Computer Chess Club Archives




Subject: Still not convinced, Bruce.

Author: Roger D Davis

Date: 15:23:21 07/23/99

Go up one level in this thread

On July 23, 1999 at 12:04:38, Bruce Moreland wrote:

>On July 23, 1999 at 07:15:15, Roger D Davis wrote:
>>If there's a mechanism, then I must have missed it. What mechanism already
>>exists that empowers a moderator to delete another moderator's posts? Moderators
>>delete posts at different thresholds of relevance, we know that. Assume that
>>Moderator A deletes Moderator B's posts. Moderator B then gets pisses and adopts
>>a low threshold for deleting Moderator A's posts. He doesn't delete obviously on
>>target posts, just those for which a defensible argument of irrelevance can be
>>created. So then the two argue and argue about it, and have a little war. You
>>don't need to be Bruce or Fernando to have such a war, or to create ill will.
>I think you are becoming overly legalistic.  It would be possible to write a
>giant constitution that covered every possibility, established rules for what to
>do if a moderator is incapacitated, established very strict post deletion rules,
>covered rules for removal of a moderator, etc.

I never suggested that we elaborate a giant constitution. Like you, I doubt that
we could handle all cases a priori anyway. However, we might be able to codify
solutions to problems as the problems are solved, so that we're not haunted by
those problems again. I think we've all had enough of controversies over how the
board is moderated. Perhaps this is one of those problems.

>We don't have such a thing.  We have three moderators, a charter, and a password
>that allows us to delete posts.
>I thought that Fernando's post was flagrant enough that it needed to go away,
>now.  Fernando got bent out of shape.  He may not have been bent out of shape if
>I'd waited around for a second opinion by KD.  I didn't know how long it was
>going to be before KD appeared, it's not like I was going to send him an email
>and hope he was on.  If I'd made a mistake, and he was on, he got the email and
>could have posted something back to me that evening.  As it was we didn't hear
>from KD until the middle of the next day, well after Fernando suicided in the
>>I didn't say we did that. I said that Bruce's actions would be perceived as
>>being congruent with democratic principles.
>Deleting a post can be done with common sense.  You can look at the post and
>guess how people will react.  I forwarded the post to the CCC moderator alias,
>which included KD and Fernando, as well as Steve.

If this were true, Fernando would never have posted his message in the first
place. Either that, or Fernando lacks commonsense (a conclusion you may be only
too happy to agree with), and lacks he ability to post messages and see how
people will react in advace. Cross cultural perceptions may, or may not, have
been a factor here. What is offensive in one culture may not be in another. So
Fernando may have thought his post was trivial, or he may have been especially
offended by the way that things were done.

I'm certain that the post should have been deleted, but I wonder if it could
have been done in a way that didn't cost us a moderator. If a mechanism for this
had been in place, the situation could not have been framed Bruce versus
Fernando. A person who feels he has been forced to submit to the will of another
moderator is very likely to bail out on us, because that is the only way to save
face. We have all "taken our ball and gone home" at some time in our lives. If
we have a mechanism in place, maybe that will help prevent this problem from
arising again.

>A big freakout does not have to ensue.  If it turns out that I made a mistake,
>it can be corrected in responses to that mail, and offended parties can be
>apologized to and the post can be reposted.

Without being too pejorative, I hope, this seems like "shoot first and ask
questions later." And that's appropriate where the parties involved are not
moderators. You should not have to ask someone to delete their post. But where
the parties involved are BOTH moderators, now you have two coequals. And when
you delete a fellow moderator's post, you are, in effect, calling their judgment
and position into question. The implication is "if you had the capacity to
moderate, you wouldn't have posted that in the first place." And that's
unsettling. Maybe Fernando was totally in the wrong. But it would have been nice
if we'd had a mechanism in place that allowed the controversy to be framed in a
way other than "your judgement is deficient" (the commonsense argument you
offered above) or "you must submit to Bruce's superior judgment."

>I've never heard of an instance though where two moderators disagreed with a
>post deletion by the third, but it is possible.  It's not like everyone dies and
>the group goes to hell if this happens.

Two moderators disagreeing with the post deletion by the third, however, is not
the situation. The situation is one moderator deleting the posts of another.

>This is not people being banned or executed or something.  It's whether or not
>to expeditiously delete a dirty joke posted in its own thread, by someone who
>should know better.  I saw the post.  I thought about what to do.  And I made a
>decision to delete it.  This is not some sort of palace coup or descent into

No, it's not about being executed, it's just about our little forum and it's
future. Above you spoke about me being legalistic. Let me suggest that a
legalistic person is someone who is too concerned about rules to recognize
larger human realities. Let me further suggest that you recognize the larger
human realities of why Fernando bailed on us.

The best outcome would have been that Fernando was still around and still a
moderator, and that he didn't post dirty jokes anymore, right? Even if you don't
agree with me on specifics, and even if Fernando was in the wrong, I think that
question forms the basis of the most humanistic resolution to this problem. We
have had people quit the forum before and it's a loss for everyone. Maybe
Fernando was wrong, but he's gone, and that's a loss (you may disagree). Maybe
we can structure the rules so that such outcomes are implicitly discouraged.

There is certainly a lot more going on here than just whether Fernando was right
or wrong. People's defenses are in play. In every reply to my proposition thus
far, people have taken what I am proposing and elaborated it into the absurd.
This is unnecessary, but it's human. People are gonna do it, because people are
sensitive about being attacked (and that's why Fernando left). I think we have
to take a broader view, and that's what I advocate. The motive is anything but


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