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ya think CH moderators are harsh? here's a frame of reference/perspective

on FB I received this twice tonight:

"Are you sure you want to post this?
If your comment is irrelevant or inappropriate, you may be be blocked from commenting on public posts. Please review your comment before posting."

both in direct response to a friend's posts. once I was comparing insect nests to certain thoughts on 20thc architecture and another agreeing that a picture of an elderly lesbian couple was sort of sweet. irrelevant or inappropriate for CH oh yes. FB not at all.

I found the request strange and thought the recent complaints about over moderation here to reaffirm the CH approach. if my comment was offensive just cut it, don't ask me to 2nd guess a completely innocuous remark. I guess FB has the software and CH does it by hand. but the difference in approach was striking. I prefer the CH hands-on approach rather than wondering "WTF did I say?" here I usually do understand if I stop to think about it. using a logorithm is just weird.

so we may not always agree with the PTB but we are getting some level of personal attention.

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  1. I am having a hard time following your analogy, hill food. Who's FB was it? Yours, CH's, a friends, work, something you just follow...doesn't moderation come from the person/people who originally opened the FB account you were commenting in? Be it guestbook, blog comment area, FB wall, Twitter tweets or IM..the person who opens the account has the right to moderate/delete remarks.

    6 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      it was an old friend's wall, nothing untoward or strange, and the only thing I can think is that for some reason software singled it out.

      my point (and the relevant part) is that there isn't an auto response at play here.

      1. re: hill food

        Sometimes I think a software floats looking for specific words here. I think snark or snarky is a trigger word.

          1. re: HillJ

            I don't think any of this qualified as such

            but anyway I didn't bring this up to debate FB's or any other sites policies, but since there has been some griping of late it was rather to say I sorta like the personal touch around CH and it could be worse. granted there are differences in scale, but I feel if I had an issue somehow I might be able to get an answer from a real person here.

            1. re: hill food

              I'm just trying to understand it. I don't FB at all, I find it a zoo of the most unappealing kind. Even the rules and guidelines aren't straight forward. I really dislike the entire concept. Free for alls don't wow me. But as for your point vis a ve CH, absolutely. Moderation may bug us from time to time but it's civil around here; hardly zoo-like in my book and far more organized.

              1. re: HillJ

                it is indeed generally quite civil around here.

      2. Have to agree. Using a logarithm would be weird. Even a natural logarithm seems out of place here. Tangential even. Far from sine qua non. OK, enuf math puns.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brock Lee Robb

          oh right, the search engines use algorithms, right? math past geometry was where I derailed.

        2. Two wrongs don't make a right.

          1. I have never ever seen any, any in any way shape or form of moderation on FB. I have personally reported puppy torture and killing profiles, kiddie porn as as well as other forms of animal abuse and all with tons of photos on FB through the years. FOR SURE FB is not moderated, as these profiles pop up daily.

            Heck I have even seen Full frontal male nudity on CH here...yeah try finding a mod here when you NEED one. And *yes, of course* I used report!

            5 Replies
            1. re: Quine

              "Heck I have even seen Full frontal male nudity on CH here"

              Was that CH "Street Food View" catching someone in the buff by some chance? ;-D>

              1. re: Servorg

                Nope, was a spammer posting several full frontal male nudes in various cookware posts.

                1. re: Quine

                  And were they pulled down or are they still up (so to speak)?

              2. re: Quine

                Quine - FB is ramping up, another friend was threatened with full banishment for posting a less than flattering (faked) photo of Santorum (and tagged it as one of me!)

                but again, CH just cuts the post unless a major line has been crossed. they don't post non-human-moderated auto-warnings, essentially asking one to self-edit. I prefer the CH approach. much more gentle and considered.

                1. re: hill food

                  LOL, Well the article did show that FB employs, literally Police/paid enforcers, who are outsourced for slave wages, so, I am sure such threats have been a response. FB has yet to learn you get what you pay for. As for automated responses, at least one is given. Here things just disappear, no warning nor explanation. So two extremes, auto-bots and outsourced paid enforcers vs. real people with moderation that many, feel is spotty, inconsistent, plays favorites and has a hit list. Both bad situations. At least here we can leave post-its on the wall and hope someone will read them and work to make it better.

              3. First, I don't use Facebook, but to put this in perspective, there is no way to implement moderation without software on Facebook due to the huge volume of messages there.

                46 Replies
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  "...but to put this in perspective, there is no way to implement moderation without software on Facebook due to the huge volume of messages there."

                  Just as there is no way to effectively moderate CH without posters using the "Report This" button.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    according to the article linked above, some of the moderation is from user reported data (like the CH "Report" link), not from automated algorithms. how much that is vs. some automated system vs. user reported, i couldn't say and they don't reveal.

                    i would say that an impartial view point vs. a moderator who could be involved in the thread in question seems better.

                    i'm not arguing in favor of $1/hr drones in foreign countries.

                      1. re: drewskiSF

                        "i would say that an impartial view point vs. a moderator who could be involved in the thread in question seems better. "

                        It all depends your view point. Some people prefer a more impartial system, and other prefer and more hands-on. There is no good answer for these. Moreover, I don't think many people understand how difficult it is to moderate. People have a tendency to believe they are the correct person and only see fault in others. So, often people just think moderators are unfair. The truth is that the moderator can only please people 50% of the time -- the most -- just like a judge. When a judge makes his decision, one party will be disappointed for sure, sometime both.

                        Back to my original point, Facebook needs some automatic computerized system to handle its massive posting. There is no way out of this.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          i would agree that people tend to be myopic in their own disputes, but i would also argue the moderators can definitely please > 50% of the people.

                          it's rarely a 50/50 split, since the opposing views are usually shared among other readers of a thread and should be considered in the overall evaluation. and if the moderator is among those people, their viewpoint can be biased in one direction or the other, just like any other participant.

                          if the moderators are possibly involved in the discussion under question, they can have "skin in the game" and may not be completely objective. if they are anonymous, as they are in CH, they don't have to worry as much about revealing any biases they may have.

                          kind of like arbitration. you're looking to an un-involved 3rd party to settle the dispute. the way things are now, you don't know how un-involved that decision maker is.

                          1. re: drewskiSF

                            or the conundrum mostly seen in anthropology or sociology (yet extends into many realms) that the very act of observation changes the behavior of the subject.

                            1. re: drewskiSF

                              Of course, there is the problem of exactly how involved you need the moderator be. The more personal involved, the less biased. However, the less involved, then the less knowledgeable about the history of the party.

                              Moderator pleasing >50% of the people is possible, but unlikely. Unless, we are talking about someone who really obviously misbehaved. Often, the disputes could start with different of opinions and then escalated. As such, sometime there is no clear "first shot". So you will have some people agree with person A, and some people agree with person B. Yet, not everyone agree with person A want person B's posts to be removed, and not everyone agree with person B want person A's posts to be deleted. There is a good chunk of people who lean "free speech" .

                              As such, when posts are removed, more likely than not, a good chunk of people do not agree.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                > The more personal involved, the less biased.

                                I would think the opposite. the more personally involved, the more likely they might be in the A or B camp.

                                i also think it's rare that these camps are equally divided so i agree that a good chunk of people will not agree, but i don't agree it will be an even split.

                                i am of the free speech camp so think CH is possibly currently over-moderated

                                1. re: drewskiSF

                                  About making more than 50% happy, I think we just have to agree to disagree then -- after all I think we have both made our points relatively clear.

                                  I also think CH is overly moderated, and if I have it my way, then it would be moderated less. However, this is their site, and they have an objective -- maybe dictated from CBS above. We are the guests. That I understand and respect.

                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    i agree that we are only guests.

                                    i only hope that some of our views are considered as CBS shapes the future of the site.

                                    apologies, if i was overly argumentative! i'll blame it on the rainy weather here in CA ;-)

                                    1. re: drewskiSF

                                      "i only hope that some of our views are considered as CBS shapes the future of the site."

                                      Excellent point.

                                      1. re: drewskiSF

                                        I would not say guest, but rather customers. Guests would not be subject to ads.

                                      2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        Posters aren't guests, they're content providers. I hope the site owners realize that without anyone posting, there is no site.

                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                          There's no community; the Chowhound section of the site. However, the CHOW side is supported by paid writers and CHOW staff. Without CHOW there is no Chowhound. Advertising usually pays the bills...

                                          Anyone? Have I got it wrong?

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            CHOWHOUND is part of CHOW. Just like CNN or other news site allow people to contribute. No having content providers does not equal to "no site"

                                            HillJ is correct.

                                            We are using this website mostly for free -- except for the advertisement posted on the webpage. It is really the other way around. Without the advertisement, then there is no CHOW or CHOWHOUND.

                                            If people think it is so easy to run a site like CHOWHOUND, they can certainly try to make one on their own. It is not going to be easy. There are millions of food blogs and food websites out there, and only a very few handful are successful and influential. The ratio of unsuccessful websites to successful ones is huge.

                                            It is nice to provide suggestions as dewskiSF clearly stated, but there is a lot about running a good websites which many of us do not fully understand. For us to lecture a very successful website like CHOWHOUND how to run its website shows lack of understanding.

                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                              I see I've riled the cool kids. <sigh> in any event, the content of Chowhound is most certainly provided by the posters, at no cost to the owners of the site. I never said operating this site, or any site, is easy. I never "lectured" anyone. I simply pointed out a simple, undeniable, reality.

                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                Having personally paid a couple of hundred dollars to help keep the lights on here in the Jim Leff days I like the new model a whole lot better...(cool kid or not)

                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                  And then or now, do you consider yourself a "guest" on CH?

                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                    I considered myself, then as now, a willing participant who came here of my own free will because I enjoy it. No more. No less. I'm very glad that to keep the lights on I no longer have to pay to play. I like this site. I stay because I still enjoy and get value from this site. If that stops being true I won't come here anymore. No one forces me to post. I do so because I want to. It's really pretty simple. Not too hard to understand (I hope).

                                                    I feel I get a lot more from the site than I provide. That hasn't changed either.

                                                2. re: carolinadawg

                                                  wow, try to help a fellow hound and the spatula comes out. cool kids, ha! what the heck does that mean. FWIW, I'm a registered member enjoying a free forum to discuss food passion. This site is not a free enterprise. No more lectures.

                                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                                    "I see I've riled the cool kids"

                                                    What are you talking about? Stay on the topic, man.

                                                    " the content of Chowhound is most certainly provided by the posters, at no cost to the owners of the site"

                                                    Yes, and no. Yes, we provided information to the site without charging them. However, it does not mean this part of the website (CHOWHOUND) is free to operate. It costs money to keep it alive. From a business point of view, you have to ask, why would you want to keep a forum or whatever alive if it costs you money. Well, it better brings in revenue. That is where the ads come from. Just because you freely provide inforamtion on this website, it is far from what it takes to keep it alive.

                                                    "I never said operating this site, or any site, is easy. I never "lectured" anyone. I simply pointed out a simple, undeniable, reality."

                                                    I wasn't talking about you in particular term. I am just saying that people (not necessary you) who talk/lecture about how CHOWHOUND should be run, probably do not really know what it takes to run. Kinda of like people who never played high school football telling professional football players how to run a ball. Again, it wasn't direct at you.

                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                      Chem, I thought the help was being offered to carolinad actually since they raised the point. And I asked for help as well. So, thanks.

                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                        There's no yes and no, unless someone is being paid to post here that I'm not aware of. Posters provide the content of CH at no cost. I'm well aware it costs money to operate this site and I certainly never suggested otherwise. You are putting words in my mouth, so I'm not the one who needs to stay on topic.

                                                        Your post was in direct reply to mine, so if you weren't aiming at me, how was I to know that?

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          "Posters provide the content of CH at no cost."

                                                          I am not sure what are you trying to get at, really. This is the same for 99% of the forums. My point is that CHOW is still their website. Have you ever been to other forums, where you are signed in as a "guest"? This is not something new.

                                                          We are using this site or others for free. We are not charged. It is still their site, just like it is someone's house. We are here at their pleasure, which is why you signed a bunch of "house" rules when you join this forum. You are expected to follow their rules. Just because you think you are provding free information or advises, it does not make you not a guest. You can go to someone's house and express your opinions all you like, but at the end of the day you are a guest. Maybe a valuable guest, but still a guest. Even if they do pay you to come and give a speech, you are still a guest. Many companies routinely invite guest speakers who are paid, they are still guests -- guest speakers.

                                                          "I'm not the one who needs to stay on topic."

                                                          You were talking about cool kids or not, which has nothing to do with this topic. What does *"I see I've riled the cool kids. <sigh>"* this has anything to do anything. It is distracting at least, and uncalled for.

                                                          "Your post was in direct reply to mine, so if you weren't aiming at me, how was I to know that?"

                                                          Just because I wrote a post replying to you, it does not mean everything in that post is about you. I didn't say "you" lecture someone. I wrote "we/us" lecturing someone. Specifically, I wrote "For us to lecture a very successful website like CHOWHOUND how to run its website shows lack of understanding."

                                                          "We/us" means it is not "you".

                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                            We obviously have different notions of what constitutes a guest. The rest is akin to a famous line about what the definition of the word is, is. Have a good night.

                                                  2. re: carolinadawg

                                                    I *think* I understand what you are saying, but correct me if I am wrong. The site would not exist if were not turning a profit - regardless of the cost to operate the site, clearly it makes money or its owners would cease to operate it. This site makes its bucks from advertising. Companies choose to advertise here because of the site traffic. The traffic on CH is exclusively made up of users who are providing content or those who are viewing user provided content. Therefore without user provided content there would be no traffic, no advertising dollars, no money for its owners. So, you, carolina, are questioning how we can be considered guests if without us there would be no reason for advertisers to spend money on this site.

                                                    I think I get it. Above and beyond anything, CH is a business. The business could not function without us, so it seems off to call us guests. In that way it is not that different from FB.

                                                    1. re: Justpaula

                                                      Yes, you are absolutely correct. Clearly it costs to operate the site. Clearly advertising is how that money is generated. Just as clearly, that advertising is only posible because people come to the site to read the posts...wait for it...the posts that we put on here! Its not a chicken or egg situation. We are not guests, we are content providers.

                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                        "We are not guests, we are content providers."

                                                        Completely voluntary "content providers" who are free to stop providing content at anytime we so desire...

                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                          Absolutely. Your point?

                                                          My point is that as content providers who are free to stop at any time, CH might want to reconsider their frequently heavy-handed style of management which threatens to drive away many of their content providers, thus decreasing ad revenues. Just a thought.

                                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                                            My point is pretty well covered by this "Chowhound Team" post from another thread (if you haven't read it): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7987...

                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                              You sound pretty angry, carolinadawg. Just an observation.
                                                              I hope you're getting more out of CH than this point of view.

                                                            2. re: Servorg

                                                              This is getting ridiculous about definition of a "guest".

                                                              Voluntary content providers are still guests.

                                                              CHOWHOUND providers are the hosts, and we contributors are guests. They host this site, we enter. It is a standard host-guest relationship. The site belongs to them, not us. We are here (a) at our own free will and (b) at the host's pleasure. No matter how important the guests think they are, they are still guests. One can say the same thing about Late Night shows like Jay Leno or Oprah or whatever. The guests are what make these talk shows interesting, but they are still guests. When Tom Cruise shows up on Jay Leno's set, Tom is a guest even if he is the one getting the viewership and the adverstiments. Jay (and NBC) is the host.

                                                              Ultimately, people can define what a guest is. The important thing is to understand the role of a guest or a voluntary content provider or whatever you want to call. We are here with our free will and we are here at the pleasure of the host -- as simple as that.

                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                My point is that it is a symbiotic relationship, and CH might want to consider more carefully the need to keep the site interesting and useful to posters.

                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                  "My point is that it is a symbiotic relationship"

                                                                  Agree. That is a point which drewskiSF has also mentioned, and I agreed with him/her. Still, we can suggest our wishes to the CHOWHOUND/CHOW providers, but it is still up to them to decide what to do with our suggestions.

                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Yes, and as good business people, they might want to consider the potential effects on the bottom line of ignoring those suggestions, just as an employer would consider the suggestions of his employees.

                                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                      "Yes, and as good business people, they might want to consider the potential effects on the bottom line of ignoring those suggestions, just as an employer would consider the suggestions of his employees."

                                                                      A very good point, and they should definitely consider our opinions and balance our wishes with their desire. I understand that sometime what are most interesting to the content providers, or employees are not the best for the providers or employers, so the CHOWHOUND providers have to balance the needs.

                                                                      In an earlier post, I said to drewskiSF that if I have it my way, then I would wish for a more "free speech" enivornment (less post deletion), and drewskiSF feels the same. I feel many others also feel that way. That being said, I also understand that the CHOWHOUND providers may want to run a more focus and more discipline ship.

                                                                  2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                    But they *do* keep it interesting and useful to posters. Just not every single poster, and some folks may be prone to disgruntlement generally. The rest of us enjoy it here and think of ourselves as participants, not indentured servants.

                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                      I'm glad you're happy! For the record, I don't feel like an indentured servant and never used that term. I also apparently see more grumbling about moderation than you do. And to me, it definitely feels like overall posting traffic is down, thus making me wonder how useful and interesting the site continues to be for more than just a few folks.

                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                        I see lots of grumbling about moderation, too. No matter how things go, a large group is going to be disgruntled. I think some folks who don't like moderation have left for that reason, and some get peeled off by other sites, there are so many, no one is likely to keep up with them all or even many.

                                                                  3. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                    Ultimately, people can redefine what a guest is. The important thing is to understand the role of a guests or a voluntary content provider or whatever you want to call.

                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                    I was just thinking the same thing. Restaurants call their customers guests, but we aren't really guests, we are customers. However, whether you prefer to be called a guest or a customer, you make the choice to dine at their restaurants and you are subject to decisions made by the proprietors. Or, you make the choice to not dine at their establishments. So, with CH, whether you prefer to be called a guest or a content provider or a donkey, it is still your choice to be here.

                                                                    Now, how owners (of restaurants or websites) manage and consider their "guests" can have an effect on the success of their businesses. I think carolina's point is that she has observed heavy-handed moderation here driving people away - no matter what you call those people. While I have seen complaints and much discussion on the subject, I don't personally have an opinion on it - yet - since I just returned to CH and just started following Site Talk...

                                                                    1. re: Justpaula

                                                                      Consider this, we don't see all of the content posted here. We should assume that CHOW and the Mods at Chowhound also share the same goals to keep the site fun, attractive to new and current members and financially viable. Same goals. Mods are volunteers and contributing content to Chowhound. So if any of us feel we are "giving away" valuable content or that in exchange for a free community we are subject to ads, moderation or deletion there's the Site Board to communication to and be heard. Not all forums offer that! If that's not working for us, we have the right to leave the site. But at the end of the day (& hopefully some awesome chow experiences in RL) we all have the same goals.

                                                                      1. re: Justpaula

                                                                        "I think carolina's point is that she has observed heavy-handed moderation here driving people away "

                                                                        Yeah, I think I agree the moderation is a bit more heavy-handed than what I would like, and it is more control/discipline than when I first joined. I suppose some people like a more controlled and more friendlier environment, while others prefer and more free speech and more creative setting.

                                                                        1. re: Justpaula

                                                                          Except for changing my gender, your analysis of my point is spot on. lol ;-)

                                                    2. re: drewskiSF

                                                      drew - well that's the thing, the comment over "there" (let's just use that now instead of a name OK?) over there, it was questioned before it was posted. at least CH lets one make an ass of oneself for a few hours. for all the world to see. and be discredited.