Complaint Possible additional rules for mods

  • Thread starter Carrock
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46
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I've recently noticed mods on PF are allowed privileges not available on most forums.
They can edit not only their own posts but also other peoples' posts in order to conceal any error in their original post and even, it seems, boast about it with impunity.
That post is gone but the memory lingers on.....
I do it because I can.

Mods can remove posts with no apparent indication they've ever existed.
When we delete a post, ordinarily it is just hidden. We also have the ability to vaporize a post, permanently deleting it. AFAIK, once deleted this way, it can't be restored.

But it does happen.
I doubt it works every time, but one way to prevent any visible challenge to a plausible post which breaks forum rules is to deliberately break forum rules in a later post and challenge the mods to do something about it.
In this instance the post was left but all criticism was deleted.
There was a suggestion by (I think) a mod that my own post broke forum rules. As I didn't receive any sanction I have to assume it didn't.
Predictably, no one posted any further criticism and it's now (I think) against forum rules to refer to it directly.

The most irritating thing is that the claim in that post is largely accurate, but the only evidence given is an almost certainly false statement by a lazy reporter.
That statement has been debunked on other forums, making PF members look credulous.

In future I'll be reluctant to put much effort into a post in case it gets silently deleted; a form of self censorship.
All I have left of those posts is a few innocuous emails - no smoking gun.
I now have a small amount of sympathy for FBI Director James Comey....

I suggest that mods be required to indicate clearly any editing of users' posts.
If posts in a thread are deleted, mods should at least leave a post indicating how many posts have been deleted and normally why they've been deleted.
Most forums allow fine control of permissions; if possible mods should not be allowed to 'vaporize' posts.
 
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Moderators can edit and or/delete posts of other users in every forum I know. This is necessary to remove violations against the forum rules. Posts of other users get edited or deleted only for moderation purposes. This is often clearly marked ("xyz removed by mentor", or a comment in a mentor's post later), if it does not influence the thread this note can get omitted - the user writing the post gets a message from us anyway.
I doubt it works every time, but one way to prevent any visible challenge to a plausible post which breaks forum rules is to deliberately break forum rules in a later post and challenge the mods to do something about it.
In this instance the post was left but all criticism was deleted.
There was a suggestion by (I think) a mod that my own post broke forum rules. As I didn't receive any sanction I have to assume it didn't.
Predictably, no one posted any further criticism and it's now (I think) against forum rules to refer to it directly.
If you talk about a specific example, it would help to link to this example.
 

Evo

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You had one post in the POTUS thread that was reported and was among a number of posts that were deleted. Do you want a copy of it?

Carrock said:
I do it because I can.
Where did this come from? Did you make this up? What post was this?
 
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I've recently noticed mods on PF are allowed privileges not available on most forums.
As mentioned above, moderators on most forums do have the same privileges. It is standard software with standard features. We do moderate more actively than most other forums, but the tools are the same.

I doubt it works every time, but one way to prevent any visible challenge to a plausible post which breaks forum rules is to deliberately break forum rules in a later post and challenge the mods to do something about it.
That would also be a way to get banned.
 

davenn

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I've recently noticed mods on PF are allowed privileges not available on most forums.
Mods can remove posts with no apparent indication they've ever existed.
you seem to have some serious mis-understandings on what is the standard practices of what can be done by moderators on forums

I moderate on a couple of other forums ... I have all the same powers as the mentors do on PF
As do all my fellow moderators on those other forums

I agree completely with the comments by @mfb and @Dale. the differences you suggest don't exist

Be a good solid member of the forum, post good information with references where possible. Don't post garbage.
Don't go out of your way to upset people PARTICULARLY the mentors. and you will have a good experience here :smile:


regards
Dave
 

S.G. Janssens

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I can partly understand the OPs criticism, but I also think it is flawed by certain inaccuracies such as missing references to specific quotes and examples. (Probably it would be better anyway to discuss these in private messages with the mods in question or with @Greg Bernhardt, not in a public topic that is susceptible to flaming.) This is a pity, because I do feel there does exist a problem that fortunately largely concentrates in the non-technical sections of the forum.
Don't go out of your way to upset people PARTICULARLY the mentors. and you will have a good experience here :smile:
What "upsets" someone is rather subjective. Sometimes people are surprised by what upsets me and vice versa. I can imagine that even between different mods there exist differences in this regard. Forum rules should be as objective as possible, and they should be applied objectively.

N.B. This will be my first and last contribution to this topic. It is likely going to be locked anyway.
 
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I'm sorry about the delay; I had limited available time.
Moderators can edit and or/delete posts of other users in every forum I know. This is necessary to remove violations against the forum rules. Posts of other users get edited or deleted only for moderation purposes. This is often clearly marked ("xyz removed by mentor", or a comment in a mentor's post later), if it does not influence the thread this note can get omitted - the user writing the post gets a message from us anyway.
It certainly influenced the thread, making a post effectively unchallengeable - see my first post. I received no message.
If you talk about a specific example, it would help to link to this example.
Posts were deleted shortly after https://www.physicsforums.com/threads/potus-election-2016-a-fresh-start.890278/page-11#post-5614257
You had one post in the POTUS thread that was reported and was among a number of posts that were deleted. Do you want a copy of it?
No thank you.
It's a response to
If she were anyone else, Comey said in a televised press statement, the facts uncovered in the FBI's investigation might cost Clinton her security clearance — if not her job.
I now believe the 'televised press statement' is fictitious and also my post may have inadvertently breached forum rules.
I do it because I can.
Where did this come from? Did you make this up? What post was this?
A rather disingenuous fishing expedition.

'Where did this come from?'
A deleted post probably sometime between 11:41GMT on 7/11/16 and 14:08GMT on 8/11/16.
'Did you make this up?'
Don't go out of your way to upset people PARTICULARLY the members. and you will have a good experience here :smile:
oops, I misquoted...
The words 'I do it because I can.' are not entirely accurate but the sentiment is. I think 'because I can' is accurate.
'What post was this?'
This is not a post which was sent to me as an email.

If you (or any Mentor) post again in this thread I would appreciate you first checking if that sentiment is expressed in any deleted post within the relevant time period and otherwise, if possible, check the log for evidence of any permanently deleted post, then post your findings.
I'm tolerant of trivial and even significant apparent errors in moderation if I believe the moderator is acting in good faith; in this instance I had no tolerance of the moderator who wrote 'I do it because I can.' and might be moderating the thread.

As mentioned above, moderators on most forums do have the same privileges. It is standard software with standard features. We do moderate more actively than most other forums, but the tools are the same.
Perhaps I wasn't clear.
I suggest that mods be required to indicate clearly any editing of users' posts.
If posts in a thread are deleted, mods should at least leave a post indicating how many posts have been deleted and normally why they've been deleted.
Most forums allow fine control of permissions; if possible mods should not be allowed to 'vaporize' posts.
I was referring mostly to what moderators are allowed to do by forum rules, not limitations imposed by the software. Also, I'm only familiar with phpbb, where fine tuning of permissions for individuals and groups of moderators etc is simple; perhaps not with xenForo.
However, in xenForo it does seem simple to disable 'vaporize' for mods. I'm sure most mods have hard deleted a post on occasion and come to regret it.
There are forums where silently deleting posts would be greeted with outrage.
I doubt it works every time, but one way to prevent any visible challenge to a plausible post which breaks forum rules is to deliberately break forum rules in a later post and challenge the mods to do something about it.
That would also be a way to get banned.
That post was deleted by a mod so presumably the poster lives to fight another day.
you seem to have some serious mis-understandings on what is the standard practices of what can be done by moderators on forums

I moderate on a couple of other forums ... I have all the same powers as the mentors do on PF
As do all my fellow moderators on those other forums

I agree completely with the comments by @mfb and @Dale. the differences you suggest don't exist
See my response to Dale.
Be a good solid member of the forum, post good information with references where possible. Don't post garbage.
Don't go out of your way to upset people PARTICULARLY the mentors. and you will have a good experience here :smile:


regards
Dave
Thanks.
I can partly understand the OPs criticism, but I also think it is flawed by certain inaccuracies such as missing references to specific quotes and examples. (Probably it would be better anyway to discuss these in private messages with the mods in question or with @Greg Bernhardt, not in a public topic that is susceptible to flaming.) This is a pity, because I do feel there does exist a problem that fortunately largely concentrates in the non-technical sections of the forum.

What "upsets" someone is rather subjective. Sometimes people are surprised by what upsets me and vice versa. I can imagine that even between different mods there exist differences in this regard. Forum rules should be as objective as possible, and they should be applied objectively.

N.B. This will be my first and last contribution to this topic. It is likely going to be locked anyway.
I was deliberately vague (too vague?) about references as only mods [perhaps I should say Mentors] can make specific responses and could readily trace the posts.
I also think it is flawed by certain inaccuracies such as missing references to specific quotes and examples.
Only mods know whether the posts are still extant and only Evo has provided any information i.e. that my post is soft deleted.
I'm mostly working by memory.

My main aim here was to suggest a few simple rule changes so that members don't find their in thread posts deleted for no given reason and others reading a thread will be aware when strange lacunae are caused by deleted posts.

so once again...

I suggest that mods be required to indicate clearly any editing of users' posts.
If posts in a thread are deleted, mods should at least leave a post indicating how many posts have been deleted and normally why they've been deleted.
Most forums allow fine control of permissions; if possible mods should not be allowed to 'vaporize' posts.


I emphasise again that I am not suggesting software to prevent mods soft deleting posts with no trace provided to members; rather that without software coercion they should leave a member readable record of their actions.

I don't know if mods leave an automatic member readable record when they edit posts; if not they should provide one. [something basic like 'link disabled' would be fine.]
 
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A brief addition:

I'm only really interested in the question of rules for Mentors and that Evo withdraw the implicit accusation that I'm lying.
 
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russ_watters

Mentor
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A brief addition:

I'm only really interested in the question of rules for Mentors and that Evo withdraw the implicit accusation that I'm lying.
You alleged moderator impropriety in a way that by your own admission was purposely vague and a misquote. @Evo's request for a reference will not be withdrawn both because we want to know what the real context is and what the truth of the incident is - regardless of where the fault lies (in you or in one of us).

Please provide additional information so we can track down this issue/post. What you said is still not clear. Are you saying this was said in a PM to you? Or a thread? What thread? By whom?

Also, just FYI, but a software limitation makes it difficult to track deleted posts by poster. In the previous version, you could look at a person's posting history and the deleted posts were included (for moderators to view). Now they are not.
 
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Drakkith

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However, in xenForo it does seem simple to disable 'vaporize' for mods. I'm sure most mods have hard deleted a post on occasion and come to regret it.
I can only speak for myself, but I have not. Standard procedure is to never hard-delete a post. It would be very difficult to even accidentally hard-delete a post thanks to how the forum software is set up.

My main aim here was to suggest a few simple rule changes so that members don't find their in thread posts deleted for no given reason and others reading a thread will be aware when strange lacunae are caused by deleted posts.
Your suggestions are, for the most part, already in-place. Members who are infracted and have their posts deleted receive private messages explaining the infraction. If posts by more than one user are deleted, we (usually) send people a notification stating that their post was deleted and a short message as to why. This doesn't show up as a private message, but as a notification under the 'alerts' dropdown. If the number of posts deleted is particularly large, the mentor will usually leave a message in-thread saying that several posts were deleted.

If a mentor edits a post to the extent that it changes the content and/or meaning, then a note is left in the post saying so. Something like: [Mentor's Note: Post edited to remove X content] or [Link to questionable site deleted by mentor].

However, we mentors are merely human beings and do make mistakes. If you were not sent a notification then it was probably just a accident.
 

Ryan_m_b

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I only have two points to add to everything that has been said so far:

1) Members are always free to PM mentors and ask for clarification, as it says in the rules and guidelines. As Drakkith said a lack of communication can just be an honest mistake.

2) This forum is very busy and we get 20-40 reports to deal with a day. Most are quick fixes, but some are complex issues that require groups of us to discuss the issue back and forth. Please remember that the team of moderators are all volunteers and most of us have full time jobs, families and other obligations.

I'm not saying this to excuse everything, but quite often there are perfectly reasonably explanations beyond malice.
 

Evo

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Carrock, I have just sent the original report of your post to the mentor's forum. I did not give you a warning, you stated opinion as fact, I should have, but I gave you a break, I also deleted the other posts in the thread referring to and criticizing your post. I read all of the posts, there is nothing similar to any comment from anyone "I do it because I can." I never responded to your comment or the comments of those that commented on your post. So I have no Idea where you are coming up with that.

When I do multiple deletions to clean up a thread, unless you get a warning, I do not send pm's, it's just comments in the lounge, it's not the science forums, which might warrant notification.
 
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Thanks Drakkith, Ryan_m_b and Evo.

Pity I didn't know those things earlier....

Evo : I didn't realise until a few minutes ago that I hadn't specified that the alleged post was almost certainly in the POTUS Election 2016- a Fresh Start thread.

Other than the remote possibility of something in another thread, I can only think I somehow misread a post; when I came back hours later and found it gone that confirmed what I thought I'd read. Sorry I don't have an explanation even I find convincing.

Thankyou for taking the time to read all the posts.
 
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vela

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I read all of the posts, there is nothing similar to any comment from anyone "I do it because I can."

For what it's worth, I seem to recall seeing a post like that recently, though I don't remember where. I only mention it to suggest Carrock isn't making it up, though he might be misinterpreting the nature or intent of the post.
 

Evo

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I'm sure, but it doesn't appear to have anything to do with this string of posts, that's why I wanted to know where he saw it.
 

russ_watters

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@Carrock, maybe you are talking about this post and misremember the context?
That was my first thought. Thanks for linking it. Seems in my opinion pretty far off on context/intent. And FYI, besides the fact I pointed out that I made an edit, people may not be aware that the forum software saves the edit history (the actual content) so I couldn't have hidden it from her if I wanted to.
 

Evo

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Seriously, if a mentor made a comment like that, it was made in jest, (you haven't seen Greg's torture chamber for unruly mentors), and that was also a joke. I personally make a point of keeping a copy of EVERYTHING. When I edit a member's post, I send a copy of the original to the permanent report record first. Then if a member claims they didn't say something, I can simply pull up the original post.

And sometimes, they were right, I read it wrong and I have to apologize and remove the warning. Sometimes I was right and the warning stays. It works both ways.
 
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Evo

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fresh_42

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To add a positive instance I've had with moderators:

I once answered a question by some links to pdf's I've found via Google search. I wasn't aware that they had been copyrighted since those contents are rarely marked as violating the law. My post had been deleted quite fast and to be honest: Good so. Ever since I care a lot more about the origin of content. (Although I still assume that content on western university pages should be o.k.)
 
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@Carrock, maybe you are talking about this post and misremember the context?
Indeed that is the post. I viewed that thread when I was angry from another thread being trashed and somehow got this post which I barely glanced at (beyond noticing it was posted by a Mentor) mixed up with it. When I found, hours later, that posts in the other thread were deleted I assumed it was one of the attacking deleted posts but had no idea of its true location. One of the stupidest things I've ever done.
 

Evo

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Indeed that is the post. I viewed that thread when I was angry from another thread being trashed and somehow got this post which I barely glanced at (beyond noticing it was posted by a Mentor) mixed up with it. When I found, hours later, that posts in the other thread were deleted I assumed it was one of the attacking deleted posts but had no idea of its true location. One of the stupidest things I've ever done.
Nah, If I told you some of the stupid things I've done, you'd be wondering why you weren't the mentor instead of me. We don't hold grudges here, everyone makes mistakes, although, to be honest, there ARE some dumb questions, but you haven't asked any. And I like you. :smile:
 
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Nah, If I told you some of the stupid things I've done, you'd be wondering why you weren't the mentor instead of me. We don't hold grudges here, everyone makes mistakes, although, to be honest, there ARE some dumb questions, but you haven't asked any. And I like you. :smile:
I like you too!:smile:

I apologise to everyone I annoyed or worse and to those who had to spend time checking records etc.
On the plus side, the clarification of normal procedures in this thread is helpful, at least to me.
I hope this thread will now sink into obscurity.:redface:
 

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