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"Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
#2901234 10/17/19 12:30 PM
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I wanted to bring up the remedy of closing threads that have gone off-topic. This is commonly used (in addition to individual warnings and bans) across numerous fora, particularly when a discrete question is asked and answered, and the thread "no longer serves a purpose" by some measure of judgment.

But here, there are a few "monster" threads which live on for years, meander, and evolve (yes, I'm thinking about the N1X Hands On thread that was recently closed due to OT-discussion). When I saw it was closed, I had a couple of thoughts:

1. It's a shame to close an active thread that has thousands of posts, most of which are on-topic, just because one or two people come in and branch off into a side discussion; and

2. It has crossed my mind that it seems easy to disrupt the entire forum by weaponizing this kind of mod response. Don't mind burning a temporary or permanent ban on your account but want to wreak some havoc? Force an OT on a big thread and have it closed for good. That's honestly what looks like happened on the N1X thread. It's like the participants were daring a moderator to take the action just to demonstrate how disruptive/disproportionate the response would be. Hopefully nobody does this to the "Prices Paid" thread...

3. Though it takes more mod effort, a better solution might be to delete/redact off-topic posts, and mete out individual punishments when necessary, rather than close an entire thread when it gets hijacked? I understand that some threads should be shut down (threads that start totally OT and have no place in the DP forum, like political or incendiary topics, for example).


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901237 10/17/19 12:36 PM
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Gombessa, I must say I feel sorry that I even asked the question of what happened on the N1X thread. I had no idea about anything that happened and was simply curious about what had happened to CG or whether he was coming back because he's one of my favourite posters here. I certainly didn't intend for the N1X monster thread to be closed down and I apologise to anybody who is upset by the thread's demise. They certainly have a zero tolerance policy here on PW regarding off-topic/political comments, so any thread that even hints in that direction is on borrowed time.

Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901239 10/17/19 12:42 PM
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We are having a timely tangential discussion of off-topic posts over here, which might interest some. I think one of the ideas that might help are to take the off-topic "topics" that excite the most "energetic" discussions and move them to a Wikia. Anyway, take a look at the link.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901246 10/17/19 12:59 PM
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Thanks for the link to the other discussion. To me, that is more about repetitive on-topic posts/questions (e.g., the FAQ/use-the-search problem) rather than threads going off-topic. But hey, I'm not the police. If people want to discuss that here, what's the worst that can happen? wink


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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
ando #2901251 10/17/19 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ando
I certainly didn't intend for the N1X monster thread to be closed down and I apologise to anybody who is upset by the thread's demise. They certainly have a zero tolerance policy here on PW regarding off-topic/political comments, so any thread that even hints in that direction is on borrowed time.


I don't think you have anything to apologize for, ando, CG was a major contributor to the N1X thread and we were all wondering what happened to him. I think the main issue for me is that these huge threads have immense value over time--1800 posts before someone (perhaps CG in fact) uploaded detailed photos of the N1X disassembled. I've searched and it's incredibly hard to find disassembled AG photos online. This IMO outweighs many pages of intermittent OT discussion that may have taken place on the thread. And yes, in the course of those 1800 posts, there is meandering, there are off-topics, there are side-bars, but they come back to the N1X. The same is true of the NV-10 Hands On thread.

It just doesn't sit well with me that a temporary detour (or low-effort trolling) can result in an hugely beneficial, active thread being shut down.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901256 10/17/19 01:13 PM
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Well, the only solution to all of these types of things (incessant arguing and introducing OT stuff) is to punish those who frequently engage in that.

That is a giant undertaking that I doubt management wishes to get into.

It would involve members reporting posts which are "violations" and management investigating and reprimanding the user.

That would work but probably involves too much time for management to consider.

For those so inclined, there is the option to begin "reporting" postings which you feel are "violations" (explain why) and see what happens.

If enough members begin doing that it might move things in the right direction.

For example, I routinely "report" postings which I suspect are nothing more than "advertising" for the poster in their chosen profession (usually piano teachers). Nothing seems to come of it but I do it anyway and it is all I can do.




Last edited by dmd; 10/17/19 01:18 PM.

Don

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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901258 10/17/19 01:15 PM
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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
dmd #2901260 10/17/19 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd

It would involve members reporting posts which are "violations" and management investigating and reprimanding the user.

That would work but probably involves too much time for management to consider.



You know how other forums handle it? They deputize mods from the active user base, not enforcers who only get involved when a report is issued, but active participants who can engage in participation and community-building. It also allows for cycling of mods when older ones drop off.

You need clear standards and an understanding within the community of how those standards are interpreted. But IMO PW is set up for disproportionate responses such as what happened to the N1X thread exactly because of what you described--mods who aren't active in the DP forum "being forced" to step in when someone files a formal report/complaint, which makes it easy for them to choose the lowest-effort solution and move on.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901262 10/17/19 01:20 PM
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I also think that closing the N1X thread is a mistake. That was my favorite thread on the entire site and I purchased an N1X based to a large degree on what I learned from that thread.

A few off-topic posts are pretty harmless and I am guilty of doing that myself from time to time,, but I agree that they were starting to get out of hand. However may I respectfully suggest that a more preferable way to handle this problem would be moderator warnings or temporary 2-3 day bans instead of closing a very useful and informative thread. That drastic measure punishes everyone which seems a bit unfair.

I also miss CyberGene as he is my favorite poster here.

Just my .02


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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
JJHLH #2901267 10/17/19 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JJHLH
However may I respectfully suggest that a more preferable way to handle this problem would be moderator warnings or temporary 2-3 day bans instead of closing a very useful and informative thread.


You are absolutely right. Closing the thread is just "easier".

Banning "violators" for a period of time, depending upon the frequency of the violations is the way to do it.

It just has to be something management will agree to take on.

It would be fairly simple to implement. We already have the option to "report" a post for some perceived "violation".

We report a violation and management keeps records of "violations" and at some point issues a ban. Simple.

It is the "keeping records" part that might be cumbersome and management may not have the time nor the inclination to get into that.


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal Professional CMS 40 near-field monitors, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs (Seldom Used), Focus Rite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Mackie MIX 5 Compact Mixer.
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901273 10/17/19 01:41 PM
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I’m OK with a small degree of relevant OT, but the problem in the digital forum, this last year, is that many of the off topics digress into personal and pointless debates which are matters of opinion with little factual substantiation. They also have become off topic chatting between ‘friends’, that swell an individuals post count, but leave the rest of us sinking in irrelevant text. I’m no doubt guilty but don’t pursue things far OT or if if an alternative opinion is provided.

Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901274 10/17/19 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa


You know how other forums handle it? They deputize mods from the active user base, not enforcers who only get involved when a report is issued, but active participants who can engage in participation and community-building. It also allows for cycling of mods when older ones drop off.

You need clear standards and an understanding within the community of how those standards are interpreted. But IMO PW is set up for disproportionate responses such as what happened to the N1X thread exactly because of what you described--mods who aren't active in the DP forum "being forced" to step in when someone files a formal report/complaint, which makes it easy for them to choose the lowest-effort solution and move on.


You nailed it. Having been a moderator on a Gun forum for years, I understand the need to be part of the conversation. Even in church we don't allow people to hold an office unless they are an active member.

The moderator who locked the N1X thread has done a great disservice to the community and really has betrayed his/her job. I'm not saying that just because I started the thread, but because it's a valuable resource that essentially will become lost now. It's inept not to recognize this. Not being a proactive moderator is mismanagement and discriminately banning people is abuse.

Personally, I'm feeling inclined to take a break from PW. It's difficult for me to tolerate mismanagement and abuse.

God Bless,
David

Last edited by David B; 10/17/19 01:46 PM.

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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
David B #2901280 10/17/19 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by David B

The moderator who locked the N1X thread has done a great disservice to the community and really has betrayed his/her job. I'm not saying that just because I started the thread, but because it's a valuable resource that essentially will become lost now. It's inept not to recognize this. Not being a proactive moderator is mismanagement and discriminately banning people is abuse.

Personally, I'm feeling inclined to take a break from PW. It's difficult for me to tolerate mismanagement and abuse.



Owning an NV-10 (the "other," "competing" hybrid to the N1X), and participating in the complementary NV-10 thread, I have to say I LOVE the N1X thread, and am incredibly saddened to see it closed so unceremoniously and suddenly (no warning). It was a great source of information, it was friendly, and the folks on it were a great community. And many of us cross-post between the two (brothers and sisters in hybrid-arms). I feel PW was much richer for the activity in this thread, and there's literally nowhere else on the internet that has as active a community on digital hybrid pianos.

So yes, I totally agree that closing the N1X thread is a loss for PW.


Yamaha P-85, P-105, CP50, Kawai MP11 || Kawai NV-10
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901289 10/17/19 02:16 PM
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So at this stage is there still some way to resurrect the removed thread, (if management can be convinced) or has it been permanently deleted?

Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
camperbc #2901291 10/17/19 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by camperbc
or has it been permanently deleted?

It's still around.


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Tyrone Slothrop #2901293 10/17/19 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by camperbc
or has it been permanently deleted?

It's still around.

Then we should work toward finding a way to get it back online.

Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
camperbc #2901301 10/17/19 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by camperbc
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by camperbc
or has it been permanently deleted?

It's still around.

Then we should work toward finding a way to get it back online.

Yep.

BTW, I sent you a PM (private message). You can find it at the upper right corner of the webpage immediately to the left of your "camperbc" handle. Click on the envelope shaped icon.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901302 10/17/19 02:46 PM
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I don't know if this thread had anything to do with it, but it looks like the original N1X - Hands On thread has been re-opened!

Huzzah!

Now I think we're left with the question of what we as forum participants can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again? OT is to a point unavoidable, as are intentional and unintentional trolling...


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Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
David B #2901311 10/17/19 03:11 PM
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I don't think this is necessary ...
Originally Posted by David B
Personally, I'm feeling inclined to take a break from PW. It's difficult for me to tolerate mismanagement and abuse.
I can't tell you what to do, but ...
I think the closure of "problem thread" being discussed was an over-reaction. I don't see it as abuse. It was a small error, but one that unfortunately led to a big hububb.
Please don't over-react by leaving us.

Re: "Weaponizing" Off-Topic posts in large threads
Gombessa #2901312 10/17/19 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Gombessa


Now I think we're left with the question of what we as forum participants can do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again? OT is to a point unavoidable, as are intentional and unintentional trolling...


This is most definitely a worthy question. Self-policing is clearly preferable to having a moderator step in since that often results in actions that are simple and fast (closing threads, banning people) i.e., killing a butterfly with a hammer.

And to answer the inevitable (and fair) question of "why don't the moderators just go through and delete the off topic posts and punish the offenders?": the forum interface for deleting posts is clumsy, involves multiple steps and is time consuming. From soup to nuts (identify the post, click delete, answer "are you sure", wait while the forum deletes it, wait while the forum returns you to the thread, go on to the next one) takes 4-5 minutes. It takes no time at all for 15-20 off topic posts to accumulate and personally that's not how I want to spend an hour of my day (and this is just one thread, in one forum).

So typically unless a post is offensive (vulgar, insulting, etc), it's just simpler to close the thread and warn/give a timeout/ban the offender(s) than to delete multiple posts.

I recognize the value of long running threads and believe it or not don't like closing threads of any length that people have taken the time to contribute to. Given that, it is better by far if people respect the rules and try to keep threads somewhere near the topic. Yes, the occasional OT post does build a sense of community where we "get to know" other forum members and that is a big part of why people participate in PW and other internet forums. But it's a big community with a lot of members and one persons "interesting off topic post" is another persons "annoying interruption and or trollish post".

There's a balance in there somewhere and it'd be great if members of this and the other forums could find a way to achieve it.

Thanks for reading.


Greg
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