User Signal to Noise Ratio and Banning

C

chuck.drake

#1
How does a forum maintain a balance between allowing people to speak freely about their ideas and yet find the wisdom to ban a user whose posts provide more noise than signal?

Oftentimes the expectation is that there will be a clear set of guidelines that can be diligently followed for user bans and suspensions. I have often argued that the overall quality of a forum depends more on moderators who display both wisdom and power. They must know the direction of the forum and wield the sword wisely and well.

Moderation is subjective. We should admit that. Someone needs to make decisions on what voices add to the conversation and what voices merely add noise.

There is a difference between opposing views that are well thought out, no matter how vehemently they attack the "proponent" worldview, whatever that is and users who slash and burn threads, making quips and adding absolutely no value. Those users should be banner sooner rather than later.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#2
I don't believe in permanent bans for noise producers, but continuous long bans might help.

However, it should be clear to the person being temp banned why the disciplinary action is taking place.
 
#3
I assume you're also referring to proponent posts that add no content other than to call someone dogmatic or rail against "materialism".
 
#4
There is no determination, its entirely reliant on Andy-fiat.

Its common on high-volume forums to not burn posts but have the "user was banned for this post" tag (see: Facepunch), and one very massive one actually has an automatic log of moderator actions (see: Something Awful.) But Andy has stated in the past that he's not interested in accountability.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#5
There is no determination, its entirely reliant on Andy-fiat.

Its common on high-volume forums to not burn posts but have the "user was banned for this post" tag (see: Facepunch), and one very massive one actually has an automatic log of moderator actions (see: Something Awful.)
And see the JREF forum for the "Public Notices" area.

Alex asked me to post suspensions and bannings in the "Suspensions, Bannings, and Post Deletions" thread, but I have no way of learning what those suspensions and banning are. So that thread has nothing but the announcement of The Banned of Seven," which I did learn about. :eek:

~~ Paul
 
#6
As noted in another thread, the D Shropshire style of post is actually less diverting than some other skeptics. If people don't agree with him they can put him on ignore, knowing exactly what his position is, and secure in the knowledge they won't miss anything new or important. More time consuming are skeptics who adopt an open minded claim to the evidence, luring people into a dialogue, only to reassert their immovability on topics protagonists view as evidentially based.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#7
As noted in another thread, the D Shropshire style of post is actually less diverting than some other skeptics. If people don't agree with him they can put him on ignore, knowing exactly what his position is, and secure in the knowledge they won't miss anything new or important. More time consuming are skeptics who adopt an open minded claim to the evidence, luring people into a dialogue, only to reassert their immovability on topics protagonists view as evidentially based.
Even if this were true for some topics, it's irrelevant to non-psi topics such as evolution and philosophy.

~~ Paul
 
C

chuck.drake

#9
I assume you're also referring to proponent posts that add no content other than to call someone dogmatic or rail against "materialism".
I may be biased, but I just don't see anyone who regularly posts here being as disruptive as D. Shropshire was on his short sojourn. I'm all for new users and new views no matter what side they come from. But imagine not one, but ten users like D.S. hitting every thread asking who "believed" in the periodic table! Come on. It was silly trolling. I like humor and it is nice when posters are able to have some personality and spice. But that was just noise. He had every opportunity to settle down and act like a reasonable member, I think.
 
#11
I assume you're also referring to proponent posts that add no content other than to call someone dogmatic or rail against "materialism".
Keep in mind that a proponent was banned today (Bro). The mods don't show favoritism as much as certain skeptics like to suggest.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#13
I may be biased, but I just don't see anyone who regularly posts here being as disruptive as D. Shropshire was on his short sojourn. I'm all for new users and new views no matter what side they come from. But imagine not one, but ten users like D.S. hitting every thread asking who "believed" in the periodic table! Come on. It was silly trolling. I like humor and it is nice when posters are able to have some personality and spice. But that was just noise. He had every opportunity to settle down and act like a reasonable member, I think.
I think it was clear he wasn't offering new insights when he misconstrued the "one substance" that materialists believe in and said he wasn't one since he believed in the elements of the periodic table.

That said personally I'm against permanent bans. I think if D. Shropshire had agreed to settle the first principles in the dedicated thread, he should be allowed to stay. I do think a Skeptiko 101 thread might be a place to redirect posters who have similar characteristics.

I don't even get why Bro was banned, save that people assumed he was a previously banned poster.
 
#18
There is no determination, its entirely reliant on Andy-fiat.

Its common on high-volume forums to not burn posts but have the "user was banned for this post" tag (see: Facepunch), and one very massive one actually has an automatic log of moderator actions (see: Something Awful.) But Andy has stated in the past that he's not interested in accountability.
Imagine you took on the role yourself. Perhaps initially you would be excited to be able to shape the forum as you sought fit, and spend loads of time justifying your actions, but I think that would soon fade, and you would just want to get the job done as swiftly as possible. It is not as if we ban people for their views, but for drowning out other views with noise or repetition.

I don't think we should try to impose extra overheads on Andy's time - I'm just glad he does the job!

David
 
#19
If I were a mod the only cause for permanent bannishment would be hate speech. Childish postings, persistent snarky remarks would receive temp bans-extended bans. I would not ban a poster like D. Shrop...
 
#20
Or we aren't snitches.

Linda
Exactly. Which is why none of you should be moderators. Either you're woefully incompetent enough to spot these things, or you think them funny enough to allow trolling to happen.

Thanks for clarifying my position
 
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