On Forum Moderation

FeepingCreature feepingcreature at gmail.com
Sat Oct 19 14:49:21 UTC 2019

On Saturday, 19 October 2019 at 12:59:40 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:
> From the time I first visited the D newsgroups in 2003 until 
> now, it has always been an open forum. Heated discussions have 
> always popped up from time to time, but rarely has there been 
> the need to ban anyone. Since I joined the moderation team, 
> I've been following the loose policy that Walter has always 
> espoused, which is something along the lines of "maintain 
> professional decorum".
> Granted, certain posts can really stretch the boundaries of 
> "professional decorum", but I think that's perfectly fine. 
> We're all adults here and should be able to handle verbal barbs 
> now and again. Where the moderators draw the line is when the 
> verbal jousting turns nasty. We have deleted posts in such 
> cases, but again, that's quite rare.
> In my own opinion, what we should not start doing is banning 
> people simply for expressing displeasure with the language or 
> disagreement with its leadership. Yes, I understand that there 
> are a handful of people who seem to do nothing but spread 
> negativity and be contrarian. I disagree with almost everything 
> those guys post. But that *is not* a bannable offense, nor 
> should it be.
> I also don't want to be deleting negative posts just because 
> they're negative. Then we get into the business of deleting 
> replies that quote them, and maybe even losing some actual 
> useful signal in all the noise.
> If such posts bother you, then simply ignore them. Don't reply. 
> Even better, don't read any posts by that person at all. D is 
> not a religion and there's no need to get upset or take it 
> personally when someone comes here and says negative things 
> about it. Just keep on doing what you do and forget about it. 
> We as a community are not going to suffer from negative forum 
> posts unless we allow ourselves to suffer. And no, it's not 
> going to hurt us in the world at large. We've suffered worse on 
> reddit.
> If you do feel the need to reply to specific criticisms, make 
> sure you are in a proper state of mind before putting fingers 
> to keyboard so that you can keep it focused on the criticisms 
> and not take it personal.
> That said, it would be nice to have a means to lock a thread 
> that has become unproductive (I would have locked the feedback 
> thread by now). But we don't have that and we aren't going to 
> as long as we are backed by a newsgroup.

A relevant blogpost from a different forum: Well-Kept Gardens Die 
By Pacifism.


> Some­where in the vast­ness of the In­ter­net, it is 
> hap­pen­ing even now. It was once a well-kept gar­den of 
> in­tel­li­gent dis­cus­sion, where knowl­edge­able and 
> in­ter­ested folk came, at­tracted by the high qual­ity of 
> speech they saw on­go­ing. But into this gar­den comes a fool, 
> and the level of dis­cus­sion drops a lit­tle—or more than a 
> lit­tle, if the fool is very pro­lific in their post­ing. (It 
> is worse if the fool is just ar­tic­u­late enough that the 
> former in­hab­itants of the gar­den feel obliged to re­spond, 
> and cor­rect mis­ap­pre­hen­sions—for then the fool dom­i­nates 
> con­ver­sa­tions.)

> So the gar­den is tainted now, and it is less fun to play in; 
> the old in­hab­itants, already in­vested there, will stay, but 
> they are that much less likely to at­tract new blood. Or if 
> there are new mem­bers, their qual­ity also has gone down.

> Then an­other fool joins...

And yes, better moderation tools would probably help a lot. I 
think mods here should in general be more willing to shut down 
threads or avenues or discussion that are going nowhere. It 
doesn't have to be an outright ban, often interrupting the 
vicious circle of posts and responses would already solve the 

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