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Moderation

Moderation
March 29, 2008, 11:26:15 AM
There's two ways to think about moderation:

1) The liberal-democratic way. Everyone is enabled to do anything, unless it turns out to offend someone, and then we condemn them and blacklist them. We call this reductive logic.

2) The fascist-holistic way. We judge everything for whether or not it is productive to some mission. Therefore, some things are clearly not wanted and others are removed "like deadwood" and not "like punishment/judgment." We call this goal-oriented, process-based logic.

We are a hybrid of the two. On this forum, as every forum I've run or had a hand in running since 1987, we believe in "free speech," but we recognize this has limits. If you posted a member's home address, real name, credit history, and penis length, we'd remove that.

Unlike moronic liberal-democratic conservatives, we recognize that free speech has inherent limits. Our goal is to permit all speech that is not destructive, and yet to remove "as in deadwood" and not "as in punishment/judgment" things which fail to meet our uber-goal, which is to glorify the intelligence and Romantic in metal.

We have multiple moderators here, and we spend as little time as possible on this forum (there are more productive projects elsewhere, and people generally come to a forum to either read information, or talk themselves up into an ego identity). We do not communicate in some weird tribunal over posts. If something is missing, it is because one of us found it, found it useless to our goal, and removed it without a second thought.

You'll note that very rarely are accounts removed, and generally those removed are outright spammers. Some also remove themselves, a feature of this forum that was ahead of its time. We only think about removing an account if its postings consistently cause our time to be expended on unproductive things.

We do not censor content, except for (a) unproductive content because it has no information value or (b) disruptive content that bridges the line between speech and action (see inherent limits of free speech above). You are free to disagree with us and we encourage it. However, if all you do is repeat the same point in many threads, you are no longer using language to communicate. You're using it to obstruct, and it doesn't matter whether we agree with you or not; your behavior, and not opinions, will get your posts removed.

Generally, we are fortunate in that the user base here is more self-selecting than at other metal forums. We are thankful for this and look forward to continuing to provide this service for your and our enjoyment.

The Moderators

Example of typical liberal-democratic hypocrisy:
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By that same token, freedom of speech also means that the people who write and edit Boing Boing have the right to have (or refuse to have) anything they want on their own website. If one of the things they don't want is a comment that you have posted, they aren't depriving you of your freedom of speech. You're free to put that comment up on your own webpage.
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We view online communities as communities, meaning that no one "owns" them. Some, called moderators, are tasked with guardianship and must administer them to the best of their ability. By the laws of mathematics, this practice can never be flawless, but no practice is. For this reason, we support freedom of speech to a greater degree than most forums, because we encourage all speech but not all behaviors.

Re: Moderation
March 29, 2008, 12:14:34 PM
Call me a hypocritical liberal democratic boingboing fan if you must, but a blog is different from a forum. Anyone can choose to walk away from a forum if they don't like the community, even the forum originators. A blog is more personal, it's more like your front room than a community meeting hall. It is personal territory, and a blogger must have the right to refuse access under whatever conditions make them comfortable, just as you have a right to invite anyone you like to your party or refuse anyone you like.

Really, I don't see the hypocrisy. The boingboing moderator has said no more or less than you have. The boingboing bloggers' goals are looser than yours, but their actions follow a similar plan: Find posts useless to their goals and remove them. You choose not to engage with anyone over the issue of freedom of speech, they do. They address it because someone always brings it up, and because they have chosen to do the moderation thing in a fairly open way, which means having to engage publicly with issues as they arise. It's not hypocrisy to point out that freedom of speech is not absolute, but one of those freedoms that must be balanced with others' rights.

Re: Moderation
March 29, 2008, 01:46:17 PM
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A blog is more personal, it's more like your front room than a community meeting hall.


Here is where we disagree. A blog is a community of readers and writers, because the participation of both is necessary. A novel is also a community, but the community takes place outside the physical novel; without readers, a novel is nothing, and without interacting readers, a blog is nothing. This is the nature of human beings. We form communities and talk about ideas and from that pick directions.

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The boingboing moderator has said no more or less than you have. The boingboing bloggers' goals are looser than yours, but their actions follow a similar plan: Find posts useless to their goals and remove them.


I agree.

I am tired of the right/left divide, because I think when we look deep inside ourselves, we see we agree on the fundamentals, but then get mucked up in the interpretations.

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It's not hypocrisy to point out that freedom of speech is not absolute, but one of those freedoms that must be balanced with others' rights.


What I was saying is that it's hypocrisy to do so on the basis of ownership of physical properties. A community is owned by no one.

I also disagree with the concept of individual rights as absolute. "One of those freedoms that must be balanced with" the goals of the community makes sense to me; trying to make the individual supreme over community, which is really a unification based on common goals, is to put the cart before the horse in my view.

The point of citing Boing Boing's example was to say that we need to grow up past this individual pretense and admit that no one owns a community. It's an interaction. The demands of individuals cannot outweigh the need of the community to move forward. If you search deeply, you'll see that's what TNH was saying at the Boing.