Get up, a get-get, get down.
I'm just not so sure about that. Is it really impossible for a community to accept a member that they know will probably always slightly end up on the wrong side of the rules when they can be reasonably certain that that member's intentions are good, and that he would sincerely apologize for inadvertently upsetting others? Even if they can be just as reasonably certain that this will not change.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.
In this case, BAUT is "just" a web forum, and there are others where astromark can post (e.g. Tom's) so (including the extra work astromark was causing us moderators) I do think we as a community are better off without him.
If his posts were adding more value (if he'd stuck to his knitting), I'd maybe have been more lenient.
Get up, a get-get, get down.
I can see where you are coming from, caveman1917, and that may have worked but I'm not sure the mods can be expected to make little rule tweaks and special conditions for individuals, given the number of members here. If that were to happen there would be a number of posters I could think of who would have all sorts of special conditions. No puns for Swift, for one. (Just kidding Swift, you know I'm a fan of them)
I think most of us will miss Mark, he really seemed like a nice guy, but I think most of us also noticed his posts were seeming more and more agitated. I do wonder whether 6 months might have changed that, (a self imposed exile helped me feel more relaxed here) but then who knows?
In summary: unfortunate but seemingly justified.
If you read this, Mark, best wishes and thanks for your contributions over the years!
Brett's the name. Peters Creek is the place.
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Perhaps, but that's hardly the point. Strictly speaking a society is probably better off without the homeless, that doesn't mean it would be moral to put them out of the country.In this case, BAUT is "just" a web forum, and there are others where astromark can post (e.g. Tom's) so (including the extra work astromark was causing us moderators) I do think we as a community are better off without him.
The problem is that special rules like that would be something like insisting a shop owner install a sales window to service those kleptomaniacs, so they can get their goods by request and not be able to steal things.
It is an interesting idea that might work (and would allow the shop to take in their money/allow BAUT to take in the pluses from Mark or others' posts) but I'm not sure we can insist the shop owners do so.
And I do think my "other forums" comment is dead on point.
If my shop sold a vital thing, like food, I'd see my reaction to that kleptomaniac in a different light than if I sold candlesticks.
That kleptomaniac might come in my food store, and be closely monitored or I'd require that he or she use my on-line shopping facility, or give one of my staff a written list and have them wait at the door or ...
That kleptomaniac might come to my candlestick store and simply be asked to leave (assuming a history of coming there and stealing).
If Astromark can be a member (for example) of Toms' forum (with whatever rules they do or don't have there) then I don't see why it's any issue at all that he's banned from BAUT.
Get up, a get-get, get down.
After all that might be the best counter argument to those that say that "it will never change". It did change, for the worse, why couldn't it again change for the better? And why not leave a door open for that possibility?
I agree that styles can change - listen to Bob Dylan's discography! Personally, I also wish he'd been given something like 6 months off maybe it would've made the difference. And suspending him once every 6 months for a few chance would probably be minimal effort. But I guess the line must be drawn somewhere - we can provide input but ultimately it's not our call.
I expect the response would be that they did try other measures, including many many warnings and a number of suspensions.
There is precedent for being "un-banned". But it'd need to be a while before such a request was considered.
Get up, a get-get, get down.
Because a ban is uncalled for in the situation. A ban, in my opinion, is what you do when you have conflicting intentions, with someone wilfully breaking the rules (me, not being a kleptomaniac, wilfully stealing). What you do in the case of conflicting results (a kleptomaniac stealing) is damage control, which can be accomplished with (perhaps long term) suspensions and allowing a chance to apologize for inadvertently causing damage. I am of the opinion that as long as the intentions are good a door should always be left open.If Astromark can be a member (for example) of Toms' forum (with whatever rules they do or don't have there) then I don't see why it's any issue at all that he's banned from BAUT.
Opinions may of course vary.
I worked for a guy who would, on occasion, run people out of his tropical fish store waving a snubnose .38 and screaming like the crazy old coot he was. (Hell of a guy. I thought he was quite colorful and a real friend.)
He caught a repeat shoplifter in the store once, while I was in the back sorting fifty pound bags of different sands and gravels. In reality I don't condone violence and am more than capable of quelling it in most cases. The boss was whacking this kid with his cane while only people there to stop him were two teenagers and...well an "old queen" is the best way to discribe Mack. He not only wasn't ashamed of the title but Mack discribed himself in just that way several times.
Not a good subduing force when somebody steals from the Old Man.
I didn't hustle my butt up there until I heard the police radios squawking out in front of the building and the responding officers were the same ones who came the first time this guy was caught stealing livestock. This time instead of a firm talking to the thief was handcuffed and the officers were applying their nightsticks to his backside and the back of his legs, while his friends watched from their car, until the officers were convinced that the thief understood completely that since he didn't live there he was not welcome in that town. The thieves had all sorts of stolen fish and fish stealing accessories in their car as we were the fourth store they were hitting that day.
(The ring leader was the only one who got hit as the officers seemed to be offended by the fact they weren't taken seriously the first time they told him to stay away.)
Oolongapo, Philipines; Mombasa, Kenya; and Brisbane, California are the only places I've seen the police actually do that. I always really hated seeing that even if the guy deserved it.
Likewise keeping an eye out on a member every few months and if necessary giving a suspension for the next couple of months is hardly being unreasonably bothered.
Given they got together and discussed it, then came up with their decision I suppose we can assume that collectively they maybe felt otherwise. Unless, of course, they hadn't even had the idea to do these extended suspensions (I don't remember what the maximum suspension period is here). I suppose the question may be, for how many people can they take such measures, since by doing it for one it sets the precedent.
(Edit: though on second thought, that example/action is about preventing the stealing. If all shopkeepers did that, the kleptomaniac doesn't get to be a kleptomaniac. Letting astromark post here and then having to keep cleaning it up is slightly different.)
Last edited by pzkpfw; 2012-Apr-19 at 03:00 AM. Reason: Edit:
Get up, a get-get, get down.
A few thoughts...
First, with regard to intentions, I have said repeatedly, and for a very long time, that I can not determine the intentions of any member. Heck, I sometimes don't know the intentions of people I met in person. I am not a mind-reader. I can only judge by the words that people type into their posts. If you write something bad, something against the rules, I have to go by your words.
We moderators are frequently accused of bias, of playing favorites (a popular complaint of CTers). I have to try to be as fair as possible, I spend a lot of effort to do so. If I start making assumptions about specific members, about what they intended in their posts (rather than what they actually wrote), then I am being unfair.
Along those lines, we can't have special rules for certain members. Beyond the favoritism, trying to remember each and every "special" rule would drive me insane (or more insane).
I will also echo what pzkpfw said and say I was particularly bothered by his behavior to very innocent questions, particularly from newbies, in both Q&A and CT.
As far as giving him a suspension of several months or a year... I can't say I really like that idea. We have tired this before. There was one particular member quite a number of years ago, who was popular, very outspoken, and frequently in trouble, that we tried this with, and frankly it ended up being a very bad experience for me, eventually got that person re-banned from BAUT and banned from another forum, and almost drove me out of both of those forums. But that is only my opinion on such long-term suspensions.
At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)
All moderation in purple - The rules
My $0.02 for what it's worth is that the moderation in this forum is just about spot on. The moderators are fair and balanced and I think they go out of their way to be reasonable.
The point is often made that this forum is not a democracy. The rules are in place to ensure that debate is robust but does not descend to the ad hominem 'insult-slinging', or worse, the utterly inappropriate language for a public forum, that results in other such fora being not worth the time invested.
I will miss Mark. I generally enjoyed his posts even though I sometimes had to take some time to decipher them. But, after multiple warnings, infractions and suspensions, at some point you have to say 'enough is enough'. Maybe his behavior would have improved. I suspect there is a greater chance that it would have deteriorated. But if I was a newbie to this forum and I had to endure some of the responses that I had seen recently, then my approach would be either to (a) stay away, because a long-time poster can insult me with impunity; or (b) respond in kind, get suspended and object to the apparent lack of objective moderation. Either way - I wouldn't come back again.
You know, I lived with a kleptomaniac. And I think I had more of a right not to have my stuff stolen than she had to steal my stuff. If she literally couldn't help it (which is not completely true, otherwise she would have been stealing nonstop, not one of the symptoms of the disease), then she shouldn't be allowed in any situation where it was possible to steal from other people. I shouldn't have had to go to special lengths to ensure that she didn't steal from me, because what she was doing was wrong regardless of why she was doing with it. And eventually, if she was unable to obey the rules of society, she would have ended up outside society in one fashion or another, be it a mental hospital or prison. There is some behaviour which is simply unacceptable, no matter why you do it.
"Now everyone was giving her that kind of look UFOlogists get when they suddenly say, 'Hey, if you shade your eyes you can see it is just a flock of geese after all.'"
"You can't erase icing."
"I can't believe it doesn't work! I found it on the internet, man!"
As above, so below
I knew a kleptomaniac. He was a great guy aside from his habit of stealing things. I turned a blind eye, I pointed out to him what he was doing, I confronted him directly when he stole something of great sentimental value from me and when I recovered it it was vandalised. It made no difference, and he continued to do it, alienating alot of people in the process. However nice a guy he was generally, that behaviour was unacceptable, so I barred him from ever entering my house. Was I wrong for doing so because 'he couldn't help it?' I don't believe so.
BAUT is the shop. Like the shopkeeper, it retains the right to bar entry and service to anyone. It is not the jail, nor the place for whom the people who can't follow the rules for whatever reason are to be rehabilitated.
A few things I want to comment on.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. It's from another forum, but it's apt enough.
I was recently granted a month of TotalFark, (which is basically Fark on a premium, with additional privileges and quicker access to threads). TotalFark is marketed as a closer community, and it's frequently implied (or outright said) that non-paying Farkers (Liters) are meaner and more aggressive.
From the outside, it certainly appears so.
But the very first TotalFark discussion thread I opened, pretty much at random, was a mob scene straight from the classics. They were verbally castigating someone, in what may be the most abusive terms I've seen (and I was there for the alt.tasteless vs rec.pets.cats year long flame war in the early 90s), for having expressed that he hadn't enjoyed his time on Totalfark. (I'm pretty sure I could smell torch smoke, but I wouldn't vouch for that 100%.)
I won't suggest there wasn't a degree of provocation, there. Dude should have simply walked away. But the reaction was wildly excessive.
The first impression I'd had was so bad -- I was turned off so completely -- that I simply walked away. Not from Fark, the Liters are friendly enough if you're not trolling them, but I'll never be a TotalFarker. I'm not mean enough to be a TotalFarker.
Where, exactly, do you think we should draw the line, caveman1917? At what point do the needs of our new users outweigh the hope that a regular member's behavior might someday, hopefully, change? (And is it really our responsibility to attempt to alter someone's long term behavior? We're not a public institution. The notion of "posting rights" really doesn't exist.)
Banning a regular member is the very worst part of this job. It's sometimes necessary, but I've never gotten used to it, and I've never not been uncomfortable enough to lose sleep over it (made far worse because threads like this draw the discomfort out over several days.)
I will say, straight up, that this was one of those necessary times. Astromark showed no sign whatsoever that he'd been attempting to correct his behavior, though he'd frequently (and I mean frequently) made a point of pointing out what he thought (nearly always incorrectly) was misbehavior in others. That sort of dichotomy doesn't do much for me.
As for long term suspensions (and/or unbanning), my view is that when the point is reached where a long-term action becomes necessary, I don't feel it's appropriate that such a member be permitted to return without demonstrating a clear commitment (more than just the intention) of altering the behavior that caused the situation. I won't speak for all mods, but I consider such a demonstration of commitment a prerequisite to even considering a ban reversal. If the person in question doesn't even appear to recognize there was a problem...
I feel that long term suspensions only extend the problem and delay solutions.
Backwards Astromark's sentence- like yoda structure ... jumbling-miss i will. (But not so much with the content of his posts)
RIP Astromark... >:sniff:<
who was he anyway?
Just a few disconnected notes about astromark:
- I liked that he started off being uninformed about astronomy, and came to know lots more than he did through us.
- He seemed to want acknowledgment of what he saw as his new knowledge, but was always surrounded by people who knew more than he did.
- After several years, he developed a trend of being harsh to new people who he thought knew less than he did.
- He never got comfortable being corrected for his own misstatements.
- We all hoped he'd come around, but he seemed to increasingly be going the wrong way.
- 25 infractions, etc. did not include my many advising PMs.
I'll kind of miss him, but he had become the creator of a significant fraction of all moderator work that needed doing here.
Forming opinions as we speak
I think the Moderators have definitely gone a 2nd mile for some folks. Even a 5th or 6th mile. It's telling that many of the Mods here are willing to discuss the situation, and even point out Astromark's good points.
To those who endlessly criticize the Mods here, start your own board. Put your money where your mouth is, see how much you like dealing with certain ongoing behaviors and attitudes. It's easy to criticize when you're not the one in the hot seat with it.
I've both participated at boards and co-moderated AND owned. Shoe's different when it's on the other foot.
Judging by the infraction history, the mods' action was certainly not eccelorated.
Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
We all hoped he'd come around, but he seemed to increasingly be going the wrong way.
I certainly felt that way. He also didn't seem to understand what he was doing wrong. You can't learn from your mistakes if you can't (won't) see them.
Yeah, it's tough to ban a long time Member. There's always the view that, if we give him just one more chance, he'll come around. But we gave him that one more chance multiple times, and he didn't come around. He got worse.
Would a lengthy suspension have turned him around? If he had understood the reason, if he had actually realized why he was being sanctioned, it might have. But he gave no indication that he did. We got several notes from him and they took two lines. One was, "What did I do wrong? It seems okay to me." The other was, "I see, it won't happen again."
And it didn't... until it did.
Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance or stupidity.
Moderation will be in purple.
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