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You may have noticed we’re a bit short-handed lately and our bus count has declined to 1. I’m opening applications for new moderators. You can look at the mod log to get an idea of what this looks like.

I’m asking for applicants to make a year-long commitment. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to stop being a mod at the end of the year, it just means that’s about as far as I can reasonably expect someone to predict their availability, and it provides a natural cadence to this process.

Apply by answering the questions below. Please send your answers by plain text email to my first name @push.cx.

  • What are you interested in helping with, and why? (Stories, comments, hats, chat, more?)
  • What kind of availability can you commit to from now until February of next year? What’s your time zone’s offset from UTC?
  • Please link to times you’ve engaged in meta discussion about site norms or otherwise volunteered.
  • Do you have experience relevant to moderating an online forum?
  • What goals do you have for the site and your involvement? What do you hope to change?

I’ll review all answers on Monday, Jan 25. I’ll send back some example situations like “How would you publicly and/or privately respond to this comment?” You’ll have a week to respond (so, before Feb 1), but earlier responses will be appreciated. I’ll spend the next couple days calling/emailing with any questions I have.

I hope to announce new mods by Feb 8 at the latest; this will depend on how many people there are and how early they respond. I plan to select 2-4 moderators, based on interests and availability.

  • Peter

Added 2021-01-19 21:12:

Well, I didn’t think I needed to elaborate on how being shorthanded means that when I’m asleep or at work, things can really slide off the rails, but we got quite a demonstration here. I’m sorry I wasn’t available to help chill things out earlier and look forward to onboarding mods so we can respond more quickly in the future.

I asked for people interested in being mods to email me directly because I didn’t want to invite a public litigation of applicants’ characters and previous messages, so I’m seriously tempted to remove the entire thread spawned by someone doing so. But it’s probably better to leave it up so folks can see what the flamewar was. There’s also a few good points about really hard, worldwide problems, even if they’re generally expressed in the unproductive, obnoxiously point-scoring way that online political discussion tends towards.

Please consider that thread dead and don’t reply to it further.

To address the contentious bit of that thread, no, nazis are not welcome here. Banning the guy who called for a race war was entirely unobjectionable precedent. His argument that the real nazis are the ones who hate nazis remains unpersuasive. (And, I dunno, read a book, because we don’t really need to figure out from first principles that nazis are bad via online flamewar, especially having had an actual war about it.)

Any other users who are nazis should please DM me for their ban. I’m aware that probably nobody will take me up on this offer, but there might be volunteers who’d like to indict other users, especially by digging through their offsite histories. I don’t have or want jurisdiction over the entire internet, and I’m not eager to play pitch detector for dogwhistles so that I can get called the real nazi for not recognizing nazis. Even as nazis are obviously unwelcome. So to balance these competing interests, please be aware that if you email me somebody’s old tweets, that conversation is probably going to end with one of the two of you banned. If that’s you, you’re not going to get the satisfaction of nobly sacrificing yourself in the interests of righteous struggle, you’re just going to be the putz who tried to make a guy who likes bullshitting about monads your arbiter of truth and justice.

That any of this was contentious or unclear is my failure to create and publicize policy, even in when there’s endless ambiguity and vitally important topics. I’m sorry for it, and opening mod applications is ironically one part of how I’m trying to address it. I continue to invite users to help figure out policies, whether or not they’re interested in becoming a moderator.

  • Peter

Added 2021-01-30:

I spent a couple days last week at the emergency vet with a sick cat and it’s thrown everything off for me. I haven’t yet sent out the example situations and probably won’t be able to this weekend. (The cat’s OK, at least.)

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  2. 45

    Thank you for running this site and thanks in advance to all who consider donating their free time to this nice little community!

    If I may offer a word of advice, I would like everyone who considers applying to remember that this is a volunteer community task. Do not seek it as a privilege or a status for its own sake. Thank you :-)

    1. 42

      Dead on. I suppose it’s worth mentioning that being a mod is not an exciting adventure or anything, it’s chores like taking author names out of titles and explaining to grown adults that even if someone is wrong about mutexes it’s not OK to call them a douchebag. And while we’re nowhere near the scale or culture that you will be “publicly impaled on a daily basis”, there aren’t many rewards on offer besides the satisfaction of helping keep the community humming. The closest we come to being an elite club is having a chat room where we occasionally ask each other “I missed lunch, did I get the tone right in this response?” when writing responses.

    2. 43

      Is this a paid position?

      1. 57

        Rather the opposite for you, I have a stack of past-due therapy bills you’re delinquent on.

        1. 6

          There’s always the option for cathartic revenge by assigning him the Victor Frankenstein hat.

          1. 9

            Please, let’s be reasonable here. He should delegate assigning the hat to one of the new mods.

      2. 27

        With respect and love, @pushcx, this ain’t it.

        In my experience moderating internet forums there are precisely two kinds of people that are interested in moderating:

        • people motivated by a deep desire to improve the communities they participate in and who plan to moderate with the lightest possible touch in order to grow the community and allow it to express its norms and standards
        • petty fucking assholes who plan to wield their power to grind axes, antagonize enemies, and reshape the community as they themselves see fit

        These posts bring out both of these kinds of people, but unfortunately you’ll be lucky if you get a 1:10 ratio of good to bad.

        Now, you’ve said you plan to announce the new moderator slate. That means, at best, you and @irene plan to try to separate the wheat from the chaff. My $.02: don’t. Pick ten people that each of you have interacted with and think you can live with as moderators. Then ask them directly. If you are lucky you’ll get two of them to accept and only reluctantly so. Then you’ll have found good moderators.

        1. 11

          I spent the last year trying that, though I contacted nine users rather than ten. None were both interested and available, though one maybe came around a few days ago and I believe applied earlier today.

          1. 3

            None were both interested and available, though one maybe came around a few days ago and I believe applied earlier today.

            I hope like hell they did, and wish you the absolute best of luck finding a second (or more).

          2. 8

            I am deeply distressed by the direction these comment threads took for many reasons, but not least because I had believed, perhaps naively, that this community was distinct in how its members practiced a cautious self-moderation to avoid making - or even cast votes behind - statements they lacked expert authority to make, knowing those statements could (and likely would), be seen by actual experts who could be engaged in earnest discussion.

            I post under my real name because it means I have to stand by the things I say, and it forces me to pause to consider the effect my words will have on the people I say those things to. Posting anonymously or pseudonymously removes the first obligation one has to oneself, but nothing removes the second obligation one has to others.

            I hope from the bottom of my heart that these threads are uniquely a product of the generally elevated blood pressure of all people at this particular moment, and is not representative of anything else.

            I have many things to say about the subject matter discussed in these threads, but this is not the place I will say them.

            1. 6

              I can’t agree any more strongly with this post. This (request for moderators) is the way to get toxic moderators. @owen is absolutely right about how to get good moderators, pick them based on their existing community actions and reach out to them. Most of who you reach out to are wonderful, sane people so they will decline… continue down the list. I have moderated communities for a couple of decades and the path laid out by @owen is the only one I have had any success with.

              1. 3

                You are extremely correct. As a member of the third category, I understand that moderation is a powerful tool which I would almost certainly misuse and with which I should not be trusted. And I am simply not a nice person. But, with that said, I at least have an excellent record of antifascist posting.

                1. 2

                  This is good advice, and in other communities I’ve been a part of it was exactly how moderators were selected. Some served for 5-10+ years, all part of the same initial friend group / community that seeded it.

                  I did assume that @pushcx would still have the ultimate say in getting rid of any false positives, so to speak, considering we have a public moderation log and it would be somewhat obvious if someone was abusing their power, so it might be OK still.

                2. 28

                  Any of y’all want me to throw my hat in the ring?

                  Another time. :)

                  Okay fisch. I’ll try. If enough folks are interested I’ll shoot an app in.

                  1. 41

                    friendlysock is pretty much the only user who I have mentally flagged as consistently antagonistic and obnoxious, generally to the detriment of friendly and civil discussion. Other users may have particular topics which they feel sufficiently strongly about that they occasionally get a little antagonistic responding to criticism. With friendlysock, I see unnecessarily inflammatory comments often enough that I now mentally think, “ugh, I won’t bother reading this comment chain, it looks like another friendlysock spat”. If you can’t moderate your own comments, I don’t think you’d be good at moderating other peoples.

                    So if you really want our opinions, no, I do not want you to throw your hat into the ring.

                    1. 24

                      Strong disagree. friendlysock consistently engages in civil and friendly discussion, even when finding himself on the other side of an argument with someone whose political convictions make them feel they shouldn’t even attempt to be civil and friendly. I’ve never seen him make a comment I think could fairly be called unnecessarily inflammatory (and I say this as someone who has disagreed with him in the past). I generally enjoy seeing his posts and think he’s a good contributor to the site.

                      1. 31

                        You’re painting a picture where angersock is the civil one who just so happens to be constantly surrounded by people mad at him.

                        That’s wrong: angersock frequently accuses others or entire communities of bad faith and assumes a position of authority he doesn’t have when saying content doesn’t belong here (do I even need to link that one?).

                        I’ve rarely seen anybody argue with angersock twice. That alone should be pretty damning: The only constant in arguments involving angersock is he himself.

                        One can be inflammatory, incite flamewars and toxic communication while saving face by “remaining civil”. I’m not sure how much of it was intended in /u/Thra11’s post, but to me the point is that angersock remains civil, but brings incivility.

                        That is not to say that he doesn’t try his best, and I don’t think he does any of this on purpose (though I am really not sure). But I really don’t think he is cut out for this job, and given the comment ratio on his top-post vs the rest of the thread, I think he would be quite a controversial mod to say the least.

                        1. 14

                          It’s also missing the point: One can be inflammatory, incite flamewars and toxic communication while saving face by “remaining civil”.

                          That form of trolling is called Sea-lioning. http://wondermark.com/1k62/

                          1. 12

                            I strongly disagree that how friendlysock has been showing up here can be seen as a form of sealioning.

                            1. 7

                              It still blows my mind that not only do some people think the woman rather than the sea-lion was the sympathetic character in that comic, but that there are enough such people for “sea-lioning” to have become a meme.

                              1. 7

                                I suspect it’s because many people use public social media for private conversations with their friends (as they would speak while walking about town). A stranger injecting themselves into the conversation to demand your time and attention (regardless of how righteous they are) is unwanted and weird.

                                1. 5

                                  It’s pretty fitting, I think. Most people who cry “sea lioning” are just upset that someone responded to their public statements.

                                  1. 5

                                    I was puzzled by that as well. There were enough of us that the author wrote a three paragraph clarification on the errata page. It’s possibly worth reading the explanation there. I’d summarize it as “the sea lion is a stand-in for people who behave a certain way and the woman’s objection is based on that behavior”.

                                  2. 6

                                    I only have this comic as reference for as to what sealioning means, but the situation I see with angersock is not one where he actively seeks out people to engage in stupid arguments with. Maybe the term has evolved beyond that specific example, but then, without a new real definition, it has lost its meaning.

                                    1. 3

                                      The term has not lost its meaning, it has always been used to refer to people who make unwelcomed responses to publicly made statements.

                                  3. 9

                                    My own interactions with ‘sock have actually been pretty good, even in cases where we disagreed (as in this thread), and I don’t off-hand recall seeing and recent(ish) comments where I was “sjeez ’sock, relax mate”.

                                    But I also skip most Rust stories, as I don’t have a lot of interest in Rust (not at the moment anyway), and that link is indeed very much a “sjeez ’sock, relax mate” type of conversation.

                                    Point being: I guess people have a limited/biased view of ’sock (or any other members, for that matter) based on which stories they read and comment on. I certainly do, because I never would have seen that comment if you had not linked it here.

                                    1. 2

                                      do I even need to link that one?

                                      Would be helpful for people like me who aren’t as deep in the day-to-day of lobste.rs.

                                      1. 4

                                        It appears lobste.rs has some sort of retention on the index of comments per user, but here’s the most recent examples (not the best ones):

                                        All of those assume a place of authority and tell others how to use the site.

                                    2. 4

                                      In all fairness, this was not always the case (see also why I’m friendlysock instead of angersock), and even as recently as that Rust thread a few days ago I can still be more inflammatory than is helpful (less charitably: I can be a shithead). I’m no saint.

                                      1. 4

                                        and yet, gestures frantically below

                                      2. 6

                                        I would have to concur with this

                                      3. 34

                                        I personally would prefer not to have a moderator who thinks having Nazis participating is a fine idea (https://lobste.rs/s/nulfct/problem_with_code_conduct#c_dwa6s5). “You could exclude neither [Nazis nor the target of Nazis], and let them sort it out themselves elsewhere. Indeed, seeing each other in a context that doesn’t constantly reinforce their ideology might serve to build bridges and mellow both sides.”

                                        Seeing as my grandmother was almost murdered by Nazis the “mellowing both sides” bit did not go over well with me.

                                        1. 23

                                          It’s taken me quite some time to form a response.

                                          Here in Bloomington, IN, last year and the year prior, we had to deal with a real Nazi problem in our city. It was BAD. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/18/us/indiana-farmers-market-white-supremacy.html

                                          We have had a city govt run farmers market near the city square. It was on the largest walking/biking/running trail the city has.. It really was an amazing market.

                                          Then, the Unicorn Riot discord hack happened. Normally, this would oust Nazies and similar ideology. Except this time, it ousted a lady by the name of Sarah Dye, a farmowner and a stall vendor at the farmers market. It only outed the first name in the general vicinity and owned a farm - I was the one who found her account on Youtube by the name of Volkmom, and got her banned from the other 2 farmers market boards she was on. I forwarded the videos to their boards. They compared her voice to her damning videos.

                                          However, Bloomington IN doubled down, claiming 1st amendment concerns. Peaceful protests to Dye and the city were done… And the cops arrested the peaceful protesters, up to and including the president of low barrier homeless shelters - dressed as a purple unicorn ( https://www.thedailybeast.com/unicorns-arrested-at-protest-of-white-supremacy-at-bloomington-indianas-farmers-market ).

                                          And since Dye was being defended by the city, we had other undesirables show up. Other neonazies did. So did the 3 percent’ers. But when the 3%ers showed up, they were armed to the teeth, with AR15’s strapped to them, handguns (plural), zipties, and more. There was no question - they were not peaceful. They wanted to make a show of force that they were present to support their kind. Having them all show up shat on the very idea of the farmer’s market of inclusivity and coming together over shared food.

                                          We (public) finally solved this by deprecating the city run market, and a new market was made by a non-profit org. All the vendors showed up here, with exception of Sarah Dye and her stall. And unlike the city market, visible weaponry wasn’t allowed. And being in Indiana, people will pack heat; but it can at least be diminished.

                                          When nobody knew she was a Nazi and she didn’t do anything suspicious publicly, it was uneventful and peaceful. People just bought their groceries and all was good. The moment it was known, all the dregs, white nationalists, neonazies, kkk, and similar moved in to support “their kind”. We all literally had to abandon and regroup to get them to stop.

                                          If you don’t strongly deal with white nationalist groups, they’ll eat you out of house and home, run everyone off, and leave you with a shell of a community. I’ve seen it happen locally how it progresses in real life… and damned if I’ll let it happen to communities I’m currently a moderator of.

                                          1. 21

                                            Forgive me for being dense, but my reading of this is that everything was quiet and peaceful until you went out of your way to dox a Nazi and get her kicked out, and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened, and a bunch of ugliness occurred, and then after all this you got the original market back less one Nazi.

                                            If this is an accurate reading (and it may not be!), how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault? That being the case…how is all of the following ugliness not the result of the efforts to purge a secret Nazi?

                                            My desire to follow rules of topicality and civility is very much due to a desire to avoid that sort of protest-counterprotest stuff that harms communities more than it helps.

                                            1. 23

                                              how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault?

                                              Who escalated to violence? The white nationalists did. Arguing that the exposers of secret Nazis are at fault is the argument employed by domestic abusers. “Woman, why do you make me beat you? Why do you do this to me?”

                                              I know you’re arguing in good faith. But please do not try to justify violence from this crowd. They proved that they weren’t standing on moral high ground when they showed up with firearms and zipties.

                                              The violent response from white nationalists to nonviolent protests should prove just how much of a charade their pearl-clutching about “muh free speech” really is.

                                              1. 13

                                                Forgive me for being dense, but my reading of this is that everything was quiet and peaceful until you went out of your way to dox a Nazi and get her kicked out, and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened, and a bunch of ugliness occurred, and then after all this you got the original market back less on Nazi.

                                                More specifically, there was already an anti-nazi campaign locally going against her with what I considered shaky proof. Many of us were very hesitant to engage in protests in person or online, without solid proof. I used my OSINT skills and was able to positively identify that it was her. Had it not been, I would have also said so. I’m not going to engage in a protest against an individual unless I’m damned sure I can prove it… And I proved it beyond a reasonable doubt.

                                                Speaking to “and then people decided to protest a lawful application of the 1st Amendment, and then counter-protests happened”…

                                                The problem was that the city was supporting the nazi speech AND show of force, while arresting peaceful (non-weapon-possessing) protestors. If the city had applied equal force to both sides, there would have been less of an issue with respect to 1FA.

                                                If this is an accurate reading (and it may not be!), how could one not conclude that everything was fine until you got a bee in your bonnet about somebody being a Nazi in their free time? How is everything that followed not your fault? That being the case…how is all of the following ugliness not the result of the efforts to purge a secret Nazi?

                                                You’re extrapolating and assuming when you don’t have the information.

                                                My desire to follow rules of topicality and civility is very much due to a desire to avoid that sort of protest-counterprotest stuff that harms communities more than it helps.

                                                This sort of civility is similar to Sea-lioning ( http://wondermark.com/1k62/ ).

                                                Simply put, there is no civility when discussing people who want to murder people (and have done so) who differ only in race, skin color, or sexuality.

                                                1. 20

                                                  Over and over and over again the same “both sides are at fault” message, Nazis and their victims. You simply cannot get yourself to say “let’s leave Nazis out”, huh.

                                                  1. 12

                                                    A few questions to make sure I understand your arguments:

                                                    • Assuming Lobste.rs vows to leave the Nazi out, who is going to decide which user is a Nazi? What is the definition of a Nazi?
                                                    • Since we’re bound to leave the Nazi out, how can we ensure that there won’t be a “leave the Y out”, where “Y” can be muslim from Saudi Arabia, Palantir developers (are they morally superior to Nazis?), Steven Pinker, Noam Chomsky and everyone else group X doesn’t like ?

                                                    ps. This discussion is not new by any means. It is a hard discussion, Karl Popper wrote extensively about this exact issue.

                                                    1. 8

                                                      Thank you for your observation.

                                                      For me, I can’t help but notice that even if we say “Okay let’s get rid of the Nazis”, we still have the question of who is a Nazi?

                                                      Form a practical standpoint: half of my country (US) voted for Trump, for whatever reason. That makes them some flavor of Republican–or worse. It is not a stretch (and is pretty common in various circles) to see any affiliation with Republicans as basically being a Nazi.

                                                      If half of Lobsters is from the US, this means that like a quarter of the users–based on back-of-the-envelope calculations–are Nazis and should be banned, for being Nazis.

                                                      If we just ban based on civility and topicality, we get to sidestep this issue.

                                                        1. 7

                                                          Any of the comments that article references are clearly outside decorum and, if posted here, would warrant administrative action.

                                                          1. 8

                                                            Weev is a public figure. Weev was banned from gab. Weev could participate anonymously on lobsters. If weev wants to post here as weev, is that OK?

                                                            1. 8

                                                              Why wouldn’t it be, if he follows the rules and isn’t an asshole and contributes to on-topic discussion?

                                                              It being weev, I imagine it would be less than an hour before he gets banned for saying stupid Nazi shit, but might as well give the fellow a chance.

                                                              Our purpose here isn’t to punish people for actions in other communities; our purpose is to discuss technology.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                Weev is a public figure known for being a Nazi. For weev to be named as weev, it’s the same as https://lobste.rs/u/neonazi .

                                                                Weev could go by a different name to participate in lobsters.

                                                                1. 0

                                                                  Pretty sure there are many internet users with that nickname - most probably are unaware of some rando from US. To be honest I never heard about that guy until today. If he would have an account here I would judge him by what he writes here without crosschecking him across other sites. Who does that?!

                                                                  1. [Comment removed by author]

                                                                    1. 10

                                                                      well this is all going swimmingly and I’m sure that pushcx isn’t regretting this post at all

                                                    2. 7

                                                      I won’t say it because I don’t believe it.

                                                      I would rather have a polite Nazi talking to me about technology than either a rude not-Nazi talking about technology or a polite not-Nazi talking about not-technology. As somebody mentioned above re: the Nazi variant of the Turing test…a sufficiently polite and topical Nazi is indistinguishable from a normal user, because they’re presumably not talking about Nazi shit and picking on Nazi victims.

                                                      If they are, the rules of civility and topicality give a handy way–and a more uniform way–of dealing with them. Even better, it gives a way of dealing with them that doesn’t give them the recourse of saying “Well you’re just doing this because you hate Nazis”, or “You’re just doing this because you support SJWs”, etc. I can point at the rules and say “You were off-topic and being uncivil. I don’t need to believe anything about Nazis or your relationship with that ideology to get rid of you.”

                                                      1. 22

                                                        Apparently you definition of civility includes telling me and other Jews to “mellow out” about people wanting to murder us. No thanks.

                                                        1. -9

                                                          Do you want to murder them, given that you (by my reading here) believe they are a clear and present danger to you and yours?

                                                          1. 17

                                                            This is too far. There are diminishing returns now on this conversation and also both of you seem to have lost perspective that this post is about finding new moderators because pushcx might be under huge moderator load - you’re not helping. At the least, take this to a different venue or to personal chat to hash it out and bring back here any positive results.

                                                            @itamarst You are talking about a subject which is understandably extremely sensitive and important to you. I think everyone can and would acknowledge the pain that you and your family must have gone through, and it is a failing of people in this conversation that that is not the first and most obvious point to be reiterated and repeated without fail. We all must acknowledge that terrible things have happened and that we want to take positive actions to prevent them happening again. That being said you are grossly not applying good faith in a situation where one person’s actions seem to have been offensive to you, and you are bringing a subject that is most definitely off topic for lobste.rs into this space. In relation to the former, you could have chosen a much more amicable way of bringing your point forward such as: Quoting friendlysock, explaining how you reacted to and felt when you read his comment and asking friendlysock to confirm if that was his intention and to clarify his meaning if it was. You definitely could have done that constructively inside the context which was friendlysock applying to be a moderator, so you could have phrased your question in a way relevant to this topic. No one would ever question your pain or your discomfort at seeing discussions of a group of people that brought great harm to your family and by extension pain to you; you do not have to not be angry, or not be in pain; but having the expectation that you can bring this up in this way in this space and the outcome be constructive is poor judgement: whether or not this was a motivation, you are not going to get personal resolution to political issues that cause you pain on lobste.rs.

                                                            @friendlysock Whatever your position you are grossly failing to take a step back and acknowledge itamarst’s point where he is now, not where you think he should be or how you think his point relates to lobste.rs. If you keep doubling down on your position, itamarst has to double down on his. This does not seem like rocket science. Whether this is on topic or not, when someone has gone to the effort and made themselves vulnerable by presenting something they are angry or in pain about, particualrly if it’s such a HUGE subject as this with so much emotion attached, step 1 is acknowledge that and consider your position in relation to what they said. You have no idea how they feel and you can not begin to understand their position so if they are offering you this level of confrontation the most you can do is acknowledge and listen. You don’t have to take responsibility for having caused their pain - no one is calling you a nazi or accusing you of murdering people, but you do have to acknowledge that they felt a particular way after reading what you wrote, and if you want to, you can explore that, but with about 1000 times more sensitivity. Acknowledgement and reiteration of your fundamental positions as they relate to lobste.rs, or moderation on lobste.rs would perhaps be a way to frame your position, if you’re interested in doing that.

                                                            1. 16

                                                              “Good faith” only goes far when some spends so much effort explaining how important it is we include Nazis in our discussions. Especially when they want to be a mod.

                                                              And really the whole point of the exercise is mod policy. As I’ve said before, in other discussions, you gotta pick a side. And the clearer friendlysock’s opinions, the clearer the choice pushcx has to make.

                                                            2. 13

                                                              Enough is enough. You are bullying itamarst with repeated emotional manipulation by way of a topic that has violently effected them, apparently so that you can get them to call for killings on a thread in which you nominated yourself to moderate the community in pursuit of civility. Are you done trolling yet?

                                                              1. 6

                                                                No, of course not.

                                                                1. 6

                                                                  Do you want to murder them

                                                                  Come on, this is too much.

                                                      2. 32

                                                        no offence, but I find that “mellowing both sides” is a very legit goal. seeing as I’ve spent most of my life in a warzone, this goes very well with me. I’m not jewish, but I’ve had multiple run-ins with Neo-Nazis due to the way I look and where I escaped the war to. I used to hang out in this bar that was split in half, one of it was extreme leftists, and the other were staunch Nazis, some not even Neo. we were all fucked, so we just drank together in a weird peace of sorts. one of the Neo-Nazis never liked the fact that I started hanging out there, and was constantly hostile, and due to past experiences I had to often stay alert and make sure to be ready for whatever may come, but the beer was cheap mind you and the weed was good.

                                                        one of the Neo-Nazis in particular was this big guy who had it so clear in his eyes that he’d like to beat the shit out of me to prove his worth or whatever. I didn’t care as this was the least of my worries (at that time). one of the old men I used to hang out with was a programmer as well, so we’d get high and discuss all sorts of computer things. one day the convo came to Blender and 3D modelling, and all of a sudden this big guy who never wanted to exchange a word with me and rather punches came and started talking about Blender with love in his eyes instead of hate, after a couple of hours of that he threw the shittiest but unfortunately the most fitting line of all:

                                                        “your people aren’t too bad after all.”

                                                        we actually continued conversing after that and went through a couple of his traumas and why he ended up on the path he ended up on. I by no means expect everyone suffering from oppression to engage in such antics with their oppressors, but I’d rather the ones who can’t, let the one who can, do what they gotta do.

                                                        at the very least, you can try to not monopolize suffering under your own school of thought, and within only your own context.

                                                        this is probably my last comment here for a while, so feel free to PM if you wanna discuss this further. I am also very sad to hear about your grandma, it sucks to be almost murdered, it sucks to see people you love get murdered, and it sucks to see people you love commit murder, but that shit happens on all sides of aisle.

                                                        dehumanize one, and you dehumanize all, I find.

                                                        fucking hell, I need a beer.

                                                        1. 26

                                                          Thank you for sharing! I think that’s slightly missing the point, though:

                                                          1. The issue was with “both sides”. Why do I need to “mellow” if someone wants to murder me?
                                                          2. You are describing a truce backed by violence. And that might work for some, but the more common case is people not going into the bar at all, because they don’t feel safe.

                                                          I’m sure many Nazis have reasons for how they ended up where they are (though in the US a lot of them aren’t suffering at all, they’re upper middle class or rich). Maybe hanging out with Nazis will make them change their mind. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

                                                          But given the choice between making a safe environment for everyone, and letting some Nazis in in the vague hope they will learn something and lots of other people choosing not to participate, I’d rather choose the latter former.

                                                        2. 10

                                                          You know, I can sympathise with your viewpoint here, especially as a Muslim in the current global climate, but the problem I see is that this seems to be leading to such extreme echo chambers, that it makes people say things like what one user in the thread you linked said:

                                                          Feminists believe that women are as human and as entitled to agency and dignity as men are; MRAs believe that women are inferior to men and should be enslaved.

                                                          This is such an absurd statement to make without backing up and so patently false; the only way someone can believe this is by being fed a constant diet of lies people who really hate MRAs instead of just speaking to MRAs directly.

                                                          Suddenly, we’re not just banning Nazis who want to kill you and me and our entire family trees, we’re banning practicing religious people who aren’t willing to rewrite their holy scripture or reinterpret it to suit people’s desires, we’re banning critics of said religious folks who believe baby penises should remain intact — hey, they’re MRAs, right?; whatever, they must be islamophobes or antisemites either way — we’re banning critics of affirmative action, we’re banning all manner of people with valid and not so valid positions or arguments.

                                                          We don’t discriminate on truth, we discriminate on whether it’s comfortable or not to a select group of people. People who can’t discriminate between a belief like, “men and women have roughly equal average IQ, but the distribution is wider for men, so the ratio of men to women at Google is roughly what we’d expect if Google were selecting for such and such IQ” — responding with such inanity as “do the women at Google not belong there, then?” — and a belief like, “women are inferior to men and so should be enslaved to them”.

                                                          1. 20

                                                            I think that if I were on a rocketry forum I’d be interested in hearing what Wernher von Braun had to say (not merely a Nazi, but an officer in the SS). If I were on a forum about filesystems, I’d be happy to talk to Hans Reiser. If I were given the opportunity, I think that Konrad Zuse (not a Nazi, but certainly a collaborator) would have interesting things to say about electromechanical computer design.

                                                            I’d be more than happy to throw any of them out if they start going into politics or murder, but if they have useful expertise and follow the rules of decorum, they should have a place.

                                                            1. 15

                                                              Let me put it like this: if Hans Reiser would join a forum where Nina Reiser’s brother (or sister, close friend, etc.) would also participate, would you think it’s reasonable if they would object to this?

                                                              It’s not hard to see how this would also extend to neo-Nazis (as in, literal neo-Nazis, who looked at the Holocaust and thought that all of that was just a spiffing good idea); would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that? Are many people not a victim of these people’s actions just as much as Nina’s Reiser’s brother is? Would you happily discus webdesign best practices with the person running StormFront or some other neo-Nazi website?

                                                              I’m not so sure if “it’s limited to just technical conversation” is really all that important, never mind that this is too limited of a view of Lobsters IMHO, as it’s a community centred around technical topics.

                                                              For all we know Reiser or the StormFront maintainer are already participating on Lobsters anonymously. We can’t really prevent that because the only alternative would be to actively vet members. But if you know you’re talking to the StormFront webmaster then … yeah, I’d rather not.

                                                              I’m not suggesting that we implement some sort of wrongthink policy or anything of the sort; you put forth the extreme scenarios so I’m replying to those, and in more realistic scenarios things tend to be some shade of grey. If someone on Twitter said “I don’t like people of religion/ethnicity/identity X” then that would probably be okay; as in, I won’t like them more for it, but I see no reason to ban them here for just that. But I do think all of this is a bit more complicated than you put forth.

                                                              1. 18

                                                                Would you happily discus webdesign best practices with the person running StormFront or some other neo-Nazi website?

                                                                Let’s apply a variant of the Turing Test to this: if people from the interactions alone cannot tell whether they are made by a regular person or a Nazi, then the poster/commenter can be regarded as worthwhile talking to as any other normal person.

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  Yes. Nobodies forced to use real names on lobsters. If someone posts anonymously, respect it. Don’t dox.

                                                                  It’s not the same if he/she uses their neo-Nazi name. Lobsters has no moral obligation to be known as the place where neo-Nazis hang out.

                                                                  1. 10

                                                                    Yeah I think there’s a bit of a straw man being thrown around in some of these discussions about being randomly chosen as the target of doxxing. It’s pretty easy to be anonymous on this website.

                                                                    To even be perceived as a member of a hate group on a site like this would require affirmative signaling to one’s peers that they hold hateful views towards other members of the community for their birth-given human characteristics, which seems like a good enough reason to remove such a user in the first place.

                                                                    1. 3

                                                                      Yes. Nobodies forced to use real names on lobsters. If someone posts anonymously, respect it. Don’t dox.

                                                                      Yes, I pretty much said as much later on: “We can’t really prevent that because the only alternative would be to actively vet members” (that this isn’t feasible isn’t stated explicitly, but it’s pretty clear to everyone that it’s not).

                                                                      I think both you and @ewintr have missed the point of my reply; this entire discussion is fairly hypothetical because of course no neo-Nazi is going to link to their StormFront account on their Lobsters profile (or Gab, or wherever these people hang out these days). I just wanted to point out why having known neo-Nazis on Lobsters is something that people would object to, and why some people would choose not to visit Lobsters if this were the case.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        No. You’re wrong. It won’t remain hypothetical. Look at how many people got caught from the 6th based on social media.

                                                                  2. 6

                                                                    would you think it’s reasonable if they would object to this

                                                                    I totally would understand why they might object to this. Then again, dude was put into prison and served his time. According to the law, he has received his punishment. Anything further is just extrajudicial retribution–understandable but not lawful.

                                                                    would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that?

                                                                    If they were polite and solved my problem, sure. It’d be weird, but I’d rather have the help than not. The second they started going on about that other stuff, I’d report them cheerfully.

                                                                    For all we know Reiser or the StormFront maintainer are already participating on Lobsters anonymously.

                                                                    Exactly. For the dedicated opposition, this kneejerk intolerance serves no real obstacle–and can even be really useful as a leveraging point to disrupt a community. It’s like people have never played Among Us.

                                                                    but I see no reason to ban them here for just that.

                                                                    The problem is, several Lobsters I believe would be more than happy to do that, and would want it in a CoC. Further, where do you draw the line? How much Nazi is too Nazi? How little pedophilia is acceptable? I don’t want to make those calls–I’d rather focus on the (much simpler) tests of a) has this user treated other users respectfully in this space and b) has this user stayed on-topic. If followed, I believe those two rules are sufficient to guarantee a good time for everybody.

                                                                    But if you know you’re talking to the StormFront webmaster then … yeah, I’d rather not.

                                                                    As an aside, the world-wide experts in decentralization are about to all be, or keep company with, some really distasteful people. Ignoring their experience because they’re icky strikes me as a waste.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      The Reiser case is a bit more complicated, as I agree criminals should be given a second chance. However, it’s not unreasonable for victims of the crime to still harbour (strong) feelings of animosity; I don’t think that’s “extrajudicial retribution”. I don’t think that many people would happily chat with their sister’s murderer about filesystems after they served their time.

                                                                      At any rate, I only mentioned Reiser to illustrate the perpetrator/victim relationship, as it’s so clear in this case. I was tempted to leave that out entirely as it’s quite a different case from neo-Nazis.

                                                                      would you enjoy interacting with someone who literally wants to kill you and everyone like you and worships an attempt to do exactly that?

                                                                      If they were polite and solved my problem, sure. It’d be weird, but I’d rather have the help than not. The second they started going on about that other stuff, I’d report them cheerfully.

                                                                      Alright, fair enough. But it’s not hard to see how other people would make a different choice here.

                                                                      where do you draw the line? How much Nazi is too Nazi? How little pedophilia is acceptable?

                                                                      I don’t have clear answers to that; but this is a kind of reasoning I don’t really like. Maybe there’s a better name for this, but I like to call the “it’s hard fallacy”, which goes like: “it is hard to draw a line, therefore, we should not draw a line at all”.

                                                                      I’ve seen the same type of reasoning in conversations about civility. It can be really hard to draw a clear line about what is or isn’t acceptable, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try at all. Clearly there should a line somewhere otherwise people replying with just “you’re a cunt” would be “acceptable”, and I think we can agree that it’s not. You can also see this fallacy in some other (political) topics.

                                                                      I’m not actually in favour of banning people for off-site behaviour unless it’s particularly egregious, such as active neo-Nazis, and even then I’d have to carefully look at the specific case at hand. In general I think the bar should be pretty high for this, but I do think there is a bar … somewhere.

                                                                      I mean, do you really expect black people or Jewish members to happily interact with people we happen to know are neo-Nazis or KKK members? If someone in your local soccer club is a great bloke and fun to hang out with, and then you discover he’s a Grand Hobbit Ghoul in the KKK (or whatever ridiculous ranks they have) then you would continue that relationship as-if nothing happened (and before you answer “yes I would”, would you expect everyone to do so, including your black teammates?)

                                                                  3. 16

                                                                    The problem, of course, is that then you lose all the people who don’t want to hang out with Nazis, or with people (like Hans Reiser) who murdered their wife.

                                                                    1. 25

                                                                      In an online forum for talking about X, I’d much rather have a room full of people who may be assholes elsewhere talking politely about X than I would a room full of people who might be lovely elsewhere being assholes in my forum because of something completely unrelated to X.

                                                                      1. 7

                                                                        Thank you for this succinct explanation.

                                                                      2. 12

                                                                        On the internet, no one knows you’re a dog.

                                                                        Who’s to say what someone’s intentions are? If people start causing problems, by all means remove them. The alternative is doxxing everyone who joins lobsters or digging up dirt, is that somehow a better alternative?

                                                                        I get it, no one wants to share a board with Nazis or murderers. I don’t either. But this social equivalent of a preemptive strike has the potential to be way worse.

                                                                        1. 11

                                                                          A good rule of thumb, in programming and elsewhere, is to always consider at least three solutions to any problem. There are in fact other solutions beyond the false dichotomy “doxxing everyone” and “accepting everyone”, one common one being a Code of Conduct. Personally I would go with “you must pass this very bar to participate”.

                                                                          1. 7

                                                                            Just because a comparison of two solutions are presented doesn’t mean you have to jump to “this is a false dichotomy.” Also, I thought we already had that with the lobsters rules? How does a code of conduct actually differ?

                                                                            1. 15

                                                                              Well, friendlysock apparently can compare Nazis as somehow equivalent to their victims (both sides apparently need to “mellow”). Most CoC would involve kicking him out for that.

                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                I don’t agree with the comparison and I don’t think friendlysock would be a good mod based on the fact that he could draw it. I just want to put this out there though - if there was a felon, Nazi or other unsavory person who could provide some insight into problems I’m trying to solve then I would still have an open ear so long as they stay on topic and don’t bring up their unrelated interests. Not doing so seems short sighted.

                                                                                Most Codes of Conduct are pretty crappy btw. Ruby has a good one, nearly all of the others are too suffocating.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  I think both you and @itamarst may be missing something in how I wrote that–and that’s on me for articulating incorrectly.

                                                                                  My point was not to draw equivalence between those groups. My point was that everybody has some outgroup that they would prefer to see kicked out.

                                                                                2. 4

                                                                                  Maybe you should resolve that with friendlysock, then. Not going to fan these flames anymore.

                                                                            2. 9

                                                                              How is it “pre-emptive strike” to just not want to hang out with people you don’t like?

                                                                              This isn’t like…. the seat of government. This is a place to talk with people. Absolutely nobody is under any obligation to listen to people (short of mods basically “kicking people out”). There is zero moral requirement to listen to “varied viewpoints” or have an open mind.

                                                                              EDIT: And pointing to a previous declaration of moderation wishes as “digging up dirt” in a conversation about mod applications is rich. Are we supposed to just treat every conversation in some weird vacuum even when it comes to something so obviously relevant? I know you’re saying this in good faith but how is that not fair game?

                                                                              And like… you know what? These people that get doxxed or whatever? They are the ones that are vocal about their opinions. That’s how you even know that they are these kinds of people. If they kept their mouth shut we wouldn’t even be able to know!

                                                                              I’m tired of being lectured about how I’m the bad person for not wanting to deal with people who not only are (IMO) morally bad people, but also don’t have the social IQ to keep it to themselves.

                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                These people that get doxxed or whatever? They are the ones that are vocal about their opinions.

                                                                                Alright, where does the dirt digging stop, then? Everyone that’s somehow associated as commenting in this thread, supportive or otherwise? Because they may somehow have an agenda too?

                                                                                Dude, you’re not the bad person. No one’s saying you are. I’m just done with communities that engage in shit slinging, doxxing, and public shaming rather than actual discussion in good faith.

                                                                                Anyway, peace out, lobsters. N-gate was right about you.

                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                  I had someone PM me with personal details about myself while using a randomized username on reddit a few years back because I said that I didn’t think Ohio State was very good that year. People dox and dig up dirt for varied reasons. The nazi thing is an extreme example of that, but it happens for all sorts of other strange reasons as well.

                                                                                  I no longer use Reddit because of that event, and now I try to stick to a minimal set of social sites (like this one) where it’s obvious who I am if you search my username or look at my profile.

                                                                                  I don’t think you should feel obligated to listen to someone’s viewpoint if it’s non-technical (or even if it is technical really), but in this forum, the less I know about people, the better. I like hearing opinions or thoughts on tech without knowing who they are. I can’t control how they think or feel otherwise.

                                                                              2. 5

                                                                                Are you asking for Lobsters (and its mods, etc.) to:

                                                                                • Explicitly condemn Nazism, white supremacy, and murder
                                                                                • Ban anyone who publicly espouses these ideas, on or off our site
                                                                                1. 23

                                                                                  You write as if that would be some kind of absurd idea, when it seems quite sensible to me..?

                                                                                  1. 9

                                                                                    thank you for objecting to that.

                                                                                    reductio ad absurdem requires absurdity, and I’m not used to seeing “explicitly condemn Nazism” held forth as obviously absurd.

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      It seems absurd to me because it’s kind of a given. Not every site needs to say “hey don’t murder people” for me to feel good about using it. It’s a general human sentiment that murder is bad. Explicitly stating it and only targeting those viewpoints makes me wonder why we aren’t explicitly denouncing every type of supremacy, nativism, genocide, rape, etc.

                                                                                      But I do think banning people who espouse any of those views (spoken or unspoken) on the site is not only warranted, but should also lead to a probationary period for the person who invited them.

                                                                                      1. 6

                                                                                        I don’t think we need to make a list of things we don’t agree with. But I do think that we should be clear that people who are known for their malicious activities (e.g. support for murder or racism) are not welcome here.

                                                                                      2. -1

                                                                                        Putting this bluntly, the second one is stupid and anyone who argues for it is stupid. On or off our site? What the hell. Maybe in person I could logic my way into thinking that it’s ok but online? Thousands of miles away with no immediate threat to my wellbeing?

                                                                                        Online there’s always going to be that one jerk who doxes someone else for wrong-think and it’ll start with this.

                                                                                        1. 12

                                                                                          Thank you for proving your commitment to the cause of rational discussion by calling me stupid.

                                                                                          The thing is, we want Lobsters to be a place where all people are welcome. If we allow known neo-nazis to hang out with us, then people that feel threatened by those neo-nazis won’t come here. Sure, it’s not a threat to them per se, but why would you want to spend your free time talking to people that literally want you dead?

                                                                                          Being a neo-nazi is a choice. Belonging to a minority group isn’t. We should give the neo-nazis the boot and welcome the members of minority groups.

                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                            why would you want to spend your free time talking to people that literally want you dead?

                                                                                            Because they have information I want and are capable of staying on topic for the site I’m on. I do not care what they do anywhere else. It is incredibly vexing that people are making me defend the scum of humanity.

                                                                                            I believe all people are welcome on lobste.rs if they’re not talking about tons of off-topic stuff and spewing out hate while they’re here.

                                                                                            1. 13

                                                                                              Do you also want information from people who, for example, would feel uncomfortable sharing a discussion forum with neo-nazis?

                                                                                              This isn’t value-neutral, we have a choice to make: either we welcome the neo-nazis, or we welcome the people-who-don’t-want-to-talk-to-neo-nazis. I know who’s getting my vote.

                                                                                              1. 5

                                                                                                This isn’t value-neutral

                                                                                                I reject that premise.

                                                                                                The nazi stuff should not enter the flow of conversation for nearly any thread on lobste.rs. The only reason we’re discussing it now because this is a meta thread and it was brought up by itamarst. If he hadn’t then we’d not know and not care.

                                                                                                So I think that if we actually talk about the things that we thought we were going to talk about when we were invited in the first place there won’t be any issues with your first sentence.

                                                                                          2. 7

                                                                                            Please don’t call other users or standpoints stupid. It’s okay to disagree, it’s even better to providing reasoning, but name-calling never helps.

                                                                                      3. 6

                                                                                        You only lose the people who care more about Nazi status more than technology–and they’d doubtless be happier elsewhere, in a community that puts ideology and identity above knowledge and civility. I’ve made my peace with that.

                                                                                        I don’t think that you can fundamentally ensure that people always feel welcome, and there is no surer road to ruin than to cater to everybody’s exclusionary preferences. Everybody has a reason to hate Nazis, or furries, or Republicans, or women, or whatever–the only way a community grows and flourishes is by providing people the space and protocols to interact without requiring alignment on those things.

                                                                                        Don’t want to take up more space here on it, but am happy to continue discussing in DMs with whoever would like to.

                                                                                        1. 33

                                                                                          The fact that you seem to define “civility” as - roughly speaking - some sort of shallow politeness enabling us all to chum it up with nazis so long as we’re speaking about computers, rather than as good citizenship and strong community built on respect for one’s peers suggests to me that you’d be a terrible moderator.

                                                                                          1. 19

                                                                                            Agreed, that kind of response seems like it comes from a place of privilege. As in, “this doesn’t concern me too much, what’s the big idea?”

                                                                                            It’s been interesting to see convos here and elsewhere around accepting views that are rooted in hate but somehow we should all just suck it up because that’s “fair.” I’m often the only Black person in cis-White male dominated spaces so this is nothing new to me. Just…interesting to see this play out in the open for the first time.

                                                                                            Confronted with the knowledge of one’s privilege blinding oneself to what the disenfranchised has known to be true for eons is fascinating to watch/read.

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              I’ll politely point out that my view would extend, were the conversations civil and on-topic, to folks like Malcolm X or Newton or Seale–not just stuffy old white dudes.

                                                                                              I think that, as John Perry Barlow observed, we here in cyberspace have the opportunity to transcend the strife we were all born into. Part of that means evaluating people based on their behaviour and not on what we think about their beliefs.

                                                                                              Edit: fixed rather embarrassing misattribution.

                                                                                              1. 11

                                                                                                (Davos is a place in Switzerland. That piece was authored by John Perry Barlow. I recommend the movie Hypernormalisation, there’s a very interesting part featuring Barlow and the other technolibertarians, discussing the connections to the counter-culture movement in the 60s)

                                                                                                I cannot help but find this sort of cyber-utopianism incredibly naïve. Things that happen on the internet can and do have effects on people in the real world. It’s been a long, long time since “just walk away from the screen, just close your eyes” was a genuine take to have.

                                                                                                1. 4

                                                                                                  Thanks for catching that, still waking up.

                                                                                                  It’s a naive approach, but that’s kinda the point right? Like, should we not strive to live in that more ideal, simpler, better world?

                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                              good citizenship

                                                                                              What do you mean by this?

                                                                                              I agree btw.

                                                                                            3. 18

                                                                                              Everybody has a reason to hate Nazis, or furries, or Republicans, or women, or whatever

                                                                                              I think you may be lumping together several dissimilar attitudes here.

                                                                                              I do not think lobste.rs is suffering from including “the wrong people” or anything like that. We probably do have some people with terrible opinions, but it doesn’t leak into our usual discussions.

                                                                                              However, I do think it would be bad to have a mod to express the attitude that “some people hate Nazis, some people hate women. A pox on both their houses!”

                                                                                              I say “express” because I am not saying what you really think is “hating women is equivalent to hating Nazis”. But a mod has to be careful.

                                                                                        2. 6

                                                                                          Why stop with Nazis? If anyone shows any Nazi propaganda, they should be out. But let’s extend it to all other groups that cause harm to others. Any member of US army should be gone, heck, they didn’t try to kill my grandma, they killed my relatives, which were civilians (and they are still killing others in my country due to depleted uranium that was used in bombings). Also all the members of tech companies that help these strikes (looking at you, Microsoft et al).

                                                                                          Obviously, I’m exaggerating here to show a point that if we only look at membership of a group to exclude someone, we might also start extending the groups, as various people can/are affected. Personally, I don’t care which group people belong to, as long as they are not a threat to my family and are trying to help (or are just plain neutral) — which I think plenty of people here are, and that’s the main reason I come to this site.

                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                            We did exactly this when a Palantir showed up to show a neat thing. It was one of the most shameful things I’ve seen in my time here.

                                                                                            1. 5

                                                                                              You are not exaggerating at all.

                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                This reads like the opposite-day version of “First they came…” by Martin Niemöller.

                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                  That is a great poem that I have only heard so far paraphrased. Thanks for sharing! However, it has been a rough week for me, so I don’t get the “opposite-day version” part, could you elaborate?

                                                                                              2. 4

                                                                                                Circumstances under which I would be OK with an Actual Nazi participating (both conditions must hold):

                                                                                                1. User does not reveal themselves to be a Nazi on the site, either by explicit statement or in the way they act, and
                                                                                                2. User is not notoriously a Nazi externally to the site, either for having done something terrible or by making themselves a “public figure” wrt their viewpoints.

                                                                                                If someone behaves themselves on the site, and their behavior on the site does not create distress for others, I don’t see why people should be encourage in shitstirring. (If it is inevitable that someone’s presence will create distress, regardless of the behavior of anyone on the site, I would strongly suggest they use a pseudonym.)

                                                                                                “Nazi” is an unlikely and hyperbolic example, but I’ve seen people go and seek out damning information of one sort or another about a member of a community (including doxxing them), and then make it a thing. It wouldn’t have been a thing, and wouldn’t have caused stress to members of oppressed populations, if they didn’t do that! By digging, they’ve actually caused harm. So my rule would be that the notoriety has to originate externally or via direct actions on the site, or you just incentivize this ugly community antipattern.

                                                                                                (Some of my ancestors were murdered by Actual Nazis or had to emigrate to avoid them, in case you need that for my opinion to be valid.)

                                                                                                ((EDIT: I don’t want to be a mod, though.))

                                                                                              3. 8

                                                                                                Maybe don’t apply if you’re seeking to do if because you think it’s what people want you to do… Someone with that personality might be inclined to lose interest before their term is up if they think popular opinion is drifting away from them…

                                                                                                1. 22

                                                                                                  My reasoning–and I’ve always held this position–is that anybody seeking such a position is either a lunatic, a tyrant, or both, and not to be trusted. Myself included.

                                                                                                  That said…

                                                                                                  Look, if we’re down to just one moderator, that’s a rough gig. That, plus the current state of the world, makes me worry for the site focus and discussion culture of Lobsters, and if I can help I’m happy to do so–and pushcx is welcome to shitcan and ban me (and will likely do so with great relish) at will should I fail in my duties.

                                                                                                  Asking for sufficient votes before appliying is me, in effect, getting a gauge of if the community would agree to abide. As we’ve seen in my country this year, the legitimacy of government ultimately stems from the consent of the governed.

                                                                                                  1. 11

                                                                                                    And as I’ve seen in my country (US) this year, it’s wise not to give power to folks who are in it for the attention :P

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      I personally (and I have a decidedly average number of internet points) like the way your postings changed when your nick changed to friendly. That change shows an appreciation of your past and new styles that I would like to see in moderators.

                                                                                                    2. 2

                                                                                                      TBH asking to be upvoted seems like a bit of a conflict of interest with wanting to be a mod… as friendlysock said

                                                                                                    3. 7

                                                                                                      :(

                                                                                                    4. 18

                                                                                                      are there any explicit diversity / equity / inclusion goals here?

                                                                                                      1. 43

                                                                                                        I hope gender, skin color, sexual preference, etc have absolutely no bearing on who is/isn’t a mod here.

                                                                                                        1. 28

                                                                                                          I believe the only strong selection bias is towards masochism.

                                                                                                          1. 14

                                                                                                            Are you not fully aware by this point of the bias that occurs when inclusion isn’t a priority? Being “neutral” in this way generally ends up creating groups with homogeneous gender, skin color and sexual preference.

                                                                                                            1. 24

                                                                                                              how do you even know these things here? Most people have a nick and an auto-generated avatar picture. Nowhere have we ever given the site any information about age, race, color whatever. I could be a sentient goldfish and it should not matter really

                                                                                                              1. 12

                                                                                                                This is hyperbole. As long as the moderator is good it doesn’t matter who they are.

                                                                                                            2. 7

                                                                                                              We don’t have a demographic view of the site to compare against and have generally avoided collecting personal information, so I don’t have a goal along these lines. Looking at my inbox and following some homepage links I can see that this process will met the Rooney rule.

                                                                                                              1. 15

                                                                                                                whoa, someone down voted me for trolling because I asked about DEI criteria? in 2021?

                                                                                                                This is, um, not making a good first impression on this new lobster.

                                                                                                                1. 9

                                                                                                                  This is pretty typical, sadly.

                                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                                    Asking about goals didn’t seem like a troll to me. That said, people have certainly used that topic as bait here and elsewhere before.

                                                                                                                    Acting surprised and complaining about downvotes after seeing the answers other commenters gave you seems quite a bit more troll-y.

                                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                                      If there’s an audience around to make that topic work as troll bait, well, there’s our problem.

                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        There are different kinds of trolls. What they have in common is that they aim to derail discussions. Leaving aside meta discussions like this one, in almost every discussion on this site, business, hiring practices and the like are explicitly off-topic.

                                                                                                                        But there are some people who especially like to discuss those topics anyway and will cheerfully derail a discussion about computing with just a little prompting like that. So one good way to derail a discussion is to talk about some aspect of hiring practices or business dealings.

                                                                                                                        Discussing US partisan politics would be similarly effective, but that tends to get shut down quicker, so the trolls try to be a bit more subtle.

                                                                                                                        The fact that people are sometimes too easily nudged off topic seems to be a relatively minor problem. But it probably makes people quicker to flag something like OP’s question even in a thread where it’s more topical. Not sure I’d say “well, there’s our problem” about that :)

                                                                                                                    2. 6

                                                                                                                      You touched a nerve. I became the fifth-most-flagged contributor recently under similar circumstances; this single thread did it. It is difficult for folks to look in the mirror, and anything which requires enough reflection will naturally gather downvotes.

                                                                                                                      Don’t worry about it. Focus on being the best contributor that you can be, and you’ll do great.

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                                                                                                                    I’m curious if there’s a defined process for monitoring / removing moderators who are overzealous or partisan in the course of their duties. The moderator log is a good start, but how does the accountability follow?

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                                                                                                                      That’ll be my continuing responsibility as the admin. This application process should leave the site with me plus 3-5 people, so developing an explicitly defined process would probably be overkill for our scale.

                                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                                        Peter’s a fine fella but I personally find his own moderation style one-sided (I’ve seen instances where only a dissident opinion was removed from the comments, not both) and I don’t like that we can’t see removed comments, yes this is a limitation of the site but I think we’re all adults here and should be able to make our own judgements. Removing comments without letting anyone else read them at all smacks of censorship to me.

                                                                                                                        Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think moderation monitoring is going to be effective given the issues I see with the current moderation policies.

                                                                                                                        1. 8

                                                                                                                          Burying comments (making them still readable, but hidden) has been mostly unsuccessful everywhere (I am aware of) it has been tried. Moderation IS censorship, and that isn’t a bug, it is a feature. The purpose is the removal of posts (or users).

                                                                                                                      2. 9

                                                                                                                        Having volunteer moderated elsewhere in the past I can say it is truly thankless work. Be kind to your mods, their best case scenario is “nobody knows they exist” and more commonly various different people are mad at them for irreconcilable reasons.

                                                                                                                        I have no idea if he’s interested but I’d nominate @calpaterson as he’s one of the few folks I know personally who post here, and he’s principled enough to do it properly.

                                                                                                                        1. 7

                                                                                                                          “How would you publicly and/or privately act on this present discussion?” would be valuable. I wish the best of success in assembling the new team; once that’s through, I’d love some kind of statement of the mod team on their stance with respect to the major conflicts showing here.

                                                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                                                            https://lobste.rs/threads/$me doesn’t seem to go back very far - looks like only 6 months?

                                                                                                                            Any way to get more of ones comment history? (in the context of wanting to go back through my comment history to see if/when/how I’ve engaged with meta topics)

                                                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                                                              No, but a google search with site:lobste.rs and a time limit will likely turn it up.

                                                                                                                            2. 3

                                                                                                                              Came here looking for a modern application to play my MOD files.