Fairness in forum moderation


Continuing the discussion from Crowdfunding backers screwed:

Gonna split this off into its own topic, to avoid sidetracking the other one.

Also, because addressing the concept of bias in administration is pretty important.

As I’ve said, I’ve hidden posts of both anti- and pro-Soylent sentiment.

While there may be some bias on what gets flagged, it may also be a little unfair to blame that on moderators. Remember, this is the official product forum for a product – it is to be expected that a majority of users will be in favor of that product. It then follows that inflammatory posts against the product are more likely to get flagged for review than those in favor of the product. I look through the forum in a general sense, but I just don’t have the time during the day to scrutinize every thread. If what gets flagged is biased, I can’t really adjust for that.

Regarding my own personal flagging critera:

  • If a post is overtly namecalling, in an offensive capacity, I will usually hide that post.
  • If a post is blatantly off-topic, and the topic it is in has not already run off the rails, I will usually hide that post (if the topic has run off the rails, I turn my attention to solving that problem first)
  • If a post makes a rational argument, using logical or data-based points, even if it is an unpopular one, I will be less inclined to hide that post. The previous items can still override this, but if it’s edging the line, this is often the thing that makes the difference.

That’s not an absolute ruleset for every single call I ever make, but it’s a general idea. While I can vouch for the others as far as general fairness, @BoDuke, @JulioMiles, and @codinghorror are free to chime in with their own moderation rationales if they would like. Or, they may prefer to keep their reasons their own. In the interest of not being misunderstood, that is probably just as reasonable a thing to do.


Thank you for your comments. I don’t envy the volunteers who moderate these forums!


Compared to other forums, the standards here are higher, but so is the general level of discourse. This is a great community and there’s a lot of flex. It’s good that their judgment calls are directed to these criteria, compared to “oh, look, somebody’s spamming 4chan links again.”

Thanks @Tesseract.


I was an online moderator in a former life and I do not envy your volunteer job. At all.


@Tesseract The post above is the exact reason why he/she was chosen to be a moderator. We try our best to let both sides discuss how they feel. There is always flex. The line in the sand will always be name calling, threats or other obvious negative postings. Beyond that, it always comes down to civility. If folks act like adults, then its no problem. When you cant form an argument without resorting to petty things, then its time to move on.


Sez you. thpbtbtbtbtbt.