1. 85

Hi fellow crustaceans,

I would like to ask what was considered hate post in this comment - it was removed with the reason don't make "hate posts" by @pushcx. I didn’t find any hate in it apart of calling out that electron is far from a minimalistic application and the discussion that evolved under that comment was informative with valid points from both sides. I can’t see anything on the site About page that outlines such posts as warranting removal.

edit: replaced occurrences of ‘hate speech’ with ‘hate post’, @pushcx never called it hate speech. I misused the word as a non native English speaker.

    1. 58

      Yeah, “moderating” with a don't make "hate posts" isn’t gonna cut it. There was glossed over reason for not liking electron followed by good discussion pointing to the actual reasons. This looked a lot more like a “frustrated and with good reason” post to me!

      If absolutely nothing else - there needs to be an explanation from @pushcx on what the specifics of hate are!

      I sincerely hope that this type of moderation doesn’t become the norm!

      1. 18

        It’s really boring whenever an app made with Electron comes up that someone has to bring up that they don’t like Electron. It adds nothing to the conversation. I hope this kind of moderation becomes the norm.

        1. 46

          And I personally find many discussions on this site boring, but I’d hope that my discussion preferences don’t get baked into moderation policy.

          We’ve already got downvotes.

        2. 10

          So… sarcastic remarks are now a no-no?

          I find Electron to be a little too much bloated for my taste. I would not recommend it as a go-to solution for desktop applications, since not everyone really needs bundled web browser and ffmpeg. That out of the way, feel free to talk about it’s advantages.

          Is this really better?

        3. 5

          I assume you mean moderating of the comment.. not the removal of the entire thread.. hopefully you mean that :P.

          1. 6

            Exactly this! Much nicer way to resolve this situation was to say in comments like “Hey, we consider this type of comments harmful because of etc etc etc… but no, they had to remove it. And the comment was not as problematic as they present it here. I don’t want to leave this place after 3 years of reading other people’s (well moderated) opinions. I kinda felt this is going to happen after JCS announced that he’s stepping out.

        4. 0

          Its really boring when a “lightweight” app comes up that has been written in Electron, when it is far from lightweight. It adds nothing to the site. I hope this kind of content doesn’t become the norm.

      2. 6

        Given the effects of rants on conversation (especially rants many of us have read many times), it would be nice to enforce stricter requirements on the writer of the rants to offer “constructive feedback”.

        “I’m really tired of having to install Electron’s 200 megs” yeah we all are… “would be nice to have some shared libs/for people to rely more on OS-specific containers” OK now we have something that adds to the conversation.

        And if we’ve all had this conversation before…. well… we can just not make the post (This one might apply to my own post but I don’t read it that often).

        EDIT: I don’t necessarily think this requires deletion in most cases. Downvotes should work so long as people aren’t rage-upvoting….

      1. 25

        wait, it has 17 upvotes (if one is to believe the archived version) and then got deleted?

        edit: and the “hate post” self-description was clearly sarcasm. even a non native speaker can see that. can we pretty please just use the voting system for moderation except for extreme cases (like, real hate speech)?

        1. 35

          Yeah, I’m not immediately sure how I feel about this. I agree that the comment was low-value, but I also haven’t traditionally felt that my feeling alone should be sufficient justification to delete, in part because others might disagree. That’s never been how lobste.rs does things.

          I do acknowledge that without the accidental recursive deletion, the impact would have been lower, and of course that aspect of it was a one-off.

          Now that the technical migration is done, the new leadership team should all talk at some point about moderation philosophy and get on the same page.

          1. 13

            why was it low-value? just because of the wording? the title said “minimal”, and that is at least a bit hazy in its meaning. so saying that electron isn’t minimal is a valid point in the discussion. even with a grain of sarcasm.

            1. 8

              To me personally it was low-value because it took me a while to understand (might have been easier if I’d seen it while it was up and therefore the article’s subject matter in mind…), and because I didn’t feel that I got much out of it after putting in that effort. It was a valid and accurate criticism of Electron and of the article, without being a constructive one.

              It’s certainly legitimate to express feelings about the article and about Electron, and I appreciate that many people have strong feelings on technical subjects, and I wouldn’t ask anyone to suppress those feelings. I don’t think it’s something that shouldn’t have been said. But if I’d personally said something this short I’d have expected to be downvoted.

              My personal approach is that if I don’t have anything to add about how we got to this bad situation, or how we might get out of it, I just don’t say anything. This is out of respect for the time people spend reading this kind of remark, and with awareness that it takes time away from reading other pithy critiques. :) I do not consider it appropriate to enforce that on others though.

              1. 1

                My personal approach is that if I don’t have anything to add about how we got to this bad situation, or how we might get out of it, I just don’t say anything. This is out of respect for the time people spend reading this kind of remark, and with awareness that it takes time away from reading other pithy critiques.

                If it comes in the form a one-line comment less than twenty words long, I think the dear citizens of Lobsters will be able to stomach having your opinion fly across their screen without much hazard, no matter how non-substantive it is.

                1. 3

                  That’s fair. I guess I over-emphasized concern for others’ reactions: Only saying things I consider worth saying is mostly a thing I do for myself.

          2. 9

            And, hopefully, have that moderation philosophy align with the people using the site!

            1. 17

              It does to be fair go in both directions to some extent, since moderation philosophies impact who you get on a site and vice versa. But it’s tricky here because it’s a change in moderation team. People signed up basically expecting the jcs+Irene brand of moderation, but it’s not clear the pushcx brand is the same as that one. I personally feel very comfortable with the previous two moderators, and if they wanted to become a bit more hands-on as the community grows, I wouldn’t be too worried, because I trust how they’ve moderated the site so far. But a new moderator becoming significantly more hands-on than the existing moderation team makes me more nervous.

            2. 4

              I can’t speak for pushcx; I’ve always considered that a constraint. I believe I’m on record with it, although I can’t find the comments right now.

          3. 5

            FWIW, I think that any shift in moderation philosophy isn’t necessarily bad - I just hope it’s something discussed openly as a meta post, considered thoughtfully, and implemented transparently. That transparency was one of the features that pulled many people here and I’d hate to see it change.

          4. 4

            It had a lot of value for me, it told me that it uses Electron, which I try to avoid. Just because something has low value for you does not mean it has low value for everybody.

          5. 0

            Yeah, I’m not immediately sure how I feel about this.

            I am: a censor abused his powers. In a just world, he would be forced to step down and suffer with the rest of us mortals. Fortunately for him, this is not a just world.

        2. 11

          Final count according to the author was 23 and -4

        3. 9

          Upvotes are not necessarily a good way to judge a comment. People are herd animals, and it’s easy to upvote. There is a type of post that optimizes for “time taken” and “upvotes received:” the “zinger.”

          1. 20

            up/down votes are imho a clearly better moderation system than randomly deleting posts out of a mood.

            1. 11

              I don’t agree. Upvotes are very prone to herd movements and rarely express a useful policy in aggregates.

              1. 7

                Since we’re in meta territory here: I’ve found that the score hiding feature at least seems to weed out some of the herd tendencies.

                Maybe we should look at adjusting the score visibility threshold up? Or keep the score hidden for a bit longer?

                1. 8

                  maybe just don’t show the score except for the poster so the feedback is still there, but the herd effect doesn’t kick in

              2. 3

                but what’s a better alternative? at least with (down-)votes there is a feedback, maybe to better state a point via an edit. i always had the feeling the votes worked rather good here.

                1. 5

                  This still doesn’t make them “clearly a better moderation system”. A mix of both is very usual and proven.

                  1. 5

                    This still doesn’t make them “clearly a better moderation system”.

                    like i’ve said: “imho”, but i have felt as i typed “clearly” that it would be a point of criticism for some.

                    A mix of both is very usual and proven.

                    to quote myself:

                    can we pretty please just use the voting system for moderation except for extreme cases (like, real hate speech)?

        4. 1

          can we pretty please just use the voting system for moderation except for extreme cases (like, real hate speech)?

          And how is “real” “hate speech” defined? In reality, the term is just a catch-all excuse for censorship of various kinds.

      2. 0

        if this causes a “problem” in moderation lobste.rs is pretty much dead to me.

    2. 16

      I don’t see “hate speech” the issue there.

      The most was just not on subject and derailing the subject towards something else. It was no discussion of the app at hand. The following thread needed 4 replies to get somewhat into the range of something usable. Also, I didn’t see it as a good critique of “minimal”, as that was pretty clearly referring to the user model of the app.

      I’m a bit split on outright removing it, but I’d be happy if that behavior were a little less popular here.

      1. 29

        I think pointing out a dependency or framework for a posted project should always be on topic. It’s definitely relevant to my decision to investigate further. If there are a lot of electron haters such that “electron; stay away” gets upvotes, then so be it. It’s not necessary for the electron lovers to engage in every such thread.

        1. 14

          It’s not worth anyone’s time to read a comment entirely consisting of “electron; stay away”. If people dislike it, fine, write a long criticism and link it, but a disdainful three-word brush-off is terrible rhetoric only useful for making newbies feel bad and starting flame wars.

          1. 26

            “It’s electron” is all the info I’m looking for. I don’t need a fully articulated 1000 word copy pasta for that.

            1. 1

              And I’d delete copypasta. I said link.

              1. 34

                With all due respect, I don’t think you should delete anything on this site until you gain more confidence of the community to exercise good judgment.

          2. [Comment removed by author]

            1. 5

              Because despite the fact that I (and others?) used that downvote option, quite a few others apparently feel okay with upvoting (self-identified!) hate posts.

              1. [Comment removed by author]

          3. 19

            I would find such a comment useful. I’m not remotely interested in using any electron-based software, so to find that out at the same time as I’m looking at the page means I can close the tab and move on faster.

          4. 8

            I think if a flamewar were to break out, that would be the time to delete the comment (and thread). Or preferrably put on your moderator hat and just ask to keep discussion constructive.

            I implore the moderation team to continue to use a light touch approach to removing content.

          5. 2

            It’s not worth anyone’s time to read a comment entirely consisting of “electron; stay away”.

            On the plus side, it only takes an instant to read it!

    3. [Comment removed by author]

      1. 34

        I fully agree with you on this. The best moderation is moderation no one notices. I read the original comment and it started a valid dialogue. It wasn’t hateful, it was an obvious joke about not being a fan of electron.

        @pushcx you are power tripping in removing comments alone, but your attitude after the fact is just unbelievable. I’ve been part of this community for years now and you’re making me rethink that now after just a week. I don’t have any interest in contributing or being part of this community if that’s how you want to run it.

        Edit: who downvoted this as “troll” and why?

        1. 0

          Edit: who downvoted this as “troll” and why?

          Some people still use downvotes as a form of protest. I recently had an “incorrect” downvote on a simple piece of info directly from the Go documentation: https://lobste.rs/s/nvfu1o/implementing_gos_defer_keyword_c#c_xkzj1u

      2. 7

        @pushcx needs to step back

        That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think? However, I do share your view that moderators should not shape the discourse instead anyone should be able to decide for himself what a hate/unacceptable/whatever post or comment is and what not.

        1. 0

          -1 incorrect, -1 troll

          Ok, I can accept the incorrect flag but troll, really? Can someone please explain why my comment was flagged as trolling?

          1. 3

            I had 2 troll downvotes on my response to this. Maybe they’re trying to self-identify?

      3. 5

        I’d like to see @pushcx step down for a few months and wait to be democratically elected (supported?) to return to a moderator position.

        1. 9

          Does this mean we’d have to form some kind of committee? How do we determine who gets to vote and how that vote takes place?

          From discussions on IRC, and @pushcx’s comments in this thread, the deletion of the whole thead was unintentional and recovery of those comments may be difficult. This is clearly a mistake, but one that I feel is understandable and forgivable.

          As for the deletion of the comment intended, that may also be a mistake, but one with deeper consequences. I, for one, thought the “hate post” was a low value comment that didn’t need to be made in the first place. I am indifferent to it being there at all and probably would downvote it if was still there. The fact that it’s gone doesn’t bother me. The only thing that gives me pause is that it was deleted since this is the first time something like this has happened here, to my knowledge.

          My personal view is that pushcx jumped the gun, but I don’t want it to be a regular occurrence, but on the other hand, it’s consistent with his previous views on moderation, as I recall. I’d prefer a less heavy handed approach, where the moderator can hide the post, the post indicates that it’s been moderated, and you have to click through to see it.

          On the other hand, I agree with pushcx in that I don’t want to see more “hate posts” because I don’t think they help the community.

          1. 6

            I would like this too. I think it is a good compromise. I loathe comments like the one in question, and would love to see less of them.

        2. 1

          Maybe just let people elect whether mods should be able to delete comments for arbitrary reasons? I’m just as crazy about this as you seem to be (which is to say not at all), but @pushcx has put a lot of work in and I’d hate to see that all put on hold for three months just because of one misstep.

      4. -5

        If you don’t like moderators, usenet is still up. Godspeed.

        EDIT: A less grumpy response is that every active community has moderation, and with good reason. The places that have little to no moderation like Usenet and 4chan are very, very different culturally. And not in a good way, in my opinion.

        1. 28

          who had 8 days in the post-migration death pool?

          EDIT: since we’re getting less grumpy ;)

          We’ve been running under new management for eight days. The previous comment-killing moderations were, in reverse-chronological order:

          • as the site was finding feet
          • to correct an obvious issue
          • “language” - not sure what that one is.

          People are going to be rightfully nervous when they perceive a change in the tone of moderation. Especially when the comment in question was maybe trolly but definitely not anything excessive.

        2. 15

          I don’t think “no moderation” is even a meaningful concept. As detailed at length in the classic essay The Tyranny of Structurelessness, when the people who provide a community with its venue decline to get involved in questions about what kind of community it is, other people step in to do that. I’m sure you can think of the same people offhand who’ve been doing that here as I can. :)

          1. [Comment removed by author]

            1. 10

              I agree with that. I’m sure that we differ on details, but I want the process to be transparent and clear.

            2. 2

              Could you please link to some successful communities that rely on a democratic moderation process and limit moderators limited to spam/dmca?

              1. 12

                Most of the good mailing lists I’m on are sort-of like that, though it depends on what you mean by “democratic”. For technical reasons moderators obviously don’t delete messages on mailing lists, and interventions on the ones I’m on are usually limited to banning users who repeatedly refuse to follow community norms, plus occasionally gently intervening in wildly off-topic threads to suggest maybe they could be taken offlist. Usually by the time someone’s banned there’s a pretty good consensus that most of the people want them gone, so the moderator is in a sense just carrying out the prevailing view, though it’s not democratic in a formal sense like there being votes or anything. (I do think up/downvotes are not a great mechanism.)

              2. [Comment removed by author]

              3. [Comment removed by author]

        3. 8

          shots fired

          edit: fair enough, but there are shades of moderation level, usenet and 4chan haven’t really moderation from the userbase, while lobsters has and it should be favored over moderation from admins.

          1. 2

            lobste.rs has moderated invites, to me this implies that we don’t need internal moderation except for spam, etc.

        4. 3

          The USENET group alt.hackers is unique in that it’s a moderated group, but with no moderator, which was the whole point. It was a fun exercise in learning how to post there, and the signal-to-noise ratio was quite good for a moderatorless moderated group.

        5. 2

          If you don’t like moderators, usenet is still up. Godspeed.

          Okay. That made me laugh.

          But fwiw, I don’t agree with aggressive moderation. If we some how reach reddit-level brigading and shit posting then it might be appropriate.

          1. 4

            It might have been funny, but more importantly it was mean. I consider it a mistake. It deserved every downvote and I’m only not deleting it because it’s better off visible as the part of an important meta conversation.

        6. [Comment from banned user removed]

    4. 18

      Just putting this here after a brief conversation in IRC. Don’t think it counts but whatever.

      • The comment in question was most definitely on-topic.
      • Simply by having the word “hate” in it doesn’t mean it is a hate post. Reading it made me laugh, yet in no way did I feel immediately turned off by the story itself. I checked it out further and appreciated its existence anyways.
      • Deletion of the comment was not nice. No. (ignoring the deletion of entire thread since that is just a bug)
      • Momentarily there was a “dragon” feature in the past which let mods mark a comment as dragon, which’d hide it and push it down, but not delete it. It seems to have gone now. I’d suggest bringing it back for cases like these.
    5. 37

      It wasn’t hate speech directed at some group. It was a self-described “hate post” with a one-line knee-jerk brush-off of Electrum. That’s a worthless troll.

      I only meant to delete the parent comment and didn’t expect the entire thread to get deleted. I’ll see if I can restore the thread without it, but moderation options are pretty limited.

      In hindsight, I see how the moderation log was misleading if you didn’t recognize the comment and will write more useful messages.

      1. 6

        Yeah, this seems to be a bug, probably because it’s a top-level comment.

        1. 4

          It’s not a bug but no reason was given. Not sure if I should reverse that or not.

          1. 1

            I did reverse it.

        2. 3

          Woo, glad it’s not a new mod policy :D - Thanks for digging in!

      2. 6

        I’m not sure if you made the right call here, but thanks for your efforts - communities need moderation, and it’s a hard and often thankless job. I’m happy that lobste.rs does have people willing to take that job!

        1. [Comment from banned user removed]

      3. [Comment removed by author]

    6. 7

      A while back we had an effort to make a ‘constitution’ which resulted in the text linked here. Whether we use that particular text or not, I still think we need some kind of official posting guidelines for the site (a stance which the OP disagrees with). I can see two main uses: clarity on moderation for cases like this one, and as a guide for newcomers to the community who want to know what is acceptable and unacceptable here.

      Right now the entirety of the written guidance is on tagging, not posting.

      1. 12

        (a stance which the OP disagreed with at the time).

        I still stand by my previous comments on the subject. Quoting myself from the linked thread:

        I never saw substantial abuse in this community and if that happened we have moderators in place to take care of it.

        Personally if I have to go through a document like the suggested draft before commenting/submitting an URL I would be not contributing to this community.

        We are not a bunch of kids and the transparent moderation policy is all we need to keep things in line.

        I am currently exercising the transparent moderation policy to know why a comment thread was censored and why down-voting the thread was not sufficient enough.

        1. 6

          I still stand by my previous comments

          (I didn’t mean to imply you didn’t now, there wasn’t a good way to phrase it neutrally. I’ll update the original comment to reflect that)

          1. 7

            No worries, I didn’t misunderstand your intention - just voiced my current stance in case anyone wondered.

    7. 6

      I don’t interpret that as referring to hate speech but rather to a post which contributes nothing more than “I hate X”.

      1. 3

        In individual context, ya - but the thread in its entirety went into details on why there was hate for X. Then the explanation in all its contextual glory was removed. Looks like that was an unintended side effect though.

    8. 5

      I think it’s hard to judge in this instance without being able to see the original comment. What if instead of giving a reason and removing the comment, we give a reason and disemvowel? It has the same effect but adds transparency.

      1. 12

        It would be nice if the original content was visible from the Moderation Log as a link to the deleted content (including sub-comments).

    9. 10

      What a disaster for the direction of lobsters under new management. Totally uncalled for and totally undermines confidence. @jcs, @irene you need to step up, this is really bad for lobste.rs.

    10. 5

      It was identified within the comment as a ‘hate post,’ so I think @pushcx took that as a tacit label of the comment as deliberately unconstructive and removed it accordingly.

      1. 13

        Without context the first comment (which came from a place of frustration - imo) seemed angry - but the thread resulted in reasons-for-frustration being expressed. Dialog was happening in a non-hateful way. Now that has been squelched without legitimate reason.

        1. 3

          That doesn’t scale. If you tolerate snarky, hateful posts, people who write good and reasoned comments eventually get tired of it and stop replying. The ratio of snarky, crappy posts goes up. It’s impossible to maintain a quality discussion if you tolerate bad posts in the hope that good posts will result from them.

        2. 3

          Still, it’s absolutely not on subject.

    11. 5

      I don’t like the look of this. Okay, I get it, new management, different people -> different moderation! But I find this specific case to be more strict kind of moderation, and I think this already moderated community (by invites only access) doesn’t need that! Especially because the comment couldn’t be related to “hate post”. It was sarcastic yes, but in the end what OP said about electron was true, many people agreed and thus the upvotes.

      I will start to feel much more claustrophobic here after this, and it’s a pita, since lobste.rs was my way to go to place to read people’s opinions and have a friendly constructive discussion. Now my opinion might not align with moderator’s and will be declared as “hate post”… bollocks.

      1. 5

        The post called itself a “hate post”, pushcx’s mod message was a snarky quote of that. Not the best choice of words, but moderators are humans too.

    12. -3

      For those who are not aware, ‘hate speech’ is just a way to namecall speech you don’t like to justify banning it in opposition to norm of human rights like freedom of speech and freedom of thoughts.

      One can only assume ‘hate post’ is an extension of this, a carte blanche on banning posts and thoughts the moderator doesn’t like.

      This pattern has been repeated so many times on the internet, moderator does something bad, the community backlashes, the moderator’s ego does not allow him to see the error of his way and so he doubles down on his badness and the place becomes polarised to moderators vs users.

      The only solution to this I have found is to be a nomad, never being fully attached to a place, and realising that you are here for the community which is the ever changing collection of interacting users and not here for the url or the css.

      1. 4

        “Hate post” was an ironic quotation of the comment that was deleted, not intended to label it with the same connotations as “hate speech”.

        Yes, the moderation comment was a little snarky, but please don’t read something into it that wasn’t there.

      2. [Comment removed by author]

        1. 6

          There were months—most of a year—where pushcx posted almost all of the content on lobste.rs. He is pretty much responsible for making it worthwhile (via content), and stepped up when jcs no longer wanted to maintain it. If you’re going to go and create your own, I hope that you’re willing to put as much work into it as pushcx did into a site that wasn’t even his.

        2. 5

          How is this pushcx power tripping? He is getting his feet as a mod/op here, and has a few different ideas about moderation compared to JCS, and a bit more desire to help out with the site right now. I fail to see how a deleting a single comment, and then explaining in great detail why it was deleted (because it was low effort and a diss, rather than a proper reminder/explaination), and how the general sentiment (electron isn’t minimal) can still be expressed, is a power trip. You can even still have a decently negative tone overall, as long as there is some effort in it and it is providing value.

      3. 0

        Hate speech according to Wikipedia:

        Hate speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.

        And Britannica:

        hate speech, speech or expression that denigrates a person or persons on the basis of (alleged) membership in a social group identified by attributes such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, physical or mental disability, and others.

        The post would have been “hate speech” had it attacked developers or users of Electron. It did not. I would be for banning hate speech as per definitions above, though.

    13. [Comment removed by author]

    14. 0

      Don’t tell others what to do.