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9:00 PM
And bless her heart, because she's right.
OK, hello. I am here.
@medica - to be clear, I'm saying that messages that bully others should be shot on sight. The users, well... we'll see. I do think warnings are appropriate at the very least.
Hello @Mahnax
I wonder if some of it is because the mods have other things to attend to.
Hi manhax.
there was a question last night that I asked of all the moderators. I would like your opinion of it.
Oh, sure. Let me find it.
Ah, yes. You tried to ping me, but you spelled my username wrong. I see.
One sec.
oh, dear. Sorry about that!
9:06 PM
OK, so. The question.
I saw that question last night when it was at -4 votes and 3 closevotes, IIRC. The action I took as a regular user, with closing privileges, was to vote to close. I believe that the question is quite opinion-based. There are very few citations for this sort of thing, and finding any sort of verifiable definitions might be difficult. Since Urban Dictionary really doesn't count as a source, I think that at the current time, it's too difficult to answer. It's an up-and-coming slang term [TBC]
@Mahnax - that's a good answer.
However, as a moderator, my actions would be different. I would not vote to close this question unless I were to cast the fifth and final vote. I might downvote it, since the question does not show any attempt on the OP's part to find an answer, but I would not vote to close it unilaterally. I would let it be until the community had acted first, and I would keep any discussion occurring in the comments in mind as well before casting a fifth vote.
I think I agree with you.
Those are good answers, and in line with what I would want to do and how I would like to act. One of my question was: is it ever acceptable to bring a question like this to chat to alert members that a question exists that you feel should be closed?
@medica I think that it is certainly acceptable to bring a question to chat to encourage further discussion, but bringing it to chat with the intent to have it closed might be a tad presumptuous. I tend to ask people what they think about questions rather than asking them to close them.
9:12 PM
@Mahnax Good answer and good attitude.
Thank you both! I think we have a good set of candidates to choose from this year; I'm excited to see what ELU's future holds.
It seems that many of the candidates have attitudes similar to each other.
except for that idiot phenry.
Yes, there is not a lot of controversy.
@AndrewLeach Yes, although I think we have a few different points of view on ELL.
9:15 PM
@phenry I think you're trying to lose this, lol! You see that people are taking you seriously, and you've realized the work you'd have to do! ;)
@medica - yep. I've created a monster: me.
:D See?
Three questions I'd like to ask all the candidates, except I don't have the guts, and I don't think anyone will want to answer them anyway:
1. Who are you currently planning to vote for, other than yourself?
2. Which non-candidate would you nominate to join the race, if you could?
3. Which candidate would you least like to see get elected?
@phenry Votes are private!!! :)
@phenry Mitch
9:17 PM
@phenry I'm only going to answer the second, because as @medica said, votes are private. Also, question three would be rude to answer.
@phenry The one with the least experience on the forum.
I'd need to think about those questions. And then about whether to publish an answer.
(I give you all permission to name me as the person you'd least like to see get elected, incidentally. I promise I won't get offended.)
We have thoughtful mod candidates.
But what if you are not?
But yes, question #3 is pretty well out-of-bounds, I understand that.
9:19 PM
@phenry Probably Martha.
Actually, I'll do that thinking in the other order. And I've decided not to say.
@phenry Evan Carroll ;)
wasnt Martha once a moderator? Am I mistaken about that?
@medica No, not unless she was one before I showed up.
@Mahnax - I think this is the winning answer.
9:21 PM
maybe I'm confusing her with someone else. I know she ran one year.
Perhaps. I'm off for awhile, time to pick up my vehicle from the shop.
See you later!
bye @Mahnax
Feel free to ping me if you have more questions. Good luck to all candidates!
same to you.
#1 - currently medica and MrHen, both of whom I've talked with extensively here. But most (not all) candidates are still in the running
#2 - Mari-Lou A
#3 I think I'll hold close to the vest for the moment, but it shouldn't be hard to figure out my answer.
9:25 PM
I think Mari-Lou would has demonstrated again and again her deep affiliatiom with the site.
She has passion to see it succeed. I agree I would have liked to see Mari-Lou as a candidate.
You might be what this site needs, Mr. Henry.
I don't see radical change occurring with the rest of us.
You are not a "What? Me worry?" candidate. (for those of you who don't know, that's Alfred E. Neuman's motto - pHenry's avatar.)
However, the social conscience of Che Guevara.
@phenry The danger in that plank is you are sort of appointing yourself the judge and jury regarding what constitutes "bullying". How are you planning to keep yourself accountable to the rest of the community?
@phenry I agree. Bullying is pure, unabashed evil. But shouldn't we also try to teach people what comes across as bullying? Not everyone "gets" it and the grey area here seems rather large.
@MrHen - Well, moderators already have the power to delete messages that are "rude or offensive", among other things. I think scoring cheap points off of someone who doesn't have the understanding necessary to fight back qualifies as rude and offensive.
I do think the worst comments should be deleted. They are not only unkind, but to anyone reading the question, they indicate the willingness of the site to tolerate this behavior.
There are grey zones which I would personally be hesitant to do anything but ask the commenter privately to tone it down.
@phenry I don't consider those questions appropriate to answer for a few different reasons. Firstly, the election is anonymous for a very good reason and I don't think anyone should feel pressured into sharing who they voted for. Secondly, I don't think it is appropriate to use my role as a candidate to try to influence anyone else's voting decisions aside from giving them reasons to vote for or against me.
If they did not do so after a couple of attempts, I might start just deleting his rude comments.
9:35 PM
The comments that I've flagged for this sort of behavior have all been deleted and the flags deemed helpful. So I'm not really saying I'd do something different from what's already happening. I'm just stating it explicitly.
@phenry Haha, perhaps you speak too soon! I still have time to unchange your mind. :)
@MrHen - yes, that's understandable. I was just being provocative.
Yes. I understand. Also, deleting them directly removes them from sight.
@medica Oh, don't call him Mr. Henry. That just really confuses my chat scanning.
@MrHen - ha ha, good thing I don't see a problem with improperly influencing people, right? ;)
9:36 PM
I agree more than disagree.
Could I step out of my candidate shoes for a moment and play Devil's Advocate?
I was being polite. ;)
@AndrewLeach - please do.
@phenry I suppose I'd agree but I think "being offensive" is easier to judge than "being a bully". Bullies can be clever and deliberately live in the grey area so their actions are more defensible.
There's a difference between dealing with what the community flags and acting unilaterally.
9:38 PM
But I understand your intent and think the motives are good. I just think it is a dangerous area to tread.
There's a line, and different people draw it in different places.
@phenry That is certainly good evidence that your judgment is in tune with expectations. :)
This may be why the current mods don't act unilaterally, but do act on what is flagged.
@AndrewLeach @phenry doesn't mind Devil's Advocates. I've been pestering him all election on his positions and opinions. :)
That is, moderators are exception-handlers. The community makes the rules and collectively draws the line.
9:40 PM
@AndrewLeach This is true, and I think about that as well. But I also think that if we can deal with truly offensive matter immediately, the site is more peaceful, and has the appearance of not tolerating crap.
But a "direct" response to what would be a Gimme the codez question on SO might appear rude but might actually be what's required.
I know some moderators do remove comments when they see them. The problem is that we don't have a lot of mods here, and sometimes offensive comments aren't noticed untill the flag review,
@medica Ironically, that's not actually true. If you remove it immediately then no one saw it get removed and people think the moderators aren't doing anything. Any crap that does make it through is evidence that the site tolerates crap but there is not much you can do to reveal evidence that the site doesn't tolerate crap. It's an interesting Catch-22.
What sort of thing is really offensive?
@AndrewLeach - I suppose that's why I said that I consider bullying of non-native speakers grounds for deleting a comment. I'm not saying I'll unilaterally change the rules, I'm saying here's how I interpret the rules as applying to situation X. Someone who votes for me deserves to understand how I interpret the rules. And I'll gladly be as specific as someone wants me to, if I can.
9:43 PM
@phenry I think clear examples is a good start.
Not that I have an arsenal of such comments ready to go. :P
I'll start. Using the word pineapple would have to go: I'll concede that. What else?
(I cannot attest to that, MrHen, but well can believe it) We have site guideline about what is and isn't acceptable.
@MrHen - there's the rub; most of the comments I might bring here for an example have probably been deleted, even if I knew where to look.
Don't link. Just write examples.
Insulting someone's sexuality would go.
Sexual comments in response to non-sexual comments are offensive, which is not in the guidelines, but which I have experienced.
@AndrewLeach I commented once on what a headless body would be called, and someone angry replied to me, "What would you call my foreskin? You know, that little bit on the end of my penis?"
9:47 PM
okay, well, here's one from my flag history: Someone who was clearly a non-native speaker wrote a question that began "I am trying to more efficient in engiislh". A comment came back along the lines of "Oh, I happen to be fluent in engiislh."
Don't do that. I mean, c'mon. Not cool.
It was a bad question, but mocking the guy wasn't going to make it a better question.
@AndrewLeach How would you handle that?
Delete it and write the standard comment about comments being intended to request clarification. Please keep comments in scope.
@AndrewLeach - Wait, what? "Pineapple"? That's... what??
Matt Ellen on September 20, 2011

Hello there Paul!

I understand you’re staying in England to learn the language.

That should be “I am here to learn English.”

I think you mean “Please explain to me.”

Well, you were explaining your reason for coming to the UK. In English, we explain our reasoning by saying I am [present continuous verb] to [verb]. For example:

“I am reading to learn.”

“I am running to catch up.”

We would not say “I am running for catching up”.

So, Paul, how has your week been? …

ah. ha ha.
@medica - Female contributors really come in for a surprising amount of crap here, considering that we're not here to discuss politics or gender dynamics or anything of that nature. That really needs to stop.
9:54 PM
A random collection of flagged and deleted comments from the past few months. What would you, as a moderator, do with these?
> Well, then, bullshit. That's what the question designer is doing, after all. Or accuse them of bullshitting. That's the way one practices criticism. All they're really interested in is how well you spell, and whether you know how to use a semicolon.
The OP never asked about alternatives to *want*. The question is about the **correct use and placement of *want***. Any conjecture of *wont*, though natural and highly tempting, would be totally inappropriate and digressive.
There is no such word, and there is no such crime. This is bullshit misogynist propaganda.
@phenry I agree it's true.
@Shog9 - good grief, I need to copy these into a text editor before I can judge.
A Shog9, I was in the magna cum loudly thread. It was one of the least offensive comments there. why not post the original bad comment that produced the cascade of wannabe's? In context, one can better form an opinion about some of those comments, some of which I would definately leave up and let the community decide.
Some of those are obviously deletion material. Others less obviously so, and might depend on context. BUT if it's upset someone, it's likely the entire context needs to be removed too.
Some are non-constructive rather than downright offensive. The first one, for example.
@medica these are raw flagged comments, as you might see them in the moderator tools. Only their authors' names have been removed.
No one ever said comment moderation was easy or fun
9:59 PM
@AndrewLeach The last one is . . . mysterious.
It must have been flagged for using Plz. :)
I'm intrigued by the ones where I can't imagine what context could have possibly given rise to them.
But I would have removed the magna cum loudly comment because it was part of a thread of directed at a user who had innocently edited cum in the title (not the body) to c**, because it was not really about a Latin word but abour elaculation.
I guess it wasn't you who flagged that one.
@AndrewLeach - I think constructiveness is important. If the comment genuinely adds to the discussion, and the rudeness/offensiveness is a judgment call, I would try to give the commenter the benefit of the doubt. If it adds nothing, I would be more likely to give the flagger the benefit of the doubt.
well, that was enlightening.
10:11 PM
@phenry Non-Native Speaker = NNS = ananas = pineapple
@Mahnax - whoa. That's... non-intuitive.
That's why it would have to go. It's an in-joke at the expense of someone who would never make the connection.
@phenry I tend to avoid using it because it comes off as derogatory to me in some cases.
@AndrewLeach Exactly.
@Shog9 I still see the moved to Thrash message. You should really remove that too. ducks
10:15 PM
throws a bag of oranges at MrHen
(Am I helping?)
I think some of the comments are delete-on-sight material. Some are not. Context is important. Name calling, identifying users by name and making fun of them is delete-on-sight. This is what our oun guidelines say. "Name calling will not ne tolerated."
aaaanyway. Point was that some comments are blatantly inappropriate, but that's not always the case. Generally-speaking, we recommend erring on the side of just deleting comments if they could be misconstrued, because who needs that kind of drama? If it's important, put it in an answer.
I agree with you.
I would have no difficulty in deleting some of those comments.
I'm going to pretty much echo what the others said in terms of the comments. Some are obviously an immediate deletion. Some require context to evaluate properly, but generally I have a pretty good head for what is and isn't appropriate. If it's offending someone, it should probably go.
10:20 PM
One of the more useful mod tools ^^^
I'd have no difficulty with some of them. However, not everyone can be everywhere so they would remain until flagged or happened across.
@Shog9 Wait, migrate to urban dictionary?
@Mahnax shame that one's always greyed out
@Shog9 Haha.
is the disabled "migrate question to urban dictionary" option real? because that is AWESOME.
(I assume it's permanently disabled and is a joke option)
10:24 PM
@phenry I think there's usually a real option where that one is… :-)
So if there were a comment war and a forest of flags, does locking a question suspend all activity on it, including commenting? (That's would be an extreme reaction, but allow everyone to calm down)
@AndrewLeach - Yes I believe it does.
@AndrewLeach You can't do much of anything on a locked question. You can't comment, vote, …
A: What is a "locked" post?

Justin StandardWhat does it mean to lock a post? A question or answer which is locked can no longer accept: edits up-votes, down-votes comments, comment up-votes new answers (questions only) close votes, reopen votes (questions only) In the case of locked questions, the (unlocked) answers are not bounded t...

> Posts should generally only be locked in cases where something seriously bad is happening.
@snailboat sometimes in cases of rollback wars, I would lock a post.
@snailboat Yes, like a comment war, or an edit war. Thanks for finding that.
10:29 PM
A 24° lock isn't a major inconvenience compared to an ugly roll-back war and the flurry of comments that ensue. That's just pollution of our site.
It rarely happens though. I don't remember one on ELU.
@AndrewLeach I do. So do you. It was the God-cock question.
At least, not one which wasn't vandalism by the author.
I remember one post with over a hundred comments on it. :-)
@medica ??? Goes off to have a look...
10:33 PM
@AndrewLeach Grace Note locked it because the rollbacks were getting out of hand. A lock on the question allowed everyone to calm down. It was the right call. I learned a lot from Grace Note that evening. How moderators listen to both sides, and make both sides feel heard. To remain impartial. Good things. She showed wisdom.
...returns Oh that one.
@AndrewLeach - Oh my Cock. I just learned something new.
It only really works because of Shakespeare's pun. But yes, Grace Note has much experience to draw on.
I had my own run-in on Christianity.SE, where my tag edits were reversed more than once. I flagged the post myself.
@phenry See, you are a cultural neophyte ELUwise. :)
@tchrist - I have a low awareness of things that happen in chat.
the signal to noise ratio is just too low.
10:46 PM
It does bring up the question of chat, though. And whether anything goes is the correct attitude towards chat. There was a lot of noise in a recent Meta post about it.
Personally, I feel a 30 minute suspension for really inappropriate utterances is not all that punitive, and agree with shog9. I myself don't see a lot there which I would be tempted to flag. Is chat a place where a user who wanders in would be maimed for life? No. Should it be toned down because users do go there for questions? I don't know that.
...actually, I just did a search on "pineapple" in the transcripts for the main ELU room, and it's... shocking... how much it reads like an ethnic slur.
seriously, I kind of feel like taking a shower now.
@snailboat - I just read the rules. I can state from experience that these rules in chat are often broken. So what is the use of rules which get broken constantly?
@medica the problem is there are maybe a few dozen chat regulars, and considerably more active users on the site. Chat should not alienate the latter.
10:53 PM
@Shog9 - then there should be far more flags coming from chat.
There's a bit of... uh, flag-shaming that tends to occur
for lack of a better term
@phenry Yeah. Once I realized how bad it was, I stopped using it.
@Shog9 I was in chat the day a recent user was suspended. If someone mentions God in there, a free-for-all usually occurs, and it's very one sided.
that is to your credit, @Mahnax.
@medica that's a shame.
10:55 PM
Luckily I don't take offense at religious slurs, but they are plentiful.
Open topic discussion doesn't really work unless most folks can be trusted to remain civil regardless of the topic.
Anyone who has faith is regarded as too stupid to live. I don't know why it's such a loaded topic.
@Shog9 - how are we defining "alienate"? The few times I ventured into ELU chat before the election, it always seemed to be the same six people talking about irrelevant things, acting kind of clique-y. That was fairly alienating.
@medica What sort of things do you consider a religious slur, just out of curiosity?
@phenry that's been my usual experience as well. Not wild about it. Chat moderation has figured in several recent elections, including this one - I think folks are kinda starting to realize that without at least some hands-on efforts from the site mods, site users tend to get marginalized.
11:00 PM
People telling a man of faith and conviction that he has no right to come into chat and quell their right to call him a person who is stupid because he believes in a non-existent man in the sky. Like one who believes in the spaghetti God. Things like that are common enough if someone mentions their faith.
@medica Oh, so just general malice toward religious people. I thought you meant specific words or phrases.
Oh, in reality, some of both.
OK. Fair enough.
@medica - that kind of thing pisses me off, and I'm an agnostic at most. Don't come in here with your spaghetti monster shit acting like a drunken Richard Dawkins. Just let people believe what they want to believe.
Odd: Firefox spell checker flagged "Dawkins" but let "Richart" pass.
To be honest, there is a significant amount of general unkindness (phenry - my stance exactly) in chat.
And occasional name calling.
But I've just lost the vote of everyone in chat now.
If I ever had it.
11:04 PM
sometimes the primary function of ELU chat seems to be as a place to point and laugh at people behind their backs.
@phenry yes, it does seem that way at times.
A user commented public (in comments in meta) not to get my knickers in a twist. I went to chat and asked him what the configuration of my knickers had to do withthe price of tea in china. He then re-posted a nasty comment made about me in chat - of which I had no prior knowledge - as a ?punishment?
When I challenged that, he stated something to the effect that it was actually a test of my equanimity, my ability to be a moderator, and I had just failed the test. I just left. Which is all that he probably wanted.
That's one reason I don't ever search chat for any information related to myself. Who needs to know that stuff? It's counterproductive.
Regardless, if I am elected one of the mods, I will be available in chat. Reg and Kit are often there, and if I have a question about something, it's very useful to have a moderator available. So I plan on being available. By pinging, most likely.
@medica - I saw that. My perception, and I'd be happy to be educated otherwise, is that that person is a problem user in general.
@phenry Mayhaps. It hurts no less, though.
@medica - Absolutely. Moderators should be willing to deal with problem users, high rep scores or no.
I'm a little surprised that this user is still running around.
Ad hominem attacks shouldn't happen.
11:19 PM
@AndrewLeach - it is, however, in the transcript, presumably forever.
Chat is home to some users. I understand that, and it happens on all kinds of sites. I don't have a problem with that, even if they visit chat without participating on the general site.
@phenry Has it not been flagged and removed?
The problem becomes, as someone stated, flag shaming.
@AndrewLeach - nope. I'm looking at it now.
Are we referring to the discussion medica described?
11:20 PM
The attitude of some is: this is my home. Don't tell me how to behave in my home.
@snailboat - Yes.
In fact, I'm flagging some of the worse comments now. I should have done it before.
So, yes, chat becomes intimidating to outsiders. But it doesn't prevent everyone from using it, just some. And sometimes inappropriate behaioe happens. Just like at home.
But it's a shared home.
Sometimes people need to be able to let off steam and express frustration "Oh no, not another one of these ridiculous cram-a-paragraph-into-one-word questions!" or something similar. Chat might provide an outlet for that. BUT language should be temperate.
I kind of feel like that whole discussion should be moved to the trash.
@AndrewLeach Yes, I agree. And it is often used for that. And honestly, I posted a crazy question in there myself, one which has since been deleted from the site. It is useful to have a place to vent once in a while. So.
I understand it but I also understand why it might be intimidating to users.
11:26 PM
(That latest chat flag was argumentative, but not offensive.)
I actually had one user tag me in a comment, saying "can you go to chat and see if there's a moderator there?" because that user hated chat.
Which is relevant to my comment earlier, that one needs to be unafraid and pushy. My first post in chat was "May I interrupt a moment?" or something similar, but I don't think I waited for a pause, I just blundered in with what I wanted to know (whatever it was, I don't remember).
So it is something of a dilemma. It should be a place any user feels free to go to ask a question (a reasonable one) but it requires a modicum of courage to go.
@AndrewLeach exactly.
@AndrewLeach - Does that disadvantage people who come here from cultures where that sort of "pushiness" just isn't done?
@AndrewLeach And chat users say that themselves, don't worry about interrupting. Just ask your question. Which is nice, but not something someone who has never been to chat knows.
@AndrewLeach I did the same thing several times. :)
11:32 PM
@phenry I can see that it might. It's chicken-and-egg: without someone from such a culture joining in and saying so, it's not easy to say how difficult it is.
The fast-moving nature might floor people whose English is not fast.
Which reminds me, anyone with a question, please feel free to ask. That is why we're here. No question about the site is too great or too small. We want to answer your questions.
@medica - It's quittin' time here, so this one wants to get on the road before the traffic gets too bad. I may be on again later this evening.
cu soon.
Actually, it's quitting time here too, as it's now 00:35 on Saturday. I'll turn the sound off and leave the page logged in though.
ok, see you! Good to have you here sharing your opinions.
11:42 PM
@medica Yes. Then flag it (with a custom moderator flag, please). But one thing that the chat users need to do is speak up and show that behavior like that is not acceptable.
Hey guys, please don't spam flag messages over 5 days old, that is not what spam flags are for. Especially since, after a cursory view, it appears that this "argument" wasn't exactly one sided. It is not right nor fair to suddenly suspend a user for something that happened 5 days ago.
If you feel the discussion should be removed use a moderator flag and suggest the entire conversation be removed, or better yet contact one of your site mods and ask them to look over the whole situation (if it extends beyond chat).
Anyway, this looks like something that might need escalating with your site mods.
@Seth - please ping the people you want to address your comments to. Otherwise it will get lost in the noise.
and if you guys need a chat mod for whatever reason, feel free to pop into the Assembly. There is usually at least one in there. Mod flags also work, use "Flag for moderator" in the message context menu.
@medica I'm not really addressing any one particular person, per se.
But I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks, that's good to know! And thanks for the offer. I'll star it.
Well, I'm glad you're here and interested.
@hichris123 I think behavior in chat is a tricky subject, perhaps one that everyone should address, maybe in a meta post. The problem is that not everyone goes to meta, so not every voice gets heard.
When people want to change things, everyone needs to participate. Every one is responsible to change what they don't like.
If people object to comments, they should flag. That's one thing.
If people come to chat, and not meta you can of course pin a message about the on-going chat related meta conversation.
Partially solves the problem.
11:50 PM
That's a good idea.
Not a lot of people come to chat, though.
We have a small box to announce new meta questions which probably serves that purported purpose.
Well the people who don't come to chat shouldn't have issues with a change in chat moderation then, should they 8-)
Only if they stumble in unannounced and see :-0 things! :)
I do wish the tour covered a bit more, orienting users to resources which are available, though.
But that is something to think about when there are more hands doing the work.
I think you are over thinking this, we can't address every single possible scenario. If you guys have repeated issues in your chat rooms though, that is something that definitely needs to be brought up on your meta, and then the decision enforced.
Well, shog9 did bring it up in meta just recently. Nothing changes if no one is willing to enforce changes.
@medica And we're trying to moderate chat better. But we can't do everything. So give us a shout when something does go wrong!
11:55 PM
Honestly, I would be hesitant to tell chat users how to behave.
@hichris123 Thank you! that's really good to know. I will starr that, too, so it won't get lost.
@medica You yourself, or anyone in general?
I'm not putting the mods down. I think they do a great job. But they can't be everywhere at one time.
@Seth I myself would have some hesitation. It is an environment which is pretty fiercely defended (see shog9's meta post.) I would need to be a moderator for a while before I felt comfortable doing that.
@medica Indeed, which is why mods everywhere are given moderator status over all of chat. Really, if you need something there is almost always one around somewhere, don't be hesitant to ask for their help!
Thanks, really. I might just do that.
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