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Off-topic post removal reform

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posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 05:04 AM
Hi, I will get my posts removed occasionally because I go off-topic. However, I am always a little confused as to what constitutes an off-topic post ( I have read the T&C on the matter), because I will often see other posts in the same thread that seems just as off-topic if not more.

So, I was just wondering if there is anyway that the Mods could include the post that was removed in the private message that is sent when it happens?

I asked one Mod to do it for me and he did so, but I am wondering if this could become common protocol. It would really help me slowly reform my posting etiquette to a point where I will no longer go off-topic, and I think it would take a load off of the Mods because they wouldn't have to remove as many posts.

Oh, and I am not mad at all and this is in no way a complaint, but rather a polite suggestion.

Thanks. Renegade2283

Edit: Wow, after reading that back, the first statement seemed kinda like I was just being whinny, sorry if it seemed that way. Please understand that I did not intend to, I was attempting to be as honest and sincere as I could.

Oh, and thanks Gemwolf for doing that the other day.

edit on 1-11-2012 by Renegade2283 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 09:31 AM
I have had on topic posts removed. At first i would argue it with the mod. Sometimes they apologized.

I quit messing with it when i realized that even if they admit they are wromg the post camt be restored.

Ce la vie

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 09:51 AM
reply to post by Renegade2283

I think it would be nice if the mods would include a little more specifics when they action a post. Usually, we get the standard, generic PM stating that it was removed because it was off topic or violated the T&C with no further explanation.

I think it would be best if the mods would include a little info on exactly which T&C was violated so we would know how to avoid having our posts actioned in the future.

I've got a good relationship with at least one of the mods here who will give me more info when my posts are actioned by her but, it would be nice if this were common practice to help the members better understand why their posts violated the T&Cs.

Some can be confusing and it seems that standards differ from mod to mod sometimes. I've actually gotten an applause from a mod for a post and then, moments later, had another mod remove that same post, so please don't try to tell me the T&Cs are simple and we should be able to understand and abide by them.

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 09:53 AM
We sometimes (believe it or not) get members who are more interested in disrupting things than anything else. I've never understood the fascination with that, but vandalism in general has always been inexplicable to me.

I see no particular value in auto sending a copy of a removed post to the member who made it. I can tell you from experience, that we do entertain requests to supply members with a copy of a post that has been removed, and we generally comply with the request.

Now, cooperation is a two-way street. There's no firm policy that says we have to, or even should honor such a request. But situations vary and way more often than not, if someone wants a copy of a removed post, we'll send them one.

The vast and overwhelming majority of our participatory membership are good and well meaning folk, but everyone has the occasional bad day. Everyone on staff (save Simon Gray) was once a member who was invited to join the staff. We all know what it's like.
edit on 11/1/2012 by yeahright because: typo

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 05:09 PM
reply to post by yeahright

cheers for giving some context to this.
just lost my 'poster-banned' virginity, but I think things are back to normal. It's weird how posting an opinion that arose because you spontaneously reacted to things said in a thread can feel like a violation and give you a little shock.
But then again, 'opinions are like ar....', and no words are sacred.

edit on 1-11-2012 by delusion because: spell dumb

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 08:22 PM

Originally posted by yeahright

I see no particular value in auto sending a copy of a removed post to the member who made it. I can tell you from experience, that we do entertain requests to supply members with a copy of a post that has been removed, and we generally comply with the request.

You dont? I thought I had described a valid reason in my OP. (not trying to sound rude here)

See, the problem is that when the post is removed, I have no way to recall what post it was. Since I am usually making 20+ posts in any given day, it becomes difficult to remember what the post contained that was removed. And since the off-topic post removal is rather specific, I would like to fully understand which posts are OK and which are not (through experience). Does that make sense?

Oh and I am only referring to off-topic post removals, not any other type of infraction. Also, would this be a major overhaul? Or would it be relatively simple? See, I have no knowledge of how that whole system works, so if it a big task to make a change like this, then don't worry about.

Once again, not trying to complain, more just curious. Thanks

edit on 1-11-2012 by Renegade2283 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 02:05 AM
reply to post by Renegade2283

When you get those just leave the thread, its just better. What I have seen happen is that they will start going through all your posts and start removing "off topic" ones. So you get one and then latter you will see that you have more posts that have been removed.
Mods are people too and like people they take things personally and abuse their power when they can. One time I got into a little debate with a mod and then suddenly my posts were "off topic" and a thread I had written which was fine for a few days was now "in the wrong forum".
The best thing you can do is not talk to mods and leave a thread once you get any type of sticky

posted on Nov, 2 2012 @ 03:08 AM
It's a reasonable suggestion, and I'm sure SkepticOverlord will consider it - one way or the other. We just have to keep in mind that he's pretty busy, so when his plan to get 36 hour days is approved he may get just get round to it...

As for sending a "personalized specific message" to members for every post that is removed... Not always practical. On any given day any active moderator can easily deal with dozens of different members. And each member requires personal en professional responses. And in-between moderators need to read the never-ending flood of posts as well. And moderators like to participate in discussions as well... All this takes up a lot of time. And considering that moderators are volunteers i.e. they do this for free and in their own time - you can imagine that they are pretty stingy with their time.

So, the auto messages are there to help the moderators save time. The actions are usually self-explanatory. A thread topic is "Why blue cheese smells"... A member goes on about why Snape was obsessed with Harry Potter. If you don't understand why your post was removed for being off-topic, you are welcome to message the moderator and ask for an explanation. 99.99999999% of the time you'll get your answer. The other 0.000000001% of the time a moderator does not respond is usually because they've had a mental breakdown and is somewhere in an institution. They will eventually respond when they are declared sane again...

Always remember that moderators are members and people. They are here to help keep ATS civilized but they are also here to enjoy ATS like everyone else. They are not here to be worked to death. (The owners learned that after the first batch of moderators died from exhaustion. ATS moderators v1.0 - Gone but not forgotten. May they rest in peace.)

edit on 2-11-2012 by Gemwolf because: Clarity

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 04:41 AM
I always find it odd when a post is removed as off topic but the replies to the post are not. Or when a post is removed for being nasty but the posts that get nasty in return are not removed. There is a definite trend between what is being allowed and what is not. but hey it is not my site, so I won't get started on that. Just making an observation as a long time lurker. Great site btw, no complaints here just commenting

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 08:27 AM
reply to post by Uberdavo

If the replies are also nasty then they should be dealt with in the same way. Ditto if the replies are equally OT. If the reply to an OT manages to get back on topic, then okay. But if it's also purely OT, it ought to be OTd as well. That's the standard and that's what we try to maintain.

Not too long ago I OTd five posts in a single page in one thread (by different members) as they were getting into an OT fest and that was the only way to stop it. Thankfully they cooled it. The last thing we want is for good members to get themselves post banned because of some stupid argument in the heat of the moment. But everyone is responsible for their own posts -- regardless of any provocation -- and if people can't cool it and take a step back then we have to deal with it.

The main issue is this: we are on the biggest site of its kind in the world, with an average of about 6,000 posts per day. 180k posts a month. We have about 70 staff, but that doesn't mean we're all on here all the time. On average I spend around 8 hours a day on here (sometimes longer) and most of that time is used in dealing with mod issues. And we're all volunteers. We do this on our own time.

So here's the problem. If we don't get to the serious alerts p.d.q. then things can go downhill very, very fast. Like breeds like. Spiteful, hateful, racist or plain obscene posts breed more of the same if they're not dealt with asap. So, we have to prioritize. This means that meanwhile, various OT posts and other lesser infractions can pile up, but as we have to take care of the worst stuff first, a lot of the lesser stuff has to wait til we can find time to manage it. And it can happen that sometimes, we get a bad time with some trolls who post such grossly offensive material that nothing else can be looked at until they're shut down.

We have a lot of very young people who visit this site and so you can appreciate why we need to prioritize. It's just a fact of life that when we quite often only have maybe a dozen staff on hand, we are going to miss some things that are important, but not as important as dealing with the really heavy stuff: the extremely hateful, racist or obscenely abusive comments that would make you see red if they said them to your face, the grossest images or videos -- some of which would make many people ill to see them and are absolutely not what you'd want your kids to happen upon -- and certain other things that are frankly so depraved I'd rather not even detail them here.

We have to deal with the worst almost every day. You read some threads here and there, but staff get alerts from members across every board over the entire site and those come into the staff threads 24/7. Some of what we have to read and some of the images we have to see, represent the absolute lowest depths of the human mind.

Not long ago a member posted a video and it was alerted to us. Some of us on staff had to watch it so we'd know if the complaint was genuine. So, I watched it and even though I'm a former Fire Service volunteer and have seen some pretty horrific things, that video was so depraved it literally sickened me. We trashed it immediately and I believe the member was severely warned. I only hope that not too many members saw it before it was removed as it was the stuff of nightmares.

That's part of what we have to deal with.

So, while I fully appreciate your observations, please understand that this is the trend if there is one to be observed: our duty as members, first and foremost, is to provide an environment where standards are maintained so that you would not hesistate to suggest this site to those you know, with the assurance that it would also be okay for younger viewers and not be one that is "NSFW". And when I say "our duty as members" I mean all members, not just staff.

We look to you to help us. The OTs and other lesser infractions that sometimes get missed are bothersome and we know that, but priority #1 is and always must be to keep this place up to the standards I mentioned and not allow it to become a repository for the gutter-level hatred, filth and total depravity that is found on so many other places on the World-Wide Web. Our kids, their parents and all members deserve better, so if we have to spend much of our time providing what they expect and meanwhile some OTs go unactioned, then so be it. We will deal with them as we can, but as we are all volunteers doing this on our own free time, the worst stuff will always have to take priority.

And that "priority #1" all comes down to mutual respect. If we have that, then all is good. Those who don't care about that probably don't really belong here. I'm sure that you and all good members wouldn't want it any other way.

Best regards,


edit on 4/11/12 by JustMike because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 4 2012 @ 01:50 PM
reply to post by JustMike

Thankyou for your reply Justmike
This probably sounds quite dumb but I have never considered that children come onto this site. In saying that I can see why you must prioritise some posts over others.

posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 06:31 AM
Sorry I kinda abandoned this thread. I thank you all for your responses and consideration.

edit on 5-11-2012 by Renegade2283 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 5 2012 @ 06:46 AM
reply to post by Gemwolf

I get that you guys are busy but it would take about 5 extra seconds to quote the removed post in the U2U. If people don't know what they did wrong how are they going to change?

I appreciate that whenever I ask I'm quoted the offending post, but I appreciate it more when the mod just includes it from the get go.

In the long run I would think this would save you mods time. Fewer questions, time responding to those questions and most likely many people would change behavior if they were aware what they said that was off topic etc.

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