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Why the constant closing of certain threads?

Discussion in 'General XenForo Discussion and Feedback' started by Floren, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    Every time I read a thread where people comment on certain XenForo features, provide valuable customer feedback, etc., I notice that it is eventually closed. What is with this recent Gestapo fashion at XenForo? I really don't like the "muting" of opinions practiced lately, it feels like the old vBulletin era where whoever had an opinion it resulted with their thread being closed.

    I would appreciate if the moderators return to their previous management behavior, where people were allowed to express themselves freely. XenForo has an amazing warning system. If you think an user creates trouble, just administer points and don't close the thread instead.

    I know there will always be beligerant users, on any forum. But why not try to keep a balance of everything? Myself, I'm not an avid forum reader like many others. Even with my lack of reading time, I'm shocked to see how high the level of fanboysm is present on these forums. I can't even count how many times I saw ridiculous replies and direct attacks that added zero value to the thread and created animosity among users. D'ailleurs, this is probably the main reason why I don't post often.

    I think the moderators should focus more on these users and "guide" them how to express themselves in public, as this is what is currently ruining this community.

    I apologize if this post might sound offensive to some. I invite everyone to take a moment and reflect to the actual meaning of this thread, instead of judging a word and respond with an attack. After all, we all try to make this community work and be a pleasant environment for everyone.

    Coop1979, Cal, Paul and 8 others like this.
  2. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Which topics exactly?

    Opinions are most welcome. I have never seen some one moderated for expressing an opinion. I think it's mostly the personal attacks and conspiracy theories that get moderated.
  3. Jake Bunce

    Jake Bunce XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    That's an interesting strategy. The problem is that you yourself might get moderated or banned in the process. But still, I like the idea.

    That is my preference as well. I like to delete offending posts and keep threads going when possible.
    TheVisitors, Mike Law and JVCode like this.
  4. Rob

    Rob Well-Known Member

    How's that 'discouraged' list coming along Jake? :D
  5. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Just to play devils advocate here, both of you have participated in threads and launched attacks against other users. Floren, unless I am mistaken, I believe in one case you claimed it was self defence of your character or similar.

    Now where do we draw the line on who gets warned or not, and then the resulting cleanup? Do we just warn the first offending user, delete the other posts (which often have valid information attached to them).

    Do we warn all the users because "you should have known better" than to reply? Leave the posts there?

    Do we edit posts, and then get accused of censorship?

    The problem is, the threads attracting these personal attacks over and over are the same topics over and over. If we start warning people or removing posts, we then get accused of being bias or unfair.

    Often, the easiest and most neutral solution is to close the thread and its done with.
    Doctor, Mike Law, yavuz and 1 other person like this.
  6. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    It depends from what angle you are looking at the issue. I'm mature enough to detect when I deal with a personal attack or an intelligent remark that tells me I'm wrong on the subject. Everyone can make mistakes and is noble to admit it in public.
    So then I guess we should not have a community where people are allowed to express their concerns "endless times"? What is the point of having so many forums, when we are dealing with a "one way" format? People will keep on asking questions, unless they get an answer and closing a thread is not the solution. My belief is that closing threads will only aggravate these users, instead of helping them getting their answers. Instead, you (all moderators) should choose to filter the undesired comments and warn the people who actually do damage. You will have many people thank you.

    Personally, I only had one thread closed and I think it was a good decision to close it. We saw there both sides of this community: people who are willing to work on an issue and communicate while others put their "blinders" on and hit the Insult button non-stop. In that specific thread, I remember replying to those comments very harsh and yes it was done in purpose to display a reality check for the users as well moderators related to the lack of proper communication taking place here.

    As you said very well, we are dealing with a steady pattern:
    1) User posts his/her concerns on a matter.
    2) Others agree or oppose his/her thoughts both ways (polite or attack).
    3) User defends itself by argumenting his points.
    4) More polite responses/attacks are posted.
    5) Moderator closes thread.

    Your role is not to close threads, but to be a mediator between the users and "moderate" the discussion heat if needed. In my closed thread, whoever managed it... maintained a great control. None of my "harsh" replies were deleted/edited, I presume because they were found fair and realistic. I was very impressed, why can't you do this all the time?

    I repeat myself, but I personally believe closing a thread serves no purpose.
  7. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    On any board I run, questions about why threads are closed would be deleted.

    Because then they can generate questions about why threads which mention threads being closed are closed...and so on!


    Brent W and Steve10 like this.
  8. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    Then you should not close anymore the threads and the problem will be solved. Really. :)
    In my books, closing a thread is equivalent to this: "We are the rulers of this site and we don't like what you said. But we will keep this visible to be a lesson for others and to let you know that we hold the knife in our hands." Basically, you are slapping the users by closing their threads. IMO is best to actually make them understand what they are doing wrong, instead of Gestapo'ing them.
  9. CBI Web

    CBI Web Well-Known Member

    In many cases it could be that the moderator simply doesn't have the time (nor interest?) to edit posts or do other things that can eliminate the offending content while keeping the topic alive. That is not meant to insult the moderators, because they have a huge job as it is, purely voluntary, and take a lot of heat. However, one ideal scenario is to have at least one moderator who does have the time, and/or likes to take the time, to clean up without leaving topics locked in amber forever (Fringe reference, hehe).

    Personally, I've always been one of those people; whether an admin or mod, I love doing non-volatile cleanup. This is not a pitch to become a moderator here, just sayin' that such people exist, but seem to be rare. :( But the whole point is, if a moderator isn't "into" the job, the job will be done as quickly and painlessly as possible. It's just human nature for the most part.
    yavuz likes this.
  10. steven s

    steven s Well-Known Member

    To moderate a thread often requires reading the entire thread.
    On my forum I don't read every post/thread. We are pretty good at self moderating and occasionally someone will report a post.
    I'll lock the thread with a note explaining, give me a little time to review the contents.
    Then I'll determine if it's gone too far. Maybe clean it up with comments in the offending posts.
    It doesn't happen often.

    We have a classifieds section where we have clear rules and I will soft delete irrelevant posts without warning.

    But clearly their are members here with blinders on that are too emotional or passionate about xenforo to be objective.
    IMHO, The honeymoon is over for some. Accept it.
    Floren likes this.
  11. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    Well, Floren, the mods ARE the rulers of that particular small domain. And you are the ruler of your blog and I am the ruler of mine.

    I think the "slap" is on your end -your perception! The mods just have their basic rules and styles and apply them. How you take it is where the variable is. I have...and will...never complain about any thread of mine being closed. That is because it is not my forum.

    My "rights" as a XF owner start and stop at getting a ticket taken care of if I need it....and also having access to basic information. They do not include either off-topic nor political or "when is 1.x coming out?" threads....although I enjoy them as much as anyone else.

    I've seen just about every style of moderation over the past 25 years online.......some of the first guys who ran email lists were more like Brogan (a one-man show) - one of them ran the official Apple Computer email list! Apple seemed to approve! The current guys here are real softies in comparison...
  12. yavuz

    yavuz Well-Known Member

    I've been and am an administrator on forums and my experience is that a thread can have very fast expiration date. You can suggest the moderators to reason with everyone but thats just a myth. A fanboy will be the fanboy an a conspirator will continue to do what he/she does best. I wouldn't spent my entire day to monitor a thread if it stays on it course just for the sake of being fair and rather use it for more meaningful purposes.
    Floren likes this.
  13. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    The goal is not to point the finger, but to find a middle way. I recently got technically involved with a forum that had a lot of negative feedback internally and on Google. The staff was rude, they banned users frequently and closed threads constantly. I asked the site owner if I could talk to the staff and he agreed. I had a nice talk and implemented some "strange" rules. First was not to close anymore any threads, under no circumstances unless it violated the forum rules. Second was zero usage of insults or personal attacks on the forums. Third was not to ban the users anymore and use the XenForo warning system properly.

    After 2 months of religiously practicing the above rules, the forum user base started to grow significantly and the staff was vary happy with the lack of "fights" they used to previously deal with. It is all related how you approach the users.

    Edit: Just to make things clear, I'm not implying the job done here is bad. It was a simple reflection based on the recent "moderating" experience I had on the other forum.
  14. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    The majority of these threads are ones asking for updates, and one such thread was allowed to go on for 17 pages despite having to intervene multiple times on both sides of the arguement until it just became derailed with junk.

    I suppose we could make a thread where people are only allowed to express their concerns, and any debate on those conerns won't be allowed, yes people are allowed to express their concerns, however it is always the debate that ruins the threads and creates a moderation nightmare. Or maybe we put a nice warning in the first post that any attack, no matter how little will result in the whole post being removed, regardless of how valid the rest of it is, that way users only have themselves to blame if their post gets removed.

    If people could debate these threads without resporting to personal attacks or profanities, they would be left open, but even though we are modderators, we do have better things to be doing than babsitting a thread full of bickering users :)
  15. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    Luckily, those threads are not numerous, so it is possible IMO to have control. I've been involved with many large forums (40+ million posts) and I understand what you mean. I also know that is possible to maintain a nearly zero thread closed policy on those type of forums, I've seen it. :)
  16. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    Or even better, merge any new threads on the same topic into an existing one. :)
  17. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Ok Floren, we will try it your way.

    You often make valid posts with a good perspective. If you wish to make a thread expressing concerns on development or communication, go ahead, I will make a post informing people that any and all personal attacks will result in deletion of the post with the attacks in. The topic will also have to stay on topic without spam, which will also be removed.
  18. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    My goal was not to get it "my way". In fact, if users read carefully what I said, they will see that everyone's goal is to have a pleasant community here. We are all forum administrators and we should know how to talk to users, why can't we do this also here? Bickering, insults and personal attacks... are they really necessary? I'm pretty sure we all agree on that.

    It would be good to see people realize how fragile things are in life and that we are humans, not pushed buttons. That starts with the little user and ends with the forum administrator. :)

    EQnoble likes this.
  19. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Which is why we often feel like planting our faces into the desk. Your right... people should know better... but for whatever reason some just cant help themselves!
    EQnoble, JVCode and Floren like this.
  20. Floren

    Floren Well-Known Member

    My belief is that people who cannot control themselves here are acting the same way on their forums. I often count to 10 before I reply to an attack and I always ask myself what I would reply if I would be the user reading Floren's comment. Is very easy to start a fight, if you really want to. This could be a learning experience for them, as is also very easy to be nice and pleasant to someone. :)

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