Five years of BBS 📅

I think I could be convinced by a list of all the mods since tribes and which software was running when they left, if that supported your assertion. Which I don’t believe it would, but I am always willing to reconsider in light of new data.

That is what I’d say many advanced amateur/professional trolls do, they learn the rules to the letter and then push them to the very limit to goad other people into crossing the line in response. It’s their game, and one done by regulars who have some friends on the forum, and who can gang up on others by vindictively flagging posts, which multiplied by their trusted status can get their “enemies” bounced quickly when they respond to the deliberate goading, allowing the trolls to take over a forum to one degree or another. Clearly, creating and maintaining nice culture on a forum is hard work, work that can often easily be undone by just one or more trusted people if they aren’t supervised.

How so, other than the feed algorithm I mentioned? I’ve heard vague mentions of trust scores but I don’t know what the consequences to me are, nor how how often I visit FB does or doesn’t affect it.

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Hmm, thinking back, maybe it should have been called the “Situation Room” instead of the “Lounge” :wink: … I’m afraid we took “Lounge” seriously and hung out and seriously enjoyed it :smiley_cat:

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I hope we’ll learn more about how an ignore feature would work. I’m not familiar with them.

Couldn’t it potentially make conversations kind of disjointed? I mean, people posting without knowing what some others have already said in the thread could get kind of weird. It could become like people talking past each other, no?

I recall something here not too long ago, where Person A posted something pretty far into into a thread, and Person B got offended because it was similar to something that Person B had already posted earlier in the thread. Some assumptions were made, and as I recall it Person B wanted acknowledgement of their earlier post and an apology.

It turned out (not too surprisingly) that Person A had replied to an early post as they were reading along, without having read through the whole thread, and was unaware that Person B had already posted the same thing. So…we do already have the potential for that to happen, if people don’t read the whole thread before responding—but if it isn’t even possible to see someone else’s posts, I could see that kind of weirdness and misunderstanding happening more often.

Or am I not understanding how an ignore feature works?

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If said “something” is a link, Discourse will warn you that the link was already posted earlier in the topic, at least.

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Thanks for asking and congratulations on BBS’s meta-caek day. Your willingness to listen to the site’s users is one of the many things that makes this forum the only one I comment in on non-business matters. The other thing I particularly appreciate about the system is how well it supports excellent and thoughtful moderators like @orenwolf and his former colleagues like @falcor. As far as I’m concerned everything is working and the only suggestions I can offer go to the kaizen process made evident by your requests.

The main improvements I would like to see (triviality level of implementation aside) are those that give the mods more fine-tuned analytics and feedback tools to do their jobs (esp. the one Orenwolf describes above to combat the problem you describe here), specifically:

Item 1: That the Ignore User feature you are implementing tie back to the mods’ admin and analytics dashboard and be tied to threshold/alert settings to allow the mods to see when various users of various trust levels are ignoring (and thus refusing to engage with) a particular user, making it easier for the mod to zero in on a potential problem user and perhaps solicit more feedback on why the user is seen that way before taking action.

In order to prevent abuse of such a feature and to encourage open discourse I would further suggest that the number of ignored users per user be capped at various levels based on trust level. I doubt anyone would find this to be a hardship. For example, I currently use the Tampermonkey/Greasmonkey Muting script mentioned here, but the quality of discourse on the BBS is such (thanks to the mods and the system) that at any time I’ve muted fewer than 7 obnoxious and no-value-added users (sometimes including suspected duplicate accounts). On a site of this quality you could cap it at 10 ignored users per TL3 user at any given time with no issue.

On a similar note,

Item 2: A special new flag called “Bad-Faith Argument” would be welcome fine-tuning. This flag option would have a required text element (similar to the current “Something Else”) where the flagger would be required to explain why she believes a particular comment is being made in bad faith. This flag (as I hope others already are) would be tied to the mods’ admin and analytics dashboard so that the mods could determine the validity of the complaint and begin to track patterns of commenters who are acting in a consistently trollish nature on specific topics or across the BBS. If possible such a flag would not autodelete a comment that exceeds the threshold of bad-faith flags but rather put it temporarily on-hold pending a judgment by the mod of the consistency and validity of the flag(s).

In order to prevent abuse of such flag, I would suggest that a limited number of them be handed out each month to users based on Trust Level and that the text element require a minimum number of characters (perhaps the average length of a sentence) to cut down the number of flag cases the mods have to review and provide them with site-policy-based cause to ban anyone who abuses them through other means.

An argument might be made that “Something Else” already does this job, but given the uptick we’ve seen in bad-faith, fallacious, and truth-challenged arguments in larger society I believe that a separate and more specific flag might be useful.

Finally, a bit outside the scope of the discussion and (understandably) most controversially…

Item 3: I would suggest that the tech, moderation, and business management explore the possibility of implementing a very modest annual or perhaps one-time non-refundable fee to give a user the ability to comment at any trust level. Based on other sites I’ve seen that use this system it seems that USD$5-12/year is the standard.

Acknowledging that even a nominal fee may be a hardship for and barrier to entry to many users I would further suggest that any such system must include a sponsorship mechanism so that another paid member might be allowed to cover the costs for a limited number of people (between 1 and 3) who can’t afford it. This might be done through direct requests to individual user or through contributions to a general pool to be distributed by site management on a vetted-request basis.

Based on the other places I’ve seen this working, I believe such a policy and mechanism would immediately eliminate the large number of “drive-by” and casual trolls we’ve seen invading the site in the past year or so via various avenues (troll farms, astroturfers, hobbyhorse searches via FB and Google news alerts, etc.), creating less work for the mods and less needless and tiresome turmoil on the BBS. It would likely reduce the number of duplicate and sockpuppet and ban-evasion accounts on BBS. Finally, it would help fund moderation and development of what most of us agree is a high-quality BBS.

To be clear, I don’t see any of these suggestions silencing those voicing “unpopular” or “politically incorrect” or “edgy” opinions, just ones propounded in bad faith and/or in a consistently disrespectful manner (all too often those doing the latter here defend themselves by claiming they’re being flagged due to one of the former – a bad-faith defense of a bad-faith comment).

Thanks again for five great years. Looking forward to a year 6 of similar quality d/Discourse.

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I don’t think we need a return of the TL3 Regulars Lounges. They caused a lot of needless turmoil for that very reason. Nothing good came of people who were consistently criticised in the Lounges gaining TL3 and seeing what other trusted members really thought of them.

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The main thread of ha ha you hang out here too much was fun though.

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Badges are amusing. Perhaps it might be worth introducing more badges for earning Popular Link or Nice Reply and so on a certain number of times? Or would that be nuts?

Of course there are trolls everywhere and I could never say this place is magically troll-free, but to some extent it works both ways, does it not? Are there not those who will pounce on something that seems to bear the slightest whiff of dissent, something innocent crafted with no cunning whatsoever, and declare that a person who probably agrees with them completely on most things must actually be the lowest form of nut-job bottom-feeder?

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In the Tampermonkey script I mentioned in my comment above it simply hides the Muted user’s comments from view. Combined with the existing ability to Mute alerts about responses from a given user it means that the Muted user effectively vanishes from the BBS for the person using the functionality.

The Muted user may find it odd at first that someone is not responding to them but that can happen without an Ignore/Mute feature. I’ve never had an issue with it and no-one I’ve Muted has ever contacted me via DM to ask what’s going on.

I really don’t see a lot of this on the site, again largely due to the mods and a system that’s thoughtfully designed to support them. What’s pounced on for the most part is not dissent but bad-faith arguments, willful ignorance and disrespect.

If the system gives the mods more fine-tuned analytics and alerting tools in connection with flags and Ignore, the rare instances of what you describe will likely become rarer.

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Isn’t every thread the questions thread?

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Hey take that over here.

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laughing_Donald

Haven’t I already been there? What happens when containment is breached?

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Interesting…I’m wondering, then, do you ever find yourself wondering what’s going on? I mean, it seems like everyone else would be in a conversation that includes the person you have muted, and there you are, floating through in your own little bubble—??

If they did try to contact you, would you even know it?

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One thing I have noticed is the possibility that hobbyhorse newcomers who may want to automatically shut down a thread they don’t like for 4 hours at a time exploit this feature by posting comments designed to be flagged. Not sure how to solve this beyond the mods’ current vigilance but something for you to be aware of.

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It’s something to be aware of, though I think the more expert of them try to play nice and like a few things. It’s a hard problem really. As @codinghorror said (Perhaps in slightly different words), there’s really no substitute for vigilant moderation.

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Not really. As I said, I’ve had occasion to Mute very few users since I started using the script. Currently there are four on my list (I usually delete them from the list when, as often happens, they get suspended or banned by a mod). They’re the kinds of borderline trolls described above and I’m not really interested in comments they make as they add absolutely no value to any thread they’re in as far as I’m concerned.

I do see others responding to them and sometimes quoting them. In those cases if I feel there’s reason to support the commenter a Like my own comment backing up or expanding on their point without reference to the Muted user works fine.

That’s a good question, but as I understand it a DM from them would show up in my mailbox despite the Mute script and the lack of alerts. I’ve never seen one from them, probably because they dislike me as much as I dislike them.

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I don’t think any of the criticism was undeserved.

I still miss the lounge and the many people that left here to seek out greener pastures elsewhere.

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I agree, but that’s a separate issue. Members criticised as trolls and such who attained TL3 and gained access to the Lounges took it as an opportunity to claim (falsely) that BBS management was enabling cliques via favouritism. I also miss the TL3 Lounges and the sense of community they engendered amongst the regulars but somehow the site seems to be surviving without them.

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It’s really hard to boil trust down to a simple metric. I think @codinghorror was working with the idea that reading was the most important factor. I get where he was coming from on some level, but measuring posts viewed isn’t exactly engagement.

A place for people of a certain trust level to talk together has value in my opinion, but those on the outside will always view it as cliquish as well. These aren’t easy things to engineer.

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