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1:06 AM
@Pixie you'd be taken seriously
everything you've ever written has seemed well-intentioned, articulate, generous, and thoughtful
it's not all about the imaginary internet points
you know, aside from the jokes =)
 
@nitsua60 I appreciate that, although you may be giving me a bit too much credit. xD I certainly try to be those things, though.
 
@Pixie it shows.
 
hey @nitsua60
 
I'm just catching up on reading, and it's making me feel like a real heel taking the last few weeks off of chat because of RL issues.
(Hey @Shalvenay)
 
@nitsua60 You are in no way a heel. Life comes first every time.
 
1:18 AM
@nitsua60 What Pixie said.
 
Also making me feel like a heel for being cowardly and not posting the "can we stop calling people a d**k" meta that's been on my "lingering questions..." list for months.
thanks, both
 
You're not cowardly, either. This is a hard topic to broach. There's no good way to do it.
 
but then I came back last night and eimyr'd pulled together that nice "good name"/"awesome name"/"bad name" compilation, which made me smile after all that frowning meta's been causing
4
 
1:38 AM
I've been keeping away myself, in large part because I needed to disengage for a while to let myself level out and decide whether it was really worth the frustration. As I've mentioned in the past, I suffer from pretty bad social anxiety. I can soldier on through it when I have reason to, but it's not without cost.
 
@nitsua60 <- @Pixie this is my experience too
(permitting certain leniencies in fun conversations)
 
Aww. :) Well, thank you, and I'm happy you two think of me that way.
 
@doppelgreener @Pixie +1
 
[eternally touched but slightly confused by praise]
It's also not my points that I'm concerned about, I should clarify. Maybe it would help if I were a more prominent member, but I'm not so sure about that. Nothing I've seen has led me to believe that people are being given unfair clout based on numbers.
The discussion is just very messy and heated right now, and we've only just begun to sort out various factors contributing to it. What I care about right now, a lot more than the RAW tag, is communication. That's the big, gnarled root of this problem, and until it's addressed, I don't think we can move forward.
6
 
2:14 AM
@Pixie agreed -- we need to get everyone talking first
 
@Shalvenay Yeah. And that's not to downplay the concerns of those for whom the RAW tag is the big thing. It's important. I just don't think anyone is getting anywhere until we work on breaking down the barriers that have sprung up.
 
@Pixie indeed. I think that part of the problem is that this is springing from attitudes in the wider gaming community as well
@Pixie that there are folks who are so viruently anti-RAW that they can't stand the idea that people have questions where being by-the-book actually matters
 
There are views about gaming at odds, certainly.
 
@Pixie indeed -- I don't understand the depth of the anti-RAW side's attitudes though
 
@Shalvenay the source issues are not that. that certainly ignited certain tensions, but it's not the root of our problems right now.
 
2:26 AM
@doppelgreener yeah -- it's more of an aggravating factor
 
some of the problems are how those attitudes may be being applied, at the closest of it
yeah it is
 
Yeah. It has helped escalate things even further because it's already a sensitive issue, but we have to be able to see the forest for the trees.
 
We've got plenty of folk running around thinking one playstyle is superior and another is a blight on the hobby. But they keep their mouths shut or get hit with the clue bat until they do.
If that were all that's going on, it'd be resolved the same way.
 
Moderation, at minimum, has not been very careful about how it interacts with users and has ideas about how the site should work which are sometimes different from the community's. Users, at minimum, carry baggage from the greater climate of gaming and have equally developed ideas about how the site should work, but they go in many different directions that can't always be satisfied simultaneously.
Moderators put a lot of time and effort into keeping the site running smoothly. They're heavily invested in its well-being. I have complete faith that they don't make any move without devoting serious thought to it and attempting to use their best judgment. However, that also puts them in a position to overlook other perspectives.
 
2:56 AM
Users don't know everything that goes on between moderators, and they have reason to feel left out of the conversation. They have, at various times, been told that their concerns aren't valid and even insulted over differences in opinion by mods acting both in and out of official capacity.
It needs to be acknowledged that we're not just upset about nothing, even in the face of users with bones to pick. They exist, and not letting the conversation devolve into petty bone-picking is important. It makes everything that much harder. But that doesn't mean there are no valid concerns. It's all too easy to point at one person being unreasonable and conclude that everyone is. Even those being unreasonable got to that point in a specific context.
 
@Ahriman I posted the meta question number two, and hope I have not made a mistake in so doing.
 
@BESW will do
 
3:12 AM
I do really admire your commitment and careful efforts, and I'm glad you're taking initiative. If you'd done this yesterday I'd be all for it, but in the last 24 hours I've gained a very different understanding of what should be done. It started with that convo.
 
I may or may not answer that meta. It all comes back to this, though: if I can't be reasonably sure that it will be taken seriously by moderation, there's little point in engaging. Neither BESW's conversation with SSD nor various other comments from mods give me much hope. That's where I am right now. I would like to be able to change my mind.
 
My new attitude is "Go to the CMs. Everyone. About any or all of this, whatever is your particular concern. Let them sort it out because obviously 2+ years of us trying is just making it worse."
 
I can respect that attitude, but I can't say I'm very hopeful about that process, either.
 
@BESW Where did you get team@stackoverflow.com?
There is a team email but the CMs are community@stackexchange.com
 
I'm glad people are trying, and if I had been around for more of this, I might have already gone that avenue. However, intervention from above, if it actually comes, is not going to substitute communication within.
 
3:18 AM
@BESW I was really worried that I'd screw up the question / idea by acting too quickly. I am not sure that we can't address this within the community via the meta, and maybe I am being an optimist: which is a real stretch for me as IRL I am prone to cynicism as a reflex
 
(@BESW I'm updating the email in your answer.)
 
4:03 AM
@doppelgreener It's the email that replied to yours, the one you CC'd me on.
 
You are also welcome to bring up any concerns you have about me with me. I'm always around.
 
Yup, that's what I tried in the first place, years ago. And you were right back then--I should have just taken it to a CM.
 
So what's the concern?
 
@mxyzplk Originally? That you were rude and dismissive and sarcastic to people. That when asked to tone it down you said you felt it was within the appropriate bounds of expressing an opinion, or that it was okay if someone else was rude first, or that it's not rude if the specific words aren't swears or profanities.
 
@mxyzplk I'm a little unclear on this. Are you specifically trying to avoid any general discussions and limiting questions to one-on-one discussions? Because it sure sounded in meta like you weren't really open to any further discussion from anyone who e.g. upvoted meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6080/… or commented on it.
(I just realized it's probable that that sounds sarcastic; please don't read it that way. That's not my intent.)
 
4:09 AM
@BESW While I definitely sometimes don't express myself well, I've certainly tried to improve that and have edited my posts and whatnot when someone expresses a concern. Have I been doing this to you lately or is this about that incident from a couple years ago still?
 
@mxyzplk Oh, I've definitely noticed a significant decline in outright attacks against folks by you over the last year or so. I'm very happy about that and it's one reason I backed off for a while. But passive-aggressive dismissal of peoples' concerns if you don't understand or agree with them is still a significant problem, and at this point I honestly can't tell if that's you or the mod team as a whole.
 
@NathanTuggy I think that the format of that meta, which is basically "hey everyone complain about everything you don't like," is a priori nonconstructive. I have never seen giant gripe sessions IRL have any positive outcome and wouldn't expect one here to do so either. I am always open to people with a concrete concern about something I've done to mention it. Heck, meta posts about specific things we/I should change are fine. But "dredge up every complain from 6 years of site operation?"
@BESW Do you have any specific examples?
 
I actually like that meta. Its tone is positive and constructive, and feels like something I might actually want to post a measured, charitable problem-description in. Whether it will be constructive or I'll answer, I can't/don't know. But since people were asking about diversity in mods' voices… :)
 
@mxyzplk I wasn't expecting it to be about dredging up outdated complaints, but about voicing current ones, with a number of answers <10.
And, notably, each one a separate ... post, if you will... on meta. (I guess you meant question. I'm not sure whether the distinction matters.)
 
@NathanTuggy Not what the meta says, but sure. I'm all about specifics.
 
Any one example of these would be "oh, he's having a bad day." I'm all about good faith optimism and not looking for problems. But these are individual examples from the last week of common patterns of behaviour that I've been seeing for years.
 
@BESW Well, I can appreciate you don't like how I express myself.
 
@mxyzplk So just say "if this turns into a useless grudgefest, bringing up stale issues instead of current ones, this won't get anywhere" and give the users a chance to keep things together.
 
@NathanTuggy Am I doing otherwise?
 
4:19 AM
@mxyzplk That particular example isn't "I don't like how you said it."
I'm saying that you totally changed what I was saying when you re-phrased it.
 
@mxyzplk The comments you made on that question sounded like this: "have your useless little grudgefest, we won't bother attending because we already know it's pointless, because there are X/Y/Z users in it"
 
I was saying that the specific source you were asking for examples from was poorly chosen, and you turned it into "any request for an example."
 
... as opposed to "this could still go badly wrong, let's be careful to keep this on the rails".
When you express confidence that of course the users upvoting and asking that question cannot, as a group or even individually, manage to do other than bring up old grudges along with new ones and mingle them together in the same mass, you express distrust in us.
I do not think that distrust is warranted.
If that was expressed as an observation of general human nature (as just now) it would be more palatable; a general world-weary cynicism, rather than a specific gazing askance.
 
@BESW Yes, that's what discussions are about, trying to figure out what each other are saying. To me, that sounds like "you didn't know exactly what I was saying - you so hateful." I was certainly not trying to 'dis' you as part of that entire discussion, from my point of view it was a good debate to figure out what we each thought.
Apparently you took away a great deal of negativity from it that wasn't my intention, and I'm honestly not sure someone else reading that transcript would say "boy that guy was really dissing BESW hardcore." Other opinions are welcome, but from my POV it really didn't seem like and wasn't intended that way.
 
@mxyzplk [sigh] On good days I believe that, I really do. But you do it so often (you just did it now, there was nothing about disrespect in anything I said so where did "dis" come into this?) that I'm just tired.
 
4:25 AM
@BESW Come on man. What words shall I pick then?
 
Misunderstanding, misrepresenting, straw-manning?
 
You felt (something) by that discussion.
 
I felt like you didn't care enough to think about my words before you responded.
 
@BESW I don't feel like that was the case. I didn't engage with you on that just for grins. I don't do that. Misunderstanding does not connote ill intent, and I feel that's what you keep charging me with. Maybe I don't "get" you and maybe I don't use the words you would use, but that doesn't mean I'm hostile towards you or out to get you.
 
[shrug] If you didn't have a history of insulting and belittling people, I'd probably have taken the conversation differently. That may be my fault for holding grudges, but it's there.
 
4:30 AM
@BESW hmmmmMmmMMMMMmmm. Alright. I've edited it back.
 
@BESW So what exactly would you have me do about it then? I think that's the real question. To tangentially answer Tuggy's question, if "I can't do anything about it," which is KRyan's claim, then so... How am I supposed to engage with it? If you were me, what would you do?
@NathanTuggy Anyway Tuggy, sorry, I think there's about 2000 good members of this site. There are a couple who have declared themselves generally hostile towards me and the mods in general and - this isn't me putting words in their mouth - are unwilling to accept our authority or judgement or whatever. And then there's others who they have personally poisoned against the site by just reiterating themselves in chat to all the newcomers. So yes, I expect that to continue here, should I not?
 
@mxyzplk So where does this leave me? I've said no such thing, and have not been in chat. If I start a meta post, will that get ignored because users X, Y, and Z upvoted it or made agreeing noises in comments?
 
@mxyzplk For starters, an expression of understanding that your language and behaviour has been consistently Not Nice. It doesn't even have to be an apology if you don't think that'd be sincere, just an acknowledgement. And it shouldn't be to me, I'm just on the sidelines getting a little bit of splatter.
 
(Yes, I'm aware that mods can't see who voted. No one can.)
 
@NathanTuggy That we distrust the community might be an unfortunate message received. It's certainly not intended. Right now there are two huge peaks of stakes raised: KRyan's ultimatum that he must have mxyzplk's head or he will deadlock any policy discussion related to [rules-as-written] on one side; and on the other is "man, we just want to do our jobs" on the mods' side. If there is a valley between those that has much lower-stake concerns, we are totally missing it.
The peaks are rather consuming our available bandwidth.
 
4:37 AM
With that in mind: I don't think you've abused your moderator privileges, and I think you're quite capable as a moderator. But you've said horrible things on this site, unprovoked, about the way people like to play games. You belittle opinions you disagree with and think it's okay to retaliate in kind when people are mean to you. You don't swear or use profanity much, but that's just a dodge; the contempt is no less felt.
This isn't me not liking how you express yourself. This is about acting like a decent person on the Stack Exchange.
Stop using sarcasm quotes.
Stop calling people names.
Stop explaining why you don't think peoples' feelings and opinions are valid.
Keep your temper and your tongue when others aren't nice, and let them wallow in the filth on their own.
Alas, at this point there's nothing you can do on your own, @mxyzplk, to fully fix my distrust in the moderation team as a whole. But if the team isn't talking about how to extend a hand in reconciliation, you can work to make sure they do. Saying "I messed up and will try to do better" is a great starting place for both you and the team.
That admission doesn't let others off the hook, not by a long shot.
 
@BESW Fair enough. I certainly apologize when I've been Not Nice. I have a handful of flagged posts from last year and in most if not all cases (I'd have to check) I've gone back and edited them to be nice. But I'll note it's not many and flag records stay whether they were approved or declined - I think "consistently Not Nice" is not a fair assessment.
 
I know I've been remiss in flagging because I was at a loss for how to flag it. It's really frustrating when a very insightful, cogent comment that should remain on meta has a passive-aggressive slur baked into it.
 
@BESW That I do take exception to, however, because it assumes other mods have been doing something wrong. They haven't. We discuss copiously, all policy issues, whenever there's squabbles - there seems to be some kind of "oh they are bad because they haven't called the cops on mxyzplk" when there is no evidence that they should have been called, and no one else has either.
 
@mxyzplk Oh, this isn't just about not "calling the cops" on you. I'm still not sure what I think the mod team should have done, if anything, there.
 
I mean, we've had 2/3 turnover in the mod team in the last year. Maybe if all the old mods and all the new mods are doing something, they're doing it because they think it's the right thing?
 
4:46 AM
The mod team needs to work on presentation as a whole, and on perspective and empathy. Pixie's said some very good things about it above, and I talked with SSD about some challenges and strategies yesterday.
Overall I think the mods are doing a good job. There's a few blind spots and missteps that need to get fixed. One of those problems is thinking that if they didn't do anything wrong, then there's no need to take action about the bad blood which has arisen anyway.
11 hours ago, by Pixie
And I do believe it's vital. What I've seen in my time here has been disheartening. What @BESW has described of past incidents is many times worse. There is serious bad blood here. If it's ever going to heal, it's going to take open acknowledgment and a sincere improvement effort from the moderation team.
 
@NathanTuggy What gives us pause is when people hitch their wagon to KRyan's. There's a long history of friction there that is probably not obvious to newer members. That history and its related issues are big enough that it drowns out any issues people have, and confuses us as to what the problem actually is. (Because we think we know most people are probably not gunning for our heads, but we're not sure what they actually want then.)
 
@BESW We'd love to take action if we knew what to do to remove the bad blood. But there's no clear path forward there. We have a certain cadre of "we have declared we'll never be satisfied" users, which we can't really do anything about, and we have some metas that are super duper vague. "Let's use our words" and "is there a problem" are not very clear or actionable.
 
And... yeah, the mod turnover makes things awkward. Especially since the election was somewhat marred by resentment over mods taking individuals aside for "grooming."
 
And unfortunately your quote there is reinforcing my impression, which is that a lot of this is "echo chamber" complaint. How many people have something happen to them they really object to, and how many are just glomming on because "someone told them in chat it was bad?" I have been reading chat a lot, and I keep seeing quotes exactly like that. "I never saw anything but X or Y told me so man there must be a problem."
 
@mxyzplk Yup, that's a problem.
 
4:52 AM
@NathanTuggy What BESW's doing here is a good example of how important it is to keep distinct from larger issues that are only kinda inspiration, not the point of one's own issue. Instead of going "yeah, why are you giving short shrift over the RAW tag", presenting specific issues separately from that so we can even see them.
 
We are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation. Frankly it would have been better for the site for us to consistently enforce Be Nice in the chat, even when it's complaints about us. (No one can claim a lot of what certain people have said in chat would ever have been tolerated if it was about anyone else but a mod.) But of course we don't want to do that because then "we're stifling dissent" or whatever.
 
Whoop, seems that's not an issue. Good.
 
But by not doing it, you have people (scrolling up a page) who are getting their social anxiety triggered by all this.
We're not crying "being a mod is hard, waaah" but once you have actual responsibility for the site, it's not really so clear what the right thing to do is.
 
I don't have any magical answers. Hard work and open communications are needed from everyone, and it'll take a while to heal.
And yes, the chat needs to crack down on that harder. I need to.
I'm quite aware that moderation is a very difficult role and I'm happy you three are willing to take it on. There isn't a clear "right thing to do."
 
@SevenSidedDie To speak for myself, two things: first, real consensus with everyone that is not in fact hopelessly stubborn and a detriment to the site about what to do; second, a specific, actionable process or system or outline of how the sorts of problems that have come up will be avoided in the future.
 
4:57 AM
But it's clear that acting like there's not a problem didn't work.
 
It seems like the moderation here is often, if you will, CG or CN, rather than LN or LG... and unfortunately that's not really working so great.
 
The diamond doesn't come with magical answers either. So sure, object to things you think are wrong, but also try to cut us some slack because it takes time to work through these things. And "open communication" is often just as bad as not.
We could have just made a RAW tag change for example. We make tag changes every day without meta referendums. But we didn't, we tried to have a post about it (no gather data!) and another post about gathering data (no you suck!) So everyone's whipped into a frenzy regardless of how much we do on meta abou tit.
 
@NathanTuggy Problems can never be prevented, only navigated. But on the rest I agree: irreconcilable differences can't be allowed to paralyse the site.
 
@NathanTuggy In what way? We take pains to ensure it is consistent, hence our discussing things amongst ourselves etc.
 
@mxyzplk Aye. That's why I'm urging the mod team to talk about presentation. Again, I've had that conversation with SSD and suggested another Stack to look at.
 
4:59 AM
@BESW Cool, that's helpful.
 
I don't think anyone reasonable expects the mods to get things right all the time. But there's been a distinct impression that the mods don't recognise when they make errors or learn from their mistakes.
 
@mxyzplk Hmm, I think we're getting somewhere. There's internal consistency, but little or no conscious process for involving ... well, users. And even a hostility towards trying to add any.
 
@NathanTuggy This is what I've talked to SSD about.
 
@BESW That may be true some of the time. But it's also true some of the time that we don't believe it was a mistake. And in the end, we're the ones who need to do one thing or the other. Not everyone can always be happy, and I don't think that's an expectation we can or should chase.
 
In recent memory Puzzling.se had some... challenges... from which emerged a new strategy for how mods present ideas in meta.
 
5:01 AM
@NathanTuggy Moderators can't be LG or LN: we are the stop-gap when the rules don't work. We can at best aim for NG, and sometimes CG is best that can be managed.
 
@SevenSidedDie Formal processes are good at preventing some classes of problems. That is what they are for. An awful lot of work has been done on all kinds of stuff over the years; that's what constitutions and Robert's Rules of Order and contracts and all manner of everything are for.
 
Right now, RPG.SE mods consult together and present meta with a united front that feels unassailable. So naturally people think they have to argue: the reasonable discussion already happened and they weren't invited.
3
 
@SevenSidedDie I disagree with that on principle and based on experience with mods on other sites. I do not see any other site that I'm involved in where the mods feel the need to go cowboy.
 
@BESW We post these things on meta for feedback. "Don't talk about it with the other mods first!" is not, I believe, a reasonable ask.
 
@mxyzplk That's why I've been saying presentation rather than procedure.
 
5:03 AM
@SevenSidedDie Make judgement calls, yes. Defy mobs, yes. Fill in holes in precedent, yes.
 
I think that's just a matter of presentation, and effectively the mods can de-escalate meta tensions simply by changing how they ask for feedback.
 
Can we leave aside agreement or disagreement over two-axis alignments? I thought we knew better than to even try to apply those in a real life situation.
4
 
I get that. I don't see any change in community response when we do. The RAW post wasn't a "we have decided what to do neener neener." Didn't matter.
 
@doppelgreener If you like; it serves as shorthand but it may be more confusing than helpful. Hopefully my other posts are clarifying.
 
We certainly can do that more. I'm just saying I don't see a difference when we do, so your premise that "that will change things" may not be valid.
 
5:04 AM
@mxyzplk The RAW post hit a... raw nerve. [sunglasses] The reaction there would've been dramatic no matter what because of personality clashes. Please don't use it as a sole point of reference.
 
@NathanTuggy Alignments are probably not a good shorthand. Let me say that principled, creative action is more the rôle of a Stack mod than an implementor of static policy. We fill the gaps.
 
@SevenSidedDie That's true. We don't have or need or want Robert's Rules of Order - we have a pretty well trod way all the stacks work. Anyone can open and vote on a meta etc.
 
@mxyzplk I'm not sure how we can do the presentation thing differently, but I'm going to talk to one or more of the Puzzling mods to see what they've learned. New ideas are new.
 
@SevenSidedDie Sure.
 
@SevenSidedDie So why is this the only Stack where I and others run into problems with lacking procedure and the impression of mods just doing their own thing?
 
5:08 AM
And we could probably get better at demanding clearer answers in meta. I have to say, we have to do exception handling more often when we have a meta question where there's a mess of answers all with largely similar votes none of which are a clear "Let's do this."
 
@mxyzplk Of course, that doesn't always work out. To take another sole point of reference, the game-rec debacle started out as a very simple miscommunication, but the mod team responded with a stone wall of unassailable "It's not our fault a dozen people didn't understand what was going on because we were assuming a precedent that pre-dates most of them joining the site." That escalated things fast.
 
Meta is more discussiony by nature but I feel like that's really compromised the effectiveness of meta Qs on voting on courses of action
 
I'm more active on other Stacks than here, so this thing of "we just work exactly the way all Stacks do" doesn't cut a lot of ice with me.
 
Yeeah. I'm very disoriented by other stacks after spending so much time here.
(For the most part I'm a lot happier with the way things are here. Mostly.)
 
@mxyzplk I am certainly not just glomming on because someone told me in chat it was bad. Had I not witnessed troubling behavior with my own eyes, I wouldn't have spoken at all. I can believe @BESW not just because I have known him to be generally reliable but because of what I have observed myself. I don't intend to talk about his observations at length because they're not my own, and he does a fine job of that himself. I do think that it's important context, though.
 
5:10 AM
@BESW Well exactly.... Frankly a lot of the other stacks are not nearly as well run as this IMNSHO.
 
@mxyzplk I agree completely! You guys have done a great job and don't get enough recognition for it.
Just... yanno, don't be content with relative excellence.
 
@Pixie Sure. If you see troubling behavior, speak out about it specifically. That's all I'm saying.
The 'general air of discontent because people are talking' is pretty hard to do anything about.
 
Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to unblock all the D&D tags again.
 
Same for you Tuggy, specific examples of "cowboy modding" are helpful, telling us about your impression, while a valid data point, is just about completely inactionable from us.
I appreciate you offering potential solutions, but XY problem and all that.
 
@mxyzplk The comment quoted in meta.stackexchange.com/questions/274163/… was part of a chain asking for (current and) future proposals to more cleanly separate problem and solution to avoid miscommunication and doubt. This was pooh-poohed with the rationale that process of that sort is not for Meta RPG to have.
 
5:15 AM
@BESW Yeah I think 5e is causing interesting problems. (For example how no one is sure what RAW means, let alone the RAW tag...) It rolled back a lot from 4e and even 3.5e's approach, but is a "big tent" so people can bring their own approaches, so there's a lot of non-common-ground in even simple 5e questions right now
 
@NathanTuggy I honestly can't say why: I don't have the same view, so I can't intuit what you mean. Can you unpack that at all?
 
@NathanTuggy Feel free and do it anyway. Have we quashed that meta? No. Look, I get what you're saying but frankly it starts coming across to me like "we demand you post to this meta." and no. You don't get to tell me what I do. DO what you want, I personally (and othe rmods, and other users) will participate as they feel moved.
 
@mxyzplk Oh, I've blocked every edition tag. I miss helping people clean up their questions and all, but it was so much drama.
 
@SevenSidedDie Well, the basic problem identified at the time was that people weren't sure which votes were cast on which part of the answer: the problem, or the idea to solve that problem. So the proposal was to separate those so it would be obvious and everyone would know what consensus had been achieved.
@SevenSidedDie The "cowboyness" came in the apparent attitude that it didn't matter; the mods knew, and that was enough for anyone, now and forever.
 
@NathanTuggy Yeah? I still don't know, after I read both those metas. "Let's use our words" and "are there a problem." "Too broad."
I certainly appreciate trying to get to specifics, but both of those are not within a country mile of such.
 
5:19 AM
Yeah, I urged that first "use our words" meta to at least say what their impression of the problem was, but... I think there was concern it'd jump the gun and bypass the "facilitated" part? Could've used more work.
 
@NathanTuggy I'm not sure how that impression arose. From the inside, I thought we were saying we didn't know that it would be useful, not that we knew it wasn't. We were unclear on the value of the proposed course of action and our participation in it.
 
I have no idea what I would even post to them, since I'm not clear what I'm responding to, therefore have no idea what my response would consist of, so I'm not.
And yes, as SSD says, when we all read it all the mods had the same general reaction. Turn it around, go read that meta, and say "if I were a site mod what answer could I possible have for this?" If you have one, run for mod next time, because you're one up on is.
 
@SevenSidedDie Hmm. I expected "due process" and similar terms to have their usual meaning: taking extra care to make sure mistakes aren't made by double-checking, making more information public than strictly necessary, making it harder to fudge things, and so on.
 
Tangential: can mods edit others' comments rather than just delete them?
 
@BESW Yes.
 
5:22 AM
@BESW Yes
 
(It shows a pencil though still, as I recall.)
 
Excellent. That clears up some of my confusion about what to do with certain situations.
 
We usually don't because comments are ephemeral, but if there's a comment that is mostly good but partially problematic (or obsolete or whatnot) we do it
 
I believe mod-comment-editing is not constrained by time, either.
 
It's gotta be pretty upvoted though, to not just go
@NathanTuggy No, not unless the mod bothers to do that as markup specifically
or wait, do you mean like strikethrough text?
Or "a pencil icon to edit it"
 
5:24 AM
Anyway, given the mention of "due process", didn't that bring up the usual reasons to try to adhere to that?
@mxyzplk The pencil indicator by an edited comment.
 
@NathanTuggy oh yeah totally. thought you meant strikethrough text.
@NathanTuggy Here's where I honestly lose complete track of what you're talking about
 
@mxyzplk So... to make sure that policies and decisions that impact a lot of people (or several people a great deal) are as above reproach as possible?
 
I'm specifically thinking about all the times I've not flagged a meta comment because it had important content but was said in a very Not Nice way.
 
@NathanTuggy Yes, that sounds good. And... what? That's in reference to what?
(well, perhaps without the parenthetical insertion)
 
@mxyzplk To meta policy decisions.
 
5:26 AM
@BESW flag away
 
@mxyzplk Now I know. [rainbow]
 
@NathanTuggy Sure, meta policy decisions should be as above reproach as possible - or at least, as feasible given time constraints, coherence of the discussion, etc. We agree. So and? Did we disagree with this at some point?
 
@NathanTuggy Now I'm really not sure what you're referring to?
 
@mxyzplk Well, apparently so; either it was thought infeasible to so much as ask a new question, or that was not considered relevant to avoid any possibility of later doubt.
 
I understand sometimes there's misunderstandings, like the game-rec thing. It happens. But has someone said "we don't want clear meta guidance on things" somewhere?
@NathanTuggy What the heck are we talking about man? the "use your words->is there a problem" set of questions? This is getting so vague it's hard to discuss.
 
5:30 AM
I'm lost.
 
Anyone can ask whatever question they want on meta, unless I missed a memo.
 
@mxyzplk Let me find the link
 
Back up and use no indefinite articles for a little while.
 
nouns ftw
 
@mxyzplk meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/5843/… has been my primary subject since I mentioned it. It's been the face (for good or bad) on the mother meta of this whole "distrust" thing.
 
5:31 AM
That was definitely a tipping point.
 
So when I say "ask a new question" I mean "ask a new question to see if in fact the proposal for game-recs should move forward like XYZ".
Except that I don't really care about one policy decision nearly as much as, y'know, all of them.
 
The learning to take away from that is to be more careful when articulating what a meta discussion will and won't result in.
 
So the pattern of "start a discussion, post an answer that makes a good observation, stamp that policy without clarifying that" is not good to my mind, and I wanted to prevent that.
 
...And to not tell people "You decided this" when they're saying quite clearly "I did not decide this."
 
Absolutely. And also that it helps to make meta questions specific. Like I said in that very comment thread - great, open a meta Q with a specific proposal to keep recs on topic. Instead it was all "but we're grouchy!" without any such proposal.
 
5:33 AM
At the time, d7 basically said in comments that that kind of extra effort wasn't necessary.
 
Yeah. Well, there was definitely miscommunication on both sides there. But yes, as diamond mods we have a responsibility to the site in general, and so yes, sometimes we take action when there's no clear plan that comes out of meta. And no, we won't always wait forever before acting. It's part of the gig.
 
Just, yanno. In the future please avoid telling citizens it was their decision when you do that.
 
I'm going to be totally honest and reiterate that I still don't get the fuss over removing game-recs. "This doesn't seem to be something y'all are committed to following the rules on… Are they unworkable?" "Yes" "Okay then, out the window it all goes." (Edited to change "fuss" to "issue" because my meaning of fuss isn't dismissive, but is likely to be read that way)
 
@mxyzplk So basically, the pattern you'd like is for anyone who disagrees with the way things are interpreted to post a challenge, rather than for such challenges to be obviously impossible.
(Interpreted, referring to the result of consensus)
That sure looks a lot like not taking extra effort to make sure things are above reproach.
 
a) why is it obviously impossible, b) that question links to this question meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/5881/… which is specific and the two most upvoted answers are "yes they're off topic..."
 
5:38 AM
29 mins ago, by BESW
@mxyzplk Of course, that doesn't always work out. To take another sole point of reference, the game-rec debacle started out as a very simple miscommunication, but the mod team responded with a stone wall of unassailable "It's not our fault a dozen people didn't understand what was going on because we were assuming a precedent that pre-dates most of them joining the site." That escalated things fast.
 
@mxyzplk Eventually, yes, the community went back and did follow a more thorough due process.
 
There was no issue with removing s. That was fine and dandy, we agreed to that completely. The issue was with everything else that followed.
And how we were received when various citizens tried to say "whoa, hold on a minute, we're not okay with what just happened."
 
I understand. We felt like there were parts that logically followed. Some people didn't. So a meta was posted to clarify that. And it did. Success?
 
@doppelgreener (Thank you for correcting some glitches in my memory. It's getting a bit late here.)
@mxyzplk Right. My request at the time and now is for that to be, rather than an odd exception, the way mods make sure meta works by default.
 
I understand that it came out with a different result than you wanted. But that's going to happen, man.
 
5:41 AM
I didn't get what the moderators were on about until much later when a mod in chat finally pointed me at a specific old meta post which, if you were aware of it, made everything clear. Without that, it was bananas.
 
It's like I'm talking in french or something right now.
 
@NathanTuggy And I'm going to say it again - we've never stopped anyone from posting a meta question. So do it.
@BESW And I get that. We had a lot more context and so it was clear to us. It's pretty hard to "un-know" what you know so we didn't anticipate every other way people could take it. So yes, communication flaw.
 
@mxyzplk I never said this. And man, I have tried so much to try to communicate what the problem is.
 
@mxyzplk This is something I think the mod team could perhaps work on: learning how to recognise and alleviate ignorance when someone's confused because we don't know everything you do.
 
@doppelgreener IIRC, it was how we approached it. But that mostly had to do with, as mxyzplk puts it, being unable to un-know the context that we didn't know others didn't know.
 
5:45 AM
@SevenSidedDie If your context is a three-year-old meta post and the people going "huh?" have year-old join dates, it's not rocket surgery. Takes self-awareness and specifically knowing this specific sort of confusion happens and being able to recognise it when you see it.
 
@BESW Sure, and that was a takeaway from that discussion. To be fair we did a hefty buttload of linking old metas etc. to try to ensure everyone had the context.
 
@mxyzplk While it's nice to be able to later clarify things, that's not really a substitute for clarifying them up front.
@BESW "specifically knowing this specific sort of confusion happens" is what a defined process is for.
 
@mxyzplk Oh! I just spotted this. To be clear, mod techniques are not directly influencing my anxiety. I apologize if it came off that way. It was directed more at nitsua who was feeling bad for not being around for IRL reasons. I have a thing that makes it hard to people, especially when there's conflict. No one can help that.
 
@NathanTuggy Again I'm not sure what you're talking about. If it's "let's try to have meta questions have much clearer calls to action in the Qs and the As" - yep, done said that, it's important.
 
I can do it, but I have to carefully consider the contents of my interaction budget, if that makes sense. The only thing anyone else has any influence on is whether the ongoing dialog can be productive. I have limited resources.
 
5:46 AM
It's hard to remember all the different possible reasons people might get confused off the top of your head, so... don't remember off the top of your head, write it down.
 
@BESW But it was specifically a three-year-old meta that everyone had been using semi-daily as the touchstone for how to handle rec questions, so it never did occur to us that it might be unfamiliar to anyone who normally engaged with the issue.
 
@Pixie Sure.
@NathanTuggy Again, no idea what you're talking about now
You seem to have something in mind informing your statements that hasn't been shared with us, so it seems like odd random statements. What is that background item?
 
@mxyzplk OK, so, the specific lesson learned here was "people weren't aware of an old meta and the implications from it"
 
Yes quite so.
I seem to have written it down, a couple times even.
 
The more general lesson learned is "what old metas are going to be involved by implication when we make policy decisions? are we mentioning those?"
and so on and so forth.
 
5:48 AM
Quite so. And I'll note we did, but whatever.
 
Basically, process is to make sure that you never make the same mistake twice.
 
Are you saying "think about stuff?" Because believe it or not we have that covered.
OK so let me read the tea leaves. Are you perhaps proposing we put together a "How To Meta" meta Q that has some best practices for Qs and As there?
 
That you made a mistake like this on a six-year-old site is unfortunate, but OK, we can move on. That it took so long to recognize this or realize that it was a preventable problem or take steps to prevent it... those are more serious problems.
 
@NathanTuggy But you see that's not the case.
 
@mxyzplk Possibly! More likely just a mod document.
 
5:50 AM
That problem was identified well ago.
In a similar discussion. like, right after it happened. This isn't some new revelation we have just been guided to.
 
@mxyzplk Sorry, I didn't mean mostly "so long up to now", but "so long at the time".
 
OK, so "learn before we learn it," maybe?
 
@NathanTuggy I still don't think that assuming people weighing in on the rec-questions policy were familiar with the rec-questions policy was even a mistake.
 
Ideally, yes, and I'm actually serious.
 
So look guys, we do learn from our mistakes and adapt. But this is starting to sound like 'well of course you should have known, before it happened. Because process." But we hadn't had that problem before, so that's nonsense.
 
5:51 AM
@SevenSidedDie I'm a bit out of the loop on this conversation. Is this that "Are game-recs on topic" meta?
 
@doppelgreener I believe that's what Tuggy's using as the working example, yeah.
 
@SevenSidedDie BESW mentioned a three year old meta. There's lots of metas from three years ago.
So, nothing to do with what Tuggy's saying.
 
Well, we are trying to elicit what exactly he's saying.
 
I have limited focus so I'm just paying attention to the BESW portion of the conversation.
 
I'm speaking toward the game rec kefuffle, yes. I'd go dig up the relephant meta, but I have work to do and I can't remember what it was right now. It was related to the subject but wasn't a meta I'd've thought to go look at in order to understand what was going on.
 
5:53 AM
I think maybe the 3 year old one is the one that explained the scope of game-rec when we implemented it, that's referenced in the more recent game-rec metas
 
46
Q: Are game recommendation questions on topic?

mxyzplkThis Q&A is out of date - see the new answer (no) in Are Game Recommendation Questions On Topic, Revisited Many Stack Exchange sites, like the similar gaming.SE, do not allow game recommendation questions (aka shopping questions) because they pose an intractable quality problem. And this is af...

This one?
 
As I understand it, Tuggy's saying here that tool-recs becoming off-topic along with game-recs was a mistake of us assuming what people knew.
 
@SevenSidedDie This is an accurate thing to say.
 
@mxyzplk Well, one of the other handy things is that you can learn from other people's mistakes and the processes they've developed, although picking out the most specific lesson here ("link old metas") is probably less practical than the more general principle of trying to give everyone all the background information, even more than needed, enough for someone to find out what they need without much background.
That is, don't assume everyone is completely up to speed.
It's possible that wouldn't have been enough here!
 
And it wasn't, as that meta was directly linked from, best as I can tell, every subsequent meta on the subject.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.
Anyway, it's midnight here, need to turn in.
 
5:56 AM
@NathanTuggy Again, I need this explained in smaller words or something. You seem to be saying that it was wrong of us to assume that people knew the game-rec policy's use, when we were discussing the game-rec policy's use. This doesn't make sense to me, so I think there's some context we need from you to make that make sense?
 
But when I raised the issue of "hey, we didn't really go through the steps"... I got brushed off with the assumption that everything reasonable had been done.
@SevenSidedDie It was, apparently, wrong to assume everyone knew all the ins and outs, yes.
And while I'm far from a communications professor, I can say that "this applies to XYZ by the way" is the sort of background that's normally included in a briefing.
 
Here, let's examine all the language here for a relatively new person:
- There's a three year old meta saying game recommendations are on topic, here's the rules for them.
- This meta then provides stringent rules for how to handle game recommendations.
- The mods understood this to mean "all recommendations ever".
- The new users understood this to mean "that game recommendation tag. Also we apply those rules to published adventures, 'cause they're kinda the same deal."
- The mods asked a question saying "are game recommendations still working?" and discussed problems that occur within the
There was no point at which you made it clear "by the way guys, this is going to affect absolutely every rec question. Are you okay with that?"
 

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