Author Topic: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?  (Read 986 times)

Offline thcipriani

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When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« on: March 09, 2018, 03:53:13 PM »
I haven't been very active on this forum in recent years, but I've been lurking and I reading throughout my absence. I recently stumbled across an awesome thread with some passionate discussion:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=31132.0

This thread initially took a bad turn. I feel that the assumption of good faith was violated by the main participants; however, in spite of the initial rejection of what I feel are the norms of online discussion groups, the thread got *really* interesting. It also got pretty off-topic for a recipe post. OP was no longer involved for one reason or another.

The thread turned to anarchy, fortunately it was mostly positive anarchy, which we probably own to the rigor of the participants more than anything else.

Currently there is an assertion that the thread should close the discussion as it's gotten waaay too offtopic. That's fine (I'm honestly disappointed by that outcome, but would accept it); however, rather than repeat the same mistake and lose important context on that discussion I've decided (unilaterally) to open a topic here to talk about moderation, thread derailment, and the responsibilities of participants.

Mods: if this is not where this goes, or has already been discussed in detail, feel free to move or close as you see fit.

To kick off discussion, AFAICT these are the only rules or guidelines for discussions that are posted: https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32.0 and they have gotten this forum a long long way so kudos to all involved in making that happen.

Are there other guidelines needed?

Are participants generally acting in good faith with those guidelines?

Who decides when a thread should close?

Is this a beer forum and should I just rdwhahb and this discussion is waaay too heavy and unnecessary? ;)
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 03:56:50 PM »
So we don't lose where the discussion left off I'll just quote the last bit here:

This has gotten away from its purpose of brewing a traditional weissbier, imho

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Does it matter? I’d say the resulting discussion is infinitely more engaging.
That may be true.  But this started with the OP proudly sharing a simple recipe he'd worked long and hard to develop, and before long it was almost as if he got jumped on and told he was washing his socks wrong if it didn't involve use of the Large Hadron Collider. Not quite but it probably seemed that way to him.  Maybe we should be a little more alert and when a derailment or side topic is far enough removed from the original,  move it to a new thread.
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline hackrsackr

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 04:29:06 PM »
Gotta say that finding an immediate solution, and asking the community for ways to make itself better in the future, is a refreshing change!  Kudos to you thcipriani.

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Wait is this not a slow clap moment?


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Offline denny

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2018, 04:42:19 PM »
Thread drift happens and I don't consider it reason to close a thread.  That one came awfully close to getting shut down due to lack of civility, but it straightened itself out.  My theory is that the best moderation is the least moderation.  I'll do what I have to , but I try not to have a heavy hand.  In addition, all the mods discuss situations before any of us takes action.
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Offline thcipriani

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 06:23:45 PM »
Thread drift happens and I don't consider it reason to close a thread.  That one came awfully close to getting shut down due to lack of civility, but it straightened itself out.  My theory is that the best moderation is the least moderation.  I'll do what I have to , but I try not to have a heavy hand.  In addition, all the mods discuss situations before any of us takes action.

It does seem like the hands-off approach worked in this instance -- the thread righted itself. I totally agree on the thread drift topic: up to individuals involved to determine when a thread has run it's course.

Are there any heuristics the mods used in this instance WRT to the discussion of civility that are worth talking about here? Could the discussion about this particular thread be opened up and talked about here?

I'm not sure that I believe that the inaction on that thread squares with the "will not tolerate" line:

We will not tolerate rudeness, insults, personal attacks, inflammatory remarks, threats, racial/ethnic slurs, trolling, flame baiting or similarly disruptive postings.

although everything squares with:

The mods reserve the right to take steps not addressed in these rules in order to maintain a friendly and helpful environment. The #1 thing to keep in mind is "DON'T BE A JERK!"

so maybe it's all fine.

Personal aside. I feel like I was moderately engaged here 2010-2012. I've dropped off to a few posts a year. I have a memory of being actively stressed during my participation on this forum. Which is goofy: it's a beer forum and I'm passionate about beer; but this thread definitely had a high stress level, too which made me think maybe there're more systemic things that can be done.

Also, another aside, thanks denny for replying to this and for doing all the hard moderator work! :)

Anyway, I'll be quiet for a bit and see if this topic has any legs or not.
Tyler Cipriani
Longmont, CO
http://gangsta.party/

Offline denny

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 06:27:46 PM »
I'd rather not discuss this in public.  Feel free to PM me and if there's anything else I can tell you, I'll be happy to.
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Offline Robert

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 06:55:24 PM »
It's been said before and I'll say it again, the side tracks and rabbit holes are where you learn the most sometimes. Where you learn what you didn't even know you wanted to learn when you joined a conversation.  They have their own value, and inflexible forums just don't offer the breadth of learning (and entertainment) opportunity we have here. But they can be frustrating to and dismissive of those who are in the main stream of a conversation.

 I have at times seen good SELF-moderation work here, and I will make an effort in future to follow this practice:  When you feel something that has crept into a few posts is something you'd like to see pursued further, but sense it is really worthy of a topic of its own, or is potentially distracting from pursuit of the OP's main interest, suggest we start a fresh thread. Let the OP et al continue their own learning/teaching opportunity.

 The trick is to know when to do so.  You can't overreact every time an aside or a joke or an AHA! moment or  whatever is posted.  That positively differentiates this forum with its light moderation.  But we probably all know when things are reaching the critical point.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 10:38:47 PM »
Is this a thread about a thread?

Offline thcipriani

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 10:40:10 PM »
Self-moderation is awesome. Mods are awesome. I suppose I just think there might be some benefit in explicitly democratizing the moderation process a bit, or updating the rules with some of the modern heuristics.

Here's a quote from an essay by Jo Freeman with a heavy-handed url: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm
Quote
For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can happen only if they are formalized.

The whole point of the essay is that if we don't codify structure and rules explicitly then we're taking power away from folks who aren't part of the current group of brewers i.e., new brewers or brewers who are new to the AHA or the AHA forum. And maybe we end up marginalizing some new voices not because of any malice just because: it happens.

Anyway, I posted this because I think that making the moderation process clearer might be an easy way to ensure that the brewing community keeps growing and stays healthy while it does so.
Tyler Cipriani
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http://gangsta.party/

Offline thcipriani

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2018, 10:40:49 PM »
Is this a thread about a thread?

Sorry :)
Tyler Cipriani
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Offline Robert

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2018, 10:48:54 PM »
Self-moderation is awesome. Mods are awesome. I suppose I just think there might be some benefit in explicitly democratizing the moderation process a bit, or updating the rules with some of the modern heuristics.

Here's a quote from an essay by Jo Freeman with a heavy-handed url: http://www.jofreeman.com/joreen/tyranny.htm
Quote
For everyone to have the opportunity to be involved in a given group and to participate in its activities the structure must be explicit, not implicit. The rules of decision-making must be open and available to everyone, and this can happen only if they are formalized.

The whole point of the essay is that if we don't codify structure and rules explicitly then we're taking power away from folks who aren't part of the current group of brewers i.e., new brewers or brewers who are new to the AHA or the AHA forum. And maybe we end up marginalizing some new voices not because of any malice just because: it happens.

Anyway, I posted this because I think that making the moderation process clearer might be an easy way to ensure that the brewing community keeps growing and stays healthy while it does so.
I think the only explicit rule needed is the golden one.
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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Offline dbeechum

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 09:42:46 PM »
I think the only explicit rule needed is the golden one.

On the internet I prefer to think of it as Wheaton's Law
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Offline Brewtopalonian

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2018, 02:30:19 PM »
Hi guys,

Jared here, the OP of the thread resulting in this conversation.  I would like to say that I acted emotionally, irrationally and out of turn in my response to Martin.  I fully take the blame for the thread in question taking a detour and a loss of learning and education.  I believe Martin and I have patched things up, as it was not his intent to derail me.  He, of course, was correct.  My water was WAY off of what it should be.  I have since brewed this again and it is infinitely better.  My question is now, should I update the thread to reflect the better version, using different water profile and taking Martin's suggestions into consideration as well as those of the other contributors, or should I just abandon (delete) the thread and restart it?  I don't want to be inconsiderate to those who contributed what amounts to a TON of good information and debate, but I also don't necessarily want the embarrassment of my outrage to be forever cemented into the forums.  Opinions?

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« Last Edit: May 23, 2018, 06:12:25 PM by Brewtopalonian »
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2018, 06:53:59 PM »
Hi guys,

Jared here, the OP of the thread resulting in this conversation.  I would like to say that I acted emotionally, irrationally and out of turn in my response to Martin.  I fully take the blame for the thread in question taking a detour and a loss of learning and education.  I believe Martin and I have patched things up, as it was not his intent to derail me.  He, of course, was correct.  My water was WAY off of what it should be.  I have since brewed this again and it is infinitely better.  My question is now, should I update the thread to reflect the better version, using different water profile and taking Martin's suggestions into consideration as well as those of the other contributors, or should I just abandon (delete) the thread and restart it?  I don't want to be inconsiderate to those who contributed what amounts to a TON of good information and debate, but I also don't necessarily want the embarrassment of my outrage to be forever cemented into the forums.  Opinions?

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I don't think I was involved the thread you folks are talking about but I will say it is helpful when a discussion is resolved for everyone.  If you had a problem and found a solution, post it so the next person can actually see what worked for you.

It drives me nuts when I'm looking for something, read 15 pages of comments and then sit there asking "did any of the suggestions work?"

As far threads getting locked?  It always feels like a "we will know it when we see it" type of thing.  This forum does a great job at managing itself which has always amazed me.

If anyone remembers the Northern Brewer Bru-Ha-Ha fiasco you'll understand how bad things can go and how fast the go there.   I have to admit that I may not have helped that particular situation.   ::)

Paul
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Offline Robert

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Re: When should threads end, when should they be moderated?
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2018, 06:59:03 PM »
Hey Jared,

I thought of you and the thread in question (I was involved there too) when this one popped up recently:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=31828.0

Don't know if you saw it, but maybe your experience could fit in there?
Rob Stein
Akron, Ohio

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