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Goal: Build a more friendly discussion environment here. Anyone in?
Thread poster: Henry Dotterer

IrinaN
United States
Local time: 18:34
English to Russian
+ ...
You betcha! May 15

Mirko Mainardi wrote:

"Hi my name is _Mirko_. What is your name? Would you like to play?"




Mirko Mainardi
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Re: moderator passivity May 15

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I know very little about the present system of moderation, but maybe it could be improved.


Well, the current moderators do not, for example, ensure that threads say on-topic. Perhaps they would have been more keen to police if there had been a mechanism to mark off-topic posts as off-topic or to make them less visible without removing them altogether.

Take a look, for example, at how many on-topic and off-topic posts there are in Andrew's thread about the Cannes International Film Festival.

Andrew: original poster
Angela: off-topic
Henry: off-topic (sorry, Henry!)
Samuel: off-topic
Chris: on-topic
Samuel: on-topic
Chris: on-topic
Henry: off-topic
Elizabeth: off-topic
Chris: off-topic
Teresa: on-topic
Fiona: on-topic
Robert: on-topic
Henry: not off-topic
Henry: off-topic
Andy: off-topic
Andrew: on-topic
Maxi: on-topic
Andrew: off-topic
Sheila: on-topic
Andrew: on-topic
Eliza: on-topic
Angela: off-topic
Andrew: off-topic
Andy: not off-topic
Lincoln: not off-topic
Elizabeth: off-topic
Samuel: not off-topic
Samuel: off-topic

Just imagine how much more fruitful the thread would have been if off-topic posts were somehow dealt with. High quality threads attract high quality responses.


[Edited at 2019-05-15 19:36 GMT]


Sheila Wilson
Angie Garbarino
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:34
Member (2012)
French to English
No May 15

Samuel Murray wrote:

Just imagine how much more fruitful the thread would have been if off-topic posts were somehow dealt with. High quality threads attract high quality responses.


[Edited at 2019-05-15 19:36 GMT]


We're not robots, Samuel. We cannot be switched off if our "on-topic" mode is not activated.

Especially on a thread in which we're discussing the discussion environment.


Mirko Mainardi
 

Mirko Mainardi  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 01:34
Member
English to Italian
We're not machines... May 15

Samuel Murray wrote:

Sheila Wilson wrote:
I know very little about the present system of moderation, but maybe it could be improved.


Well, the current moderators do not, for example, ensure that threads say on-topic. Perhaps they would have been more keen to police if there had been a mechanism to mark off-topic posts as off-topic or to make them less visible without removing them altogether.

Take a look, for example, at how many on-topic and off-topic posts there are in Andrew's thread about the Cannes International Film Festival.

Andrew: original poster
Angela: off-topic
Henry: off-topic (sorry, Henry!)
Samuel: off-topic
Chris: on-topic
Samuel: on-topic
Chris: on-topic
Henry: off-topic
Elizabeth: off-topic
Chris: off-topic
Teresa: on-topic
Fiona: on-topic
Robert: on-topic
Henry: not off-topic
Henry: off-topic
Andy: off-topic
Andrew: on-topic
Maxi: on-topic
Andrew: off-topic
Sheila: on-topic
Andrew: on-topic
Eliza: on-topic
Angela: off-topic
Andrew: off-topic
Andy: not off-topic
Lincoln: not off-topic
Elizabeth: off-topic
Samuel: not off-topic
Samuel: off-topic

Just imagine how much more fruitful the thread would have been if off-topic posts were somehow dealt with. High quality threads attract high quality responses.


[Edited at 2019-05-15 19:36 GMT]


We're not machines, moderators are not machines. Going off-topic is part of being human beings (just like the rest, really...). Rules have to be objective in order to be enforceable (i.e. no "the post has to be positive/happy/welcoming/whatever"). A thread/post can't be judged based on how "fruitful" it is (again, based on whose opinion?), etc. etc. ad libitum.

So... after silently reading more than 3 pages of this, am I the only one who finds all of this pretty surreal?

P.S. And I mean ALL of this...

[Edited at 2019-05-15 20:19 GMT]


Elizabeth Tamblin
Jan Truper
Katalin Szilárd
IrinaN
texjax DDS PhD
Liviu-Lee Roth
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 01:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Elizabeth May 15

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:
We're not robots, Samuel. We cannot be switched off if our "on-topic" mode is not activated.


You don't need to be a robot to have self-control. (-:

Especially on a thread in which we're discussing the discussion environment.


What is on-topic in one subforum may be off-topic in another. The boundary between on-topic and off-topic is less strict in some subforums than in others. It may even vary between threads in the same sub-forum. Some subforums are more conducive to banter than others. It's not black and white.

The Cannes International Film Festival thread was never intended as a discussion of the discussion environment (even though that was what was discussed in 30% of the posts).

[Edited at 2019-05-15 20:50 GMT]


Angie Garbarino
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:34
Member (2012)
French to English
Thanks Samuel May 15

Samuel Murray wrote:

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:
We're not robots, Samuel. We cannot be switched off if our "on-topic" mode is not activated.


You don't need to be a robot to have self-control. (-:

Especially on a thread in which we're discussing the discussion environment.


What is on-topic in one subforum may be off-topic in another. The boundary between on-topic and off-topic is less strict in some subforums than in others. It may even vary between threads in the same sub-forum. Some subforums are more conducive to banter than others. It's not black and white.

The Cannes International Film Festival thread was never intended as a discussion of the discussion environment (even though that was what was discussed in 30% of the posts).

[Edited at 2019-05-15 20:50 GMT]


I'm even more confused now! I'm glad you have the rule book at your disposal, though. Oh dear, have I gone off-topic again??


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:34
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Straying off topic comes in various shapes and sizes May 15

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
We're not machines, moderators are not machines. Going off-topic is part of being human beings (just like the rest, really...). Rules have to be objective in order to be enforceable (i.e. no "the post has to be positive/happy/welcoming/whatever"). A thread/post can't be judged based on how "fruitful" it is (again, based on whose opinion?), etc. etc. ad libitum.

I agree that staying dead-centre on topic is not going to happen. But there's a lot of distance between that and what we have at the moment. I've noticed that there is a marked difference in the following posts whenever a moderator mentions the problem. Actually, I think that simply keeping the initial post at the top of each page would go a long way to solving the problem. Once the discussion gets a couple of pages in, nobody can remember what the original topic was! And it's a pain having to look back, especially on a phone.


Natasha Ziada
Kay Denney
Endre Both
 

Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 00:34
Member (2012)
French to English
. May 15

Sheila Wilson wrote:

Mirko Mainardi wrote:
We're not machines, moderators are not machines. Going off-topic is part of being human beings (just like the rest, really...). Rules have to be objective in order to be enforceable (i.e. no "the post has to be positive/happy/welcoming/whatever"). A thread/post can't be judged based on how "fruitful" it is (again, based on whose opinion?), etc. etc. ad libitum.

I agree that staying dead-centre on topic is not going to happen. But there's a lot of distance between that and what we have at the moment. I've noticed that there is a marked difference in the following posts whenever a moderator mentions the problem. Actually, I think that simply keeping the initial post at the top of each page would go a long way to solving the problem. Once the discussion gets a couple of pages in, nobody can remember what the original topic was! And it's a pain having to look back, especially on a phone.


Do you not think that a thread created to discuss the creation of a more friendly discussion environment should allow a little freedom to wander into all sorts of interesting areas? Or do you think that "on-topic" should apply rigidly in all circumstances? edited to add: I ask this question in all respect, and purely in the interests of, er, interest.

[Edited at 2019-05-15 22:22 GMT]


Bernhard Sulzer
Sandra& Kenneth
 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:34
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Not rigidly May 16

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

...a thread created to discuss the creation of a more friendly discussion environment should allow a little freedom to wander into all sorts of interesting areas.


Yes, agree.

PS: more to the point: a certain conversation etiquette no matter what the thread is should be expected. No one wants to be insulted either. If someone is posting personal insults, the staff can be asked to take care of it. Other than that, I don't see any reason why staff should intervene. The participants in the forum discussion usually work it out amongst themselves. And yes, one might stray from the topic a bit but it mostly has to do with the topic in some way, even if only peripherally.
But discussions aren't usually held with the goal to be "friendly." People argue certain points, often matter-of-factishly, which some might see as unfriendly but it really isn't.

[Edited at 2019-05-16 01:50 GMT]


Katalin Szilárd
Thomas T. Frost
Elizabeth Tamblin
 

Henry Dotterer
Local time: 19:34
SITE FOUNDER
TOPIC STARTER
Very interesting perspectives. Thanks! May 16

Thanks for the postings - I believe the range of points of view expressed here was even more wide-ranging than usual. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and react, and thanks also to those who have written to me offline. I can see that my request was understood and noted, and I am satisfied with that, as far as this thread is concerned.

In particular, thanks to Maxi, who showed welcome flexibility. I want to express the same flexibility by acknowledging that several of t
... See more
Thanks for the postings - I believe the range of points of view expressed here was even more wide-ranging than usual. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read and react, and thanks also to those who have written to me offline. I can see that my request was understood and noted, and I am satisfied with that, as far as this thread is concerned.

In particular, thanks to Maxi, who showed welcome flexibility. I want to express the same flexibility by acknowledging that several of those critical of ProZ.com or me in this thread (Adrien, for example) are correct, at least to some degree, in their assessments. I'll try to do better!

I would also thank:

- Samuel, who as usual broke things down logically and dispassionately
- Elizabeth who is not only "in", but I would say is a bit of an inspiration for this
- IrinaN, whose postings were lighthearted and refreshing

With that, I'm closing out this thread, which after all was a simple call for a friendly tone here in our forums. Do with it what you will!
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