1. 26

There was a link submitted previously: https://drewdevault.com/2019/05/06/Calculate-your-doation-fees-for-Patreon.html

It was killed because it’s not about computing. But funding of open source freelance development seems very on topic. There have been multiple threads recently about this.

I tried to resubmit, but lobsters doesn’t allow that. There doesn’t seem to be any way to appeal a moderator decision to kill a story. There’s no upvote to resurrect button, etc.

  1. I’d like to appeal the decision to kill this story in particular, and making a meta post seems the best/only way to do so.

  2. What is the best way to make such appeals? I don’t think flooding meta with reposts is right either, but there should be some way to do this.


  2. 16

    Generally folks just message me, here or on IRC. There’s few removed stories so there’s no formal process.

    I removed this article because it’s about a commercial service, not computing. Some open source projects use the service, but this article is not about the practice of funding open source development and happens to feature Patreon, it’s about the nitty-gritty of Patreon’s pricing. It looks directly on-topic for on YC News, though.

    1. 6

      I would request that submissions that may be off topic but topic adjacent be lightly moderated so that we can have a discussion about the aspects that are relevant. If users mark it off topic, fine, kill it.

      1. 10

        That’s what happened here. It was 17 minutes old and already flagged twice as off-topic when I saw it on the mod dashboard of recent flagged stories. More then 95% of the time I do mod things it’s because people have flagged stories and comments for attention. The site is more active than a volunteer can reasonably keep up with by reading everything posted.

        1. 4

          Ah, my mistake. The mod log message sounds like an executive decision was made.

          1. 7

            I mean… yes? At some level, every mod action is an executive decision. If it had explicit rules and no judgment involved, it’d be part of the codebase. (Well, generally, there’s stuff like how the “job” tag exists for posting jobs, but people regularly flag those as spam, so pretty much every time a job is posted I’m sending messages asking people to unflag and hide the tag if they don’t want to see jobs.) When an obviously topical story gets a bunch of off-topic flags I go, “Huh, that’s really odd” and PM the flaggers to ask why they did that. Whether I’m removing a story or not there’s definitely a judgment call involved, and I lean towards leaving stuff up if it doesn’t feel like we’re going to slide down the slippery slope of “Everything a tech company does is on-topic” and we’re back to looking very much like YC News.

            This story was catching flags quickly and I read it as trying to start a campaign against the business (“How do you keep servies like Patreon accountable…” below). We’re here for learning about and discussing computing. Some folks want to define all news as off-topic and I increasingly take the point, but we’re definitely not the place to make news by starting a campaign for or against some business.

            1. 3

              Perhaps it might be useful to show a story’s score/flags in the mod log?

              Doesn’t seem too hard to do. Basic proof-of-concept patch:

              diff --git i/app/views/moderations/_table.html.erb w/app/views/moderations/_table.html.erb
              index ac9e70c..0416932 100644
              --- i/app/views/moderations/_table.html.erb
              +++ w/app/views/moderations/_table.html.erb
              @@ -34,7 +34,13 @@
                 <tr class="<%= mod.reason.present?? "nobottom" : "" %>">
                   <td colspan=2></td>
              -    <td>Action: <em><%= mod.action %></em></td>
              +    <td>Action: <em><%= mod.action %></em>
              +    <% if mod.action == 'deleted story' %>
              +      <%= mod.story.votes
              +           .select { |v| v.vote < 0 }
              +           .map { |v| Vote::COMMENT_REASONS[v.reason] } %>
              +    <% end %>
              +    </td>
                 <% if mod.reason.present? %>
              1. 2

                We’ve never printed downvotes/flags like this, and we’ve reduced their display even to the author at least twice off the top of my head: 1 2 I don’t want to increase the number of “Why did I get flagged/come fight me haters” comments we already get.

                1. 1

                  Maybe, but on the other hand, the stories are already deleted, so I’m not sure how showing the flags here would make things worse? Showing the flags in the mod log can help clarify it was deleted based on community flags.

                  1. 1

                    In this case, I think a PM to the mod responsible for the deletion is a better way to discuss this.

          2. 4

            I made one of those off-topic flags.

            In this case, I failed the community, as I made it without actually visiting the page in question, and based on the title alone.

            Had I done the right thing and read the content I would not have used the flag, as the funding of content creators in general is of interest to me.

      2. 14

        I submitted this story because I think it’s important to understand how open source projects are funded and how services like Patreon profit from that exchange, which I believe is on-topic for Lobsters.

        I removed this article because it’s about a commercial service, not computing

        A change to a commercial service which has important consequences on many open-source projects, which naturally risks having a chilling effect on computing as a whole.

        This submission has been removed from Lobsters, /r/linux (off-topic), and /r/patreon (self-promotion). How do you keep services like Patreon accountable if the communities affected by their decision making reject articles explaining those decisions?

        This isn’t my first frustrating run-in with the moderation on Lobsters, and previous interactions had soured my tastes enough for me to resign from the service entirely. I came back because the community here deserves better than that, and so I could interact with people commenting on my blog posts and software, at first limiting myself to discussions there. After a while of not having to deal with pushcx, I became somewhat more comfortable submitting again. Today I was reminded of why I find the moderation here frustrating. It seems like it’s done at pushcx’s whims, and there’s no hope for appeal.

        1. 6

          it is interesting that I’ve seen the exact opposite sentiment expressed on this forum many times as well, that the moderation team doesn’t do enough to make sure that content on this board is purely technical or related. a question I’d ask, and this is purely meant to spark thought, not troll: do you think there’s a trend of heavy-handed moderation on Lobsters or are you upset because of your piece being blocked from the platform?

          just to make my position clear: IMO, I’d love to see more non-technical content posted here, including what you’ve just posted, but the community has decided otherwise, which is fine with me.

          1. 4

            This is a fair question to ask. Naturally, I can only speak to my experiences, which have only been negative, and each time I have spoken about my experiences I’ve heard from a few others who have faced similar problems. I think I’ve made a pretty good argument for this post, and even better arguments for other incidents in the past. For example, a link to an article of mine was once posted, then merged into another post which was by then 2 days old. By then, anyone who wanted to click the link would have, and wouldn’t have seen my article. And my article was only tangentally related to the discussion it was merged into - a more distant relation than, for example, the link between today’s post and open source. In the ensuing discussions for this, today’s, and previous incidents, as well as conversations with other moderators, I’ve come to the conclusion that pushcx doesn’t posess the capacity to question his own decisions, other moderators lack the authority to override each other’s decisions, and thus there’s no reasonable route for appealing a moderator’s decision.

            1. 6

              I’ve come to the conclusion that pushcx doesn’t posess the capacity to question his own decisions, other moderators lack the authority to override each other’s decisions, and thus there’s no reasonable route for appealing a moderator’s decision.

              Well we all get to be wrong about something I suppose.

              The usual route for appealing moderator decisions is to start a meta thread, which is exactly what @tedu has done.

              My observation of Lobsters has been that moderation in the specific case may not have an appeal but in general will follow the established “case law” of community norms from meta threads and similar posts.

          2. 2

            “This submission has been removed from Lobsters, /r/linux (off-topic), and /r/patreon (self-promotion).”

            Well, that kind of tells you that it doesn’t fit those specific forums. Most articles about commercial services, supporting FOSS or not, get killed off before they hit the front page. I used to see this a lot when I looked at Recent regularly. When I saw that, I’d sometimes send them a message suggesting a forum like Hacker News or Barnacles where the content is sometimes better received. HN moves so fast that a lot of stuff disappears before anyone can upvote it. So, I caution against thinking failure there means anything.

            I’m actually not sure even Barnacles would be good fit given most of them are pushing proprietary offerings. They may or may not know much about FOSS or care about its sustainability. I will say you’ll find some good stuff there about marketing, pricing, and so on which might help your business. If you want to grow it, you’ll be doing a lot more marketing than coding at some point since the former drives sales. Indie Hackers and Failory also have interesting case studies which can contain important wisdom.

            Hope some of that helps you. I like the ethics and FOSS focus of your business. I hope it succeeds.

          3. 4

            I agree that funding of open source freelance development is on-topic, but I feel that that particular post is very tangential to that topic, dealing with a ~small change to one particular funding method.

            1. 2

              Really? I like the calculator, and I think it adds enough value that it should be allowed on lobste.rs. I’m always skeptical of donation platforms and I want to know how much they are taking off the top…

              Patreon in particular is successful but not that transparent. If open source software is on topic for lobste.rs, then I think funding it should be.

              That said, I understand why when skimming the post, people might flag it. The post itself doesn’t have a lot of context and you have to read between the lines if you haven’t already been following along (which I haven’t lately).

            2. 4

              I’m sympathetic to the view that the linked post isn’t on-topic enough for Lobsters. Have you considered writing a blog post of your own describing what the changes are (the linked page doesn’t say) and how they might be relevant to open-source projects in particular (no mention at all), then posting a link to that blog post here? That might be more on-topic and help get the discussion here started in the right direction.

              1. 4

                Yeah I think that context is important, and a post like that would be less likely to get flagged… Readers might not know what the “fee calculator” is, and they’re jumping in the middle of a conversation that doesn’t immediately seem of interest.

                As I understand it, the point is to ensure that the creator is receiving the amount you intend, and that could be made more explicit.

                1. 1

                  I think this is correct. When discussing changes that do not directly relate to technology, it’d be good to digest it first to make it be relatable, instead of posting the original source.

                2. 3

                  What I’d like is an “appealable” tag…

                  Anything that, is not formally illegal, that gets moderated out, automagically gets an appealable tag so only people filtering by appealable would see.

                  If it gets more than N upvotes, the appeal is automagically upheld and the moderation is overruled.

                  If you wish to appeal an illegal ruling, submit to appealable a defence of the story… complete with enough identifying info so that law enforcement knows whose door to go knocking on if they disagree with you.

                  1. 2

                    what about having the ability to add comments on the moderation log? (as a normal user, like for a story but could be only top-level for normal users and replies from admins?)