Status of Democratic Moderation

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Giovanni Greco

da leggere,
2 ott 2000, 03:00:0002/10/00
a


Status of Democratic Moderation
__________________________


1) Three months after the result of the ballot, the first elections
must be held; in the first three months the newsgroup is not
moderated.

2) In the first legislature the newsgroup proponent is elected
by right; voting lasts fifteen days.

3) The moderation team is comprised of five moderators
(plus two backups, the first of the non-elected candidates).

4) Any of the newsgroup's posters may stand for election
as a moderator.

5) Only the newsgroup's posters may vote and each user may
vote for one single legislature at a time.

6) The elected moderators hold office for a year and may stand
for re-election.

7) Each moderator may moderate only one newsgroup at a time.

8) After the election the moderators shall elect a spokesman
(the one who gets most votes) to handle any explanations on
news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of three moderators
is required to replace the spokesman).

9) Should one or two moderators resign, their place will be taken
by the first of the non-elected candidates; should the majority
resign, new elections must be held within a month.

10) A moderation commission (fifteen members plus seven backups)
must be elected every year by users to settle controversies
in all the newsgroups.

11) Anyone may stand for election as a member of the moderation
commission.

12) Outgoing members of the moderation commission may stand
for re-election.

13) During their period in office, commission members may not
moderate newsgroups.

14) The moderation commission shall elect a spokesman (the one
who gets most votes) to deal with the official posting of its
decisions on news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of eight
members is required to replace the spokesman).

15) Should members of the moderation commission resign, their
place will be taken by the first of the non-elected candidates;
should the majority resign, a new election must be held.

16) In the case of a member's absence for more than two months
without giving notice, the moderation commission may propose
a substitute (confirmed with a simple majority).

17) In the case of article considered off-topic, the moderator shall
submit the article to the moderation team: the decision of the
majority of the moderators, voting within 24 hours, shall be
final. Should the ballot result in a tie, the article shall be
considered on-topic. In the case of article considered
off-topic by the moderation team, the poster shall be notified,
explaining the reason why, and also informed of the existence
of the moderation commission on news.admin.moderation,
to which an appeal can be made.

18) A simple majority of the moderators may propose the suspension
of a moderator to the moderation commission (which, with
a simple majority, may confirm the suspension).

19) In the case of appeal to the moderation commission regarding
users articles, the decision of the majority of the commission
members, voting within 48 hours, shall be final. Should the
ballot result in a tie the article shall be considered on-topic.

20) In the event of disputes not settled unanimously the moderation
commission must specify how members have voted.

21) The moderation commission may suspend individual moderators
or the whole moderation team and call new elections.

22) Suspended or resigning moderators may not stand for re-election
at the next election held by the same newsgroup.

23) Should part of the moderation team fail to comply with a decision
taken by members of the commission, the spokesman for the
moderation commission shall report the incident to the person
in charge of the hierarchy (David Lawrence) so that the
moderation bot owner be notified, or for rmgroup should
there continue to be problems.

24) A 2/3 majority of the commission members may write new rules
for moderation or may change the rules contained in this Status.

25) For each moderated newsgroup there must be a corresponding
unmoderated one.

Giovanni Greco
--
* Sweet Words * - poetry book on-line
http://www.giovannigreco.com

Baird Stafford

da leggere,
3 ott 2000, 03:00:0003/10/00
a
Giovanni Greco <giov...@tiscalinet.it> wrote:

<snip>

> 1) Three months after the result of the ballot, the first elections
> must be held; in the first three months the newsgroup is not
> moderated.

My experience suggests this may be unworkable. Both the newsgroups of
whose moderation panels I am a member have been required by the terms of
their Charters to hold elections in years past, and volunteers for the
onus simply DO NOT step forward without a great deal of persuasion. The
position of moderator entails a certain amount of pressure that many
folks prefer to avoid, and even with a modbot that does most of the work
is a time-consuming process.

The volunteers who *do* step forward immediately are, more likely than
not, people whom one does not, for one reason or another (mostly extreme
bias evident in previous articles posted to the group), want to be in
charge of a newsgroup.



> 2) In the first legislature the newsgroup proponent is elected
> by right; voting lasts fifteen days.

This can be put into the Charter of any newsgroup and, if all goes as it
theoretically ought to, will be honored. Not only do I see no need for
such a provision to be applied to usenet as a whole, I strongly suspect
it is unenforceable.

> 3) The moderation team is comprised of five moderators
> (plus two backups, the first of the non-elected candidates).

Again, this can be written into a Charter. Same caveats as above.

> 4) Any of the newsgroup's posters may stand for election
> as a moderator.

Ditto.

> 5) Only the newsgroup's posters may vote and each user may
> vote for one single legislature at a time.

No. The participation of anyone with a possible interest in reading
(NOT posting to) a newsgroup was originally posited to a reason. To the
best of my knowledge, no attempt to estimate readership of the various
usenet newsgroups is currently being made, but I strongly suspect that
the ratio of "lurkers" to posters may be on the order of several
thousand to one. To deny those passive participants a say in how the
newsgroup is created/moderated is a direct contradiction of the claim
made in the "Subject:" line - to create a "democratic" process.



> 6) The elected moderators hold office for a year and may stand
> for re-election.

The original comment about the difficulty of finding volunteers to take
the heat of the moderation seat applies here, too.

> 7) Each moderator may moderate only one newsgroup at a time.

Don't be silly. You *would* have "moderated" newsgroups without
moderators, under this provision.

> 8) After the election the moderators shall elect a spokesman
> (the one who gets most votes) to handle any explanations on
> news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of three moderators
> is required to replace the spokesman).

Oh, now you're positing yet another layer of usenet beaurocracy centered
in news.admin.moderation? Why? Moderators are (or should be) bound by
the Charters of the newsgroups they serve, which are set at the creation
of the groups. Nothing prevents those Charters from including
provisions by which active posters may complain to/about the moderation
and, if necessary, effect changes to bring the process more in line with
the (probably idealistic) provisions set forth in the Charter.

I see no need for this provision.

> 9) Should one or two moderators resign, their place will be taken
> by the first of the non-elected candidates; should the majority
> resign, new elections must be held within a month.

Why not hold elections to replace the retiring moderators immediately?
The roster of active posters in any newsgroup appears to change on a
regular basis: on the two I serve, the turnover period appears to be
about six months. It is entirely possible that the "non-elected"
candidates might have moved on by the time a retirement occurs from the
original panel.



> 10) A moderation commission (fifteen members plus seven backups)
> must be elected every year by users to settle controversies
> in all the newsgroups.

Uh, uh, buddy. No way. I doubt you'll find *any* newsgroup that will
agree to have its autonomy compromised by the creation of an external
judge and jury - which is what this provision states as written ("...in
all the newsgroups").

And if you mean that a newsgroup *should* have such a commission
internally - again, nothing prevents this from being included in the
Charter. The difficulty with finding fools enough to fill such a large
panel remains, however....

<snip>

> 14) The moderation commission shall elect a spokesman (the one
> who gets most votes) to deal with the official posting of its
> decisions on news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of eight
> members is required to replace the spokesman).

There's that other layer of usenet beaurocracy, again!

<snip>

> 17) In the case of article considered off-topic, the moderator shall
> submit the article to the moderation team: the decision of the
> majority of the moderators, voting within 24 hours, shall be
> final. Should the ballot result in a tie, the article shall be
> considered on-topic. In the case of article considered
> off-topic by the moderation team, the poster shall be notified,
> explaining the reason why, and also informed of the existence
> of the moderation commission on news.admin.moderation,
> to which an appeal can be made.

A decision within 24 hours is absolutely and completely unworkable. Not
every moderator of every newsgroup is going even to log onto usenet
daily: some of us *do* have lives. This means that articles that are
off topic in the opinion of one moderator will not appear on the
newsgroup in question in anything like a reasonable length of time.

> 18) A simple majority of the moderators may propose the suspension
> of a moderator to the moderation commission (which, with
> a simple majority, may confirm the suspension).

I'm still not entirely certain why you think a "commission" is needed to
perform functions that the readership of a group as a whole can fulfill.

<snip>

> 23) Should part of the moderation team fail to comply with a decision
> taken by members of the commission, the spokesman for the
> moderation commission shall report the incident to the person
> in charge of the hierarchy (David Lawrence) so that the
> moderation bot owner be notified, or for rmgroup should
> there continue to be problems.

Urph. Now you're dumping yet *another* job on tale's shoulders: I
doubt he'll thank you for that. To the best of my knowledge (which will
undoubtedly be corrected swiftly if I'm wrong), newsadmins are not
required to honor rmgroups even when issued by tale: they do so only by
convention.

I also find it interesting that you propose to punish the entire
readership of a newsgroup should one or two people screw up. What's
deomocratic about that? It would, perhaps, be wise to get over the
notion that a newsgroup "belongs" to the moderators to the extend that
they would be the only ones hurt should the group be suppressed.

<snip>



> 24) A 2/3 majority of the commission members may write new rules
> for moderation or may change the rules contained in this Status.

Why? And why are you excluding the other participants in the newsgroup?

> 25) For each moderated newsgroup there must be a corresponding
> unmoderated one.

Piffle. If people want an unmoderated group, experience suggests that
one already exists - even if it is lost in the cacophany of the alt.*
hierarchy.

Baird

--
Modkin for soc.religion.paganism,
Modstaff for alt.religion.wicca.moderated
Like science fiction and fantasy fiction? Read my reviews at
<http://www.bairdstafford.com>

Giovanni Greco

da leggere,
9 ott 2000, 03:00:0009/10/00
a
On Tue, 3 Oct 2000 16:21:58 -0400, ba...@gate.net (Baird Stafford)

>Giovanni Greco <giov...@tiscalinet.it> wrote:
>> 1) Three months after the result of the ballot, the first elections
>> must be held; in the first three months the newsgroup is not
>> moderated.

>My experience suggests this may be unworkable.

It is just your respectable opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

>Both the newsgroups of
>whose moderation panels I am a member have been required by the terms of
>their Charters to hold elections in years past, and volunteers for the
>onus simply DO NOT step forward without a great deal of persuasion.

I don't think is always like that and why if being a moderator such
a bad job you are wasting your precious time in moderating two
newsgroups?


>> 2) In the first legislature the newsgroup proponent is elected
>> by right; voting lasts fifteen days.

>This can be put into the Charter of any newsgroup and, if all goes as it
>theoretically ought to, will be honored. Not only do I see no need for
>such a provision to be applied to usenet as a whole, I strongly suspect
>it is unenforceable.

I don't think is a good idea to have a "forever" moderators unless
users don't keep they voted.


>> 5) Only the newsgroup's posters may vote and each user may
>> vote for one single legislature at a time.

>No. The participation of anyone with a possible interest in reading
>(NOT posting to) a newsgroup was originally posited to a reason. To the
>best of my knowledge, no attempt to estimate readership of the various
>usenet newsgroups is currently being made, but I strongly suspect that
>the ratio of "lurkers" to posters may be on the order of several
>thousand to one. To deny those passive participants a say in how the
>newsgroup is created/moderated is a direct contradiction of the claim
>made in the "Subject:" line - to create a "democratic" process.

It is a "democratic" process. We are not asking very much to lurkers
if they want to give us their opinion they just have to vote.
Otherwise we will never be able to know what they want.


>> 6) The elected moderators hold office for a year and may stand
>> for re-election.

>The original comment about the difficulty of finding volunteers to take
>the heat of the moderation seat applies here, too.

I cannot see this problem, why there shouldn't be volunteers as you
are.


>> 7) Each moderator may moderate only one newsgroup at a time.

>Don't be silly. You *would* have "moderated" newsgroups without
>moderators, under this provision.

Don't behave stupidly, why if a small minority has a lot of interest
in moderating more than one newsgroup, a large majority shouldn't have
any in moderating only one? (You just have said above that it is an
hard job, haven't you?).


>> 8) After the election the moderators shall elect a spokesman
>> (the one who gets most votes) to handle any explanations on
>> news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of three moderators
>> is required to replace the spokesman).

>Oh, now you're positing yet another layer of usenet beaurocracy centered
>in news.admin.moderation?

Another what? news.admin.moderation hasn't been opened yet, also it
doesn't seem that there is a lot of bureaucracy in defending freedom
of speech of users.

> Why? Moderators are (or should be) bound by
>the Charters of the newsgroups they serve,

Servant? With all the power that they want and without any rule to
obey. Don't forget that they can do whatever they want with their
charters, once voted.

>which are set at the creation of the groups.

And what happens if they decide to do not obey to the charter?
We can only trust their promises, we can't judge their work.

>Nothing prevents those Charters from including
>provisions by which active posters may complain to/about the moderation
>and, if necessary, effect changes to bring the process more in line with
>the (probably idealistic) provisions set forth in the Charter.

Yes, but, who should at the end decide who is right and who is wrong?

>I see no need for this provision.

Still you respectable opinion.


>> 9) Should one or two moderators resign, their place will be taken
>> by the first of the non-elected candidates; should the majority
>> resign, new elections must be held within a month.

>Why not hold elections to replace the retiring moderators immediately?

What is wrong in having a couple of backups?

>It is entirely possible that the "non-elected"
>candidates might have moved on by the time a retirement occurs from the
>original panel.

May be yes or maybe not. Who knows?


>> 10) A moderation commission (fifteen members plus seven backups)
>> must be elected every year by users to settle controversies
>> in all the newsgroups.

>Uh, uh, buddy. No way. I doubt you'll find *any* newsgroup that will
>agree to have its autonomy compromised by the creation of an external
>judge and jury - which is what this provision states as written ("...in
>all the newsgroups").

Users should decide the rules of the community.

>And if you mean that a newsgroup *should* have such a commission
>internally - again, nothing prevents this from being included in the
>Charter. The difficulty with finding fools enough to fill such a large
>panel remains, however....

All moderated newsgroups should have the same rules.


>> 14) The moderation commission shall elect a spokesman (the one
>> who gets most votes) to deal with the official posting of its
>> decisions on news.admin.moderation (a simple majority of eight
>> members is required to replace the spokesman).

>There's that other layer of usenet beaurocracy, again!

As I told you it doesn't seem that there is a lot of bureaucracy in
defending opinion of users.


>> 17) In the case of article considered off-topic, the moderator shall
>> submit the article to the moderation team: the decision of the
>> majority of the moderators, voting within 24 hours, shall be
>> final. Should the ballot result in a tie, the article shall be
>> considered on-topic. In the case of article considered
>> off-topic by the moderation team, the poster shall be notified,
>> explaining the reason why, and also informed of the existence
>> of the moderation commission on news.admin.moderation,
>> to which an appeal can be made.

>A decision within 24 hours is absolutely and completely unworkable. Not
>every moderator of every newsgroup is going even to log onto usenet
>daily: some of us *do* have lives. This means that articles that are
>off topic in the opinion of one moderator will not appear on the
>newsgroup in question in anything like a reasonable length of time.

A moderator should have at least quite some time to dedicate to his
newsgroup, and don't also forget that we are trying to save an
"already" dead article. Which is your problem?


>> 18) A simple majority of the moderators may propose the suspension
>> of a moderator to the moderation commission (which, with
>> a simple majority, may confirm the suspension).

>I'm still not entirely certain why you think a "commission" is needed to
>perform functions that the readership of a group as a whole can fulfill.

If, for instance, a moderator gets "crazy" what others moderators or
users can do.


>> 23) Should part of the moderation team fail to comply with a decision
>> taken by members of the commission, the spokesman for the
>> moderation commission shall report the incident to the person
>> in charge of the hierarchy (David Lawrence) so that the
>> moderation bot owner be notified, or for rmgroup should
>> there continue to be problems.

>Urph. Now you're dumping yet *another* job on tale's shoulders: I
>doubt he'll thank you for that.

It doesn't seem that tale is nowadays spending a lot of his time in
defending users freedom speech. If he is very busy he can ask for
volunteers's help.

>To the best of my knowledge (which will
>undoubtedly be corrected swiftly if I'm wrong), newsadmins are not
>required to honor rmgroups even when issued by tale: they do so only by
>convention.

If a news admin honor tale's ctrl message why he shouldn't honor his
rmgroup, are they so lunatic?

>I also find it interesting that you propose to punish the entire
>readership of a newsgroup should one or two people screw up. What's
>deomocratic about that? It would, perhaps, be wise to get over the
>notion that a newsgroup "belongs" to the moderators to the extend that
>they would be the only ones hurt should the group be suppressed.

It's not a punishment, but if we are having a problem with a moderator
and he doesn't want to obey to the commission members
(elected democratically by users to settle controversies between users
and moderators) something has to be done. If we cannot guarantee the
freedom of speech of only a single user it means that the community
doesn't need that moderated newsgroup moderated in that way. So for
a while we can all go to the unmoderated version. Once we will have
close the newsgroup the moderator will finally understand.

The unmoderated version will not be opened only for this forced reason
but also for others reasons, moderators and commission members are not
perfect and they can make mistakes, users have to have a place where
their "maybe on-topic article" can be posted.


>> 24) A 2/3 majority of the commission members may write new rules
>> for moderation or may change the rules contained in this Status.

>Why? And why are you excluding the other participants in the newsgroup?

The reason why users will be voting for the moderation commission
members is also to delegate them to write moderation rules.
If you don't like how the member voted by you is working the next
election you can vote for one you like.


>> 25) For each moderated newsgroup there must be a corresponding
>> unmoderated one.

>Piffle. If people want an unmoderated group, experience suggests that
>one already exists - even if it is lost in the cacophany of the alt.*
>hierarchy.

A public moderator should have a little bit of respect of all users of
all hierarchies.

piranha

da leggere,
9 ott 2000, 03:00:0009/10/00
a
Giovanni Greco <giov...@tiscalinet.it> wrote in
<tvb3uso0midvcugbf...@4ax.com>:

> On Tue, 3 Oct 2000 16:21:58 -0400, ba...@gate.net (Baird Stafford)
> >Giovanni Greco <giov...@tiscalinet.it> wrote:
> >> 1) Three months after the result of the ballot, the first elections
> >> must be held; in the first three months the newsgroup is not
> >> moderated.
>
> >My experience suggests this may be unworkable.
>
> It is just your respectable opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

mine too, as an additional datapoint. i see no reason at all to
start a group open to the very things most people use moderation
to get away from -- spam, flamewars, OT posting, trolls.

> >Both the newsgroups of
> >whose moderation panels I am a member have been required by the terms of
> >their Charters to hold elections in years past, and volunteers for the
> >onus simply DO NOT step forward without a great deal of persuasion.
>
> I don't think is always like that and why if being a moderator such
> a bad job you are wasting your precious time in moderating two
> newsgroups?

a) he didn't say it was a "bad" job. but while we're at it, it
isn't exactly a thankful job, no. have you ever done it? do you
actually have a good idea of what all it entails? i don't really
mind it, it doesn't qualify as "bad", but it's not "good" either,
and the areas that aren't good have nothing to do with freedom of
speech for me, they have to do with the ineptitude of many ISPs.

b) he's right. volunteers are rare. two main reasons: it isn't
actually seen as a great job if it is content moderation, and
there is some degree of technical knowledge expected. in some
groups there is also topic-specific knowledge required. and one
needs to have time, every day if one is the sole moderator. and a
thick skin to deal with the inevitable troublemakers. and lots of
patience, and some social skills would be nice.

c) some of us do jobs that aren't great because we feel that the
service is needed, we have the knowhow, and we consider this our
part of the usenet gift culture.

> >The original comment about the difficulty of finding volunteers to take
> >the heat of the moderation seat applies here, too.
>
> I cannot see this problem, why there shouldn't be volunteers as you
> are.

if you don't see the problem then you haven't actually watched
this as all. how do you form your opinions? don't you collect
some data first?

have you read the talk.origins discussion? do you see what sort
of crap the moderator has to go through? this is _not_ unusual,
especially not for groups with controversial subjects. and the
man does just bot moderation. try moderating soc.feminism.

> Servant? With all the power that they want and without any rule to
> obey. Don't forget that they can do whatever they want with their
> charters, once voted.

what power would that be? all this yakking of power always makes
me immediately recognize that the poster has never, ever moderated
as much as a small mailing list.

power, my hairy hobbit feet. aggravation. at best a feeling of
satisfaction because people are having good conversations in the
group one moderates. you should subscribe to the moderators list
so you get a good sniff of all that amazing power. pull that
testosterone lever for me, willya?

> And what happens if they decide to do not obey to the charter?
> We can only trust their promises, we can't judge their work.

you need to trust their character. these are not politicians,
these are usually people who care about usenet. we tend to
discuss proposed moderators in quite some detail here.

> As I told you it doesn't seem that there is a lot of bureaucracy in
> defending opinion of users.

your proposal is riddled with bureaucracy. what bureaucracy we
have now is already sometimes too much, which is why i am not
particularly interested in this specific proposal as is. (i _am_
instead interested in a revival of the mod.* hierarchy proposal.)

but go right ahead and do the work. this is how usenet works.
you want to do something, you think it is all a piece of cake,
you do it. if you want other people's help, though, you shall
have to persuade them.

that works better when you actually have some data behind your
opinions.

> It doesn't seem that tale is nowadays spending a lot of his time in
> defending users freedom speech.

that isn't his job, so there is no reason at all why he should
spend any time on it.

--
-piranha

Jay Denebeim

da leggere,
10 ott 2000, 03:00:0010/10/00
a
In article <u4s2le...@aegis.gooroos.com>,
piranha <pir...@gooroos.com> wrote:

To:
>Giovanni Greco <giov...@tiscalinet.it>

>do you see what sort of crap the moderator has to go through?

In other words, how would you like having to deal with you every day?

Jay

--
* Jay Denebeim Moderator rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated *
* newsgroup submission address: b5...@deepthot.org *
* moderator contact address: b5mod-...@deepthot.org *
* personal contact address: dene...@deepthot.org *

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