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Thread: I Know Astromark Was Already On Thin Ice...

  1. #1
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    I Know Astromark Was Already On Thin Ice...

    and I wasn't going to say anything because of all his recent trouble. But I've been having a discussion via PM with other Order Of Kilopi members and not all feel the same fatalism I do.

    So I begin with the first motion:

    Why wasn't his post covered under the politics of space clause? It was a bit shrill, I'll admit.

    Precident: Mine was:

    http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....udget-Be-Saved

    Didn't even get a raised eyebrow from the mods. Of course I haven't been freaking out like Mark has lately. I blame the earthquakes. Mark started stressing hard right about the time of the first of the (four?) recent Christchurch quakes.

    I know you mods were mad at him. But it's been a few days for cool down time, couldn't you reduce his banning to one of the new uber-long suspensions? 90 days maybe? 120? (a year? )

    Maybe he'll seek help to calm down by then, even I agree he needs to get more zen with things and has to re-balance.

    Besides, do we have any other active radio astronomers on the board? He's a resource!

    I know BAUT isn't a democracy nor a public sport or a board game so the rules aren't concrete on your side of the monitor, merely guide lines you as the forum builders think will keep this place running so the questions come in and good answers go out, all while maintaining a PG-13 rating.

    I didn't see Marks's post as horribly destructive to that process.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.
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  2. #2
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    Astromark has a history of pushing limits, and in that thread he ventured into politics despite a moderator caution in the same thread to avoid same. At the time he had six pages of infractions: 11 friendly reminders, 11 first offenses, and 4 second offenses. He was sitting on 7 infraction points. I gave him a third offense, which was more than enough to push him into permaban range. Of the four moderators who commented on the situation (not counting me), all four were in favor of banning.
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  3. #3
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    We mods were not mad at him. He had a very long history of infractions and inappropriate behavior and it finally caught up with him.

    He had 27 infractions, going back to December 2009, when the new infraction system started, not to mention history from before the point system. He had been warned for a very long time that his behavior was unacceptable and that he was very close to a permanent banning (so I don't see why several more months of suspension would change his behavior). Several months ago, in mod-land, it was decided that we had been too easy on him for too long, entirely too many "First Offenses" and "Friendly Reminders" for a history of inappropriate behavior, and that he had used up his ration of "benefit of the doubt".

    This one post was not "horribly destructive to that process", but it is the final blow on a very long history. And no, I don't see that it was covered under the Space Exploration exemption for no-politics, comments like "I see the President has ventured into this with what 'I think' are unwise and miss informed statements" and "While we all know there has been a lower socio economic group that perhaps could have done with more help" have nothing to do with Space Exploration. I find it particularly ironic that he started both the thread and that last post with comments that others should keep politics out of the discussions, and then proceeds to give political opinions (in an entire thread that was highly borderline in being appropriate for BAUT).

    By the way, your post didn't raise an eyebrow because I, for one, never saw it (I don't read every single post on BAUT) and I don't recall it being reported. And since it is about NASA's budget, it is more clearly within the Space Exploration exemption.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    I know you mods were mad at him.
    "Frustrated" (at times) would be a better word but he wasn't banned out of exasperation. Rather the opposite, he long benefitted from a great deal of patience but his pattern of behavior eventually did him in.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ToSeek View Post
    Astromark has a history of pushing limits, and in that thread he ventured into politics despite a moderator caution in the same thread to avoid same. At the time he had six pages of infractions: 11 friendly reminders, 11 first offenses, and 4 second offenses. He was sitting on 7 infraction points. I gave him a third offense, which was more than enough to push him into permaban range. Of the four moderators who commented on the situation (not counting me), all four were in favor of banning.
    And there you go. (I'm not addressing you, Toseek.) I was aware of most of this already. I gave Astromark's defense an honest shot. My obligations of friendship and brotherhood are fulfilled.

    Thank you Toseek.

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  6. #6
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    I PM'd Don, asking him about this yesterday. He posted before
    we could discuss it further.

    My impression of Mark's last post is that he thought the whole
    subject was way too politicized, and wanted to de-politicize it.
    So he said so. Which you interpreted as politicizing the subject.

    Banning him for trying (ineptly) to do the right thing comes across
    as stupid, mean-spirited, and counter-productive. I see absolutely
    no reason to ban Mark except that you will not have to deal with
    him any longer. It is purely a convenience to the moderators, and
    has no positive value to BAUT, to Mark, to me, to any of the other
    posters on BAUT, or to anyone else.

    Even when Mark's posts are completely incoherent, they are
    innocuous and inoffensive. True, they have been incoherent a
    lot in the last couple of years (I had noticed the change but did
    not think of the possible earthquake connection), but I never find
    his posts to be offensive or objectionable. Banning him, on the
    other hand, offends me greatly. It is senseless and destructive.

    The infraction system is a crutch on which the moderators can
    lean and say, "It wasn't our fault. The points did it. We are being
    objective and even-handed." I think you don't see how much
    damage the system is doing. It makes your job easier, but is
    wrecking your ability to moderate and is harming BAUT.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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  7. #7
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    Well I regret the banning of Astromark. Am I still allowed to say that?

    I do wonder how moderators cope with creating, by implication, a permanent (or is it eternal) state of antipathy with another person who has not infringed anything but local rules. Yes the rules are good. I value Baut because of them. But it's very clear that some people, for a variety of reasons which I won't spell out here, simply don't understand their implications.

    But then, for another variety of reasons, I don't do much but lurk here now, so my opinions, rightly, have little weight. Baut remains a valuable source of information.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by agingjb View Post
    Well I regret the banning of Astromark. Am I still allowed to say that?
    Only if other people are allowed to say that they don't.

    I mean that sincerely. Every cry of "why was so-and-so banned?" then puts the burden on people who think it was the right decision to defend it without violating any of the rules about being rude. The mods, yes. They can say the necessary things. But the people who do think it was the right decision have a hard time supporting the mods without running afoul of rules themselves, and without their support, the mods look tyrannical.
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  9. #9
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    I'll just add that I think this case is yet another example of how the moderators are way too lenient to repeat offenders.
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  10. #10
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    I know why Astromark was banned. He was banned quite properly. I regret it.

    "I wish to God they would either conform, or be more wise, and not be catched." Samuel Pepys

  11. #11
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    In my case, I don't think I've seen all the infractions.

    Astromark did have a style that was hard to read and interpret, but I guess I just took it as it was what it was, and pulled out what I could from the posts. I've seen other posters with styles that are just as difficult.

    Apparently I haven't seen all the places where the warnings and infractions took place. I didn't realize it was so many.

  12. #12
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    Not all warnings and infractions happen publicly, they're mainly public when they involve more than one person, if it's to stop a thread from going in a specific direction or when the infraction triggered a suspension/ban.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    The infraction system is a crutch on which the moderators can
    lean and say, "It wasn't our fault. The points did it. We are being
    objective and even-handed."
    False...and frankly, a bit insulting.

    The infraction system is not some autonomous bot program that's been turned loose on the board. It's a tool, not an overlord or scapegoat. I take responsibility for pushing the button on every single infraction I give. Before doing so, I consider the poster's recent and long-term behavior, infraction history (if any), and in many/most cases, input from other mods/admins. When I/we decide that an infraction is warranted, I'm certainly no slave to the system's progression of infractions for 1st, 2nd (and so on) offenses. As evidenced in this very thread I can use my judgment to give a 1st offense (or even 0-point) infraction , when it may in fact be the 2nd, 3rd, or nth occurance. It depends on the situation and the aggravating/mitigating factors mentioned.

    It makes your job easier, but is
    wrecking your ability to moderate and is harming BAUT.
    Does it make tracking of our actions and a member's history easier? Yes.
    Does it help us base our decisions on more than just fuzzy memories, unsubstantiated impressions, and personal biases? Yes.
    Does it make our decisions for us? Not even close.
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  14. #14
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    I was surprised to see Astromark banned, but I didn't follow his every post and didn't realize his history. Seems he pushed his luck too far.

    Jeff Root, you are wrong.

    The Mods were more than generous to him.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    <snip>
    Even when Mark's posts are completely incoherent, they are
    innocuous and inoffensive.
    Actually, I have to disagree.

    Particularly over the last year or more, most of his infractions and warnings were for comments that were rude, inappropriate and condescending (one of my warnings to him, with a quote of his post). I found this behavior much more alarming than some political comment.
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  16. #16
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    Although I can't reveal the full content of messages sent to the mod team in reports, I think I can point out (just one aspect...) that not only did astromark have a very long history of infractions, he also seldom understood why, and showed he'd never really change. That began to make it clear that the leniency being shown was not going to be repaid, and an end had to come.
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

  17. #17
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    It is senseless and destructive.

    The infraction system is a crutch on which the moderators can
    lean and say, "It wasn't our fault. The points did it. We are being
    objective and even-handed." I think you don't see how much
    damage the system is doing. It makes your job easier, but is
    wrecking your ability to moderate and is harming BAUT.
    I know your upset but I think that's more than a little harsh Jeff.

    The reason I knew most of this already is I've gone to bat for Mark no less than twice before and Toseek and Swift laid it all out.

    Even put my own rep at risk waving my own boundary pushing at them.

    This is the third out. The inning's over.

    Goodbye Astromark.

    Fair winds and following seas.
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  18. #18
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    I believe Astromark is active on Tom's forum, so anyone who misses him can talk to him there.
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    Even put my own rep at risk waving my own boundary pushing at them.
    Your rep might be at risk, but not for starting this thread.

    Just kidding. More seriously, no problem with starting this thread BD. In fact, good for you, I suspect it was a question mulitple members had (I had one PM about it before this thread was started).
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  20. #20
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    reading his last thread, i was mad as hell at him because of the way he was slipping in comments which would be impossible to reply to without breaking the rules.
    But when i noticed he had been banned, i was gutted for him.
    You cant invest that much time in something and not have it effect you when its taken away.
    I cant have an opinion on the rights and wrongs of it, but its just a really sad thing

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Your rep might be at risk, but not for starting this thread.

    Just kidding. More seriously, no problem with starting this thread BD. In fact, good for you, I suspect it was a question mulitple members had (I had one PM about it before this thread was started).
    Three PMs and two face to faces. (Remember, I have a local fan club that only posts when newbies are mean to me. )
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  22. #22
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    It is too bad for Astromark, but after 25 strikes, you should be out. The rules are pretty plain and strictly enforced. This should be known to anyone who has been here even a short time. Astromark apparently made no effort to moderate his posting even after multiple warnings. That is his bad, not the mods.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    ...
    But when i noticed he had been banned, i was gutted for him. ...
    That about sums up my feelings. I hate that Mark has lost what clearly was an important part of his life. Swift explained the circumstances to me, and I agree with the decision. But it's a shame, and I say that as someone who often disagreed with his posts, both content and tone.

  24. #24
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    I liked Mark and felt that, if I had met him, I would enjoy conversing with him face to face more than I did on BAUT, but I also felt that lately he was becoming a thread killer. If physics beyond his level of knowledge was being discussed, he was having an increasing tendency to rudely interrupt the train of thought with frustrated unsupported opinion that the discussion was "rubbish." I began to cringe every time I saw one of his posts appear and I watched threads die after his involvement.

    The mods gave him every chance to modify his behaviour. They cut him more slack than they would many who didn't have his long posting history. For whatever reason, his posting style changed for the worse over recent years.

    But still, I miss him.
    "There are powers in this universe beyond anything you know. There is much you have to learn. Go to your homes. Go and give thought to the mysteries of the universe. I will leave you now, in peace." --Galaxy Being

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mutleyeng View Post
    reading his last thread, i was mad as hell at him because of the way he was slipping in comments which would be impossible to reply to without breaking the rules.
    Exactly. And when attempts to sidestep the 'dangerous area', to move to safer ground and still having a meaningfull discussion are ignored, again and again, instead marching on into certain thread-doom, it does get frustrating. There is no doubt in my mind that Mark means well and is probably a great person to have as a friend, he's just awful in putting his contributions in writing. I'm really glad that our mods turned a blind eye towards him quite often, for a long time, knowing his background and language history. But to keep ignoring the frequent rules transgressions for ever isn't fair to those who are subjected to quicker retributions either.
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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by korjik View Post
    Astromark apparently made no effort to moderate his posting even after multiple warnings.
    Or he was simply unable to. On all aspects of human behaviour the notion of "the average person" is senseless, the distribution has long tails, and so it also has on being able to moderate your own posting wrt to an externally applied ruleset.

    While i disagree with Jeff Root's gratuitous attack on, among others, the infraction system, i do agree that from reading astromark's last post he was
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    trying (ineptly) to do the right thing
    The question is, do we ban on intentions or results?

    The latter is of course more directly noticeable, but the former seems to be the higher standard, and from that standard i'm not so sure the ban was justified. I for one don't believe he ever intended to break the rules, though his actions certainly resulted in it.

  27. #27
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    The problem is that you can't always know intentions. And some people have made some pretty blatant rules violations yet been completely baffled as to how or why, and their justifications have just dug the hole deeper.
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    "You can't erase icing."

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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    But to keep ignoring the frequent rules transgressions for ever isn't fair to those who are subjected to quicker retributions either.
    I disagree. If i steal something, i expect to be subjected to retribution. If a kleptomaniac steals something, i would consider it immoral for him to be subjected to retribution ever (other than returning the stolen items or otherwise making up for damages to third parties of course).

    Likewise if someone with the ability to change their behaviour refuses to do so, i expect them to be banned. But someone with a marked inability to change their behaviour should, in my opinion, not be subjected to more than make up for the damage (for example apologize to someone for having been rude). Or in times when the rate of damage is too high, a temporary suspension for the sake of peace. Never a ban.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luckmeister View Post
    ... If physics beyond his level of knowledge was being discussed ...
    He was doing the same thing in threads with any sniff of woo. Someone would ask a question, say, to clarify why something was woo, and he'd take the mere existance of the question on the forum as some sort of tactic approval of the woo - and (claiming to uphold the principles of the B.A.) begin a crusade; while others just got on with trying to deal with the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    ... There is no doubt in my mind that Mark means well and is probably a great person to have as a friend, ...
    Yes.

    Being banned from BAUT should in no way be taken as a sign that anyone involved in the forum thinks (or wishes) ill of the person banned.

    Frankly, if Astromark simply stuck to what he's good at (which is basic astronomy), he'd have remained a valuable member of BAUT. Similar to what he does in "real life" with local astronomy. I once tried to point that out to him, in a non-mod post in a thread a while back.

    Quote Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
    ... i do agree that from reading astromark's last post he was


    The question is, do we ban on intentions or results?

    The latter is of course more directly noticeable, but the former seems to be the higher standard, and from that standard i'm not so sure the ban was justified. I for one don't believe he ever intended to break the rules, though his actions certainly resulted in it.
    The ban wasn't for the last post, it was for the entire history of his posting.

    Some people come to BAUT, and make just one post that's so "bad" they are immediately banned. Spammers are the immediate example, but believe me, there's stuff that appears in the moderation queue that very few web forums would consider acceptable.

    Some people make many many posts that are just slightly "bad". When such people are banned (or even just suspended), yes, it can make the "final straw" seem a bit of a non-event - but we can't let that go on and on.

    Edit: http://www.bautforum.com/showthread....498-Punishment. !?
    Last edited by pzkpfw; 2012-Apr-19 at 12:16 AM. Reason: Add link, it seems relevant.
    I don't see any Ice Giants.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillianren View Post
    The problem is that you can't always know intentions.
    Indeed, they are not so directly noticeable. However in this specific case i am fairly certain that the intentions weren't bad. At least that's my impression from the only instance in which he made such a remark towards me where a mod intervened, for which he immediately apologized stating that he didn't mean anything bad with that, and i believe him. Specifically because i was for a moment just as baffled by the moderator intervention as he was, before i realized that i had been reading his post as "one of Mark's posts" where i automatically filtered out the somewhat strong wordings.

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