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FreeSangha Crier => The Bulletin Board => Topic started by: Wonky Badger on June 22, 2013, 02:42:45 am

Title: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Wonky Badger on June 22, 2013, 02:42:45 am
Spiny and MM have been running the boards successfully for a long time, but the fact is that almost every time we have gotten a new moderator on the team, some members stomp off in a huff. It is very hard to make everybody happy.

So I've been playing around with the thought of introducing democratic self-moderation. Currently the reports board is only visible to the mod team. The self-moderation model would work so that the reports board becomes public; that everyone can read all reports made and discuss whether they're valid or not and the mod team would act only on the consensus of the members. Now, ye be warned, this could potentially become one big mess. I know it would be a nutty experiment that potentially could blow up in our faces, but I have a silly tendency to try stupid stuff, like starting a truly Pan-Buddhist internet forum, which I was told can't be done.

So we can keep the current traditional model, try the new model (which will probably cause a lot of emotional outburst and huffing) or you can suggest something better if you have an idea.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 02:47:04 am
How about you be the moderator wonky, is that out of the question?
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Wonky Badger on June 22, 2013, 02:53:50 am
How about you be the moderator wonky, is that out of the question?

The main problem is that I have very little knowledge about different traditions and I'm very nonconfrontational. I'd spend at least an hour banging my head on the desk before taking any kind of measure that might upset anyone, meaning that the boards would become more or less unmoderated and I would constantly have a very sore and bumpy forehead.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: namumahaparinirvanasvaha on June 22, 2013, 03:31:42 am
Spiny and MM have been running the boards successfully for a long time, but the fact is that almost every time we have gotten a new moderator on the team, some members stomp off in a huff. It is very hard to make everybody happy.

So I've been playing around with the thought of introducing democratic self-moderation. Currently the reports board is only visible to the mod team. The self-moderation model would work so that the reports board becomes public; that everyone can read all reports made and discuss whether they're valid or not and the mod team would act only on the consensus of the members. Now, ye be warned, this could potentially become one big mess. I know it would be a nutty experiment that potentially could blow up in our faces, but I have a silly tendency to try stupid stuff, like starting a truly Pan-Buddhist internet forum, which I was told can't be done.

So we can keep the current traditional model, try the new model (which will probably cause a lot of emotional outburst and huffing) or you can suggest something better if you have an idea.

seems like that would cause people to spend more time arguing about how they act then talking about the Buddhist teachings.
debating about different views is one thing, having a "thread" where we are calling people out personally is anouther.

moderation is really quite simple,you need a person who will help start topics every now and then to get people talking,and is willing to imput their own knowledge to keep a conversation going.

the moderators only real job is to look out for abuses. now if a moderator sees an abuse for example:
dude calls another guy a **** ****** then the moderator edits out the name calling and leaves the rest of the post intact.
sends a personal message to the offender as a verbal warning

in truth a moderator really only needs the power to correct others wrong speech and thats it. if he disagrees with certain views then he can express his why he disagrees with others views.

where moderating goes wrong is when it crosses over into censorship.
the entire purpose of a thread/forum is to talk about views(ect) when moderators start locking threads that are being heavily used just because "they feel the topic has been addressed" it actually defeats the purpose of the forum entirely.

for example should we start locking any thread that comes up about Enlightenment....cause the topic of Enlightenment has been discussed in this thread.and simply just send them the LOCKED thread where the information can be found?(that allows no chance for discussion which is what the forum is for in the first place)
there are already numerous forums out there that are already using such tactics to censor their members.

if the mods don't like a thread or the information that is talked about on it they simply LOCK it,and if people want to talk about the topic in the future and create new threads on the topic, the mods will simply LOCK their new topic and send them to the old topic that is ALREADY LOCKED itself.
this makes it where the subject can never be discussed again ,
it is the very definition of censorship.

Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 03:45:47 am
On my violin forum the moderator simply locks the thread when it has gone on too many pages and encourages them to start a new thread non self no self etc II and lets it continue. one idea.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: francis on June 22, 2013, 03:56:33 am
I think it’s a good idea to try self moderation.

I am further encouraged by the idea, because for the first time since I joined I am picking up, what is undoubted moderator bias towards traditions. 
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Barah on June 22, 2013, 04:18:02 am
Forum will always be full of emotions and struggle. That's the nature of discussion. One can ask, why people join discussion boards? It is not an easy question, but one that requires answering. One question that a forum owner should ask himself. What is the purpose of this forum? How can it help? What is the role of forum discussion? People can read books, listen to Dharma talks, discuss stuff with teachers and colleges, but what can forum discussion add to it?
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Wonky Badger on June 22, 2013, 12:22:29 pm
Forum will always be full of emotions and struggle. That's the nature of discussion. One can ask, why people join discussion boards? It is not an easy question, but one that requires answering. One question that a forum owner should ask himself. What is the purpose of this forum? How can it help? What is the role of forum discussion? People can read books, listen to Dharma talks, discuss stuff with teachers and colleges, but what can forum discussion add to it?

I do not have physical access to a sangha or a teacher, so that is one function the forum could fill for people that live far from the Dharma so to say. Sure, there is a multitude of books and Dharma talks out there, but often, for me at least, some specific concept has perplexed me and it might take sifting through hundreds of pages or hours of Dharma talks before I stumble over the piece of information that I could just ask directly here and hope that someone knows.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Lobster on June 22, 2013, 01:04:25 pm
Quote
So I've been playing around with the thought of introducing democratic self-moderation.

Sounds good. Gets my vote.  :pray:
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 01:20:42 pm
On the violin forum I participated on you have very few real experts that actually know the answers to many questions, quite a few amateurs who know basics, and a whole bunch of !!!!!!!!! who know almost nothing that think they have all the answers. When a question is asked by a beginner, a whole bunch of contradictory answers might be given, we in the business all know which answers to take seriously, but the poor beginner has no idea which answers to trust, and often or usually picks the wrong person to believe.

I'll try not to make parrallels to buddhist forums!!

I think a real, possibly even realistic goal, would be to petition a real monk or nun, with real training and a hell of a lot of patience, to join the forum as its resident sangha, not necessarily as a moderator. Such monk/nun would have to be convinced to take this on as a missionary mission to spread the Dharma, not just to correct wrong views of frequent posters, but to say this is how it is at the temple, and this is how I was taught the scriptures, and we would definetly need moderator help so that the monk/nun was treated with respect, just like you would treat a monk/nun at a temple.

On Dhamma wheel there is a Burmese monk (in burma I think) thats very knowledgable, if you think this is a good idea, let me know and I'll contact him.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: namumahaparinirvanasvaha on June 22, 2013, 01:26:36 pm
On the violin forum I participated on you have very few real experts that actually know the answers to many questions, quite a few amateurs who know basics, and a whole bunch of !!!!!!!!! who know almost nothing that think they have all the answers. When a question is asked by a beginner, a whole bunch of contradictory answers might be given, we in the business all know which answers to take seriously, but the poor beginner has no idea which answers to trust, and often or usually picks the wrong person to believe.

I'll try not to make parrallels to buddhist forums!!

I think a real, possibly even realistic goal, would be to petition a real monk or nun, with real training and a hell of a lot of patience, to join the forum as its resident sangha, not necessarily as a moderator. Such monk/nun would have to be convinced to take this on as a missionary mission to spread the Dharma, not just to correct wrong views of frequent posters, but to say this is how it is at the temple, and this is how I was taught the scriptures, and we would definetly need moderator help so that the monk/nun was treated with respect, just like you would treat a monk/nun at a temple.

On Dhamma wheel there is a Burmese monk thats very knowledgable, if you think this is a good idea, let me know and I'll contact him.

when you ask a question always ask where the answer can be found in the suttas/sutras
this weeds out the guy who's giving you just his opionion on the subject from the guy who is showing what is taught in the sutras.
from there let those with differing views show their postition with the suttas/sutras.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: GoGet on June 22, 2013, 01:40:52 pm
The self-moderation model would work so that the reports board becomes public; that everyone can read all reports made and discuss whether they're valid or not and the mod team would act only on the consensus of the members. Now, ye be warned, this could potentially become one big mess.

Potential?  Ha!

It would absolutely become a mess, Wonky.  We'd end up with a lot of metta discussion (against TOS) at the expense of this board's purpose which is to promote discussion of the Dharma

The traditional model works.  It ain't broke,  Don't try to fix it.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 01:44:35 pm
Most therevada monks are not scriptural scholars, although some are, most Asians don't fluently understand pali, even though they memorize the prayers in pali. Suffice it to say that almost everything they are taught comes from elder monks interpretation of the scriptures, so its very scripturally based, what's taught in temples, you can't judge a persons wisdom or development by how well versed they are in scripture, as many people with lots of scriptural references aren't wise and many non scholars are very wise.

I think to hear what is being taught and practised at a temple in Asia from a monk in that temple, is benefit to us enough, enough that we don't need to be giving him exams in pali language, so to speak. If we can find someone who is also a scholar, all the better.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: namumahaparinirvanasvaha on June 22, 2013, 01:47:22 pm
Forum will always be full of emotions and struggle. That's the nature of discussion. One can ask, why people join discussion boards? It is not an easy question, but one that requires answering. One question that a forum owner should ask himself. What is the purpose of this forum? How can it help? What is the role of forum discussion? People can read books, listen to Dharma talks, discuss stuff with teachers and colleges, but what can forum discussion add to it?

I do not have physical access to a sangha or a teacher, so that is one function the forum could fill for people that live far from the Dharma so to say. Sure, there is a multitude of books and Dharma talks out there, but often, for me at least, some specific concept has perplexed me and it might take sifting through hundreds of pages or hours of Dharma talks before I stumble over the piece of information that I could just ask directly here and hope that someone knows.

what specific concept has perplexed you?I'll try to dig up a sutta/sutra quote for you on the topic
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: songhill on June 22, 2013, 02:11:03 pm
Democratic self-moderation might be good. But this would require that we internalize a certain kind of board behavior. That might work and again, it might not work. I think we have to go to academia to learn how to deal with postings. Would, for example, Pudgala2's remarks to me make it in an academic forum? I don't think so.

I was on Buddha-L using Unix (this is before Netscape). All the big names in Buddhist scholarship were there. The only thing I internalized is that if you post you'd better have your ducks in a row. Of course, they didn't mind good questions. The more the better, in fact. But certain questions, like is my cat that just died in the bardo? no way.

One thing powerfully that I learned from Buddha-L, you'd better study a lot more than you are doing now—and forget about reading pop Buddhist books. This might not work here. But what will work is if we keep our writing standards high, spending a little more time writing good English; trying really, really to communicate.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 02:44:39 pm
I'm not too concerned about studying scripture, though I love to read quotations on the web, largely because I feel the basics are enough for me(and I have studied them), and I don't feel I need to go beyond the basics until I've mastered the basics. One of the simple teachings of the Buddha is to develop mindfulnness, awareness, wisdom,

In our everyday life we're constantly faced with challenges and situations that the Buddha never saw or even imagined; cell phones, cars, internet, cigarettes, chemical drugs, medicine, hospitals etc etc etc. So to think that the sutras have a passage to explain and help us with every situation, is perhaps not so realistic.

On an everyday basis we are being asked to answer dilemmas and situations, that are outside the scope of our scriptural learning, would the Buddha want us all to have cell phones, cable TV, big stereos, I won't even say internet!!

Namu cautions us about monks who make up answers in their head, instead of from scriptures; What's wrong with that??? Every single day we're being asked to make up answers in our heads to deal with new situations, if an aware monk, trained in mindfulness makes up answers with out basing it on scripture, we at least should consider it might be good advice, regardless of its source.

Of course if he's making up teachings and claiming they are from the Buddha, when they are not, that's really bad, but I haven't met too many monks that try to do that.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Vern Stevens on June 22, 2013, 02:45:14 pm
I was a forum moderator on another board (philosophy related) for several years.  I've participated on a number of forums as a member for a number years as well, much like many of the participants here.  My opinion based on my observations is that rampant deleting of posts and heavy-handed punishment tend drive quality members away, and attract members that think incestuously like the over-zealous moderator(s) / admin(s).  That may indeed be what the remaining members want, but that doesn't necessarily mean the quality of the board is improved.

The focus of any forum needs to be clear to it's members.  The rules of operating need to be clear to members.  The moderators / admins need to operate within those rules and enforce them with professionally, compassionately, and with impartiality.  When moderators / admins are allowed to get their digs in and censor out critical responses, people lose faith in the board and the moderation system.  As such, careful vetting of moderators will determine to a great extent the quality of the forum.  Additionally, I think different stages of permissions granted to new members can be helpful too.  This is a form of vetting incoming members.  This may seem controlling, but do you want numbers of members or quality members that are committed to the best interests of the forum.  This might mean limiting the number of posts they can make per day, or limiting access to various forums until they have demonstrated over some time that they are either sincere in learning or knowledgeable in advising, as well as civil in their transactions with people.  Most of the time, trolls and other trouble makers don't want to have to jump through hoops.  Slow sustained growth tends to be longer lasting that rapid growth.

I think that a democratic self-moderation method is a very risky venture.  Most likely what will happen is that a hand full of members will repeatedly be the ones engaging in the democratic decision making, and most members will remain on the sideline.  So what you end up with is simply a larger but more informal moderation staff that is still not necessarily representative of the forum membership as a whole.  If anything, an election process by the membership (with willing moderator candidates) might be a better option.  It may be easier to get members to occasionally vote on a moderator than it would be to get many of them to consistently check a forum to review all the various problems that might arise and discuss / vote on them.  That is time consuming (as is quality moderation in general).

In the end, there are no easy solutions to successful forum moderation.  It is a process of commitment that requires mature people.

These are my broad, humble thoughts.  I make no assumptions about the process here, nor the existing staff as I haven't been here long, nor do I know any of the folks involved to any extent.

Kind regards.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Wonky Badger on June 22, 2013, 03:06:14 pm
I think a real, possibly even realistic goal, would be to petition a real monk or nun, with real training and a hell of a lot of patience, to join the forum as its resident sangha, not necessarily as a moderator. Such monk/nun would have to be convinced to take this on as a missionary mission to spread the Dharma, not just to correct wrong views of frequent posters, but to say this is how it is at the temple, and this is how I was taught the scriptures, and we would definetly need moderator help so that the monk/nun was treated with respect, just like you would treat a monk/nun at a temple.

On Dhamma wheel there is a Burmese monk (in burma I think) thats very knowledgable, if you think this is a good idea, let me know and I'll contact him.

Oh, we've had both monks and nuns on-board and for different reasons it didn't work out. We welcome venerables, but this forum doesn't seem to be their cup of tea.  :sweat:

what specific concept has perplexed you?I'll try to dig up a sutta/sutra quote for you on the topic

To be honest, I've mostly given up on twisting and turning complex Buddhist concepts and acknowledged that I need to spend a lot more time on the cushion to hone my mindset.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 03:22:57 pm
1 vote for vern as moderator!!
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Lobster on June 22, 2013, 03:48:08 pm
I second the Vern vote . . .  if circumstances, wonky and vern are in alignment . . .
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: former monk john on June 22, 2013, 04:31:47 pm
Hey seriously, Ive been PM ing with vern and noticing his posts on another forum, this guys a real crisis negotiator, and I had no idea he had experience as a moderator, he seems like a real possibility if he's willing to try, 2 votes for Vern!!!!!
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Vern Stevens on June 22, 2013, 05:48:51 pm
I appreciate the support folks, but I'm not really interested in a moderator position at this point.  I'm really trying to get my head around Buddhism at this point, and between that and other things going on I would not be able to devote the necessary time or attention. 

Thanks much though!   ;D
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Hanzze on June 29, 2013, 12:03:03 pm
How about you be the moderator wonky, is that out of the question?

The main problem is that I have very little knowledge about different traditions and I'm very nonconfrontational. I'd spend at least an hour banging my head on the desk before taking any kind of measure that might upset anyone, meaning that the boards would become more or less unmoderated and I would constantly have a very sore and bumpy forehead.

Yours! So take the gift and change it.

"Possibility for democratic self-moderation"... forget it, people of today would not even survive in "peace" for a half a year if not gigantic systems and some wise would support them as well as kick them.
Modern people are not free. They might have got the possibility to scream, but even so, they actually would not know for what.

So a kind of multiple choice solution is good. So everybody is free to choose, to change his chosen opinion and is not bothered to make real decisions or even to keep responsible for a task or a choice.

Demo-crazy and self - modernication, yes of cause :-)
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Will on July 02, 2013, 07:15:46 am
Also a No vote on self-moderation; for many reasons others have given.
Title: Re: Possibility for democratic self-moderation
Post by: Hanzze on July 02, 2013, 08:09:22 am
A mood or a wisdom vote?  :wink1:
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