A few months ago we published a moderation policy alongside the terms of service. I realize that people wouldn’t know to look for it, so I just wanted to announce that it exists. If you are interested, please take a look. It explains the thinking that guides our moderation decisions.
When it comes to moderation, I ask you to bear with us. We can’t discuss or explain individual moderation decisions because we need to protect member privacy, even the privacy of bad actors. Also, moderation actions are seldom perfect. There are automated systems that make some of the moderation volume manageable, but sometimes these systems make mistakes. We correct them, but sometimes it takes a little while to do so. And the most difficult moderation decisions involve grey areas and slippery slopes. We have to make judgment calls. Sometimes we will get it wrong.
We have a “less is more” approach to moderation. Partly thanks to the maturity and generous spirit of the community here. Partly because moderation decisions can have unintended consequences, and there are real human beings at the other end of them. But also because we don’t want to make decisions for you. You can choose to ignore things you don’t like (see postscript 2 about blocking below), but you can’t choose to read things we have removed.
Since we can’t be completely transparent about the inner workings of each moderation decision, we need to ask you to trust that we’re doing our best and acting in good faith. Our goal is to create the best possible experience for individual members, while protecting the health of the overall community. I know our best won’t be good enough for everyone.
If you do have questions or concerns, please reach out privately. I might not be able to reply to every message, but I promise to read them all.
Ps. A few other things about moderation:
- In case you haven’t noticed, there is a menu on each post (the little gear) that has an option to report a post. We will seldom respond directly to people who report posts, but we do see your messages and they are very helpful signals to us.
- You can block someone on their profile page. This isn’t a complete block (like the one on Twitter, for example), it just stops you from seeing any new topics created by the person you block. And you won’t be able to message each other. You will still see their replies on other threads, though.
- We sometimes use the “Off Topic” category as a cooling off area. We will move a thread there to give us a chance to investigate more deeply before taking a more drastic moderation action of some sort. Other times we think the conversation has just run its course. In both cases it’s a way for us to get the thread off the front page for a while, or permanently, without removing it entirely.