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Thread: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

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    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Now, let's all just take a deep breath before we post in this thread, shall we?
    We all know this is somewhat of a controversial argument to discuss, and I wish to clarify one point: we could do absolutely as we do already, not a real need to change, but I'd still like to see what people really think and lay down few issues I've noticed during the years.

    I don't have a full picture of the history of moderation in Curia, what I know well is that over the last 10 years (since when I joined), the Curia has been moderated very little and a lot of stuff that anywhere else would have ATL be deleted, here wasn't touched at all. Now this is largely because of the "personal references are allowed within the Curia" thing, which is both good and bad for the Curia itself and I feel like there's a misunderstanding about why that was allowed to begin with: if the Curia is up to decide if a member is worthy of Citizenship or a Large Award (or if they are up to be ostracized), well then the Citizens necessarily have to discuss about said member and going personal is a need, connected to the very purpose of those applications.
    It is not so anyways when it comes to Discussions, Proposals and the such; nor it should be so when the object of the personal references is anyone but the person who's being discussed in the Citizenship or Award application.

    I always saw this "laxity" as a huge issue that very often causes the discussion to derail (even badly), and I'm not the only one who feels so, that's granted. It also contributes to create drama and spread toxicity where there should be none and often causes that "bad taste" that drives people away from here. Quoting myself from the Valuation of Citizenship thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    Pike himself told what was the attitude of the Curia (""Citizens" were rude and very aggressive and came across like jerks.") and IMO it always failed to promote a positive, engaging and welcoming behavior, quite the contrary I would say. There are multiple reasons behind this: first, it was never about the best behaving Citizens, but about the worst ones. The Curia has proven incapable of dealing with troubling Citizens efficiently and if you can't keep up with the standards you pretend to uphold, you lose credibility and people run away from you: this has been the doom of the Curia since the beginning. This is even more evident after the removal of the Citizens Referrals. To add for the worst, the fact that personal references are allowed in the Curia makes the ambient even more toxic (because anyone can act like a bastard if they want and they are allowed certain wide limits to skirt with), so the place where the best of the best is supposed to dwell, is, in practical terms, the worst of the whole site. Removing the Preafects didn't help as well. I really doubt that the Curia ever incarnated the best of the site in any case, the only "place" where standards were indeed held high is the Staff, since if you don't behave, they kick you out. I can grant you that there has been a positive, constructive and welcoming behavior, but there's a hierarchy too, as well as people taking certain responsibilities on them (included about other members as well). I don't want to promote the Staff, I don't need to, I'm just saying that this whole "The Curia is the House of the Best" is just a big pile of BS and that a lot of people (members and citizens alike) found that so and acted consequently: read it as "I don't want to have anything to do with this hypocritical institution".
    That being said, I personally would love to see a Curia where, apart when strictly needed for the discussion of applications, personal references are treated and dealt with as anywhere else on the site. That would help a lot to improve the quality of discussion and make people feel more welcome to come here, and not only to express their opinion on a specific argument, but possibly even by making up their own threads.

    Another issue connected to allowing personal references is that it makes moderating efficiently much harder, because ofc if you allow for personal references (which are off-topic by definition) it becomes much less likely that you can efficiently deal with any kind of off topicness that can happen in that thread.. once again, we can all witness that any discussion can easily be derailed and indeed many are. Disrupting a discussion you don't like (or you don't like where it is heading to), it's very easy, under these premises, and that does not help the Curia at all IMO, certainly not in being efficient in pouring out ideas, proposals etc to be submitted to vote.

    So the first step IMO is to not allow any personal reference from the Curia apart on applications and exclusively related to the person being discussed at the moment.

    Another problem I see is related to what a lot of people perceive as "conflict of interest", let me explain: in Moderation there's a sensible policy, you do not moderate the threads you have posted in, for obvious reasons. Now in the Curia you only have one local moderator with full powers (the Consul) and they can share the duty with the Censors if they like.. you can see where I'm going... very often the Consul is involved in most if not all the discussions taking places in the Curia and the Proth, and when they'll have to do their moderator job in those discussion, it will invariably end up in rising complains, accuses of being partial etc. Apart from making the moderation (and in general Consul) job more stressing and less efficient, it will add further to the toxicity of the environment (again.. ).
    The idea behind the Praefects was very much an efficient way of addressing this problem, but of course it required more people and more activity and it could not possible be sustained with 3 different positions (2 Praefects and one Primus Praefect), so what now?

    For me, the second step would be that of reintroducing one dedicated moderator for the Curia, either one elected officer with that specific duty, or an appointed Censor or a second Consul or whatever. The main job of this Local Moderator (as opposed to what a Global Moderator does) is that of reminding people to stay on topic, post warning when due and eventually calling in the Global Moderation when people ignore such warnings (this is just a quick example, to be clear, of what their duties could possible be).

    There could be more to add, but not strictly needed right now.
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    Sir Adrian's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    I think increased moderation would not solve the problem. It would simply drive what little positive interaction there is towards the TD or while the rest would cease altogether. The best solution is to promote by example. Encourage light-heartedness and tongue-in-cheek and clamp down on pomposity and self-importance. Right now the curia is a net negative experience for everyone. Adding more police will not change that. We should focus on making it more positive and turning it back into the cool club it used be instead of the serious parliament it never was.

    Right now the Curia is a place where people go to debate and win cheap mudpit-style "victories" and generally try to elongate thier e-peen through pompous meaningless proposals, instead of being a place where people go to discuss (not debate) interesting topics and make useful suggestions.

    That's what we should focus on. I have no idea now, but we need to de-mudpitize the Curia.

    It also contributes to create drama and spread toxicity where there should be none and often causes that "bad taste" that drives people away from here. Quoting myself from the Valuation of Citizenship thread:
    I would like to point out that Pike thinks I'm a toxic poster because I disagree with him. He said as much to me on discord. Definitions vary from person to person and should be taken with a kilo of salt.
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    Halie Satanus's Avatar Emperor of ice cream
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Appoint me Iudex/Iudices/Carnifex with full power of exile in perpetuity. At this stage, it's the only option that makes sense, it'll also save you half a dozen pages of waffle.

    Also, not sure why you'd put this in the Proth, opening discussion on policing the Curia to non-citizens. How times have changed, for the worse.
    Last edited by Halie Satanus; February 03, 2022 at 07:45 AM.

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Lightly I would think. Current discretion works unless there is someone in office who may not entirely be trusted with it, at which point it's really on the Curia. The act of moderating in terms of removing posts and forwarding extremes has rarely been the question, rather the consequences of systemically poor behavior which we've proven unable at best to hold accountable. The root doesn't seem to me as the question of who is doing day to day modding. If two equal consuls are proposed per a second discussion, perhaps they could take the staff approach of agreement before taking action any further than quick deletion for simple cases. I don't know, maybe resurrect the proconsul thing and make a Proconsul of Moderation to achieve the ends of the 'second step' and a sense of neutrality.

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    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Adrian View Post
    I think increased moderation would not solve the problem. It would simply drive what little positive interaction there is towards the TD or while the rest would cease altogether. The best solution is to promote by example. Encourage light-heartedness and tongue-in-cheek and clamp down on pomposity and self-importance. Right now the curia is a net negative experience for everyone. Adding more police will not change that. We should focus on making it more positive and turning it back into the cool club it used be instead of the serious parliament it never was.

    Right now the Curia is a place where people go to debate and win cheap mudpit-style "victories" and generally try to elongate thier e-peen through pompous meaningless proposals, instead of being a place where people go to discuss (not debate) interesting topics and make useful suggestions.

    That's what we should focus on. I have no idea now, but we need to de-mudpitize the Curia.
    That's a way of putting it, I agree. But what you are calling for is a change of "culture", which requires a common effort and a will to change, which I deem impossible to happen, honestly. Just look at the second reply to this thread, for instance.

    I would like to point out that Pike thinks I'm a toxic poster because I disagree with him. He said as much to me on discord. Definitions vary from person to person and should be taken with a kilo of salt.
    I agree, "toxicity" could be subjective. Also, this is precisely the kind of off topic personal comment which we should not be making if we want to promote a positive environment, as this can only possibly elicit a negative response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dismounted Feudal Knight View Post
    Lightly I would think. Current discretion works unless there is someone in office who may not entirely be trusted with it, at which point it's really on the Curia. The act of moderating in terms of removing posts and forwarding extremes has rarely been the question, rather the consequences of systemically poor behavior which we've proven unable at best to hold accountable. The root doesn't seem to me as the question of who is doing day to day modding. If two equal consuls are proposed per a second discussion, perhaps they could take the staff approach of agreement before taking action any further than quick deletion for simple cases. I don't know, maybe resurrect the proconsul thing and make a Proconsul of Moderation to achieve the ends of the 'second step' and a sense of neutrality.
    A neat analysis, as usual . I think that the idea of having one elected officer whose duty is exclusively that of being a local moderator in full terms, is the only possible choice. But of course that would also need a common effort and will (for supporting and voting) to see the Curia moderated the same way like the rest of the site.
    Last edited by Flinn; February 04, 2022 at 02:13 AM.
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    Muizer's Avatar member 3519
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    I'd suggest to amend the function description of the consul, such that while they are in office they cannot themselves make proposals of any kind or ask others to make them on their behalf. That ensures that the person running for office is fully dedicated to keeping order in as neutral a fashion as possible.
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Ideally it wouldn't be moderated at all, as we would all treat each other with a certain degree of civility and respect.

    Since we do not live in an ideal world, I'd say with as light of a touch as is possible.

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    The Curia should be moderated like any other "site administration" forum. What kind of prize is that you are not subject to the same rules by the same people (moderation staff) as anyone in the Q&S forum. Any reason for the curia forum to be treated differently?
    Last edited by mishkin; February 04, 2022 at 02:15 PM.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    It does seem the rationale of self-moderation as an earned privilege maintained by 'higher standards' to not need it has long been expired. It could just as easily come under site moderation with a note to be more sensitive to certain contexts (ie, warranted references where the type of thread would require it). That could be a reasonable proposal.

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    I say we burn the Curia to the ground in a great internet bonfire
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Only if I can burn my e-book of Fahrenheit 451

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by ggggtotalwarrior View Post
    I say we burn the Curia to the ground in a great internet bonfire
    Dont you want activity? Dont you want drama? Burn the curia and rebuild it. Have some balls. It would be remembered for decades.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    I killed the Curia. But I did not shoot the Prothalmos
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    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Muizer View Post
    I'd suggest to amend the function description of the consul, such that while they are in office they cannot themselves make proposals of any kind or ask others to make them on their behalf. That ensures that the person running for office is fully dedicated to keeping order in as neutral a fashion as possible.
    This was one of the options I think of when started this thread, but it has two considerable cons IMO: first, with a limited Curia activity as of the last years, I would think twice before putting up a rule that prevents the Consul to partake in daily Curial life, the more because if one applies for the position they are probably going to want to be active in the Curia; second, similarly, that will make the Consul position even more clerical and less interesting to apply for.

    That idea certainly reamains as an option, but personally I still think that an elected (or appointed) officer dedicated specifically to that should be the way to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dismounted Feudal Knight View Post
    It does seem the rationale of self-moderation as an earned privilege maintained by 'higher standards' to not need it has long been expired. It could just as easily come under site moderation with a note to be more sensitive to certain contexts (ie, warranted references where the type of thread would require it). That could be a reasonable proposal.
    Yes, but that's up to the Hex to decide to change the status, not to the Curia, IMO. We can't just push the problem towards the Global Moderation*.
    For the good and for the bad this is the Curia, it has some special rules because of its nature, so what we need to do today IMO is to re-calibrate how we deal with it being "special": we need to actively enforce the off topic rule wherever it is due (so everywhere apart in Citizenship applications, Award applications, Curial Office Applications, VonCs and Ostrakones AND only in relation to the person being discussed) and we need someone who will be dedicated to that, with impartiality and possibly competence.

    *Just to clarify: the Curia is in no way exempt for the ToS, in fact people has been infracted for what they have posted in the Curia if that was the case (offences, porn/spam, whatever).. and the Hex and Global Moderation still have jurisdiction over it, so in a certain sense there already is "more sensitivity towards certain contexts".. the problem, as I see it, is that we need to take care of this "sensible" part by ourselves, so to distinguish from when it is allowed and when it isn't to throw in personal references.
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    *Just to clarify: the Curia is in no way exempt for the ToS, in fact people has been infracted for what they have posted in the Curia if that was the case (offences, porn/spam, whatever).. and the Hex and Global Moderation still have jurisdiction over it,
    Could you (or anybody) explain exactly what happens when a user reports a curia post breaking the ToS? Does moderation receive the report message and analyze what the consequence must be like it does with reports form any other place? I have the impression (I'm remembering an incident a little far in time) that moderation leaves these messages/reports to the local authority.

    (I am more confused about this after re-reading the OP).
    Last edited by mishkin; February 07, 2022 at 05:28 AM.
    So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16).

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    Muizer's Avatar member 3519
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    This was one of the options I think of when started this thread, but it has two considerable cons IMO: first, with a limited Curia activity as of the last years, I would think twice before putting up a rule that prevents the Consul to partake in daily Curial life, the more because if one applies for the position they are probably going to want to be active in the Curia; second, similarly, that will make the Consul position even more clerical and less interesting to apply for.

    That idea certainly reamains as an option, but personally I still think that an elected (or appointed) officer dedicated specifically to that should be the way to go.
    That doesn't add up though. What you're saying is that it would be hard to recruit for a position that requires not participating in Curial life. But that is exactly what would be required of this new position you suggest.

    To illustrate, we could also approach this the other way around: we need a curial moderator who has to abstain from 'curial life' (except for voting). Would including consular duties in that role by their nature deter applicants? I doubt it.

    I think only the workload might be a consideration for splitting the job, but not the nature of the work.
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    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    Could you (or anybody) explain exactly what happens when a user reports a curia post breaking the ToS? Does moderation receive the report message and analyze what the consequence must be like it does with reports form any other place? I have the impression (I'm remembering an incident a little far in time) that moderation leaves these messages/reports to the local authority.

    (I am more confused about this after re-reading the OP).
    First of all, a user reports a post, whether or not it breaks the ToS is decided by moderation, this is the same everywhere on the site. That being said, in the Curia reports get to moderation like any other report and then the moderation decides if they are worth a direct action or if they pertain to local moderation (once again, this is common for the whole site). In the case of the Curia, as far as I know, personal references are left untouched, all the rest is dealt directly. Very little reports come from the Curia, anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muizer View Post
    That doesn't add up though. What you're saying is that it would be hard to recruit for a position that requires not participating in Curial life. But that is exactly what would be required of this new position you suggest.

    To illustrate, we could also approach this the other way around: we need a curial moderator who has to abstain from 'curial life' (except for voting). Would including consular duties in that role by their nature deter applicants? I doubt it.

    I think only the workload might be a consideration for splitting the job, but not the nature of the work.
    It's semantic, I would say In any case my point is that for the role of "local moderation" if we have an elected or appointed office, the people that would apply for that position, would know what kind of job will expect them... ofc it also depends on what we think the Consul is: while the Constitution does not mandate any specific job for the Consul other than "ensuring that the Curia's day-to-day tasks are accomplished" which is very vague, isn't it?.. I've seen Consuls going far beyond that and that usually resulted in a positive outcome in terms of Curial activity, so if anything I will personally always be against putting a barrier to what the Consul can do.

    However, I'm digressing, my bad: as of today we do have two options on the table, so far: one elected/appointed moderator, or modifying the Consul job so that it will be focused on moderation

    any other idea is welcome!
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    First of all, a user reports a post, whether or not it breaks the ToS is decided by moderation, this is the same everywhere on the site. That being said, in the Curia reports get to moderation like any other report and then the moderation decides if they are worth a direct action or if they pertain to local moderation (once again, this is common for the whole site). In the case of the Curia, as far as I know, personal references are left untouched, all the rest is dealt directly. Very little reports come from the Curia, anyways.
    so posts breaking the ToS (necessary or pertinent personal references in the site administration forum are not against the rules) are always "punished" by moderation directly. ok, thanks.

    If Consuls are already acting as local moderators (supervised by moderation and dealing with minor things) I do not see the problem.
    Last edited by mishkin; February 07, 2022 at 06:43 AM.
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    Flinn's Avatar His Dudeness of TWC
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    "Punished" is a very partial term, I'd say that they are "dealt with", is a more honest way of calling it

    But that's not the point here, mish: the culture of allowing personal references in the Curia is as old as the site and it only recently (Order 66) has been moved to the Q&S; the problem, as I see it, is that personal references outside of those situations I mentioned above and in any case not related to the person being discussed, should not be allowed. Deciding to not to allow them is up to the Curia IMO, since, historically, they have been allowed for very long to the point that they are part of the culture of the place, and administration/moderation would not intervene in the light of respecting Curia's freedom on that regard (this is ATL how I always interpreted the whole issue while sitting in those roles). As I said, trying to push that towards global moderation isn't really what I had in mind (the Curia can deal with his own dirty laundering, if the rules will be clear) and IMO it won't work in any case.

    edit: I missed this line

    Quote Originally Posted by mishkin View Post
    If Consuls are already acting as local moderators (supervised by moderation and dealing with minor things) I do not see the problem.
    Yes and no, actually: yes, because in theory it is as you say, and no because that happens effectively only when the Consul knows about how to moderate (the main purpose of the Primus Praefect, which needed to be an actual or former moderator, was that of training the two regular Preafects and to oversee their work), and actually do that job regularly and with impartiality. That's why I believe that we need a dedicated moderator, still local ofc, but willingly taking that job and dedicating to it. The idea is in embryo of course, the best solution would be that of having a former moderator, who already knows the work.. any other solution will require more people (like it was with the Praefects) or impracticable things like training from actual moderation.

    also, the rule about "not moderating the threads you posted in" will prevent the Consul to post in any discussion, etc.. doesn't make sense to me at all, honestly
    Last edited by Flinn; February 07, 2022 at 07:32 AM.
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    Muizer's Avatar member 3519
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    Default Re: [Discussion] How should the Curia be moderated?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flinn View Post
    the rule about "not moderating the threads you posted in" will prevent the Consul to post in any discussion, etc.. doesn't make sense to me at all, honestly
    It's different, but it does make sense. It means the role of the Consul becomes that of "Speaker of the House". If nothing else, the attraction is they get to shout "ORDER" a lot.
    Last edited by Muizer; February 07, 2022 at 09:31 AM.
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