2012-01-05 13:38:52Using the moderator box as a megaphone
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.223.98.11

Just a gentle reminder, after Dana's Big Picture post, to the mods not to use the moderator box as a megaphone. Appropriate use is website business and the OP author responding to direct comments about the OP. But if you're joining in the discussion, post a standalone comment rather than a moderator response. Otherwise, it can come across as SkS bullying the commenters.

2012-01-05 16:13:46
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.127.193

That was simply a coincidence. Dana and I posted at the same time.

2012-01-06 06:20:28Coincidence
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.223.98.11

It's not the fact that you both posted a mod response at the same time, it's that your moderator response would've been more appropriate as a comment.

I notice Daniel has posted a similar mod response on the 2011 B.S. post. What's happening here? Is there disagreement that moderator boxes are not for "business only"? Or is it a case of mods not being able to resist the temptation to use the mod box as a prominent response?

2012-01-06 06:41:25
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.199.255

I don't see the moderators box as a megaphone, so it's no big deal to me in which way I respond. Be nice if we get some consistency here. I used it as many others have done -but will refrain in future.

2012-01-06 07:25:13Consistency
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
121.223.98.11

We have the moderation guidelines which should ensure consistency:

  • Responses are primarily for administrative purposes - redirect comments to more relevant pages, admonishments about repeated policy violations
  • If the moderator is the author of the blog post, they can post direct responses to questions directed at them but it's important their tone is detached and dispassionate - no flame wars!
  • If the moderator is not the author, avoid posting a direct response except for administrative responses. It's important to maintain impartiality of the moderators.

Do I need to reword the guidelines to be more explicit about not engaging in discussion in the mod box?

2012-01-06 08:21:45
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.129.236

Rewording is not the issue, the issue is making sure everyone complies. You draw attention to one instance, but the comments threads are full of this behaviour. 

Perhaps Sphaerica can program in some pop-up function that is visible when the moderators use that function. The pop-up will show the guidelines so that moderators are painfully aware of their responsibilities.

2012-01-06 08:40:21
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.129.236

"the issue is making sure everyone complies" - for example.

2012-01-06 09:46:09
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4
  • If the moderator is the author of the blog post, they can post direct responses to questions directed at them but it's important their tone is detached and dispassionate - no flame wars!
  • That was essentially my intent.  Also when I respond, the box says "response" rather than "moderator".  But then Rob P was responding at the same time, and my response box was apprarently overriden by his moderator box.

    It wasn't a question though, just a BS comment.  Is it better for the author of a post to respond to BS in a subsequent comment, or in a response box?  My feeling is that people (including the commenter) are more likely to see the response in the response box.  And if the comment is making misleading/incorrect statements relevant to my post, I'd like to make sure people see my response.

    2012-01-06 10:43:00Author response
    John Cook

    john@skepticalscience...
    121.223.98.11

    If you're the author of the OP, then it's fair game to respond as the author to a comment on your blog post. My concern is more when moderators who aren't the OP author are using the moderator box. Yes, readers are more likely to see a moderator response and it's appropriate for the author to use it to directly respond but if all the moderators are using the mod box also, there's a danger of coming across like SkS bullying the commenters.

    2012-01-07 04:28:23
    John Hartz
    John Hartz
    john.hartz@hotmail...
    98.122.98.161

    Much of this discussion would be moot if the SkS Comment Policy provided the Moderators with the ability to pull the plug early on when denier trolls like "mace" start their serial posts.

    When moderators/authors engage in troll chasing over a period of consecutive days, it makes the Sks team look like they are not smart enough to recognize when someone is just playing games wtih them.

    BTW, I agree with John Cook -- Limit the Moderator reponses to administrative matters.

    The bottom-line: Since SkS is JC's house, we all have to pay by his house rules. 

    2012-01-13 05:55:26
    John Hartz
    John Hartz
    john.hartz@hotmail...
    98.122.98.161

    Daniel Bailey,

    With all due respect, you consistently violate the moderator guidelines that John Cook has estabished and wants us all to adhere to. A case in point is your Moderator's response to ClimateWathcer #14 on the comment thread to How much will sea levels rise in the 21st Century? The bulk of your comment should be moved from the Moderator's box to the comment thread.

    I know that old habits are hard to break, but, for the sake of team unity, I respectfully request that you adhere to JC's wishes in this matter. 

       

    2012-01-13 06:05:16
    Daniel Bailey
    Daniel Bailey
    yooper49855@hotmail...
    97.83.150.37

    Noted.  Done.