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Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:13 PM

We made some changes to the Forum Hosting system today

The previous system had a number of problems which basically boiled down to too many people trying to do the job, not enough turnover, and too much ambiguity in what should and should not be locked (particularly in the General Discussion forum). Put it all together and we had a recipe for counter-productive infighting which caused way too many unnecessary problems (particularly for a job which should merely be the mundane task of occasionally locking off-topic threads).

Here are the changes we have made:
  • The access-restricted Hosts Forum is now for Forum Hosts only. (Group Hosts can discuss group-related issues via DU Mail or other means.)

  • The number of Forum Host slots has been reduced from 140 to 30. The 30 Forum Hosts are no longer responsible for individual forums, they are responsible for all main forums which require hosting (Welcome & Help, Latest Breaking News, Good Reads, Video & Multimedia, Politics 2014, General Discussion, and The DU Lounge).

  • Since Forum Hosts are now responsible for all forums, there are no longer individual Wait Lists for each forum. There is now a single Wait List. Once Hosts have served their 90-day term, they must sign up again and join the bottom of the Wait List if they want to serve again.

  • Members must now maintain a 100% chance of serving on a jury if they want to serve as a Forum Host.

  • Due to the large amounts of confusion among members and Hosts alike over what kind of threads are permitted in the General Discussion forum, we have written an addendum to the General Discussion forum Statement Of Purpose which we hope makes things much clearer. You can view it here.
Thanks for your patience while we continue to work to improve DU. We expect there may be some bugs while we work on these changes -- if you encounter any weirdness, feel free to report it in this thread.

The DU Administrators

64 replies, 34669 views

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Arrow 64 replies Author Time Post
Reply We made some changes to the Forum Hosting system today (Original post)
EarlG Jul 2014 OP
NYC_SKP Jul 2014 #1
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2014 #2
Gormy Cuss Jul 2014 #3
smiley Jul 2014 #4
pscot Jul 2014 #5
groundloop Jul 2014 #6
ColesCountyDem Jul 2014 #7
BainsBane Jul 2014 #8
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2014 #33
BainsBane Jul 2014 #34
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2014 #36
uppityperson Jul 2014 #37
tammywammy Jul 2014 #42
Ms. Toad Jul 2014 #44
JTFrog Jul 2014 #49
BainsBane Jul 2014 #45
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2014 #48
BainsBane Jul 2014 #52
muriel_volestrangler Jul 2014 #54
pintobean Jul 2014 #50
Agschmid Jul 2014 #51
pintobean Jul 2014 #53
Capt. Obvious Jul 2014 #55
pacalo Jul 2014 #9
MADem Jul 2014 #11
pacalo Jul 2014 #13
MADem Jul 2014 #16
pacalo Jul 2014 #21
MADem Jul 2014 #23
BainsBane Jul 2014 #35
MADem Jul 2014 #39
BainsBane Jul 2014 #40
Autumn Jul 2014 #43
JDPriestly Jul 2014 #18
hlthe2b Jul 2014 #14
pacalo Jul 2014 #15
hlthe2b Jul 2014 #27
Skinner Jul 2014 #20
pacalo Jul 2014 #22
MADem Jul 2014 #10
AsahinaKimi Jul 2014 #12
MADem Jul 2014 #17
CreekDog Jul 2014 #46
AsahinaKimi Aug 2014 #56
CreekDog Aug 2014 #57
JEFF9K Jul 2014 #19
MADem Jul 2014 #24
JEFF9K Jul 2014 #28
MADem Jul 2014 #29
steve2470 Jul 2014 #25
CreekDog Jul 2014 #31
JEFF9K Jul 2014 #32
Renew Deal Jul 2014 #26
MADem Jul 2014 #30
CreekDog Jul 2014 #47
uppityperson Jul 2014 #38
CreekDog Jul 2014 #41
petronius Aug 2014 #58
itsrobert Aug 2014 #59
BainsBane Aug 2014 #60
itsrobert Aug 2014 #61
Name removed Sep 2014 #62
Name removed Sep 2014 #63
Post removed Sep 2014 #64

Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 06:35 PM

1. K/R and I hope that the changes are successful!

 

I'm sure there will be some bugs, but that's alright.

Thanks for always looking for ways to improve the DU!

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:09 PM

2. But everyone is still banned from the BOG, right?

 

Wouldn't want to lose my status.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:13 PM

3. Now that only 30 people have access to the Hosts forum

they'll be able to get more time in the old moderator hot tub. Win!

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:15 PM

4. that just confused the hell out of me

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:15 PM

5. New Rules!

and a dope slap,

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 07:47 PM

6. No Fair - I can't spy on the Host Forum anymore


As a mere group host I can't watch the fun anymore.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:02 PM

7. Conspiracy!!!

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:11 PM

8. Since this change puts even more power in the hands of juries

I'd like to make some suggestions.

1) Make it obligatory for jurors to leave comments. When I see a hide with no jury comments, it is very difficult to see the hide as legitimate, particularly when an alerter gives a reason such as using the word "bullshit," or in some cases the alerter will give no reason at all, yet the post is still hidden and jurors give no explanation for the reason for their vote. It is hard to believe this is about anything other than targeting certain individuals.

2) Think seriously about whether jurors are acting in good faith or voting based on who they like or don't like. In a trial, people with personal connections to a defendant are not allowed to serve on juries. While that isn't practical here, I do think there needs to be effort to ensure hides are based on the content of posts rather than personal animus. Toward that end you might a) disqualify jurors who make clear they vote based on prejudice toward individuals. b) consider removing names of posters from the view of jurors c) provide updated jury instructions making clear jurors are to vote based on the post and not their views of a particular poster.

I hope you give this some thought.

Thanks.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #8)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 12:38 PM

33. Of your suggestions, only 2(c) makes any sense

1) won't help, unless someone has the job of reviewing juror comments and sending them back if they're insufficient. "Looks OK to me", "breaks Community Standards", "this should go", "why was this alerted", etc. are all comments, but meaningless.

2(a) would discourage jurors from making meaningful comments anyway. 2(b) is impractical - you have to be able to see who said what in a thread to take an overall view of the post. 2(c) might be nice, but I'm not sure how much difference it would make.

Why do you think "this change puts even more power in the hands of juries", by the way, when it's about the number of and forums covered by hosts, who deal with a different form of alert?

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #33)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 12:59 PM

34. It is the role of the administrators

to look at alerts. They do so already. They look at alerts to see if someone needs to be PPR'd, and they have PPR'd jurors over comments. Also anyone who receives the jury results can alert on them, so those alerts would go to administrators as they do now. Compelling people to write something makes them at least think about an explanation. I know of cases were jurors have confided, after the fact, that they didn't have a good reason for voting to hide. That should never occur. One should always know why they voted to hide or leave. If you can't think that through, you aren't doing the job responsibly.

2a combined with c would discourage jurors from voting for reasons other than the content of the post. As it stands, people will say "I don't like so and so," Or "he deserves to be told to fuck off." That is unacceptable and it should be made clear that it is unacceptable.

Names could be substituted with letters (poster a, b, c, d, etc...) or colors.

This change puts more control in the hands of jurors because anyone with a hide is exempt from hosting. If jury verdicts actually reflected fair determinations on civility that would be one thing. They do not. They serve as personality contests, and some members are quite open about using their votes that way. Some people can say virtually anything and not get a hide, whereas others get hides for saying "bullshit" or posting a laughing emoticon.

The current system is built around popularity, with no protection for the rights of minorities, not just in minority in terms of POV but also literally minorities in terms of people of color. I believe some changes could help encourage greater fairness and more just outcomes for jury decisions. With the requirement that hosts have 100, that means those same standards of popularity will control the content of the website. We have already seen where some hosts will act according to who the alerter or OP is rather than the extent to which the thread fits the SOP of the forum. I fear that will only increase.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:17 PM

36. Hmmm. I feel your worries about juries are tending towards the Discussionist thread

which received this reply from admin:



http://www.discussionist.com/1015137633#post74

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #36)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:26 PM

37. that is very good, thank you for sharing

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #36)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 04:10 PM

42. that is awesome.

Since they've said on DU more than one there's no alert stalking. Great graphic.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #36)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 10:39 PM

44. Cry like a little girl? Really? n/t

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Response to Ms. Toad (Reply #44)


Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #36)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 01:50 AM

45. I was not talking about alert stalking

In fact no where did I mention it. If you would like to see some of the jury results that led to my conclusions, I can share them with you via PM. I don't appreciate having my concerns mocked. I am far from alone in holding them. Clearly the site owners have an interest in maintaining the jury system since it frees up their time. However, some modest reforms would not be particularly time-consuming. Nothing I have proposed is onerous, with the possible exception of making names invisible.

Someone did an alert experiment where he posted the same thing that resulted in a hide from another member, a feminist, and had a friend alert on him. The results came back 2-5, whereas the woman's post was hidden. I think it would be interesting to see more such experiments. I expect the results would be enlightening. I will also point out that most of the recent PPRs of long-term members were people with relatively few hides. That should tell you something.

I think fairness is a worthy goal and not one that deserves ridicule. Just a two weeks ago people were making similar jokes about perceptions of the hosting forum operating dysfunctionally. Clearly they were wrong.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #45)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:55 AM

48. If you're talking, *in a thread about hosts*, about juries being about 'popularity'

then you are getting into whining about alert stalking. You're also thread-jacking. I feel a bit guilty that I'm enabling you in that.

No, whatever you do, do not send me jury results. That really would be whining.

" I am far from alone in holding them." Yes, whining about alerts is done by several people. That doesn't mean it's justified, or worth fucking around with DU by deliberately reposting things that were hidden. I think some people don't realise that juries consist of different people at different times.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #48)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:23 PM

52. I shared my suggestions


That doesn't mean it's justified, or worth fucking around with DU by deliberately reposting things that were hidden.


I'm not even going to ask what that is about, only to say I have not done it. I would have thought it was obvious by offering to send jury results via PM that I would not be posting them. Politely offering suggestions for considertaton is not whining.

I shared my concerns and demonstrated their relationship to the OP. You and anyone else can make of them what they will. You first responded about why you thought they impractical, and then when I showed otherwise you decided to lecture me personally for even speaking. You might have simply said you think the system works fine as is or not responded at all. Although you did not intend it as such, your post about "whining like little girls" got right to the heart of the issue.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #52)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:46 PM

54. What it's about was:

Someone did an alert experiment where he posted the same thing that resulted in a hide from another member, a feminist, and had a friend alert on him. The results came back 2-5, whereas the woman's post was hidden. I think it would be interesting to see more such experiments

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #45)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 06:37 PM

50. Nothing you have proposed is new.

It's all been proposed before, in meta and ata, and it's all been addressed by admin. This is the ssdd that has been going on since DU3 began.

I'm pretty sure you knew this.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #50)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:01 PM

51. 0-7 to Leave. FYI.

Can't believe that got alerted on.

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Response to Agschmid (Reply #51)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 07:28 PM

53. Lol. Thanks.

I think I might have an alert stalker.

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Response to pintobean (Reply #50)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:01 PM

55. But how else to explain

the recent time out someone got?

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:31 PM

9. I like the changes!

I especially appreciate the word "threads" replacing "OPs" in the Meta-Discussion section, which, in my interpretation, means that OPs that lead to drama can be locked.

DISRUPTIVE META-DISCUSSION

Positive threads about Democratic Underground or its members are are permitted.

Threads complaining about Democratic Underground or its members; threads complaining about jury decisions, locked threads, suspensions, bannings, or the like; and threads intended to disrupt or negatively influence the normal workings of Democratic Underground and its community moderating system are not permitted.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:35 PM

11. I don't like that at all--that's a negative to me.

Basically, anyone who wants to get a thread shut down simply has to go all meta and ruin the thing for the rest of the group.

I think that needs addressing; I'm not in favor of that at all. Why should a person who starts a perfectly reasonable discussion about a topic in a thread thread be punished for the behavior of a few asses in a subthread?

This needs to be addressed, I think. I also think that host/moderators need to explain the reason for locking before they lock, so there's no question as to why.

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Response to MADem (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:44 PM

13. I thought about that, too, after I hit the reply button.

The disruptive posts should be alerted on & sent to juries, or, perhaps the hosts could also have the ability to hide the posts that are intended to cause problems?

I also believe hosts should always give reasons for closing threads.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:59 PM

16. If hosts are hiding individual posts, we're back to the old moderator system--in this case that

would be 30 people making decisions and serving as gatekeepers. I hope that's not the case; I don't think less transparency is a good thing and I hope we aren't heading in that direction.

If entire threads are dumped because someone doesn't like a subthread, it's too easy for someone to fire up a gripe to shut down a thread.

It puts the "power" in the hands of the hosts, and turns them into moderators. More to the point, it puts the power to shut down a thread in the hands of a couple of disruptors firing up a fake fight in a sub thread.

That would suggest that our revolutionary "community moderation" system is a failure. I think it sometimes misses, but it sometimes hits the nail on the head, too. We always like to be on the "winning" side of a jury decision when we're called to judge, naturally.


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Response to MADem (Reply #16)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:39 PM

21. As always, you make very good, strong points

but the divisiveness on DU needs to be curbed in some way. I think the community moderation system works well overall & I wouldn't consider a change or two back to the old moderating system as a failure, but as a remedy brought about through necessity.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #21)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:47 PM

23. I think things will get better once we find ourselves in general election season.

The trolls will identify themselves. They can't help it.

I wish there were a way for the admins to spot a returning troll more easily; that's eighty percent of the problem, I think. It's not hard to figure out which "new guys" aren't really new at all, even before they out themselves by claiming knowledge of personalities that predates their membership by eons!

I've been a "victim" of the jury system (once for asking someone why they were being uncivil, in essence) but there's nothing to be done for that. I'd rather a little divisiveness than a lot of censorship, and the moderator system didn't get rid of divisiveness, it just "disappeared" it. It was still there, only less obvious.

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Response to MADem (Reply #16)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:09 PM

35. I took threads in the new guidelines to mean OPs

Not individual posts or subtheads.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #35)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:58 PM

39. Skinner cleared this up yesterday at post twenty--all is sorted. nt

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Response to MADem (Reply #39)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 02:04 PM

40. Thanks for pointing that out to me

I'd missed it.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #13)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 07:16 PM

43. Hosts only consider the OP. Does it meet the SOP or not, replies to the OP are up to a jury.

Hots do not have the ability to lock replies, host super powers work only on the OP.

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Response to MADem (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:03 PM

18. I agree, MADem. The rules are, in some cases, complicated.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:54 PM

14. Was that intentional (i.e.. differentiating thread from OP)? I'm wondering if we are over-reading.

Last edited Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:43 PM - Edit history (1)

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Response to hlthe2b (Reply #14)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:58 PM

15. On edit, see Skinner's reply at #20.

Last edited Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:02 PM - Edit history (2)

You were indeed correct, hlthe2b.

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Response to pacalo (Reply #15)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:01 PM

27. Ahh, ok. Thanks, pacalo

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Response to pacalo (Reply #9)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:25 PM

20. Threads means OPs.

Hosts do not lock based on replies. Only based on the content of the OP.

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Response to Skinner (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:40 PM

22. Thanks for clearing that up, Skinner.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:32 PM

10. Back to the old "moderator" system then....? nt

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 08:40 PM

12. Regarding...

Group Hosts can discuss group-related issues via DU Mail or other means.

I just noticed I became sole host of the Asian group. The former head host has quit, so IF I need to discuss things about our group, who do I go see?? The Forum was a good place for discussion on polices.. I feel left in the dark here. I Have added a sub host, Yuiyoshida, as she tends to be on far more than me.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:01 PM

17. You're on your own without a co-host....that would make you the GODDESS!!!!!

I never had a situation arise where I needed a 2nd opinion, but it was nice to have the option.

Oh well!

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #12)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 02:53 AM

46. it seems like any hosting decision or discussion can simply take place as an OP in the group

for your group or any.

it's transparent, it will show what the issues being dealt with are and nothing will be done without warning, because it will have been discussed first.

if someone causes trouble in such a thread, a host can block them from the group to remove the disruption, for a period of time or for longer and that also may be discussed.

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #46)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 02:13 AM

56. not sure thats the answer i was looking for..

but i guess I will have to just figure it out own my own. Thanks for your reply.

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Response to AsahinaKimi (Reply #56)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 12:58 PM

57. Yes, I know it isn't the solution you need, just a suggestion

if I could do that I would!

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 09:25 PM

19. So no constructive criticism of Democratic Underground is allowed.

Can we "damn it with faint praise?"

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Response to JEFF9K (Reply #19)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:00 PM

24. No starting threads to damn/criticize, is what it says.

If someone is "praising" and you disagree, you're free to say so in a post within the thread.

You risk the disapprobation of a jury if your disagreement is suggestive of disruption or trolling, though--that's what I'm getting from the rule change.

And of course, if the admins "just don't like you" (and I do not mean YOU, personally--that's a generic 'you') they can toss (the generic) you over the side, as well.

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Response to MADem (Reply #24)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:24 PM

28. So you think that "damning with faint praise," as Alexander Pope ...

... would put it, is okay. Then maybe someone could sneak through with saying that Democratic Underground doesn't have the worst rules they've ever seen. Got it!

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Response to JEFF9K (Reply #28)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:07 AM

29. No, I'm not saying it's "OK."

You can't start a thread that damns, even faintly.

If someone else starts a thread in praise, and you don't agree with the specific phrase, you can object to the characterization.

Of course, you take your chances, as I said. A jury might not like the point you're making, but that's the way the system works. The thread won't get locked so long as your post isn't the thread starter.

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Response to JEFF9K (Reply #19)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:28 PM

25. you can always go to Ask the Administrators forum nt

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Response to CreekDog (Reply #31)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 08:52 AM

32. Thanks, I will look for it.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:56 PM

26. Only thing left to do is get rid of the juries and DU will be in good shape.

What made DU2 great was the strong moderation.

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #26)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:12 AM

30. The moderation simply hid a lot of problems, and it also created a "brook no dissent" mentality.

I think the moderators worked hard and meant well, but the idea here is to let the community, not a group of wise and controlling nannies, create the standards. It has to come from US, not be imposed upon us.

A lot of the problems were simply hidden away--they were still there, only once the post got hidden, no one could click a button and see it.

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Response to Renew Deal (Reply #26)

Thu Jul 31, 2014, 03:01 AM

47. I think the jury concept has worked and not worked and has more potential

but I think more study into how to adjust the juries to make them reflect the most active user community and some more experimentation would yield some improvements.

I don't think the jury system is incapable of succeeding, however any system needs adjustments to maximize effectiveness, especially something as experimental as this, in a community with the very specific purpose as DU.


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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 01:31 PM

38. Thank you for putting me on the host list but I am retiring, letting my position go to the next pers

I just got back on mirt and it is taking up enough of my time, I would rather not do both right now. Thank you again.

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Wed Jul 30, 2014, 02:07 PM

41. you made sure that in revamping host membership that diversity was maintained?

or did you just leave it to chance and just assume it would be?

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Response to EarlG (Original post)

Fri Aug 1, 2014, 04:20 PM

58. Curious: what happens if people on the waitlist get a hide, and drop below 100%

Do they get bounced from the WL, or can they stay on the list until they reach the top and their names come up, and then they get bounced if they're below 100% jury chance?

Same for people whose stars expire - do they get dropped automatically from hosting and/or the waitlist?

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Response to petronius (Reply #58)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 08:01 PM

59. I got a post hidden (Unfairly) and so I took myself off the list

Not sure if I was able to continue. So, since the wait list is more than 90 days long, I tried to put myself back on it, but I am ruled ineligible to get back on the wait list.

I also appealed the results of the jury, however the admins have not even responded to that appeal.

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Response to itsrobert (Reply #59)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:45 PM

60. There is no appeal

You're stuck with the hide, no matter how unfair.

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #60)

Sun Aug 17, 2014, 11:48 PM

61. Either way, I still did not get a response

Of course they do not have to respond, it's their website.

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