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Thread: Infractions & Reputation

  1. #1 Infractions & Reputation 
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    how would you fellow members/mods/admins feel about using the infraction system, as well as user reputations on this forum ? Just thinking that it might be a more natural way of dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
    What do you think ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Hi all,

    how would you fellow members/mods/admins feel about using the infraction system, as well as user reputations on this forum ? Just thinking that it might be a more natural way of dealing with unacceptable behaviour.
    What do you think ?
    I've seen it used and I'm opposed to it for many good reasons.
    Trust me... if you wanna get me started, I can write a book in this thread.


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  4. #3  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    I'd like to see a reputation feature. I'm constantly checking the number of likes people give and receive. It's an interesting insight into who is disruptive on the forum and who contributes. I would like to think that people wouldn't abuse the feature.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    who is disruptive on the forum and who contributes.
    Or- like me... a bit of each.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    I would like to think that people wouldn't abuse the feature.
    Again, something I've seen abused more often than not.
    It creates cliques, where the cranks rep up other cranks posts and the mainstreamers do the same... it makes the reputations unreliable.
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  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    It creates cliques, where the cranks rep up other cranks posts and the mainstreamers do the same... it makes the reputations unreliable.
    Interesting point.
    How about infractions ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    How about infractions ?
    My opposition against infractions is several fold:
    -They're easy to accept as an axiom without investigation. For example: PosterX had 14 infractions which resulted in his perma-ban- general acceptance of this follows. However, many of the infractions may be frivolous. A lot of people would not bother to check.
    -Many good posters can rack up infractions (even frivolous ones) and end up perma-banned resulting in a loss to a forum. Infractions detract from an over all net contribution. I have seen this happen to many, many good members on BAUT and SciForums. SciForums has the added trouble of frivolous and arbitrary infractions given and are as even handed as the Elephant Man.
    -Infractions, like S.G.'s question about avatars can easily create a biased perception, making Mods or members assume that they will encounter infraction-worthy behavior from any post made by a member that has a few infractions.
    -Infraction Points can replace good judgment.
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  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Hm. You're probably right. I haven't really thought this through; none of the forums I participated in ( with the exception of Cosmoquest ) uses infractions, so I don't have much experience with it.
    But I think I can agree with most of your points, at least in the context of TSF.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    On an unrelated note - would you like to join us over on The Physics Forum ? The more knowledgeable posters, the better !!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    Hm. You're probably right.
    No, I'm just opinionated on it.
    "Right or not" on this one is very complex, partly because the question can easily be posed: "Would the Mods here make frivolous infractions against people?"
    I'd like to believe that the answer is 'No', in spite of basic humanity- But I could counter it with, "New mods take over some day. If the forum is established with the infraction point system, it won't be removed even if later down the road it gets out of hand."

    It's a bit like a fighter pilot. A human in the seat outperforms the computer. Because he has a capacity for judgment a computer lacks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Markus Hanke View Post
    On an unrelated note - would you like to join us over on The Physics Forum ? The more knowledgeable posters, the better !!
    I'm not very knowledgeable... so The Plan was to lurk there for a good long while.
    Besides, it would be awkward being a member there and here when I get banned here.
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  10. #9  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Infractions were introduced on BAUT partly, I believe, to get round the problem of the moderators being arbitrary. The new process was then criticised as being inflexible and rule bound (see also: Neverfly's comments above).

    In both cases, the mods defended their position by saying that a ban was always discussed between moderators. So before the infraction system it shouldn't have been at the whim of a single pissed-off moderator. After the infraction system, it shouldn't automatically happen because someone reached a threshold; it was still discussed and the mods decided to ban or not. The mods claim that the infraction system just gives them some more objective data to base their decision on. (And they do check what the infractions were for and take that into account; e.g. they might be more lenient with someone with a record of single point infractions but less tolerant of someone who has consistently racked up more serious offences.)

    Of course, there will always be those who view the moderation team as a neo-Fascist cabal worse then the Illuminati, and any rules as an infringement of their personal liberty, so that whatever the mods do is wrong.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Infractions were introduced on BAUT partly, I believe, to get round the problem of the moderators being arbitrary. The new process was then criticised as being inflexible and rule bound (see also: Neverfly's comments above).

    In both cases, the mods defended their position by saying that a ban was always discussed between moderators. So before the infraction system it shouldn't have been at the whim of a single pissed-off moderator. After the infraction system, it shouldn't automatically happen because someone reached a threshold; it was still discussed and the mods decided to ban or not. The mods claim that the infraction system just gives them some more objective data to base their decision on. (And they do check what the infractions were for and take that into account; e.g. they might be more lenient with someone with a record of single point infractions but less tolerant of someone who has consistently racked up more serious offences.)

    Of course, there will always be those who view the moderation team as a neo-Fascist cabal worse then the Illuminati, and any rules as an infringement of their personal liberty, so that whatever the mods do is wrong.
    Note to readers: BAUT is BadAstronomyAndUniverseToday Forum. BAUT is now known as CosmoQuest Forum.
    This is possible, but on another forum, I demonstrated pretty heavily the faults with these claims. It was the banning of Astromark that gave me the evidence and material I needed to make the case.
    I might copy it over if it's deemed necessary, but it's pretty long- it has to be because I've got to cover a lot of ground and spell out some of the other members history to make it all make sense. It was important to do so for clarity.
    The downside of doing this, however, would be I'd be badmouthing that forum on this forum- I'd rather avoid that. I could get away with it on the other forum because it's literally a rebel board comprised mostly of banned BAUT former members, current members and even a couple CosmoQuest Mods. It would also be regrettable because although it's pretty iron-fisted, it's still not a bad forum.

    The interesting thing about your post, Strange, is that the Infraction System seems a bit redundant.

    And as I said above, it sounds good in principle, but I'm not that trusting. I'm a skeptic and a Mods claims are not good enough for me. Not because they are bad people, but human and any human can have a bad day.
    I've even been pushing for a Ban Log here- for accountability.
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  12. #11  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    But I could counter it with, "New mods take over some day. If the forum is established with the infraction point system, it won't be removed even if later down the road it gets out of hand."
    But, whether there is an infraction system or not, you could get a new owner or new mods who decide to ban everyone who mentions the aether or religion (or, alternatively, everyone who doesn't)

    The interesting thing about your post, Strange, is that the Infraction System seems a bit redundant.
    To some extent. It is just a tool that may help the mods track behaviour and make decisions. The mods (on any forum) have a difficult job to do. If they find the infraction system makes that job easier, then they can use it.

    Note that the mods could start (or be) using the infraction system and never tell anyone. (We all know how secretive they are )
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    But, whether there is an infraction system or not, you could get a new owner or new mods who decide to ban everyone who mentions the aether or religion (or, alternatively, everyone who doesn't)
    This is true. But for a good example in my own favor, take a look at SciForums... where the infraction system was implimented long ago, a change of hands occurred and now that forum is...
    Meh...
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    To some extent. It is just a tool that may help the mods track behaviour and make decisions. The mods (on any forum) have a difficult job to do. If they find the infraction system makes that job easier, then they can use it.
    This is a good point.
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Note that the mods could start (or be) using the infraction system and never tell anyone. (We all know how secretive they are )
    Also true- but to be blunt, I'd prefer this method over the public one, where a persons infractions show up on their profile. I had to deal with that on a few occasions on SciForums where a proponent of a conspiracy theory pointed to that as evidence of my unreliability. There were other occasions similar to that.

    Part of my bias also may go back to my own history. I was in the Army and in that crowd, the mentality is not to fire or replace a person unless it's absolutely necessary.
    Instead, they go to bat for you and try to train you up to the job. It's one thing I miss about the service and I wish the civilian job market worked that way, too.
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  14. #13  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    I was in the Army and in that crowd, the mentality is not to fire or replace a person unless it's absolutely necessary.
    Instead, they go to bat for you and try to train you up to the job. It's one thing I miss about the service and I wish the civilian job market worked that way, too.
    I had one engineering manager like that. He would never give up on someone; he always tried to mentor them to improve or find a role where their skills/personality fitted best. He may have been unique.
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    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I had one engineering manager like that. He would never give up on someone; he always tried to mentor them to improve or find a role where their skills/personality fitted best. He may have been unique.
    Yeah, it's to be admired, no? Some people still end up in a position where they must be let go. Even so, I saw the benefits of it for near a decade.
    Another point, while both SciForums and BAUT mods may be a certain way, doesn't mean they would be that way (as either of those examples) here. It could be something different from both.
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  16. #15  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    I had one engineering manager like that. He would never give up on someone; he always tried to mentor them to improve or find a role where their skills/personality fitted best. He may have been unique.
    Yeah, it's to be admired, no?
    Absolutely; I forget to say that he was the best manager I ever had!
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Absolutely; I forget to say that he was the best manager I ever had!
    (Draws his blade for the finishing stroke)

    It just might make a person wonder... how well that system might work out within an infraction point system where infraction points deem a poster as 'unruly' rather than 'trainable.'
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  18. #17  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Interesting point.

    The mods might need an orthogonal points system to track how open a given poster is to learning (e.g. about why their idea is not science or why certain behaviour is not acceptable). These would be used to mitigate any infractions. (Although this sort of thing is what some mods claim to do already on an informal basis.)
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    Yeah... seems a bit complicated... but seems better than just the infraction points.
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    I don't like the idea of a reputation system. I'd rather make up my own mind about somebody. It seems that it would lead to groupthink or mob type mentality. That's not how scientists should operate. Sometimes I have disagreed with posts that have a whole bunch of "likes."

    Infractions wouldn't be objective either. We have the reported post feature, and that will bring to our attention any problem posters we are not already aware of. I think that having a whole gang of moderators and administrators as we do tends to keep in check any overly zealous moderating decisions. There are some disadvantages to that as well (design by committee).
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  21. #20  
    The Doctor Quantime's Avatar
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    I think that reputations would create bias, we humans even rational minded people are guilty of taking reputations without a grain of salt. This like system is good, I like that it has the basic use of human approval giving which can always be good for the mojo and even simpler than that sometimes that it simply gives an agreement to someones post without having to create a short 'I agree' post, people who don't respond can often leave some people in the lurch as to whether or not their post has come across in agreement or disagreement, the like feature is a great solution for this problem. Although you will always get those who use it to 'show support' for people who agree with them against someone else in an attempt to gain credibility to their argument and this is not to be taken without consideration first.
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  22. #21  
    Moderator Moderator Markus Hanke's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys, some great points being mentioned here.
    I think we can safely bury the idea for good
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    This comment is off-topic but I decided to take this off topic topic and shove it up this thread rather than make a new one just to spew forth a random off topic thought.

    I'm appreciating this "like" feature.

    Even people that I've dogged out over certain topics are able to see when I "like" a post they've made. On forums without this feature, you don't know it and would, understandably, assume posts not commented on were not necessarily well received. Kinda helps keep the concept of personal bias slightly at bay.
    Slightly.
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  24. #23  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    I guess a basic rep system would be too controversial and easily abused.

    It would be nice to have a public reporting record. For instance, if someone is reported for TOU violation by other users, everyone would be able to see the post and the reason it was reported. I know when I see a banned user, the first thing I do is open their profile and find the most recent post to see what happened.

    Rather than an arbitrary number assigned to you based upon whether or not you're popular, it would be a more objective approach. of course, I have no idea how these boards actually work from the admin side, so I'm probably just BSing.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  25. #24  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    I guess a basic rep system would be too controversial and easily abused.
    i've seen it being applied at devshed, and it's not a pretty sight to see how the settled-in members abused the rep system to browbeat the newbies
    i would hate to see that happen here
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  26. #25  
    Nut Hunter.. NMSquirrel's Avatar
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    I've even been pushing for a Ban Log here- for accountability.
    and to help keep ppl from being banned that didn't do anything..
    re:i got caught up in a spam ban..
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