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12:30 AM
Why was I invited here?
@ACuriousMind so ban the offenders, not the topic?
@DanielSank because you're a rabble rouser
I'm not arguing either way, just proposing options.
@ACuriousMind to say it benefits nobody to wait is obviously false, in my opinion.
Or at least, you have no evidence to support that statement.
@DanielSank You probably got an invitation because I moved a message by you about chat moderation to this room.
@rob ah. OK well now that I'm here, where's the party? I have beer...
@DanielSank I'll concede I have no hard evidence, but let me put it like this: I have little to no hope for a mention of highly controversial political topics in a public, open chatroom to lead to a constructive, civil discussion. However, what I do know is that whoever offender we end up banning there will be allegations of favouring one side; the only winning move is not to play
Likewise, to wait for the discussion to turn sour will leave an aftermath; if possible we would like our users to not get nasty toward each other instead of banning them after the fact. The high probability of politics leading to nastiness indicates that we should favour banning it altogether to not let the discussion devolve in the first place, imo
12:59 AM
I'd also bear in mind that it is a physics chat room. That doesn't mean we always have to chat about physics, of course, but the further a topic is away from physics, the less "necessary" it is that the topic be allowed in the chat room.
1:09 AM
@ACuriousMind let me point something out:
We've had users whose presence in the chat always caused a breakdown of civil discourse.
Said users were not banned permanently for a very long time.
I wonder why a topic gets less of a chance then a single user. It's interesting to think about.
I'd like to say that we've learned from past incidents, but I cannot say much on that since I was not a mod during the very long time you refer to.
I see. So we're less tolerant of nonsense now ;-)
Einstein and the Evidence?
Still, I would consider trying to temper our tone and hold users to a high standard instead of banning a topic wholesale.
If it fails, ban the topic on those grounds.
I would like to discuss the impact of national policy on research with other physicists!
@0celo7 that's not the only one.
@0celo7 Another request: let's not use the chat room to discuss users who aren't able to participate in chat.
1:19 AM
@ACuriousMind I'll also point out that you and DZ come down very hard on other people's statement and opinions on site policy if they come without hard evidence.
@DavidZ OK so ban video games and geometry.
@DanielSank I would be interested in a discussion like this ... but my prediction is that it would be challenging to keep on topic.
@DanielSank My next move is to demand evidence for that claim, isn't it? ;)
well played evil moderator
@rob ok.
@DanielSank And food and music. Yeah, I don't think we should make this about "off-topic" at all
@ACuriousMind quite
@ACuriousMind agreed
@rob oh I don't know. We are adults, right?
@rob I've already been negatively affected by the recent policies. I think it's important to discuss how research (and in my case, research that actually affects national security interests) has been affected.
1:31 AM
@DanielSank Many of us are adults.
I'll say no more for now, in fear of the ban-hammer.
@DanielSank I think it's important to clarify that we are not saying politics is unimportant. It is important, hugely so. But physics.SE, whether on the site or in chat, is not a place for political discussion. Chat is supposed to be a third place - for discussing the site, or for hanging out, not for spawning important discussions unrelated to our scope.
I don't know if you noticed it, but recently Spolsky tried to bring politics to SO, here. That's the single most controversial post on the entire network (as measured by number of close/reopen cycles and votes) and I'd like physics.SE to stay undisturbed by a raging storm of that nature.
@ACuriousMind What is that post even supposed to accomplish besides piss off people?
It doesn't seem like an invitation to discussion or anything.
So that's not what DS is talking about, at all.
@DanielSank I think that if you were to come into the chat room, at a time when the chat room is relatively well-behaved, and start talking specifically about a science-related policy change --- I think it's possible that could be a productive conversation. That's a very different proposal from the "snl mocks trump"/"leftists are mentally ill" exchange that happened earlier.
@ACuriousMind but we tolerate endless discussions about who ate what between John and Kaumudi.
1:42 AM
@0celo7 I don't want to discuss that particular post but it and its epiphenomena are a perfect example of what kind of unrest our policy against politics is supposed to prevent
@rob right, but given what the mods and users have said and done in the last day, I'm now afraid to even try. I think that is unhealthy.
@rob I'd be willing to try with you.
@DanielSank And at other times we listen to you blather about the perfect chili :) That's just socializing; if someone raised serious complaints about it we would do something about it as well
I had the same thought a couple of months ago when there was a Meta question about whether philosophy-of-physics questions were on-topic and the answer was "no." Now if Peter Galison were to appear on Physics.SE with a question about a sequel to "How Experiments End," I bet that question would be great --- but that isn't the most probable outcome.
@ACuriousMind I've raised many complaints about it. Who has ever heard of vegetarian chili?
The chance of food discussion to end with one half of the user base insulting the other is nil
1:45 AM
@rob is "my collaborator had to take a job with a competing company for fear of deportation" a "science related policy"?
@ACuriousMind who complained about the political discussion?
@DanielSank No. It's a shame, is what it is.
@DanielSank Note that the ban is specifically for the main chatroom, not network wide. You're free to try to make it work in a separate room, but don't blame me when the flags start flying. If they don't, all is well
@0celo7 lololol
@ACuriousMind very well.
@rob yes and I want to talk about it!
@DanielSank There's the multiply starred pinned message which Emilio posted twice when people started edging into politics (that was before the SNL incident)
@DanielSank Real chili is meat, with no beans or any other schmutz in it.
2:02 AM
^ mods plz delete. I'm offended.
This user is de-legitimizing my chosen lifestyle.
@DanielSank that... does not follow, not that I can see
@DanielSank Why only replace one of the 's' by 'z'. "Modz" looks like a good gang name.
@DanielSank FWIW in most cases I would agree with you, that it's a bad thing when members are afraid to bring up certain topics. But when members are afraid to start discussions that will result in insults being thrown back and forth, or people being offended (within reason), or so on, that's a good thing. That's part of the point of suspending people and whatever else we do.
And I guess recent experience suggests that political discussions fall in that category.
2:28 AM
@ACuriousMind I like it.
@DavidZ it's a bit discouraging to not be allowed to discuss an issue that directly affects my research because since other users can't keep a civil tongue.
In any case, using a separate room is a good compromise.
@DanielSank Yep. We'll consider that.
One of the perks of making your own room is that you can freely kick out anyone who doesn't keep a civil tongue.
2:44 AM
@DavidZ I didn't know that!
I guess I'm not 100% sure but I do believe being a room owner lets you kick-mute people.
It's not a suspension but it is enough to shut down an uncivil conversation in the heat of the moment.
Plus, if someone keeps coming into your room and being disruptive, mods will generally put some serious weight on your input, as the room owner, if they have to get involved
@DanielSank You can; if you create a room you are the room owner and can both move messages from it to other rooms (such as the various "trash" rooms) and kick-mute people who don't behave. The kick-mute duration increases in length 1->5->30 mins and the third time a user is kicked an automatic moderator flag will be raised, so a diamond might come by and see what's up.
3:01 AM
@ACuriousMind cool, thanks. You know, in the future, it might help to advertise such things when policy decisions are made. Offering people alternatives is a great way to avoid feelings of being marginalized.
@DanielSank That's true - I do tend to forget that not everyone is familiar with the various non-obvious SE features.
he left :(
@SirCumference nooooo
I blinked and I missed it..
why'd everyone leave lmao
@Enfyve He's tr0llcello
3:11 AM
How the hell did that happen?
@0celo7 Uh...
mod abuse
Trolling: not welcome.
Oh my god
it's a game.
the guessing game.
3:13 AM
Just ban me
10 years
@obe It's not really abuse. @rob felt it would prevent conflict, which is possible.
@SirCumference BTW don't post stuff like that either
Though in my case I don't take it personally
20 messages moved from The h Bar
3:14 AM
:35244013 I don't think it warranted a kick though
wow lmao
this is ridiculous
If @ACuriousMind had felt that I was going too far, he could have said the book title.
@DavidZ ...
So this is an instance of @rob going too far.
All right, I think the mods are going a bit far...
3:14 AM
Nice to know our mods are looking out for everyone.
8 messages moved from The h Bar
@DavidZ Why
We're not children
Wonder who told the PSE mods they need to clean up their act.
No one's going to be offended
I'm probably going to get banned again lmao
3:16 AM
@SirCumference we can discuss that in the other room
what can you talk about in this room?
it's unclear.
9 messages moved from The h Bar
@DavidZ Is it really any different?
why are you moving my messages?
I didn't allow you to.
3:17 AM
This isn't about the meta, it's about the chat
it was regarding this room.
5 messages moved from The h Bar
@ACuriousMind perhaps, as a mid, it would be wise to consider how to fulfill the needs and desires of the users before removing facilities they are already using ;-)
not you, @DavidZ
3:19 AM
ugh godammit
the large scale
structure of
He still doesn't get it :(
@DavidZ Please stop moving our posts and refusing to respond here. It's not helping anyone and isn't remedying the situation.
@DavidZ what do you think you're doing? lol
3:21 AM
@SirCumference These messages will be moved
Just stop
He's in "mod mode"
11 messages moved from The h Bar
called it
A lot of that...wasn't about moderation
Also he deleted where we said the book title
you moved the normal messages too. @DavidZ
you're bad at moderating.
3:22 AM
@SirCumference Yes, that was just about keeping a conversation together.
@obe Don't say that
@obe Point them out and I'll move them back
the book title.
@SirCumference well moderating the chat at least, idk about the site, he's probably good at that.
which by the way is what he should be doing, to make the site better for everyone.
3:23 AM
@obe He should be listening to what we're saying, though.
14 messages moved from The h Bar
@SirCumference I would be able to respond here if y'all didn't keep posting more messages that I have to move from the h bar
Oh my god. Is it wrong to point it out when he blantantly said "we're trolling him"?!
2 messages moved from The h Bar
@obe Let's say this: no insults or rudeness, and probably better not to talk about politics because the way things have been going, that tends to lead to insults. Also, it's preferred if you use this room for discussions about what should be allowed in the h bar, about the state of chat moderation, and so on.
(including complaints about the moderators)
Other than that, anything should be fine
10 hours later…
1:56 PM
in The h Bar, 7 hours ago, by DanielSank
Have the mods considered the incredibly far reach of "politics" and how it could affect the chat?
@DanielSank It's not my intention, at least, to stifle anyone or make people afraid to bring things up.
However, keeping people from fighting with each other in the hbar is one part of the moderators' job. Moderating a real-time discussion is not one of my strongest skills, and I don't have much time this week to work on it.
I think we suggested "let's talk politics elsewhere" without much thought about long-term implications --- but I'm okay with that. The hbar chat room is a very small slice of the internet.
Like I said to you above, I'm interested in how the (dramatic) changes in the US political situation have affected your work. But not in the hbar --- I forsee that discussion going off the rails right away.
Starting a new chat room is an easy thing, and the SE chat system makes it not-terrible to have several chats going at once. Let me know if you do that and I'll be happy to join you.
4 hours later…
5:49 PM
@ACuriousMind You'd like? So now it's the mod's job to write what they'd like into site policy?
I thought that was very much not what the mods are supposed to do.
If the mods are exception handlers, then the right thing to do would seem to be to shut down the raging storm that was going on, and then make a meta post asking the community how they'd like to proceed. Since you guys still haven't done that as far as I can tell, Bernardo and I are working on a properly framed post. Should be up today.
@DanielSank A meta post explaining our reasoning in detail is coming up (the draft is written) and will, barring unforeseen problems, be up some time before the chat session tomorrow, where we can then discuss it further.
Please understand that the moderators live in different timezones with different schedules and a fully coordinated response requires a bit of time.
6:10 PM
@ACuriousMind Explaining your reasoning isn't what the community wants as far as I can tell.
I'm pretty sure we want our own discussion and our own policy on how to handle this issue.
You know, like everything else on this site.
DZ has said over and over that he thinks mods should not craft site policy.
2 hours later…
8:06 PM
Q: Chat and the moderation thereof

ACuriousMindSo, there has been considerable dissatisfaction with recent moderator actions in the h bar, physics.SE's main chat room, at least in part because people feel they have not been properly informed about the rules, policies, and consequences of violating them. We'd like to take the opportunity to co...

2 hours later…
10:34 PM
Hi, everybody.
so, @ACuriousMind, and any other mods, I'd like to talk about this whole politics issue.
::Sits in den, waiting for proper moment to pounce:*
::changes chromatophores to dark color::
I strongly disagree with your stance on it, and your recent increase in deletion/moving of messages, bans, reprimands, etc.
@rob, greetings.
My proposal is to give the regulars/members of the chat room significantly more say in what is okay and what is not, like in normal site moderation, and also to be a bit less...testy (dunno if that's the word for it) in your reaction to people stepping near boundaries.
It also is to allow the discussion of politics in the chatroom.
10:37 PM
@heather the meta post gives reasonably strong stand on not doing that.
@DanielSank on not doing any of that, yes. And I'd like to see what's got the mods a. wound up (I think most can agree that the mods have gotten more likely to delete messages etc recently) b. so set on their policy, and c. so set against the ideas myself and multiple others have been proposing.
I think they want policy discussions here instead of hbar.
hopefully that sets the stage a bit on the issues I'd like to cover.
That's not unreasonable.
@ACuriousMind, I'd like you to be present for this, as well as @DavidZ, as you both have been playing significant roles in this.
@DanielSank Yeah, not sure what's up with that move, but i'm okay with it.
::crickets chirp::
mods? sorry, I don't want to talk to an empty room.
10:40 PM
@heather The notion of "room culture" being able to determine behavioural rules in certain rooms has proved highly problematic in the past (to the point where significant CM intervention was necessary to restore order). The meta.SE posts I link in the new meta posts are partly the result of these events.
@heather Typing takes time if I have to be in other places simultaneously, too :P
@heather I'm still listening, but I'm also reading variable gain amplifier spec sheets. Can you ping me when you guys have resolved the "culture" question so I can offer some other observations?
@DanielSank sure, sorry, didn't mean to point fingers at you.
@ACuriousMind sorry about that.
@heather Point fingers?
@DanielSank or tentacles.
@ACuriousMind, in response to your point, the entire SE site runs basically on users saying what's okay and what's not. Why should chat be any different?
@heather a) I can't answer that because I don't think we're wound up. b) We're set on this policy because it is largely derived from official SE philosophy, and because of the reasons outlined in the meta post c) seems to be b) in another phrasing.
10:45 PM
what I'm trying to say is not that moderators should have no power, but that the mods rather extreme actions recently without even explaining it generally for everyone and discussing it with the room members is a bit strange.
@ACuriousMind I don't know what you mean by a). No where in SE policy does it say that users shouldn't help with figuring out policy - the whole site is constructed so that users help with policy (reviews, meta, etc.) so not sure what you mean by that either.
@HDE226868, hello =)
@heather Well, see, that's not exactly a correct characterization of how SE works. Yes, there are large areas of site policy that is determined by user consensus and that moderators merely enforce in a janitorial role. However, these are content policies regarding the main site. This is not true for behavioural policies, such as the Be Nice policy - no user base is given the choice to deviate from it, no matter how strongly the users may demand it.
@ACuriousMind there are basic rules, yes. The be nice policy i would classify as a basic rule across the site, including chat. there are also site to site (and chatroom to chatroom) rules - what is on and off-topic, as judged by users in review. the rules i'm asking that users be included in the decision of are analogous to ones users already have significant if not total input in on the main site.
@heather Hi there! I was distracted by a couple of cookies.
Just to bring in a network perspective here, politics has had a lot of problems on other Stack Exchange chat rooms. A lot. I'm not sure how many folks here have seen such problems elsewhere in the last week - or post-US-election - but there were some times where things got really ugly. CM-having-to-step-in ugly. So that's partly why there's a network chat room.
for the record, the type of rules i'm asking users have input in are rules the mods have just instated without any real discussion, like "no politics". i don't count starred messages on the starboard as backup for something that significant (there were starred messages on the starboard in favor of the room name change).
I do have confidence in the maturity of a lot of regulars in The h Bar - certainly those here now - but discussions do have a way of getting really heated, and that's never fun for anyone. Again, this is based on a lot of incidents network-wide. So the caution here doesn't have as much to do with what could happen as with what has happened and what will likely happen at some point.
So, that's why I support @ACuriousMind's meta post, and the policy there in general.
10:51 PM
@ACuriousMind That's a red herring.
@ACuriousMind I would agree with that
We're talking about content policy.
@HDE226868, I understand, but I think outright banning politics is the wrong approach - maybe banning blatant rudeness (as under the Be Nice policy) and more specific things discussed with users to be more correct.
@heather This is not about what's "on-topic" in chat or not. We're not banning politics because it has nothing to do with physics. We're banning it because it has not much to do with physics and has proven to be a very likely trigger for very unpleasant events which are in stark breach of the Be Nice policy.
(thank you, by the way, for input.)
@ACuriousMind this is about what's on-topic in chat or not. you have made politics off-topic in chat, for whatever your reasons may be. this is a discussion that should be had with the community.
10:52 PM
@HDE226868 Politics, or "the US immigration law"?
(That's a real question)
@DanielSank Politics, prior to the executive order.
Or, more appropriately, politics or donald trump?
@HDE226868 Interesting. So why did the ban here only happen now?
@ACuriousMind I'd also say it is about what's on topic, but only because the "be nice" rule affects the allowed topics.
@DavidZ That is highly suspicious.
10:54 PM
how many times have you had an unreasonable argument about the oil pipeline? now how many times have you had an unreasonable argument about donald trump's attitude towards women? how many times with an argument about executive orders?
Being nice may be correlated with topic, but please let's give some room in between those two ideas, eh?
@DanielSank That's likely better addressed to @ACuriousMind, but I think that previous support for banning the discussion of politics has been expressed by several "normal" users a couple times in the past.
@HDE226868 What's a normal user?
@DanielSank If a topic overwhelmingly leads to violations of the be nice rule, then enforcement of the be nice rule can restrict the topics which can be discussed in the room. Agree or disagree?
i'd say the second is probably the only one you've had unreasonableness on (out of the three). so why ban all of politics!?
10:54 PM
@HDE226868 to quote my earlier message, "i don't count starred messages on the starboard as backup for something that significant (there were starred messages on the starboard in favor of the room name change).".
@DavidZ Right now, I disagree, at least in principle. I have to think about whether I agree for practical reasons.
@heather THIS
@heather That's absolutely the optimal strategy. The problem is that the one often leads to the other. Some folks are mature enough to avoid that, and I'd say that about many users in The h Bar - certainly those here, given that we're all having a civil discussion here. But it's not always the case.
@DanielSank Yes.
@DavidZ Overwhelmingly disagree. Be nice rule =/= on/off topic.
@DanielSank I think if you've seen what I've seen, you'd be more inclined to agree (or at least less inclined to disagree)
10:55 PM
The mods' appeal to the star board as community consensus was a misstep. I hope they agree with that.
@DanielSank Well, first, the message about not bringing politics "here" was starred for some amount of time without anyone posting anything political. I'll also say that the overarching (and featured) meta.SE post about taking politics to its own rooms is also a lot older (from Jan 6). The ban didn't "happen now", it just so happen that this was the first time it was necessary to enforce it.
@heather I wasn't referring just to that, but to chat messages giving explicit support to the idea.
@HDE226868 Let's ban the discussion of biology in the chat room.
@ACuriousMind I understand that, but the fact remains that when the community asked "what the hell is going on", one of the main responses from the mods was "the star board says people don't want politics".
@heather So, going with that, if a topic overwhelmingly leads to violations of the "be nice" rule, you would rather have us keep the topic on-topic and... do what when a discussion on that topic turns into people throwing insults or being rude?
10:56 PM
That was not good.
@DavidZ ban them
@DanielSank Oh, I thought that was just a "hey, by the way, look at this thing"
@heather Have there been previous argumentative discussions of biology in the past in The h Bar?
(Could be, I don't know.)
@DavidZ That is not at all how you guys were talking yesterday.
@DanielSank Yes, I agree communication was poor (and that's why I drafted that meta post).
10:57 PM
@HDE226868 Does sex count?
@HDE226868 the point of that message was that if multiple people posted a message like that, that's not evidence for you banning biology discussions in the chatroom.
@ACuriousMind The meta post was rather good. Thank you.
@ACuriousMind and i must thank you for taking that step, but I significantly disagree. which is, you know, why I'm here =)
@heather I mean... we could do that. But it tends to lead to people complaining about not knowing the rules they're being suspended for breaking.
@DanielSank . . . That's another issue, and I really have no idea how people feel about that.
10:58 PM
@DavidZ So warn them and tell them the rules, then ban them.
@HDE226868 It was a joke.
@DanielSank Ah, I had heard someone bring that up before. It's a valid point, too. :P
@HDE226868 I'm 14 and I don't see enough discussion of this that I think it's a problem. I have no clue why that was brought up.
I'm going to shut up for a while and let heather have her place. I would like to bring up a few related issues later.
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