Griping about moderation, bias, et cetera

A quick comment on “echo chambers”. Several times when I’ve seen a person espousing point A claimed the BBS was an echo chamber for point ~A I’ve opened up a spreadsheet and counted comments that support their position, that go against their position and that are just jokes or sidelines.

In one case posts for A outnumbered posts for ~A by a margin of two to one.

In one case where it was claimed that people espousing A were being shouted down, posters espousing A outnumbered posters espousing ~A 7 to 3.

So I’m extremely skeptical of these claims. I don’t think they are consistently backed up by reality and that makes me question them broadly (even when the numbers in a particular thread “support” the claim). To me it looks like accusations of “echo chamber” are mostly about hurt feelings, not about what is going on in threads.

I also feel like talk of echo chambers smuggles in the idea that the only kind of productive discussion is a discussion where people with different opinions clash over their differences. Those discussions, to me, are actually mostly useless. In all of my arguments about (for example) free speech for Nazis I have only ever thought one poster said something that wasn’t just a standard, oft-repeated argument in favour of free speech (that was looking at countries that had and didn’t have laws against holocaust denial and how that worked out for them in terms of actual hate-motived violence and suggesting that laws against Nazi speech weren’t effective).

I think discussions in which people who fundamentally agree on the overarching issue learn from one another are great discussions. I’m someone who usually feigns understanding by having good form, despite being light on facts. I’ve benefited a lot about history (something I’m super weak on) and about technology from these boards.

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A quick rebuttal:

In my experience, the ‘echo chamber’ claim is usually a bullshit excuse bandied about by petulant individuals who are just deeply disappointed that they cannot dominate the flow of conversation while commanding everyone’s attention.

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A person who has a visible code of honor, that they rigidly hew to regardless of what damage they themselves may take in consequence, is easily manipulated by anyone who is sufficiently dishonorable.

You can substitute ethics or moral values for honor in the above paragraph and it still works the same way.

If you throw an innocent person in front of a train, there are many people in this world who will instantly sacrifice themselves to save the victim. So, at least in theory, anyone who is willing to “accidentally” bump someone off a platform into the path of an oncoming train can take out a sufficiently honorable “enemy” if they can arrange the situation cleverly enough. If they are incredibly clever they might figure a way so the intermediary victim won’t actually be harmed, only the enemy. This paragraph is a illustrative rhetorical device so I hope nobody will use criticism of the details of the metaphor and language as an excuse to derail the point.

In forum moderation (and not just on BoingBoing!) if a manipulative person discovers the ethical “handles” of both an individual moderator and a person subject to moderation, the manipulator may be able to essentially wield the moderator as a weapon against the third party. The best manipulators would probably not be amoral griefers - they might well think of themselves as heroic fighters against the bad guys, and consider themselves allies of the moderator(s) being manipulated. They’re helping!

There is no cure for this that I can see. You don’t want unethical, dishonorable, or immoral moderators, and some number of forum posters are always going to be clearly governed by a personal code of some sort. So this may be just a feature of such environments.

However, if there is a cure, it’s probably numerical. I suspect it would involve measuring things like which people’s actions function as key links in repeatedly observed chains of events that end up with unwanted final results (like driving moderators away, or supporting some other measurable outcome). What those events and outcomes might be would have to be determined by the forum owners, and grinding the data to correlate them might require support directly in the forum software rather than just database access (tag @codinghorror).

The title of this thread seems apropos. I don’t think there is one titled “the Internet’s road to boring forums is paved with only the best butter intentions”.

Edit1: removed offensive word and references to gender and age in metaphor.
Edit2: corrected misspelling of “victim”

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You’re not allowed to criticize BoingBoing on BoingBoing.

Actually, we are allowed to criticize BoingBoing on BoingBoing. For proof, search for any thread about the site’s ad policy, and a good quantity of the sponsored product topics.

There’s one caveat-- critical posts must conform to the site’s Guidelines.

Post that include insults are violations, and will get eaten. Posts that complain about flags and moderation in threads that aren’t about flags and moderation are off-topic, and will get eaten.

In my experience here, if you can state your case respectfully and follow the rules, then yes, you can criticize BoingBoing on BoingBoing. It might not change anything, but it can be done. :wink:

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Well, clearly that is wrong, because violent posts are actively encouraged on this site. And by violent I mean posts advocating violence directed at members of groups defined as “other”.

It just depends on who the intended victims are. Billionaires, pharma execs, conservative politicians, cops who shoot people. I’m not defending any of those people or their actions, just saying that if you go to a thread on any of those topics and post a guillotine GIF with the words “Maybe this is what we need a little more of” it will not be flagged and it will not be taken down.

I made that exact point earlier this week and the post was flagged and deleted. I made the snarky post to which you responded and it got move to a thread that’s a year old. Today we saw the Leopards ate my Face thread that chastises another site for suppressing “off topic” comments while at the same time reveling in the face that people “we” don’t like are catching and dying of a disease.

You describe no victims, you describe people in power.

Also, you can flag a Guillotine image, if you feel it violates the Community Guidelines.

Also, perhaps you should just cut the snark when people are really, really pissed because those in power are actively promoting bullshit which is killing people.

But, well, that’s just my opinion, man. Whateva. Now, if you are griping, this topic is for you. Please go on, by all means.

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On one hand I just don’t feel like arguing because it really isn’t worth it so please try not to take this as me trying to start an argument. From what I’ve seen in the… Holy shit I’ve been visiting this place for a long long time… Anyway from what I’ve seen the tolerance for that (the guillotine image and all its ambiguity) ebbs and flows with flags typically raised each time. Generally it isn’t well tolerated at least lately. Flag and moderate and ppl scream about the PC police and their rights. Blow it off and people scream about how everyone here is violent. I guess my point is… Who fucking cares. You like it here then stay; else go. It’s good enough for me I guess but if it isn’t tolerable anymore then one day I’ll scoot.
Btw you got moved to an old post but that bumps it up so that it is visible. This is the thread that would have made sense to post in. When new posts are added people see it so there is no point in putting it in a thread where it’s a derail.

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11th-doc-this|nullxnull

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I moved your post, because it had nothing to do with Alaska, bans, or books, and was therefore off-topic in that thread. It would have gotten flagged and eaten if it was left there. Instead, I moved it to this thread, where it is on-topic, so you could have your say.

As for the topic of violence… that is something that is a running concern on the site, and it’s been talked about before:

I don’t consider myself capable of deciding what should and shouldn’t be discussed on the BBS. I leave that to the moderators and site owners.

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TOO SOON, SO INSENSITIVE

french revolution

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Those who do not learn from the hard lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.

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When I saw those jacked-up wingnuts at the Michigan statehouse dragging a guillotine onto the floor of the legislature, I thought to myself, Damn, now I can’t use that as a meme anymore, somebody will misconstrue it as a true threat

Oh wait, that didn’t happen, they were carrying AR-15s and shit instead

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Yup, that comment totally

giphy

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What the hell are you talking about?

No post on Boing Boing has advocated that folks go out and attack anyone. Not one.

If the idea of a guillotine as representative of revolution is overly complex, so be it, but it is not, and has never been in well over a century, an attempt at having people construct actual guillotines.

I’m guessing you know this and are very poorly trolling here.

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Oh, goody, this hand-wringing “concern” about BB again. As if it hasn’t been addressed before in detail when others swooned to their fainting couches over BB’s alleged endorsement of cutting off the heads of the ultra-wealthy.

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The image of the guillotine has traditionally been a warning: historically, if things continue the way they are, it does not end well for those with wealth and power.

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It’s a WARNING, not a wish…

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