2011-04-16 22:38:06Tone for moderators
John Cook

I've noticed some of the tone in moderation responses is drifting towards more belligerence. In cases where a mod is tempted to respond sharply to an out of line comment, the tone should be dialed down a little. If someone posts an off topic comment, I would suggest posting a simple response such as "This topic is discussed at LINK TO OTHER SkS PAGE" pr "This topic has been dealt with..." or "examined...". This achieves several things:

1. Promotes other SkS pages, hopefully getting people to read other pages, learn more.

2. Conveys the idea that the comment err is bringing up old myths that have already been debunked. Just by linking to existing pages, that conveys a message without having to adopt an attitude.

3. Let's us adopt a neutral, calm tone. Let them be the aggressive, ugly one. We don't want to be the strident one in a debate. To the third party onlookers, tone is almost or sometimes more important than content.. Climate is an incredibly important issue and it's hard not to be passionate. But that's precisely why we exercise discipline and restraint in our response.

Then if the commented continues to post off topic comments in that thread, simple delete it. They've been warned.

2011-04-17 02:03:40Useful reminder
Dikran Marsupial
Gavin Cawley

message recieved and understood.

2011-06-03 22:37:27
Tom Curtis


As somebody who will never take on a moderation role, my hats of to you guys for the excellent job you do.  I have found you to be very helpfull and the moderation at Skeptical Science to be the fairest at any site discussing a publicly controversial topic that I have come across.


Having said that, I do notice a bias in moderation policy at Skeptical Science.  I think it is a simple and understandable bias.  Given that the moderator can choose whether to snip, delete or otherwise modify offending posts, they naturally take more efforts on posts that they consider more worthwhile.  Consquenlty, pro-AGW commentators are more likely to have offending sections snipped, while with deniers, moderators are more likely to take the easy rout of simply deleting.  I am certain this trend is exacerbated because after repeated efforts with some posters who clearly have no willingness to conform to posting policy, moderators become unwilling to do any favours to the repeat offendor.


Having said that I perfectly understand the reason for the apparent bias, and would not do anywhere near as good a job as you guys, I cannot help observing that deniers and the unpersuaded will not be as understanding.  In the denier case, its a case of their objecting to a mote in our eye while ignoring the harpoon in theirs - so frankly who cares.  But I would not want casual interested readers put of.


So, would you please moderate my posts more severely.  I will try to better comply with comments policy so as to not make that too hard for you, but all the same.  I'm fairly sure most other pro-science posters here would have a similar attitude. 


And as a heads up, and to annoy you enough so you will moderate me more harshly ;),  I have just issued this challenge to Tallbloke:



"Tallbloke, I think I understand the basis of your post all too well, and it has nothing to do with supposed Skeptical Science censorship.

At Skeptical Science they have a strict comments policy which is strictly enforced, but it is also clearly defined. Consequently if you want to debate there it is very easy for you to do so, and that is regardless of the supposed bias of the moderators. You simply stick strictly on topic, strictly on the science, and strictly avoid inflammatory comments or profanity. That is really not so hard to do. And if you do have posts snipped or deleted, ask the moderators why, and then repost the scientific comments without the wording that the moderators claim is the reason for the snipping or deletion.

You could try doing that as an experiment. If you are able to debate by following that policy, then Skeptical Science is not trying to censor debate. If not, well then you will have proof of censorship. But crying home to your fanboys just because one post got snipped? That only shows you weren’t serious about debating in the first place.

Personally I want you to come back because so far as I can see, your science is very weak, and easily refuted. I like easy targets. I also like having examples of denier nonsense on the boards being clearly dissected to demonstrate just how weak the denier case is."


2011-06-04 05:13:01
Daniel Bailey
Daniel Bailey

Thanks, Tom, for your understanding of the issues in moderating.  Each coment is unique, even from the same poster even on the same day: no two are alike.  Some posters make it impossible to do anything but to delete their egregious comments en toto.  With others, more time can be taken.  Comments that deserve more attention get them, especially if time allows.  When things are really hopping, comments that could get by with being snipped will sometimes get deleted instead.

It would be easier if we had a functional instant messaging service whereby the moderators could call in available manpower when the spamming begins.  If wishes were fishes...

"So, would you please moderate my posts more severely."

Thank you for volunteering to be made an example of  ;)

I will endeavor, as always, to be impartial; your wish to be held accountable to serve as an example for others is appreciated.