On Forum Moderation

Laeeth Isharc laeeth at kaleidic.io
Wed Oct 23 00:24:03 UTC 2019

On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 at 20:01:54 UTC, Jonathan Marler 
> On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 at 19:44:22 UTC, bachmeier wrote:
>> On Tuesday, 22 October 2019 at 19:11:39 UTC, Walter Bright 
>> wrote:
>>> On 10/21/2019 2:45 PM, welkam wrote:
>>>> On Monday, 21 October 2019 at 07:16:16 UTC, Walter Bright 
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Mike's advice is still good. Don't reply to people who push 
>>>>> your buttons.
>>>> And all the C programmer need to pay more attention when 
>>>> writing their code so they would not get buffer overflows.
>>> Buffer overflows are unintentional. Replies are intentional. 
>>> The analogy isn't apt.
>>> Nevertheless, I do know that asking people to not reply to 
>>> trolls doesn't work. This is where experience comes in - it 
>>> takes a few years for youthful enthusiasm "this time it will 
>>> be different" to reply to be battered into bitter oblivion by 
>>> experience.
>> I'll repeat that ignoring trolls doesn't solve the problem. If 
>> someone says in 40 different threads that they don't use D 
>> because of the D1/D2 split, and nobody responds to say "that's 
>> BS" then thousands of people that don't know D will come 
>> across those posts, assume it's true, and move on to a 
>> different language. Or worse, they'll see one troll talking 
>> about D's compiler bugs and another troll talking about D 
>> being a dead language and another troll talking about 
>> something else. Nuke those posts and the problem is solved.
> How do you decide when someone is trolling and when someone is 
> making valid criticism?  Some people could consider your last 
> post as trolling as you're criticizing how D decides to 
> moderate its forums.
> People should be free to express and discuss their criticism.  
> I think the only time moderators should step in is if the 
> discussion devolves into harrasment or something inappropriate.
>  It's still not easy to define what that is, but the point is 
> that deciding to silence or remove people's discussion is a big 
> deal, it should be a last resort.
> You do bring up a good point that alot of posts/discussion 
> don't add anything and can leave a negative impression.  
> However, rather than removing posts of this nature, I would 
> employ a rating/ranking system like reddit that moves that 
> stuff to the bottom of the thread or minimizes its presence in 
> some way. This way the community can decide what they find 
> interesting rather than forcing the moderators to take a much 
> more dramatic action.

Censorship is a slippery slope and at some point in a volunteer 
community someday somebody who turns out to be the wrong person 
might end up being given that job and it could be a while before 
the problem is identified and it's possible to do anything about 
it.  And just the perception of censorship isn't great.

On the other hand if people are trying to have a serious 
conversation then it's easy for it to be sidetracked or worse by 
people with no skin in the game and just like spending time on 
the interwebs arguing with people.

It probably doesn't create the best impression for corporate 
users.  Imagine you're a guy in a tech team at JP Morgan trying 
to persuade your boss to try using D.  And there's some 
announcement of something that should be an occasion to build 
constructive energy and ends up becoming another why D will never 
succeed thread. What sort of impression is your boss going to 
form of things?  Quite a lot of corporate people are quite 
superficial and swayed by social factors, but I suppose they are 
also often the ones with the money to decide.

It's not necessarily bad that people easily deterred find 
superficial reasons to avoid D, at least at this stage.  I told 
someone at dconf you know maybe in some years we will look back 
with nostalgia at the days when people were only involved in D 
because of intrinsic motivation and not in order to build their 
career, and that may end up being right - one of the costs of 

I'm not speaking out of personal or business interests because 
I'm in a different context.

But still, it might be better to have a degree of moderation 
where you only delete messages that violate standards in an 
extreme way and simply move messages that are off thread or forum 
topic to a general chit chat forum.  Then nobody can seriously 
complain about censorship and visitors won't be too put off by 
the first impressions.

I don't know how much work it would be, but it might be best to 
start by not being excessively reasonable or realistic when 
considering choices and then when you know what they are to see 
how they might be made realistic.

So maybe one could consider having a paid community support or 
development person with part of their job being forum moderation 
but other duties being to build community in other ways and maybe 
do outreach to companies and other communities that might benefit 
from D but haven't heard of it.

Just make sure their values are aligned with those of the 

It's really the web interface that creates the public impression 
for outsiders so even if all you did was change the web view that 
would be a lot.  If I remember correctly you can cancel newsgroup 
postings so I presume you could move messages to a chit chat 

Smart people might say a lot of things but it's hard for most 
outsiders to know who someone is and what credibility they might 
have if you don't have the context.  So if you could easily see 
oh Jonathan Davis wrote std.datetime when reading a message by 
him, or Adam Ruppe wrote the D cookbook, and is author of a 
popular library that might help people navigate conversations.

Having verified accounts might be one way to combat the 
occasional sock puppet type episodes.  I mean for people who have 
contributed something valuable in some way.

There are occasions when I wonder if some frequent 
controversialists write D at all.  Nothing wrong with posting 
here in a chit chat section, but if somebody is not even 
pretending to try to be constructive and they have never 
contributed code, talks, documentation,or resources then is it 
actually sensible to make it easy for them to lower the tone of 
the conversation?

It would be kind of interesting to see a little icon by someone's 
name saying average sentiment score.  Of course false positives - 
Manu complaining quite rightly about Windows support again (a 
false positive because in his case that would be dissatisfaction 
en route to fixing things!)

The cryptocurrency communities have had to deal with much tougher 
challenges than us, and I wonder if Amaury might have any 

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