One of the most problematic aspects of trying to respond to an angry post, full of accusations and judgments, is that, in order to truly, fully, and comprehensively explain how it is mistaken, I would need to speak at great length, negatively, about someone. I could display pages and pages of PM’s to display the time and effort that I put forth, during multiple incidents, months apart to try to deal with the situation. Others could too.
I’m not going to do this. Instead, I will summarize things: during this episode, 508G37 was warned, multiple times, to cool down, and asked, multiple times, to quit posting about the subject. He disregarded these warnings and requests. Moreover, this is but one of multiple episodes, during which he disregarded multiple warnings and requests. Multiple episodes in which there were many personal attacks made with language that was completely over-the-top and totally unacceptable. There were multiple points in the past when a ban would have been warranted.
During lengthy private message conversations were undertaken to try to calm him down. I have literally spent hours of my life, during multiple episodes, trying to deal with drama on this board that has either been caused by 508G37, or has been fueled by him.
I am not exaggerating, and I am not the only mod. Always please remember that we are volunteers using our personal time and energy to try to maintain this forum as a fun and friendly place. Please ask yourself, if it’s fair for us to be repeatedly required to spend considerable time warning a person, over and over, to honor a reasonable standard of behavior that they previously promised to stick to.
This is not about the AH glitch. It is not our concern who did, or did not, engage in the glitch. Our concern is ending a topic of argumentation that has devolved into personal attacks that seem likely to go on forever, with no resolution, and which create personal feuds that extend into other threads. And which end up requiring literal hours of personal time from mods to get a handle on.
Everyone should try to imagine what it would take for mods to moderate these forums impeccably. To be completely consistent about how we handle warnings, suspensions, etc. Ask yourself how much time it would take to have to read every thread carefully and try to tally up who crossed what line, to what extent, and who did it first, and who fired back even stronger, and how to weigh all of that.
Is it worse for someone to cross lines of offensiveness first, or is it worse for someone to cross even worse lines in response? When someone has a history of crossing lines, do they get treated the same as someone who has not been as problematic, or who has never before been a problem? Ask yourself how discipline should all be calculated. Is there some sort of obvious formula by which to calculate (extent of offense) x (frequency of offense) + (prior episodes of offense) / (extent of instigation by someone else), and then get some automatically calculated duration of suspension that is appropriate? Can you understand that it’s not unreasonable for our response to be a judgment call that you may or may not agree with?
We are human beings and this is not our job. When members act inappropriately and disregard requests to chill out, and do this multiple times, it turns moderating these forums into a job. We are not professional moderators who spent months planning out formulas for determining suspensions. We haven’t even systematically created ultra-rigid and exhaustive rules on what is and is not specifically offensive.
Because we don’t want to make these forums too rigid. We want to allow people latitude in expression, within some boundaries. We want to give people opportunity to be moderated and calm down, and even get a second, or third, etc. chance at making a realization that, in a community, personal priorities fundamentally will take a backseat to the communal good.
In order to keep things fairly loose, we need people to generally not cross obvious lines. When they do, or when they get too far into gray territory, we need them to respect our requests to chill out. We need members to not regularly require that we spend time and energy doing this. We need members to ultimately accept that we are human beings doing our best.
And when a decision is made that you disagree with, I ask you: do you think that we generally have behaved in a way that should afford us some benefit of the doubt? Do you think that it makes sense to assume that you know exactly and all that has been communicated between any individual member and one or more mods? Do you think it’s sensible to write angrily, with personal attacks, on matters that involve a lot of correspondence that was private and not privy to you? Do you think that, maybe, before you do this, you should ask a mod what the story is?
Do you think that mods should write up detailed reports on every administrative decision we make? What is the threshold for reporting to community? Do you know how many individual administrative decisions we make on a regular basis?
Again, we are volunteers. This is not our job. We ask you to please make it easier for us to mod these forums, not make it more time-intensive, and harder. So, to a large extent, more often than not: we ask you to please trust us. Not blindly: weigh our general behavior. The history of our behavior, over time, over multiple episodes. Do searches on our user handles and see our ups and down and try to quantify how good or bad we’ve been. If we’ve done something you disagree with, but it’s old and we’ve done better since, ask yourself how much of a break you should give us on the old stuff. If we’ve repeated our mistakes, ask yourself how much repetition we should be able to ask you to tolerate. And make sure that you evaluate every single one of us mods in a totally consistent way. Don’t criticize me for something that you don’t equally criticize another mod for.
That sounds like a lot of thought and work, doesn’t it? That’s what we do on a regular basis. We are imperfect, but we try to be fair. And we try to always keep the interests of the whole community in mind. Please, truly, consider what that all means. What that requires of us, and what we need from you in order to help us continue to effectively volunteer to keep these forums as a fun and friendly place.