this forum

As some people are currently [in my opinion] spamming individuals in the AWE community with [in my opinion] false claims, I would like to present my version of the story of moderation on this forum.

TLDR; there is no story.

I was in touch with the founders of this forum at the point just when it was started. I will not take any claim to taking part in this. The forum was started by others, and I was happy to start using the forum, maybe to a greater extent than the average user. I was quickly given administrator access, and then «moderation» messages started appearing every time any user clicked the «flag» button.

I had little interest for such moderation. From time to time I would carry through with moderation just to «clean my inbox», to the best of my judgement.

Other users of the forum though, were much better than me doing moderation. I supported this and I am grateful for the effort they put in there, because the forum did see its share of abusive behavior.

I would also commend those that performed moderation on their restraint and professionalism. I would often be in favor of more strict responses. But still, though I may have been seen as an influential user with a long history in these forums and being employed by Kitemill, I never pushed any agenda other than expressing my personal opinion now and then.

The «sensoring» blame was thrown around. All I could see was some individual’s inability to take in feedback, rather only writing. Their perception of reality seemed to incrementally fork from my own until I could no longer recognize truth.

Anyways. This is the whole story. Some users were given restrictions due to their failing to comply with forum guidelines and general good manners. Maybe these restrictions still apply, I dont know. The moderation was never due to technical or political grounds.

Personally I blocked users to clean up my feed. This only relates to how the forum is presented to me. My attention is not a given. I have the right to filter what I want to see or not. This of course is not sensoring. This is just my usage of the forum.

With moderation and over time, it is my distinct impression that the quality of the forum has improved. The traffic is lower, but in return the signal to noise ratio is much higher.

There is a really great openness in this forum. Anyone can drop in and start writing. We will treat everyone with respect and listen to what people have to say. If you are a «total NOOB» or a seasoned tinkerer doesn’t matter. I think many users can attest to this. There is no subject that is unwelcome here. But - there is unwelcome behavior. They will be outlined in the guidelines. 99% would never have to relate to those though, because the ceiling is really high here.

My five cents.


While the currently banned person was involved with inordinate censoring behavior on the previous AWE forum, and now the people who ran the old forum deny ever deleting peoples’ messages, whereas from my point of view, it was an almost daily occurrence to have messages simply deleted, sometimes with an explanation, sometimes not, I spent over a decade wishing that somehow, these people could experience the same censorship they had practiced, to see how it felt to be silenced.
Now it has finally happened and it is, on the one hand, VERY FUNNY to see this previously censorship-happy person experiencing some of their own medicine.
On the other hand, I find it disturbing that it seems so common for people to first announce open communication, then quickly turn around and waste their lives and reputations away by trying to silence the opinions of the same people they wanted to provide open communication to. Unless some scammer is abusing a forum to post irrelevant business announcements, or posting similar non-relevant-to-the-forum content for reasons that do not concern AWE people, I just do not now, and never have, seen a reason to try to control what people post. Freedom of speech was a great advance in civilization. Some people have nothing better to do with their time than to try and stamp out other peoples’ freedom to express an opinion. If you don’t like someone’s opinion, ignore it. Maybe someone’s post a censor doesn’t agree with will have some accurate content. Maybe the censoring person is just wrong, but found they could impress themselves with a position squelching the free speech of others. To me, when I see someone even wanting to become a “moderator”, after seeing what that really means, I question whether they have the sense to ever really accomplish anything in AWE, and really, whether they have any sort of open mind or tolerance for even the opinions of others, let alone facts. I see gleefully acting as a censor in an open forum as about the lowest a person can sink to, actually. Not a good sign when you see it.

Actually, thinking about it just a bit more, I see wanting to silence the opinions of others on a forum designated as a place for them to express their opinions, as a character flaw, on the level of a person who would break into your house and steal things. Not merely annoying, but totally inconsiderate of other peoples’ feelings and inherent value as a human being, with a deal-breaker level of bad intent. What does the censoring person have to gain? A feeling of self-importance? Or that they know everything and nobody else’s opinion should count? If the only purpose of a forum is so people who agree with you can post, why even have a forum? The whole topic is so stupid it makes me want to vomit.

I think the point where we dont agree on this is calling this censoring rather than moderation.

I think the ones in charge of moderation is doing this because they see value in the forum, and believe that by doing that job, for free, will help the forum stay welcoming to most users. Its voluntary work. Some of us are inclined to do that because it makes sense

The point of censoring is to block some points of view. The point of moderation is to keep the forum a welcoming and attractive place for most users.

I don’t believe opening up the forum for anything improves the quality of experience for all users. We have free speech here. But it must be within the constraints of whatever guidelines that this forum decided on.

I agree often it is difficult to draw the line between moderation and censoring. I think the moderators did a good job here, keeping the process transparent and giving users many chances to change their behavior.

I also can’t remember any instance where an actual idea or politicial or business or whatever opinion was censored. It was always about abusive behavior.

Moderation, not sensorship.

Look to the «old forum» on Yahoo. It was unrelated to this forum but many of the users were the same. Eventually it was just filled with very low signal to noise ratio posts. That was just not an interesting thing to take forward. I honestly also dont think that setting got the best out of the people involved in those endless threads of bashing each other.

That being said, Im sure the forum owners (and maybe at this point I could be considered to be one, I’m not sure, as its a bit complicated) would be happy to create a place where this communication could continue, and the rest of us could opt out.

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Honestly, I see this as nonsense. We suffered through a year or two of the censors (“moderators”) refusing to allow anyone to even discuss or question their censoring activity and tactics. They made a new “secret” or “hidden” “topic” and all posts that questioned the censorship were shunted off to the “hidden topic”, like sending dissidents off to a secret gulag in Siberia.
I assumed the recently-censored person would soon be jettisoned again, because he kept mentioning (complaining) about his censored status. This reminds me of, oh, say, Iraq under Saddam Hussein, where anyone questioning “the ruling family” would simply disappear.
While it seems like “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy”, almost like Saddam himself being arrested, it is still reprehensible (to my way of thinking) that people are so absorbed in nitpicking and squelching peoples’ opinions to such an extent. It is truly disturbing (to me) and, as I say, not a promising or desirable personality trait.
If you look at historical instances where people are not allowed to speak their minds or question “authority”, the track record is not good, and the results are definitely undesirable for the majority of people. The perpetrators typical go down in history - as “the bad guys”.

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I think it would be better to discuss a particular post and why it was removed. I can see all these hidden posts so maybe the situation is less severe from my perspective.

What I can say is, its always about abusive behaviour. Even though that abusive behaviour is «just» filling a thread with nonsense or off topic stuff.

If you want to post off topic, just make a new topic for that. There is no censoring

I’ve now gone and archived and relisted most topics that I previously unlisted (hid) in Forum Feedback - AWESystems Forum You can recognize them by the padlock icon. The current one is still unlisted. A link to the recent discussion: Questions about Moderation - #42 by Windy_Skies

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