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Why is Mad_Scientist a moderator?


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Primus



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
Posts: 2499
Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:40 am Reply with quote
I think it's poor form to make a moderator out of a person who continues to run a Twitter account devoted exclusively to mocking members of this forum. Is this acceptable behaviour for a person who can ban users? This isn't some minor thing. She's been running that account for over 4 years and uses it regularly to blast posts to a much larger audience.

I'm not sure I've ever been quoted by that account (maybe I will now), so this isn't sour grapes over getting "dunked" on by a sub-tweet. I think it's appalling to have someone who could argue with people (or report them if they break the rules), but instead just takes screenshots and makes fun of them to a much larger crowd on Twitter be given a position of authority. If this is acceptable behaviour, I recommend the TOS be updated and a PM sent to all members saying that at any time their post may be republished by members of the staff without your consent or knowledge off-site for the exclusive purpose of bad mouthing you.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised given Zac follows the "ANN Forums.txt" account.
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Merida
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Joined: 21 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:56 am Reply with quote
Considering what kind of comments they are "mocking" (what i saw was mostly just the plain quote without any commentary, though), they appear to be highly qualified for the job to me...
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Psycho 101
Moderator


Joined: 14 Aug 2006
Posts: 14792
Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:07 pm Reply with quote
For starters, let's once again (for the 500th time) clarify something. Moderators CANNOT ban users. Only the admin can. Moderators can place users on moderation, but that is entirely different.

Furthermore, we discuss such actions AS A GROUP and always have. When a mod places a user on moderation we discuss it. Not a single one of us simply does the job in a vacuum however they see fit without repercussions. When we do request a user be banned by the admin we, once again, discuss it AS A GROUP, before we make the request. So no, she is not going to just be running around banning people left and right and then mocking people on shitter. Yes I meant to say that as twitter is an even bigger waste of space than crapbook and getting offended over them and arguing over them is just pointless. Personal opinion from a social media curmudgeon. Now that we have that out of the way....

If you feel that there is a conflict of interests with her being a mod and having that twitter account PM Zac or Tempest about it. Heck, PM her about it and politely inquire about it. I personally didn't even know that was her, nor do I care honestly now that I do know it's her. The fact is ANYONE could take your posts here and copy/paste them elsewhere. It's a PUBLIC forum. From what I can see of that twitter account it's mostly her just copy/pasting posts from the forums and not "editing" them for some nefarious purpose.
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Mad_Scientist
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Joined: 08 Apr 2008
Posts: 2972
PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:54 pm Reply with quote
Let me start by saying I do understand why you might be sincerely concerned about this, so I want to take my time to explain in depth and hopefully eliminate any concerns.


So I made that account years ago, during a particularly virulent time in ANN forum history. It was during the legendary Cross Ange kerfuffle. At that time, the ANN forums had a VERY bad reputation, which wasn't helped by the fact that there were very few mods at the time.

I was like many users, very, very frustrated with the state of the forums. The txt account was kind of a way to blow off steam and commiserate with other users tired of the 67th time a bad faith poster made gross insinuations about feminists or whatever. And users frustrated by the state of the forums included many members of the staff, hence why some of them follow the account. However, when I started that account, I made several rules for myself.

One, the quotes would always be anonymous. I'd make sure my screenshots didn't include any posters' names, and if someone submitted something to me and it had an account name I'd edit it out. Because the goal of the twitter wasn't to be mocking specific users, it was to lament/commiserate over the general state of the forums.

It's possible I've occasionally screwed this up, but the only times I've ever purposely broken this rule were once when I quoted Zac, and once when I quoted myself, both times were were making terrible puns, and so it was meant as a joke.

The second rule was that the instant I ever learned the account was contributing to harassment of users, on here or on twitter or anywhere, I would shut it down. To the best of my knowledge that has never happened. 670 followers is actually not that big an audience (by contrast I have nearly 1900 followers on a separate twitter account I run dedicated to the old Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss, and 1650 followers on my personal twitter) and like I said, I always kept it anonymous.

But again, the instant it ever became apparent the account was contributing to anything toxic, it would be gone. Because like I said, the goal was actually commiseration/shared pain over the unfortunately toxic place the forums had become, and who would want to add to that?

And the third rule was simple, that if I ever saw a post that I felt was breaking the rules, I of course wouldn't just quote it, I'd report it too. But for a while that rule didn't come into play very much, because part of my frustration was that a lot of the worst posts actually WEREN'T breaking the rules.


Which leads to my next point, that I've actually been wondering what to do with that account ever since the big rules update. Ideally, the changes to the forums would make this a better place and essentially render the account meaningless, because I simply wouldn't have any material to quote.

In practice that unfortunately hasn't been the case, partially due to growing pains as we all adjust to the new rules, and partially because unfortunately, even after the mod draft 5 years back, there is still a relatively small number of active mods. Sometimes, there just isn't anyone online to deal with the rule breaking posts, and so threads get out of hand. One particularly bad incident happened in a Zombieland Saga thread, where there were multiple posts full of anti-trans slurs and gross comments up for quite a while, because there simply weren't any mods online to deal with them. This was understandably very frustrating for users who could do nothing but watch as the thread turned to hell.

Hence one of the reasons why I am now a mod myself. And when I was asked to be a mod, I did bring up the ANN_FORUMS_TXT just to make sure it wouldn't be an issue. But to be completely honest, I was also thinking of changing it anyways. Because it's one thing when all you can do is report a post and wait for someone else to step in, in that case quoting it and commiserating with others over it makes some sense. It's another thing when I can just step in directly and deal with the post myself, at that point also quoting it on ANN_FORUMS_TXT feels more pointless. The account you can see is still active, but pretty much all the tweets it's making now are old quotes I took from before my mod status was fully implemented, I simply have the tweets all queued up in advance.

I've been thinking about potentially retiring the account, or at least handing it off to someone else. I've also been thinking of potentially completely revamping it. One thing that got brought when I was asked to be a mod is that the account can contribute to the image that there is no good discussion on ANN, that it's just a board full of Nazi apologists and stuff. And that is something we all have been working very hard to change. So I thought maybe I'd just revamp it, make it the opposite of what a .txt account normally is, and only quote good posts.

I hadn't fully decided yet, and like I said, right now it's just posting old quotes I had queued up. And of course regardless of whether I decide to continue running that account as it currently is, if Zac or Chris change their mind and feel me continuing in that manner is inappropriate as a mod, I'll stop.

There's something else I should address, though, because it's about more than just me and one Twitter account.

Primus wrote:
If this is acceptable behaviour, I recommend the TOS be updated and a PM sent to all members saying that at any time their post may be republished by members of the staff without your consent or knowledge off-site for the exclusive purpose of bad mouthing you.


Here's the thing. Social media is a complicated and ever changing thing, but it's also a way a lot of people communicate and express themselves. And sometimes people express frustration, and the forums are unfortunately still a source of frustration for many. What I'm getting to is that it's not just me or one account that will sometimes quote or screencap the forums. Countless other people, including some people who are actually paid staff and not just a volunteer like me, have done so at times.

This is just natural, because again, social media is just a natural part of how a lot of us communicate now. And I highly doubt Christopher is going to suddenly implement a "you can never ever talk about the forums or quote posts on Twitter" policy to all the staff, given that he hasn't so far and given that he himself has sometimes retweeted ANN_FORUMS_TXT.

And even if he did, and even if the staff all accepted it (another thing I'd find unlikely), that wouldn't stop non staffers from quoting the forums. I'm not even the first person to get an idea of doing a .txt account for the ANN forums, there were at least two before me though they're both dead now, and there are also tons of people who quote the forums on their personal accounts.

And some of this people, unlike myself or the staff members who occasionally express frustration, are trying to drum up harassment, and encourage burner accounts to flood the forums. And there is no way to stop that, no matter what we do, we can't ban everyone from quoting the forums on Twitter.

So the fact that something someone posts on this forum could be quoted somewhere else, perhaps even for the express purpose of mockery, is something that just has to be accepted, it's simply a natural consequence of the way the internet has evolved.

The only thing I can say is that, while I am not a mod on twitter or any other social media, I am a mod here now, so if I see people jumping onto the forums in order to mock and harass users here, I can and will put a stop to it here, where I have the authority and ability to do so. But it's simply beyond my power and the power of anyone here to completely stop any possibility of your posts being mocked on other places.
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Psycho 101
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Joined: 14 Aug 2006
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Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:11 am Reply with quote
I forgot to answer the thread's actual question. That being "Why is Mad_Scientist a moderator?" That one is easy to answer (and hopefully I won't get yelled at for answering it as it is staff business). The mods collectively felt we needed some more mods to help out as we all have full time jobs and personal lives which take away from our time we have to spend here. Especially with the new rules and doing our best to enforce them and the idea of tring to remove the toxicity that had been spreading. The admin asked for candidates. I nominated her. The mods all agreed she was a good candidate. The admin obviously agreed as they offered her the position. She accepted. Here we are. She hopefully will also not be the last new mod we get to help out.

I'm only explaining that to squash any rumors or ideas that she, or anyone else that might become a mod soon, somehow petitioned or asked for the position in some manner. That is not the case. The mods discussed possible candidates based on several factors. We sent the suggestions to Zac/Tempest for them to review and go over. They'll decide who they feel are good candidates and offer them the position. This is also not the first time this has happened. Every few years or so there's a new crop of mods brought on to help out. People lose interest in the fandom. People don't have the time they had before. Etc etc. The result being fewer active mods thus some more are added to help out. Which is where we're at now. That's all the discussion needed on the "why" part for her or any of the other new mods we might (hopefully) get.
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Shiroi Hane
Encyclopedia Editor


Joined: 25 Oct 2003
Posts: 7447
Location: Wales
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:15 am Reply with quote
My 2p... I've not been in the forums much of late due to work etc., but I popped into the Vic thread briefly when the post was boosted about on Twitter. Saw Mad_Scientist's post without realising she was a moderator now and thought "I appreciate the post but she really shouldn't be acting like a moderator... but you know, she really should be one".
So.

(Disclaimer: been following ANN forums.txt for a loooong time, most of it without knowing who was behind it)
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Errinundra
Moderator


Joined: 14 Jun 2008
Posts: 5323
Location: Melbourne, Oz
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 4:17 am Reply with quote
Why is Mad_Scientist a moderator?

Because she's freaking awesome. That's why.
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Alan45
Village ElderVillage Elder


Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 8576
Location: Virginia
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 8:57 am Reply with quote
It might be a good idea to update (or remove) the list of active moderators that shows at the top of each forum.
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Primus



Joined: 01 Mar 2006
Posts: 2499
Location: Toronto
PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:46 pm Reply with quote
Mad_Scientist wrote:
...


I'm well aware that anyone can at any time cap what I write and share it anywhere without consent. Usually they're not officially involved with the host and those that are, typically don't run an account devoted exclusively to that.

If you thought this could be a problem, I'm not sure why you didn't just delete the account when you got approved as a moderator.
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:09 pm Reply with quote
I'm okay with this. I do not require ANN's moderators to be friends with the staff, each other, or the people they moderate.

As an ACTIVE moderator, Mad_Scientist is more than welcome to publicly post her opinions on the public posts she sees in this forum. I've done it many times on my personal Twitter account.

Being a moderator of this forum does not take away any rights she had before becoming a moderator.

-t
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TexZero



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
Posts: 287
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 6:36 pm Reply with quote
So hopefully this doesn't come across as rude or impertinent....

But i thought we had these forums to have discourse ?
Doesn't taking the quotes out of context to another community defeat said purpose because what people see from said snippets are not the whole context.

I say this because while i'm not an active user of twitter (don't have an account, don't care too) i can quite easily see my words on said users page without complete context.

I would have never know such a thing was happening prior to this and i certainly do not approve of it's use in such a manner for good, bad or other.

So i must ask if there's a way for said users here to opt out or do we just have to deffer to one person's view of what they find acceptable use of our words ?
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#892577



Joined: 07 Feb 2019
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:05 am Reply with quote
TexZero wrote:
So hopefully this doesn't come across as rude or impertinent....

But i thought we had these forums to have discourse ?
Doesn't taking the quotes out of context to another community defeat said purpose because what people see from said snippets are not the whole context.

I say this because while i'm not an active user of twitter (don't have an account, don't care too) i can quite easily see my words on said users page without complete context.

I would have never know such a thing was happening prior to this and i certainly do not approve of it's use in such a manner for good, bad or other.

So i must ask if there's a way for said users here to opt out or do we just have to deffer to one person's view of what they find acceptable use of our words ?


That's the whole point. They take quotes, sometimes out of context, and post them to their account, so they can gossip and insult us behind our backs with each other which they can't do on these forums. The other writers do it all the time to criticisms about them. Rather than directly address them in the topic, they'll reply privately on their Twitter to their followers where they'll be hi-fived for their epic dunk on someone who doesn't even know they're being replied to unless someone tells them. And when someone does tell them they get banned or told to "stop bringing up Twitter stuff on the forums, it's off topic"
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:18 am Reply with quote
TexZero wrote:
So i must ask if there's a way for said users here to opt out or do we just have to deffer to one person's view of what they find acceptable use of our words ?


This isn't an action taken by ANN. It's an action taken by one of our volunteers on her own time. ANN's forum is publicly accessible. Any person can view the posts you make here and quote them elsewhere. I can't enforce a rule on anyone, staff, user, or moderator, that they can not discuss things said publicly on this forum. On the other hand, if this forum was private, and only visible to registered, logged in users, I could set a TOS that stated that what is said here can not be repeated elsewhere. That TOS would be impossible to enforce with users, but I could enforce it on staff. However that's not the case, this forum is public.

-t
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Tempest
ANN Publisher & CEO


Joined: 29 Dec 2001
Posts: 9620
Location: Do not message me for support.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:19 am Reply with quote
#892577 wrote:
And when someone does tell them they get banned or told to "stop bringing up Twitter stuff on the forums, it's off topic"


I've been told that you are likely complaining about a post on Twitter by one of ANN's freelance contributors.

It's also off topic in regards to why is Maya_Scientist a moderator. If you have a serious inquiry or concern about Mike Toole's post, go ahead and start a new thread in the feedback forum and I will provide a reply (and only one reply).
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TexZero



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
Posts: 287
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:40 pm Reply with quote
Tempest wrote:
TexZero wrote:
So i must ask if there's a way for said users here to opt out or do we just have to deffer to one person's view of what they find acceptable use of our words ?


This isn't an action taken by ANN. It's an action taken by one of our volunteers on her own time. ANN's forum is publicly accessible. Any person can view the posts you make here and quote them elsewhere. I can't enforce a rule on anyone, staff, user, or moderator, that they can not discuss things said publicly on this forum. On the other hand, if this forum was private, and only visible to registered, logged in users, I could set a TOS that stated that what is said here can not be repeated elsewhere. That TOS would be impossible to enforce with users, but I could enforce it on staff. However that's not the case, this forum is public.

-t


So i've had to stop and think about this one because, i do agree that yes this is an open forum and in theory people can do whatever they wish with what's posted.

However, the issue isn't about other people. At least that's not where i'm coming from, to be clear i don't mind this user being a moderator.

My complaint stems from the near nothingness response to the situation in that you're saying mods are virtually no different from normal users. I beg to disagree especially given Mad_Scientist own position they want the forum to be a better place for all users. Taking forum issues off site doesn't solve that problem, it only promotes it because you get into a case of fighting fire with fire. Having a moderator or any member of your staff participating in sophermic actions instead of civil discourse will only cause more problems in the long term.

This is where i'm more than a bit frustrated. Hopefully that clears some of my issues up, again i can't tell you what i'd do, but i can state i'd like to see less of the taking my issues to an echo chamber and more discourse and civil disagreement.
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