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Can We Please Be More Proactive In Banning Bad Actors?


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I hope I'm not out of line by saying it, but I feel like this site should be harsher on fascist sympathizers, concern trolls, and other bad faith actors regardless of whether they spout blatant bigotry or not. I can understand wanting to give people the benefit of the doubt and not go wild with banning people, but when it seems like every day a small handful of people continue to come into political threads to spout right-wing garbage and shut down any attempt at honest discourse, something's gotta give. Even if permanent bans are not given for such behavior, I would at least like to see temporary suspensions be more common than they are now.

Edited by Kimistry
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I hope I'm not out of line by saying it, but I feel like this site should be harsher on fascist sympathizers, concern trolls, and other bad faith actors regardless of whether they spout blatant bigotr

I have a 5D formula when it comes to dealing with bad faith actors, and it tends to separate the genuinely ignorant from the fascists, and then prepares up the fascists to be dealt with accordingly

im readin a lotta stuff in this thread, appreciate the feedback. one thing i wanna make crystal clear though is that we do not just ‘wait for them to break the rules,’ when it comes to crypto-fash mak

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If it's any comfort, right-wing chuds can't help themselves. They'll inevitably slip up and do something worth being banned over. 
That said, I've already seen two chuds get banned within a few hours of joining because they were cautiously baiting. I think that if there's off-site evidence that people are bad faith actors and you provide it with your report, mods are pretty snappy about ejecting them. 

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Yeah honestly I'm surprised how lenient they seem to be. There are definitely people in this forum space that are just here to stir up trouble and just generally be contrarian/make people uncomfortable for the trill of it.

I would like to hope the mods are keeping a close watch on this stuff because frankly I get enough bad faith actors on twitter without having to deal with that bullshit here. I have fibromyalgia and a chronic problems with my sciatic nerve, folks: I definitely do not need extra pain to deal with every day thanks.

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yeah, i've been frustrated too about the amount of shit-stirring being done by very specific people. i really, really dislike the trend i've been seeing where people come into a thread acting completely batshit and getting uppity when people call them on it. i especially don't like that they always conveniently fall back on "i'm just trying to educate myself" while simultaneously ignoring the people who are only engaging with them to help them.

i'm getting really sick of seeing these arguments that are dragged up again and again by the same people, repeating the same dumbass talking points to invoke an emotional response from the people they harm by saying that garbage, then acting like holier-than-thou intellectuals when people react in the exact way they wanted and expected them to. gods above it is so fucking annoying.

i will say that i don't know that it's an issue with staff, necessarily. thus far, from what i've seen, staff have been pretty decent about immediately identifying and banning right-wing weirdos, but there have def been some reactionaries and weirdos falling thru the cracks. we have no way of knowing how many warning points these people have. we don't know if staff has contacted them. if they truly are just here to be inflammatory, they're gonna do what they can to get kicked out. i don't feel like i personally can fault staff entirely for failing to ban these people outright without knowing exactly what action they've taken. if we knew for sure that there was no attempt to manage these people, then my opinion would change, but as of right now i feel like they're doing the best they can under the circumstances.

with that said, i kind of do just wish there could be a very strict blanket ban on that kind of shit. i get that anyone on earth can join a website and say what they want on it, but... god. i don't know. i don't want fascists to feel safe here just because they're good at skating just under the ban line. so i definitely agree that i'd like to see shitty people being pushed more quickly and efficiently off this platform.

at least this site's generally very loudly and proudly anti-fascist, it seems to keep at least some of the assholes at bay.

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fwiw, we do recognize bad faith actors and try to punish them accordingly. most of the time, if they’re continuously reported for the same trollish actions, we’ll give them warnings of various degrees/direct PMs. if they continue to do so after their content moderation time is up/they’ve been contacted, theyll probably end up getting banned. we currently try not to ban every single person that gets reported as a troll because it isnt a crime to be dumb and or annoying(and also not a crime to call others out for being dumb/annoying), but at the same time, we do pay a lot of attention to folks that continuously show up in our reports. rest assured, if you keep on seeing them being annoying, they’ve probably already been warned. just remember to report so we can see em and take action. 

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I have a 5D formula when it comes to dealing with bad faith actors, and it tends to separate the genuinely ignorant from the fascists, and then prepares up the fascists to be dealt with accordingly

  • Disapproval: If you feel that something is out of line, do voice your concern. This step is very important for determining the health of the community, because if it is you who gets jumped on for calling out bigoted trash, then the community is a lost cause and you're better off leaving it behind. It also serves as a defense mechanism against the aforementioned scenario because such antipathy towards community whistle-blowers can only breed in an atmosphere of apathy. By voicing your disapproval, you could potentially find allies within the community who will resonate with you and help you rectify the problem, and it will keep the amount of mutual care in the community up.
  • Dissect: A lot of the times, a crypto-fascist's message can be frustrating and overwhelming to deal with, but that is only because their "one" argument comes with a potpourri of a priori assumptions and dogwhistles, and this tends to overload our cognitive bandwidth because we instinctually try to make connections between the network of bad arguments to get to the zeitgeist of the argument. Here's the problem, there is none, the entire point of their argumentation is to break down your cognitive defense so you'll either become more susceptible to suggestion, or you lash out in anger, which they can weaponize against you and other leftists. Keep calm, take each point one at a time, and dryly explain why they are wrong.
    • While this may play into their game of making you waste time, this will serve to arm any 3rd parties with extra knowledge that they can then use against future altercations with fascists and their crypto variants.
  • Dialectics: A big risk when dealing with these chuds, especially when it's been made obvious that they're there in bad faith, is getting caught up in their pathology. They will take great pains to word and frame their rhetoric in such a way that you'll be caught in as much catch-22 situations as possible. A big tell with these folks is how often they would change the subject or try to divert the topic, or how often they would answer your questions with more of their own questions, and almost always with loaded language designed to put you in no-win scenarios. These are all illusions. When they say "nobody cares about your issues" they are lying, when they try to make appeals to the status quo, or try to "simplify" the dialectic, they're not addressing your arguments, and when they accuse you of being violent, or a terrorist advocate, they are trying to scare you away from movements and praxis that is effective in removing fascism from a community. They practically live by The Rules for Power by Saul Alinsky.
    • Remember, the reactionary position is, while significant enough to be a big concern, still the minority position. More people than you think care about the issues that you speak of, but they have been prevented actively from joining their voices with you because of wedging and isolating rhetoric like this. The statistics they cite are often deceptive in a multitude of ways, and every political action is violence, the detail is in who is the target and why.
    • Also remember that they may occasionally have a good take by accident, but for the wrong reasons. Don't fall into the temptation of dismissing everything a chud says just because it's by a chud. Instead, run with any of the good arguments they make, and attack the bad ones.
  • Dismissal: At some point, all of the points and dialectical value of a topic will have been exhausted, and the crypto-fascist will often loop back to re-iterate one of their talking points, while completely ignoring everything that had been said. They will often talk about their minds will not be changed. This is their last ditch attempt at provoking an emotional reaction out of you. They know what they're doing, they are wallpapering everything you have said, and starting their cycle all over again to waste more people's time. Don't fall for the bait. At this point, the only valid move is dismissal and ridicule, it's 100% certain that they're not here to engage with you in good faith, but to politically astroturf the discussion by hammering their malformed arguments, and calling out to like-minded fascists to build a validation gang with.
    • To deny this move, dismissal and ridicule are your best options, it is also important NOT to let them get you re-invested in any new arguments they made on the topic. Trying to ignore and continue on the discussion without them will only server to provoke them to be louder, so it is important to shut down any attempts at an argument they will have made.
    • Do not let they put you on the defensive, they will usually also at this point play the victim in order to mollify your arguments. It is an act. Call out their BS, and keep them on the back foot.
  • Deplatform: The most controversial, but also the most final and effective step in dealing with crypto-fascists. There are a lot of discussions on whether or not this is moral or not. Those discussions are irrelevant, deplatforming works, period. This is also the hardest step to achieve as it requires that you already have undeniable proof, or overwhelming circumstantial evidence that they are up to no good, and you must use any means necessary to get that information/conclusion and to get them deplatformed. The difficulty in this is that crypto-fascists often hide under assumed names that they can easily ditch, that are (usually) not connected to any of the names or accounts that they normally use. Finding extensive documentation of a crypto-fascist's action is extremely difficult because not only do they take great pains to cover their tracks, but they also cover each other's asses.
    • On a more personal note, while I made no effort to hide my past, most people won't know I used to be one of them fascists unless I tell them. This is because almost all records of the things I have said and done got routinely nuked in regular chatroom purges.

So yeah, I hope this is useful.

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Here's the thing though... I don't WANT to have to spend my time separating the ignorant proto-fash from the actual nazis. I don't want to have any political discussions derailed by either some white teen who's watched a couple PragerU videos or someone who thinks I'm a degenerate who needs to be thrown in a camp. Focusing on trying to fold in would-be fascists at the expense of the people their rhetoric hurts is absolutely not the way I want things to end up here, and I'd much rather see nazi sympathies nipped in the bud rather than allowed to take root just because we might be able to change someone's mind.

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24 minutes ago, Kimistry said:

Here's the thing though... I don't WANT to have to spend my time separating the ignorant proto-fash from the actual nazis. I don't want to have any political discussions derailed by either some white teen who's watched a couple PragerU videos or someone who thinks I'm a degenerate who needs to be thrown in a camp. Focusing on trying to fold in would-be fascists at the expense of the people their rhetoric hurts is absolutely not the way I want things to end up here, and I'd much rather see nazi sympathies nipped in the bud rather than allowed to take root just because we might be able to change someone's mind.

Oh believe me, I don't either. This is just a general formula I use whever I go, including spaces that may not be fully leftist-friendly.

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I'm also pretty irked by seeing the same over-and-over nonarguments of "If I repeat myself often enough while just ignoring everyone in the thread, maybe my bad faith garbage will stick" from the same people on the same topics, just skirting the official "Do not flat out identify with shitty groups" policies by simply playing coy about things.

 

If someone's been at it three times or more in the same thread, on the same tack, with the same overwhelmingly negative response to their crap, that frankly *should* count for incitement or a strike.

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"Let's wait and see if they *technically* break a rule" is terrible moderation. Be proactive, use those warnings and bans, and let people coming here to bait people and throw around "both sides" arguments know that they're not welcome. Please, mods, do better.

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9 minutes ago, Cayman Went said:

"Let's wait and see if they *technically* break a rule" is terrible moderation. Be proactive, use those warnings and bans, and let people coming here to bait people and throw around "both sides" arguments know that they're not welcome. Please, mods, do better.

Rest assured, we don't sit back and wait for people to break rules. There have been several proactive measures already taken, but because they're proactive by their nature most users aren't going to notice. For example, we've removed several pro right-wing groups because we felt support for right-wing parties in America at this time represents clear support for policies and ideologies that threaten our user base.

Having said that, a lot is going to fly under the radar just purely based on numbers. Having the report system in place obviously is what solves that, by getting content directly to us to deal with 

Edited by Moozzy
Edited for grammar
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In my experience moderating a lot of the time moderation can be thankless because there's no insight to what's happening behind the scenes that isn't a huge sweeping action is not visible publicly. On the flip side writing it off that "being an idiot isn't against the rules" broadcasts that not enough awareness of this shit is present, because when these people get told off by mods they'll basically act as stupid as they wish the mods were and try to downplay it as "oh I just didn't know!" and before you know it you have a user that just "didn't know" for a month to a year or more. Assumptions of ignorance and not malice will let malicious abusive actors Run Fucking Wild.

Basically, users report that shit when you see it and be detailed in your reports, and moderators do not let someone off the hook just because they act like a moron because a fash or otherwise abusive shitstain will act stupid when confronted if they aren't actually an idiot because they don't want you to know what they're actually trying to do, they want you to think they're just ignorant and will learn. Hit them with a like, day or week of suspension early and they'll leave on their own or shut their mouths.

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I reported a person who had qanon conspiracy shit on their twitter and being buddy buddy with someone with a maga hitler icon and all i got was "we'll watch for them to break rules". that doesn't seem very proactive at all.

edit: perhaps it was a miscommunication and the user has since been banned but i can't check if someone is just private or banned. its concerning that i dont have a way to see if it was just a "we'll keep an eye on them" or "we have banned this user" when the official answer was just "we are going to look into this user to see if they are violating the ToS"

Edited by CytricAcid
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48 minutes ago, Cayman Went said:

"Let's wait and see if they *technically* break a rule" is terrible moderation. Be proactive, use those warnings and bans, and let people coming here to bait people and throw around "both sides" arguments know that they're not welcome. Please, mods, do better.

yeah so i've heard stuff in this category from two separate mods, a friend heard it from a third mod, and you just can't have this be your default policy. props for finally banning kitsokitty after, like, a week.

ezio and tamara have frankly posted more than most normal users ever post, and I'm p. sure ezio is on strike 1 and tamara is on strike 2.

this is basically the stuff I worry about when I hear "strike system."

5 minutes ago, CytricAcid said:

I reported a person who had qanon conspiracy shit on their twitter and being buddy buddy with someone with a maga hitler icon and all i got was "we'll watch for them to break rules". that doesn't seem very proactive at all.

i'm basically still here because i was under the impression this stuff was bannable. if it's not, then wtf are the mods even doing? i feel betrayed because banning for this stuff was a main part of the promise kindred made in the hate speech policy thread

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I personally think mods are in a tight spot in regards to these things. It's like a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' since one party prefers certain actions to be taken while another party feels like that said action crosses the line or that they act too swifty without giving the benefit of the doubt.

Edited by ᴋ ᴀ ɴ ᴇ
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9 minutes ago, Nyeogmi said:

i'm basically still here because i was under the impression this stuff was bannable. if it's not, then wtf are the mods even doing? i feel betrayed because banning for this stuff was a main part of the promise kindred made in the hate speech policy thread

i'm getting a sense that a lot of this is just because not all of the mods are on the same page for how their guidelines are supposed to work in practice, which i would chalk up as mostly understandable given the circumstances

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7 minutes ago, ᴋ ᴀ ɴ ᴇ said:

I personally think mods are in a tight spot in regards to these things. It's like a 'damned if they do, damned if they don't' since one party prefers certain actions to be taken while another party feels like that said action crosses the line or that they act too swifty without giving the benefit of the doubt.

If it were up to me, I'd take the risk on nipping a problem user's presence in the bud. Sorry, not sorry, but I wouldn't suffer crypto-fascists if I can help it.

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Just now, Manibrandr Soundworks said:

If it were up to me, I'd take the risk on nipping a problem user's presence in the bud. Sorry, not sorry, but I wouldn't suffer crypto-fascists if I can help it.

Oh believe me I would too. The swift ban hammer would serve as a warning and message to others who act in a similar fashion that they clearly aren't welcome here but alas I am not staff :c

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57 minutes ago, Nyeogmi said:

(ezio)

I'm afraid I'm not sure who that is but if it's what I think you mean and they're someone that fits the bill of that description, I am simultaneously not surprised and disappointed that has already become a problem. You absolutely, cannot suffer that shit just because "well they haven't TECHNICALLY" broken the rules and if this is because there's no consistent moderation guidelines that's a failure of higher up administration to communicate. No matter what, something HAS to be done different here.

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2 minutes ago, Tamara said:

Have we really? 🤔

i'm extremely active. extremely active posters are gonna be overrepresented by any sampling method that involves, say, looking at whoever's on a page.

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This is a bit of a complicated issue I think, because I totally get where the mods are coming from... Moderating a big community like this one is hard work, especially when you need to keep track of a few bad agents. If you are too quick to ban people then they'll get mad and the site will get a bad rep, or worse yet, right-wing trolls will start to filter in just to fuck with people.

But I also think that there is a line to be drawn. When people are deliberately trying to troll and derail the conversation with the same old tired excuses (like what Ezio had done earlier in the confurvative thread) then they should at least get a probation, or some sort of punishment. Doesn't matter if they broke the rules or not. Just, keep them from posting more garbage. I was honestly surprised with how much that person was able to get away with tbh

And this is not a diss at the mods, I seriously think you guys are doing a great job. This is just my point of view, and hopefully we as a community can make this space better for everyone

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9 minutes ago, AmberCat said:

I'm afraid I'm not sure who that is but if it's what I think you mean and they're someone that fits the bill of that description, I am simultaneously not surprised and disappointed that has already become a problem. You absolutely, cannot suffer that shit just because "well they haven't TECHNICALLY" broken the rules and if this is because there's no consistent moderation guidelines that's a failure of higher up administration to communicate. No matter what, something HAS to be done different here.

here's the highlights reel

  • started the republican furs group
  • defended trump's immigration policy
  • defended sending federal cops into portland/kenosha to break up protests
  • went into the "can you be racist against white people" topic to say "yes you can," said "i will not change my views based on what you tell me and you will not change yours" when someone responded

those are basically all the character breaks -- their main mo has been going into threads and saying "look i support trump" or "look i'm a republican" or "look I happen to disagree" but refusing to clarify what they support him on or disagree on, then accusing people of being intolerant for saying "oh fuck it's ezio again"

Edited by Nyeogmi
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