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Old 2013-06-28, 13:35   Link #1
synaesthetic
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Posts "disappearing" from threads (not being deleted)

I, and several other people, have noticed that recently a large number of posts were "vanished" from the News Stories thread as well as several other threads. They weren't deleted in the usual sense, because there was no notification of deletion. No moderators informed the posters that they were going off-topic or anything of that nature.

Posts are just vanishing, but in such a pattern that it appears to be moderation. I, and others, would like this to stop. If the moderators want to delete our posts, they should have the balls to admit to us that they deleted our posts. They shouldn't have to sneak around and "disappear" posts, 1984-style.

Besides, what good is moderation if the "offending posters" aren't being told, "hey, you know, this post? it's off-topic. quit it" or whatever off-topic/offensive/threadjacking/pointless/etc post happens to be. If ya'll just silently nuke posts, people are just going to get mad instead of dealing with understandable moderation.
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Old 2013-06-28, 14:15   Link #2
relentlessflame
 
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This isn't about "having balls" or anything else. vBulletin has a feature called "moderated posts", which allows posts to be hidden while they are pending moderator review. Sometimes, if staff feel that a post needs further review (perhaps from someone else more familiar with a situation), posts will be moderated. Due to the way this is implemented in vBulletin (which isn't actually my preferred approach), this appears to most users as though the post has "disappeared" (but it does not appear this way to the moderator team). Usually, at some point later, another mod will go back and review the moderated posts and take the necessary action. Sometimes the posts will be reinstated, edited, or deleted, depending on the situation. Sometimes, if there's a long off-topic tangent, the whole tangent will be moved out, and usually a note will be placed in the thread to explain what happened.

In the end, I need to remind you and everyone that this is a private forum and all posts are subject to review and moderation by the staff at the staff's discretion and without any required prior or subsequent notice to you. While we try to notify people when they take actions that run contrary to the Forum Rules, and are usually available to discuss any concerns if contacted, there may be reasons why notice may be missed for whatever reason. Any time a member has contacted me privately about a post they can no longer find, I've tried to investigate and figure out what the deal is, and I'm sure it's the same for the other moderators and admins.

(And that aside, the News Stories thread in particular often erupts into flame wars involving a certain core group of people who just won't ignore each other no matter how many times they go around in circles. When these sorts of endless cycles repeat, it would not surprise me if these posts got moderated in a quick attempt to prevent more people from prolonging the tangent. We are trying to figure out how to deal with this problem in a more permanent way going forward.)
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Old 2013-06-28, 15:11   Link #3
Vexx
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I'll just point out that "all posts are subject to review and moderation by the staff at the staff's discretion and without any required prior or subsequent notice to you" doesn't really provide much in the way of guidance to the poster or others on why the action was taken.

"vanishing" has the problem of leaving people with nothing to point to when trying to communicate about forum meta-issues so it really should be used sparingly and only for short durations. I have noticed a large uptick in the usage in the last month. At least post deletions have a reason and mod name posted.

Is there a "post hidden pending review" option in vBulletin that leaves evidence the post ever existed (while pending moderation)?

edit: it may be that some other function could be repurposed for that use if vBulletin itself is simply deficient with the official 'pending review' function?

Last edited by Vexx; 2013-06-28 at 16:28.
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Old 2013-06-28, 15:42   Link #4
synaesthetic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by relentlessflame View Post
And that aside, the News Stories thread in particular often erupts into flame wars involving a certain core group of people who just won't ignore each other no matter how many times they go around in circles. When these sorts of endless cycles repeat, it would not surprise me if these posts got moderated in a quick attempt to prevent more people from prolonging the tangent. We are trying to figure out how to deal with this problem in a more permanent way going forward.
Yes, I know that a lot of arguments start up in any thread related to politics, current events or whatnot. It's just handy to know (either by seeing the deleted post reason, or by having a mod message the poster) why the post was deleted, or moved, or whathaveyou.

It'd just be helpful to get a "heads-up" when the mods detect a topic edging toward "flame war" territory, rather than simply whitewashing the entire argument. I'd like to think that most of us would understand and take the more heated discussion to visitor or private messages.
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Old 2013-06-28, 16:29   Link #5
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Is there a "post hidden pending review" option in vBulletin that leaves evidence the post ever existed (while pending moderation)?
I wish it worked that way, honestly, but it looks like it's more "your post won't be visible unless it's approved", which is annoying for a number of reasons.
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Old 2013-06-28, 16:34   Link #6
Vexx
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Ergh, yeah - it just ends up looking very 1984ish. I suppose there may be a different function that could be repurposed but it sounds like this is something else that may get tabled until the fabled vBulletin upgrade happens.
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Old 2013-06-28, 19:42   Link #7
SeijiSensei
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Is there any reason for a moderator in this circumstance not to post that "some posts are being reviewed" and leave it at that? Once the review is completed, the mod can just delete the place-holder posting.
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Old 2013-06-28, 22:44   Link #8
Daniel E.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Besides, what good is moderation if the "offending posters" aren't being told, "hey, you know, this post? it's off-topic. quit it" or whatever off-topic/offensive/threadjacking/pointless/etc post happens to be. If ya'll just silently nuke posts, people are just going to get mad instead of dealing with understandable moderation.
Posts in the news section were recently deleted for being off topic, some of them going as far as using the thread for mere chatting.

Moderation on this is still being discussed, were we will try to find more permanent solutions to the overall problem.

Quote:
I'm too busy drinking it!

(I would have put more smileys but then I'd be here all night and I need to go make dinner for my fiancee, who will soon become my wife! )
Why we need to constantly tell (and explain) to the same people not to go off topic like this (in several threads), is beyond me.
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Old 2013-06-29, 00:13   Link #9
relentlessflame
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
Is there any reason for a moderator in this circumstance not to post that "some posts are being reviewed" and leave it at that? Once the review is completed, the mod can just delete the place-holder posting.
The main reason to moderate posts is to discourage people from continuing to reply to that tangent so that the problem doesn't keep growing and getting worse. (It's a quick "two-click" way to hide things.) This is why it's usually a step taken in faster-moving threads when things are already starting to derail (which, as mentioned, happens a fair bit in threads like "News Stories").

Granted, as I said, it's not an ideal solution due to the current implementation in vBulletin. I think we have at least received the feedback that the approach has side-effects in terms of how the moderator action is perceived (due to the lack of visibility).
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Old 2013-06-29, 02:13   Link #10
synaesthetic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel E. View Post
Why we need to constantly tell (and explain) to the same people not to go off topic like this (in several threads), is beyond me.
So... why was Dr. Casey's completely pointless drunk-thread left alone (and is still unlocked, people are still posting on it, a totally pointless thread that has no real purpose), yet my comments on DOMA being ruled unconstitutional were disappeared?

Makes me wonder if some of ya'll might have a problem with certain classes of people. I noticed most of the positive comments relating to the DOMA ruling were removed.

Curious.

Edit: I really enjoy this message board largely because it's very well-moderated--as opposed to other places (like TTLG) which are just massive poo-flinging sessions. It's been getting a hell of a lot more restrictive recently and as a result I just haven't been posting as much as I used to. Maybe this doesn't matter to you since it's not like my (or anyone else's) presence actually makes you money or anything, but it's still a bit screwy. I get trying to keep the specific subforums strictly on topic, but this is General Chat.

General. CHAT.

So what the hell's wrong with simply socializing? News Stories moves so damn fast anyway it's not like whatever someone comments on a particular story isn't going to get buried by 10 new stories by the next day.
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Old 2013-06-29, 03:28   Link #11
monir
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Dear Synaesthetic,

I don't come across your posts that often, so forgive me for I'm kind of taken back by your posting style in this thread. As of right now my general impression about you is this person bitching and just being a total dick with all these passive aggressiveness over a very simple and uncomplicated query, why my posts disappeared/removed/moderated? It's also confusing to me why this person just couldn't pm/vm any of the moderators to make this very simple query. Anyway, since the two response above didn't appease to your ego, here is my response to all of your query in the following in no particular order:

- Your posts were deleted solely to piss you off.

- I was also unaware of any method to determining "classes" over internet forum. Then again, I'm learning everyday. But if this is how you usually tend to come across, you probably fall into the "asshole" class, which is actually a no-class group. I should know. I've been a on-and-off member of that group since I've discovered internet.

- Dr. Casey's thread in all of its pointless glory stays open just to annoy you even further to the point I'm hoping it will result in you throwing your hands up in the air in further disgust at the unfairness of it all. Both. HANDS!

- I'm also closing this thread just to add to your annoyance. I'm also calling this thread pointless for the hell of it.

Hopefully, the above response showed enough "balls." If you need a break from this forum for any particular reason, please let me know and I'll be more than happy to provide you with one. I don't want to toot my own horn, but I never really needed any particular reason to ban anyone.

Sincerely yours,

A fellow Asshole who is also a moderator.
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Old 2013-06-29, 03:28   Link #12
Solace
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Well. What he said, in fewer words than I mustered.
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Old 2013-06-29, 03:38   Link #13
relentlessflame
 
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I had written a big reply... but let me just add:

1. I did review the posts (though wasn't involved before), and the deleted posts had nothing to do with the "politics" of the issue at all. I feel I need to be clear on this point because the accusation is extremely upsetting to me.

2. The pending forum reorganization will split "News" away from the chattier/more "pointless" threads. But for now they're stuck in the same place. More soon (when I have time to work on it).
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