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Are mods an academic authority?

  1. Aug 9, 2010 #1
    I received a warning by a moderator under the alias 'berkeman' about a post I had made:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?p=2820406#post2820406"

    He said the following:

    I want to make two points:

    1. How was this a schoolwork problem?

    2. Why does a moderator dare to assume what is relevant and irrelevant? Is it a common practice to pull sentences out of context and bully regular members just because you have the power to do so?

    I am very interested what is the official stance of the administrating staff of these fora and would be very grateful for helpful replies.

    Thank you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2010 #2

    berkeman

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    1. Any question that looks like it could be schoolwork should be treated as such, per the PF Rules link at the top of the page. We take schoolwork seriously here, and try hard to help students learn how to learn. Telling them that their book is probably wrong certainly does not help their confidence, or their willingness to dig deeper to try to figure out what is going on. Certainly sometimes textbooks have errors in them, but assuming that as a first explanation is not helpful. This thread helps to explain our PF policy on schoolwork/homework/coursework questions here:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=373889

    2. The official stance is to try to enforce the PF rules the best we can, and to keep the PF forums as positive and helpful as possible for students and scientists.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2010 #3
    From the link you had provided. Your own words:

    The post I had referred to is not in those forums, so your reply is irrelevant.

    This is not what I asked. Is there any other from the administrating staff that would feel like answering my question?
     
  5. Aug 9, 2010 #4

    berkeman

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    Did you read the thread about schoolwork questions that I posted above? The point is that you may see a thread in the general technical forums before it has been noticed and moved. Or it may never get moved, but may still be enough schoolwork-like that it should be treated as such. In any case, I dont think you can rationally defend your comment as helpful. It only earned a 0-point warning, and was left in the thread because it had been commented upon by other posters.
     
  6. Aug 9, 2010 #5

    ZapperZ

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    Similar issues have been addressed in another thread:

    https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=373889

    We have new members who, for some odd reason, did not pay attention to the Rules and the warning to not post HW/Coursework-type question in the main forum. It still doesn't change the fact that this belongs in that forum.

    Are you somehow arguing that that particular comment you made in that thread is actually relevant and helpful? Honestly?

    This isn't "bullying". If Berkeman wanted to "bully" you, he would have either sent you an infraction, or booted you off. Also note, in case you haven't realized it, that the warning he sent you is so that other Mentors/Admin will also see it. It is not something he can do as he pleases without the rest of us being aware of it. In other words, none of us Mentors can get away with "bullying" another member.

    You got it.

    Zz.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  7. Aug 9, 2010 #6

    Astronuc

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    We treat such questions as homework. PF is about learning.
    This is an unnecessary and unhelpful response.


    That's the function of moderators at PF and other forums. It's a judgement call, and we do the best we can. The warning was reasonable, and the reason was spot on.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  8. Aug 9, 2010 #7

    So, since you certainly had noticed that thread to give me a warning, why didn't you move it into the hw?

    Or, do you just pull things out of the magician's hat to justify you actions?
     
  9. Aug 9, 2010 #8
    Yes, I am. If you read the post my post was a reply to, you would notice that it didn't cite the source behind the statement 'most books', so my answer was logically consistent because it referred to the set of books they had been talking about.


    Actually it is, because it is precisely what 'berkeman' did.
     
  10. Aug 9, 2010 #9

    ZapperZ

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    This is moot. That comment you made is inappropriate and unhelpful even for a thread not in the HW forum!

    Zz.
     
  11. Aug 9, 2010 #10

    ZapperZ

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    Then you have a very strange definition of what "helpful". I would categorize your post as being dismissal and is nothing but noise.

    No it isn't. Since your definition of what helpful is is rather weird, I am not surprised that your definition of what "bullying" is also similarly skewed.

    Zz.
     
  12. Aug 9, 2010 #11
    So, basically, the moderator's judgement is the end-all truth about an issue being discussed on a forum devoted to Physics. If this is not in your rules, I think it is pretty important to include it. Otherwise, people will be scammed into believing things are discussed objectively here.
     
  13. Aug 9, 2010 #12
    You had not defined any of the terms you are discussing. Until you do so, your post is random noise.
     
  14. Aug 9, 2010 #13

    ZapperZ

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    Note that YOU asked for the opinion of other staff. It seems that you're not happy with what you got. Too bad, but that's what it is.

    Zz.
     
  15. Aug 9, 2010 #14

    ZapperZ

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    There ya go!

    Zz.
     
  16. Aug 9, 2010 #15

    Astronuc

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    No. A moderator's judgement is available to the staff for review. As far as I can tell, we are reasonably objective.

    Anyone who receives a warning or infraction may appeal to the staff, and sometimes we reverse the warning/infraction.
     
  17. Aug 9, 2010 #16

    Gokul43201

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    This is an oversight that can be easily fixed (and, IMO, should).

    It doesn't change anything else though. I don't understand why you are throwing such a tantrum without even first reading the Forum Guidelines (what you call a "magician's hat"). And all this for a 0-point warning telling you to make posts that are more helpful?
     
  18. Aug 9, 2010 #17

    berkeman

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    I think that's a fair question. As stated in the PF Rules, there are some exceptions to the guidelines about where schoolwork questions should be posted, based on a number of factors. Plus, I think for Mentors who spend a lot of time in their respective sub-forums (whether Engineering, Physics, Math, etc.), we may allow a thread in the technical sub-forum if a) the student has done their own work, b) it's more of a study question, and pretty obviously not a points-earning question for an assignment, and c) is a moderately hard question that deserves more of a background discussion, rather than just a "solution".

    This statement in the OP is pretty key in why I didn't move it to Homework Help (yet):

    The OP is not asking a points-paying question on an assignment. It appeared to me that they were genuinely confused about something that multiple textbooks were covering, and as long as the discussion stayed with first principles in mechanics, it seemed like a good technical thread.

    As Zapper says, all Post Reports, all Warnings/Infractions, and a bunch of other stuff is posted in the Mentor forums, and generally Mentors review those things daily. We have a great group of Mentors with amazing backgrounds, and we take the Mentoring task very seriously. Especially when it comes to keeping the PF a great resource for serious students, and for straightforward professionals and others interested in science.
     
  19. Aug 9, 2010 #18

    Evo

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    I think we are ignoring the elephant in the room. Dick's comment was in poor taste, and unhelpful at best. That it was only given a zero point "heads up" shows a lot of restraint on Berkeman's part, especially based on Dick's posting history.
     
  20. Aug 9, 2010 #19

    Danger

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    Dick, you asked about how other Moderators viewed the situation. You got that, in spades. Now let me tell you from a non-Moderator member perspective. To start with, PF is not a democracy. You have no rights, and if you become a serious-enough pain in the *** you will be turfed. Greg owns PF, instigated it for a specific purpose (furthering scientific education), and selected very competent "deputies" (ie: Mentors) to uphold the standards that he set.
    I love this site as a second home, and a lot of the members are family to me, and I have a pretty firm grasp of what PF is about... and I would never in my wildest fantasies be qualified to serve as a Mentor. These people have a tremendous burden of responsibility, and are usually experts in the specific forums that they moderate. If more than one of them disagrees with you, it's pretty much a fact that you are the one who is wrong.
    Just take your lumps like a man, retreat to a neutral corner, and be glad that you haven't been banned for your insolence.
    (And in case you think that I'm a suck-up, I have received a warning or two myself. In each instance, I was in the wrong.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  21. Aug 10, 2010 #20

    russ_watters

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    I realize ZZ already replied to this, but seriously - does this really even need to be stated in the rules? Obviously, the moderators of a forum are the ones charged with upholding/enforcing the rules, therefore the rules are applied based on their judgement. It is too self-evident to be possible to misunderstand this.

    And:
    We try to be as objective as possible (whether you believe we succeed or not is up to you, but we don't care either way), but no one on the planet is completely free from bias. This is also too self-evident to be possible to misunderstand.
     
  22. Aug 10, 2010 #21
    Upholding/enforcing rules is one thing. Deciding what's poor taste or unhelpful is quite another.
     
  23. Aug 10, 2010 #22

    Danger

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    And again I stress that this is not your site; it's Greg's.
    You remind me very much of some ***** named Audrey who gave me **** for arriving at an SF convention in Edmonton in a 650hp Roadrunner. Yap, yap, yap... environment this, noise that... I sat placidly through almost 2 hours of that moron haranguing me, and the only thing that I could respond with (I left my .45 holstered) was what I'm about to say to you.
    You are overlooking the most significant aspect of the conversation: the fact that your opinion is of absolutely no consequence.
     
  24. Aug 10, 2010 #23

    russ_watters

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    Perhaps we should have clearer quality standards or a statement that we requires quality posts, but quality is a goal here and we do attempt to keep quality high by deleting off topic/unhelpful posts. Now you know, so please consider that in the future.
     
  25. Aug 10, 2010 #24

    Gokul43201

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    You're never going to read the Guidelines, are you?

    (emphasis mine) Clearly, the Mentors are tasked with warning members against things that need NOT be violations of the rules.

    This is an implicit admission that the Guidelines can not catch all possible situations that are considered detrimental to the quality of the forums, and that the Mentors will have to exercise their judgment to decide what flies.

    There's a reason the mods are called Mentors - they are tasked with policing the forums as well as with improving the quality of scientific/academic content.
     
  26. Aug 10, 2010 #25
    My question to the mentors is: How has a... 'person'... such as... yourself... lasted at PF for a long enough time to even make 590 posts? Really?
     
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