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Thread: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

  1. #1

    Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    I have been having this feeling that the forum moderation has been much more aggressive over the past few years (seemingly since Kirk left, but that may be coincidental), and in a few cases recently have felt compelled to START a post to discuss what I consider an erosion of the fabric of the forum in a manner that is detrimental. Not that I said START, because in those cases, I decided that there wasn't enough of a complaint with the particular issue to kick up a bunch of dust over, so I deleted the posts and let the issue go. In some cases, the same issue was raised by others in a somewhat concurrent manner anyway.

    However, I am deeply disturbed by the last few days and the moderation that occurred with Richard's initial photo series and now the threads that were created in response to the moderation.

    First, I see the moderation taking a dangerous direction in that it is now possible for a person or persons to attack a thread that happens to have images or perspectives that they do not personally like and get it closed. The moderation ostensibly is intended to be even and fair, enforce the taboo topics list, and ensure that ad hominem attacks aren't happening. However, moderation should not be used in a manner that enables plays into the agenda a forum member in any beneficial manner, and most especially any of the moderators own opinions or personal beliefs.

    However, it feels like this may be exactly what happened in the initial thread. Specifically, the images and stories in the thread was attacked with an agenda by a few posters and the agenda was to make the discussion political and get it closed down. The moderators played into that perfectly and dutifully closed the thread from posting; penalizing Richard and effectively rewarding the poor behavior of the others.

    What is the purpose of photography? In the case of Richard's work, he has a clear intent to reveal people to others, and he does this in part through images, and in part by telling us some of their story. To force Richard to change this simply because some people find the lives of the people in his images distasteful is in my opinion the epitome of poor moderation. Especially since the posts that Richard made initially were not political and did not push any agenda other than helping us understand another human being who may have a very different set of life circumstances than our own.

    Shame on the moderators in such a softball circumstance. This was a very transparent attack, and easily resolved issue initially, and I think you blew it. Now, you are doubling down on the poor performance.

    In addition, the post ex facto removal of the posts that caused the closing of the first thread intentionally obfuscates the issue and makes it impossible for the populace of the forum to understand what actually happened unless you saw them before they were removed (which I happened to, due to timing). That strikes me as disingenuous and also a very poor decision because it may make it easier for you to defend the moderation that was done, but not what should have been done.

    You have penalized the wrong person with the moderation you have done, and silenced a member who was contributing to the site in a meaningful manner. You did this under the pretense of avoiding one of the taboo topics, but what you did effectively functioned as a Pinkerton for a particular agenda, and was not done in the true spirit of keeping the forum fair, civil, and on the topic of LPF.

    Do you care to discuss this, or will this thread be closed and this post deleted in a similar manner?

  2. #2

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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky View Post
    Do you care to discuss this, or will this thread be closed and this post deleted in a similar manner?
    I think you answered your own question:

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky View Post
    Now, you are doubling down on the poor performance.

  3. #3

    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Well, if that is the case, they should hear about it from people like me (who are not the ones who generally complain about these things, even though I have been concerned recently).

    This it the purpose of the original post. I believe the moderators need to understand how they erred and without the feedback they won't. Even with it, they may not, but it won't be for lack of feedback.


    ---Michael

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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky View Post
    Well, if that is the case, they should hear about it from people like me (who are not the ones who generally complain about these things, even though I have been concerned recently).

    This it the purpose of the original post. I believe the moderators need to understand how they erred and without the feedback they won't. Even with it, they may not, but it won't be for lack of feedback.


    ---Michael
    I agree, but I don't think any of the people complaining about the handling of this situation, myself included, are part of any crowd of usual complainers, so I'm not optimistic.

  5. #5

    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Unfortunately, I think you are right.

    I guess my time has come to consider other places for photography discussion that isn't focused on equipment.

  6. #6
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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky View Post
    Well, if that is the case, they should hear about it from people like me (who are not the ones who generally complain about these things, even though I have been concerned recently).

    This it the purpose of the original post. I believe the moderators need to understand how they erred and without the feedback they won't. Even with it, they may not, but it won't be for lack of feedback.


    ---Michael
    I too agree with Michael , I was following Richards thread with interest and it amazed me that it was so effectively closed.

  7. #7
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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Mutmansky View Post
    In addition, the post ex facto removal of the posts that caused the closing of the first thread intentionally obfuscates the issue and makes it impossible for the populace of the forum to understand what actually happened unless you saw them before they were removed (which I happened to, due to timing). That strikes me as disingenuous and also a very poor decision because it may make it easier for you to defend the moderation that was done, but not what should have been done.
    For the record, and so that it does not distract: another member made posts in Richard's thread with critical remarks in response to what he perceived as Richard's agenda; Richard responded with remarks elaborating his own thoughts and criticizing the other member's perspective. The content and tone of the exchange, over several posts, were such that it could readily be construed as a skirmish in what some call a "culture war". The remarks by one or the other or both could readily be seen as offensive, depending on one's point of view.

    This exchange was one of the factors that entered into our decision about what to do with the thread. It has since been deleted in order not to serve as a further provocation, but we have no intent to hide the fact that it was there, or what its character was.

  8. #8

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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Another case of the unintended effects of a moderator action differing from the intent.

  9. #9

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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    Until now, I've tried to stay out of this one, because I didn't want to take sides. However, I'm actually going to side with the moderators on this. Yes, Richard's original concept may have been purely artistic. His defense that the accompanying text was necessary for the full impact, however, was not something I agreed with. Whether it was from the subjects or not, the comments took on a political tone regarding a subject that is very divisive to society in general. Why would anyone expect it to not be divisive on a web forum. Had Richard been willing to post just the photographs, and let them speak for themselves, that would have been one thing. I could not have supported the moderators taking down the thread under those circumstances. But I was happy when they took it down, considering the way it was evolving.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  10. #10

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    Re: Forum moderation; I am disturbed by the recent events...

    not having seen what took place I can not say much.

    But I offer a suggestion: Would locking the topic but leaving it accessible for viewing have been an option?
    ~nicholas
    lifeofstawa
    stawastawa at gmail

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