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Introspection


GeoBain
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In the last few days we have had a few posters who are new to the forums start some threads which have quickly turned ugly.

 

Some have felt these were trolls.

 

I am going to give my opinion based on history that some of you may remember.

 

A few years ago we had a rampant troll who really caused a lot of harm here. Because of this, I got caught up in trying to stop the trolling only to find myself disgraced and almost banned for life.

 

I wrongly accused an innocent woman of trolling the forums. It later was revealed that I was horribly wrong.

 

I bring this up as a warning to all posters here.

 

Here is what I learned.

 

First, it is the duty of the moderation team to deal with problematic posters. They have been hand selected by Groundspeak for this purpose. They, and they only have the duty and responsibility to deal will trolls, flames, rude posters, etc., etc. In short, it is not our place to publicly out anyone. If at any time we feel someone is not what they purport to be, then we should use the report button and then allow the mods to do the job for which they have been tasked.

 

Secondly, and the most important thing I have learned, you do not have to respond to every thread or post in these boards.

 

I repeat, it is ok to not post a response to a thread or post!

 

If you do not have something constructive to say, then consider whether you should respond at all.

 

The moderators can warn, ban, etc. to remove problematic users. But we can do so much more by treating every poster with the warmth and respect that each of us would like to receive from others.

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In the last few days we have had a few posters who are new to the forums start some threads which have quickly turned ugly.

 

Some have felt these were trolls.

 

I am going to give my opinion based on history that some of you may remember.

 

A few years ago we had a rampant troll who really caused a lot of harm here. Because of this, I got caught up in trying to stop the trolling only to find myself disgraced and almost banned for life.

 

I wrongly accused an innocent woman of trolling the forums. It later was revealed that I was horribly wrong.

 

I bring this up as a warning to all posters here.

 

Here is what I learned.

 

First, it is the duty of the moderation team to deal with problematic posters. They have been hand selected by Groundspeak for this purpose. They, and they only have the duty and responsibility to deal will trolls, flames, rude posters, etc., etc. In short, it is not our place to publicly out anyone. If at any time we feel someone is not what they purport to be, then we should use the report button and then allow the mods to do the job for which they have been tasked.

 

Secondly, and the most important thing I have learned, you do not have to respond to every thread or post in these boards.

 

I repeat, it is ok to not post a response to a thread or post!

 

If you do not have something constructive to say, then consider whether you should respond at all.

 

The moderators can warn, ban, etc. to remove problematic users. But we can do so much more by treating every poster with the warmth and respect that each of us would like to receive from others.

 

Just curious here, but the time you almost got banned, was that the one with the flowers?

Edited by T.D.M.22
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In the last few days we have had a few posters who are new to the forums start some threads which have quickly turned ugly.

 

Some have felt these were trolls.

 

I am going to give my opinion based on history that some of you may remember.

 

A few years ago we had a rampant troll who really caused a lot of harm here. Because of this, I got caught up in trying to stop the trolling only to find myself disgraced and almost banned for life.

 

I wrongly accused an innocent woman of trolling the forums. It later was revealed that I was horribly wrong.

 

I bring this up as a warning to all posters here.

 

Here is what I learned.

 

First, it is the duty of the moderation team to deal with problematic posters. They have been hand selected by Groundspeak for this purpose. They, and they only have the duty and responsibility to deal will trolls, flames, rude posters, etc., etc. In short, it is not our place to publicly out anyone. If at any time we feel someone is not what they purport to be, then we should use the report button and then allow the mods to do the job for which they have been tasked.

 

Secondly, and the most important thing I have learned, you do not have to respond to every thread or post in these boards.

 

I repeat, it is ok to not post a response to a thread or post!

 

If you do not have something constructive to say, then consider whether you should respond at all.

 

The moderators can warn, ban, etc. to remove problematic users. But we can do so much more by treating every poster with the warmth and respect that each of us would like to receive from others.

 

Was that the woman with the flowers?

 

Yes. Piddlepuss

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Just curious here, but the time you almost got banned, was that the one with the flowers?

Heirloom squash, if I remember correctly.

 

Thanks, Geobain! It took a lot of guts to make that post. I remember the situation all too well, and I also remember your self-imposed time out and name changes and all the humiliation you felt about it. And you were NOT the only one to accuse Piddlepuss of being a troll. It becomes a lynch mob very quickly, and you're right... we have been seeing far too much of that recently. I can think of three situations in the past week alone where new visitors were tarred and feathered by some of the regulars. This should be a place to welcome new visitors, not to bully them.

 

One forum I visit has the rule, "If you wouldn't say it to me from across the table at dinner, don't say it at all". I think that is good advice for this forum as well.

 

By the way, it has come to my attention recently that even some long-time forum regulars are afraid to hit the Report button, either for fear of moderator retribution (for disturbing their peace) or because they believed that it was only there for reporting attacks on their person. I have been informed by moderators that this is not true, and that they actually appreciate us reporting bad behavior in general. Naturally, we want to avoid "crying wolf", but don't be afraid of pulling the fire alarm.

 

Together we can make this a better place.

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Before I was a moderator, I remember feeling a bit nervous that when I reported something, I could possibly be irritating or even disturbing the moderators. I'd especially hesitate to report little things like a thread in the wrong forum or a duplicate thread, that sort of thing. I remember hitting the report button and feeling like it just went off into the ether and I had no clue where it went or if it was even read.

 

We really do appreciate reports. We can't be everywhere all the time, so it can be a useful tool for us. The most important thing to remember is to be courteous in how you write your reports, and don't start using the report tool to pick apart every little thing someone might be saying. I guess it can be a fine line, but try to be reasonable and mature about the reports.

Edited by Cascade Reviewer
clarity
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The most important thing to remember is to be courteous in how you write your reports

I know that I have been guilty about that one. Often it is out of frustration. Will try to be better.

Thanks. I appreciate that posters can be coming from a frustrated place. Sometimes it seems like things blow up in the forums right at a time that two or more of us forum moderators are busy with life, and then we come to the forums and see lots of frustration. Not a great place to start. :)

 

Just know that we're doing our best and we want these forums to be welcoming to as many people as possible. Sometimes that takes tough decisions, but we do it as a team and put a lot of thought into it.

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Nice post. I would only add two points. First, the moderating team can ask Geocaching HQ for additional information, which we call a 'sock check.' When a poster reaches a conclusion that this MUST be a sock puppet owned by a 'forum regular,' the moderating team may know otherwise. For example it is a challenge to spoof a static IP address in a different country. So, if you think it's a sock, let the moderators look into the matter.

 

Second, don't assume that the moderating team reads each and every post in real time. Sometimes one of us does, but there are periods when a thread can gather steam without a moderator knowing about the problem. Moderators have dinner hours, commutes, meetings at our day jobs, and sleeping hours. (Except for moderators who are dogs - they mainly have sleeping hours and dinner hours.) Report the post/thread, in a neutral way, without assuming that the moderators are willfully ignoring misbehavior. Reports forward to our emails, which we can check from our cellphones. I have closed threads from deep in the woods while hunting for a cache, with only one bar of cell coverage. I've also closed threads during the work day while making presentations or chairing conference calls, thanks to my smartphone.

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I came late to the fireworks, the posts were locked. I would only have said though many were being hard on her/him, they also were also returning the same. If it was me I would have just ignored the bad remarks or play dumb. What are Moms would say? Ignore the bully and they would get bored and move on. I don't understand why the OP even responded to any bad remarks, it wouldn't have gotten that bad. And if I thought they were trolling and not saying the OP was, the other thing I notice was in post #36 the OP say they had to get some sleep because they had to get up and go to work, and not longer after that they continued the postings. Did the OP ever go to sleep?

That is all I am saying about this.

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Curious...how many "active" moderators are there here? I know that there is a long list of moderators, and who is assigned to which forum(s), but it doesn't seem like there are that many that actually take part in the forum moderation.

 

A rule of thumb I have learned from being a moderator on a forum that used to get quite "rowdy"...if a seemingly innocuous thread goes for more than 2 pages, something is up.

 

I've used the "report" button a lot here on this forum. Some times, stuff gets buried in a busy thread. I have no problem whatsoever with reporting all kinds of stuff.

 

I always assumed that if I was using the "report" button inappropriately, then a moderator would let me know. Part of a moderator's job is to educate the forum members, I feel.

 

Anywhoo, I think a big problem is that not many people are even aware of the "report" button.

 

And a lot of people could make good use of the "ignore" function.

 

I also trust that the moderators are very, very aware of potential explosions caused by personal issues between certain members. I don't think they need to be told about every single "infraction" that rubs people the wrong way.

 

And I also don't think that other members chiding people, as if they were talking to children, is a good way to ease tensions.

 

B.

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Moderators, perhaps the pinned thread about reporting abusive posts or correspondence needs updating. Here is what Brad_W says:

 

If someone directs correspondence to you that is abusive or derogatory through the site, a forum topic or a log entry, you should not respond before reporting it. Once two parties are involved, it becomes a "he said this" or "she said that" discussion that is generally difficult to deal with.

 

Forum posts are reported by clicking on the !Report link at the bottom of the post. Other issues are reported by contacting Geocaching HQ through the Help Center. (my bolding)

 

This may cause some forum members to think that they can only report posts that are directed at them personally. I know this is not the case but the directive could certainly be interpreted that way.

 

 

(I would have pm'd this to Brad_W directly but that doesn't seem to be possible at the moment.)

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Moderators, perhaps the pinned thread about reporting abusive posts or correspondence needs updating. Here is what Brad_W says:

 

If someone directs correspondence to you that is abusive or derogatory through the site, a forum topic or a log entry, you should not respond before reporting it. Once two parties are involved, it becomes a "he said this" or "she said that" discussion that is generally difficult to deal with.

 

Forum posts are reported by clicking on the !Report link at the bottom of the post. Other issues are reported by contacting Geocaching HQ through the Help Center. (my bolding)

 

This may cause some forum members to think that they can only report posts that are directed at them personally. I know this is not the case but the directive could certainly be interpreted that way.

 

 

(I would have pm'd this to Brad_W directly but that doesn't seem to be possible at the moment.)

 

Yup... I have had several long-term forum posters tell me that they thought it was only for that purpose. Updating that sticky note might not be a bad idea, although I wonder how many people really read it.

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Just because someone posts an odd opinion on the internet doesn't mean you should assume they are a troll.

 

Also, disagreement with someone's opinion is not a valid reason for being a jerk to them. Unfortunately, I have met people in person who have told me they aren't very good at expressing polite disagreement. If they can't manage it face-to-face they certainly aren't going to be able to on the internet! Unfortunately, I'm sure we have some people like that on the forums.

 

I also wonder if some long-time geocachers are just generally hostile toward all newcomers due to the mindset that geocaching is already too big for its own good. I have no particular forum member in mind when I say this; just speculating in general based on how often I hear people on here yearn for the good old days when there were fewer cachers, fewer caches, and the game/sport/hobby was still regarded as an underground secret.

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Just because someone posts an odd opinion on the internet doesn't mean you should assume they are a troll.

 

Also, disagreement with someone's opinion is not a valid reason for being a jerk to them.

 

Good advice.

 

If one cannot figure out how to disagree cordially they may do better to lurk more and post less.

 

I've found lurking to be very informative. Often, just about the time I am ready to give my opinion, someone manages to do it better than I could have anyway.

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Moderators, perhaps the pinned thread about reporting abusive posts or correspondence needs updating. Here is what Brad_W says:

 

If someone directs correspondence to you that is abusive or derogatory through the site, a forum topic or a log entry, you should not respond before reporting it. Once two parties are involved, it becomes a "he said this" or "she said that" discussion that is generally difficult to deal with.

 

Forum posts are reported by clicking on the !Report link at the bottom of the post. Other issues are reported by contacting Geocaching HQ through the Help Center. (my bolding)

 

This may cause some forum members to think that they can only report posts that are directed at them personally. I know this is not the case but the directive could certainly be interpreted that way.

 

 

(I would have pm'd this to Brad_W directly but that doesn't seem to be possible at the moment.)

Good catch, Michaelcycle. The reference to "other issues" implied non-forum geocaching site issues and was poorly stated. The pinned thread has been edited to remove that reference.

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Moderators, perhaps the pinned thread about reporting abusive posts or correspondence needs updating. Here is what Brad_W says:

 

If someone directs correspondence to you that is abusive or derogatory through the site, a forum topic or a log entry, you should not respond before reporting it. Once two parties are involved, it becomes a "he said this" or "she said that" discussion that is generally difficult to deal with.

 

Forum posts are reported by clicking on the !Report link at the bottom of the post. Other issues are reported by contacting Geocaching HQ through the Help Center. (my bolding)

 

This may cause some forum members to think that they can only report posts that are directed at them personally. I know this is not the case but the directive could certainly be interpreted that way.

 

 

(I would have pm'd this to Brad_W directly but that doesn't seem to be possible at the moment.)

Good catch, Michaelcycle. The reference to "other issues" implied non-forum geocaching site issues and was poorly stated. The pinned thread has been edited to remove that reference.

 

Thanks for your quick response!

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