About the complaints procedure ...

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About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Jechbi » Sat Jul 18, 2009 5:47 am

Hi Retro,

I hope you don't mind if I open a discussion here about the complaints procedure that you announced today in this post:
retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

If you have a complaint about a post that's been made...

Use the Report Post function (exclamation mark in a triangle) and we will attend to your report as quickly as practicable, given our available staff. Please do not publicly quote and object to the content of a post, because this then embeds it within the flow of conversation and it becomes difficult for moderators to extract the offending material without disrupting the thread. Public complaints, regardless of how legitimate, tend to take threads off-topic and have a tendency to become a sideshow unto themselves. If you're not satisfied with the way we deal with your complaint, proceed to the next step.

If you have a complaint about an act of moderation...

Attempt to resolve the issue with the moderator in question first (if known, and if online) via PM, and if that is unsuccessful, please raise the issue with an adminstrator via PM. If your complaint is against an administrator, tell the other administrator. Complaints will be investigated by an administrator using the Terms Of Service as a framework. The words and actions of all members (including moderators and administrators) will be assessed with respect to the Terms Of Service and you will be notified of the outcome of your complaint via PM or e-mail. As with public complaints about posts, please do not publicly complain about moderation, as that is disruptive to the forum and is not the appropriate method for resolving such disputes.

If you're still unhappy about the outcome, after all that...

If after all that, you're still dissatisfied, contact site owner, TheDhamma via PM. He owns this site and therefore he has the final word.

Metta,
Retro.

It occurred to me after reading this announcement that I probably would seldom follow this procedure, because if I have a complaint about a post, I'd rather address the member who made the post than go behind his or her back and try got get a moderator to intervene for me.

So probably, if I had a complaint about a post, I'd either say so in the thread itself, or I would send a PM to the member who made the post (perhaps copying a mod if I felt that was appropriate).

One issue is that the TOS on a board like this naturally are going to be somewhat fluid an open to interpretation. The TOS here for participation are modeled after part of the Saleyyaka Sutta (as cited in the TOS), which sets fourth four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma. They are:
1) Speaking a falsehood.
2) Speaking maliciously.
3) Speaking harshly.
4) Gossiping.

It's going to be impossible for everybody to live up to that standard, because different people will have different ideas about where to set the bar. For example, I've seen mods and respected members use what I would regard as harsh speech, but so what? I personally feel that DhammaWheel should be a safe place where our egos sometimes can be on display, warts and all, so that we can learn from that, and so that we can receive the compassion and lovingkindness that the more inspired members are able to offer when we are like that. When I go back into the threads where I've been less than kind or more than a little egocentric, it's like a mirror. It helps me to recognize what happened, what was going on in my mind, and consider what might have been a more skillful approach in that moment. Why take away my mirror?

Also, with regard to gossiping, the Saleyyaka Sutta describes it in part as speaking "that which is not the Dhamma." Well, there goes just about the entire lounge, plus a good portion of the rest of the board. We're ordinary people here, groping along as best we can. Our speech is not always going to meet this standard.

It also occurred to me that I have never asked (as far as I can recall) that a moderator delete a post. And now that I think about it, I'd personally feel like a little dictator if I tried to get posts deleted when someone said something bad about me. Why not just let it stand? Good that it's there, this criticism, even if it might seem unfair. Let it be. Let it stare me in the face. I might want to have it deleted, but if I actively pursue this impulse to just make the criticism disappear, then how is that Dhamma practice?

I would suggest that, except in the most egregious cases, posts should not be deleted. If a thread starts to get derailed as members go at it, then break that part off and consign it to the free-for-all forum.

Yes, I agree that we all should strive to keep our speech to the highest standard, and that we should self-edit. But c'mon people, don't we have thick enough skin to at least be able to allow sharp, personal criticism to exist? After all, we're adults, and we can respond if we wish. Plus, if the discussion plays itself out correctly, hopefully everyone will learn something.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:12 am

Greetings Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:I hope you don't mind if I open a discussion here


Sure. We'll see what input others have to say...

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 18, 2009 6:16 am

Hi Jechbi

Thanks for your input. What I want to clarify is if there is anything anyone is concerned about, regarding another person's behaviour, then they should use the report function and the mod/admin team will look at it. And sometimes in a heated discussion, a situation may require a third party to assess the situation. And different people are at different stages and any conversation on Dhamma Wheel should be respectful. Our aim when Dhamma Wheel was set up was to provide a safe, respectful and friendly environment where everyone was empowered to self moderate. And to your, everyone's great credit, that's what the vast majority of our members do. The problem with calling out another member's behaviour in-thread or attempting to discuss a moderation decision (or perceived lack of action) in thread is that, as retro said in the complaints procedure, it takes it off topic and creates a sideshow in its own right.

Another thing i want to highlight is the focus of the complaints procedure is to provide an avenue for members to raise their concerns regarding moderating decisions and for members to feel comfortable doing that.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Sat Jul 18, 2009 8:56 am

The complaints procedure seems pretty sensible to me. I hope we never have to use it.

EDIT: My only thought is that within the Complaints Procedure maybe the names of the moderators and admin could be listed (perhaps with URLs to PM them)? I personallly am not sure who is admin (the Red-uniformed ones, TheDhamma and Retro?) and who are the moderators (the Green-uniformed ones, Tilt, Ben, Dhammanando, etc?). I'm guessing. I think I need to brush up on my ToS!!!
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Jul 18, 2009 9:48 am

Greetings Mawkish,

At the bottom of this topic there's a yellow bar which has a link which says "The team" ( memberlist.php?mode=leaders ) and that's where the moderators and administrators are listed.

It's pretty much as you said except that jcsuperstar has moderator access to the Study Group to allow him to lead that, close the old topics, update the schedule etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:16 pm

hi Jechbi
Warts and all are part and parcel of the practice, seeing others flawed behaviour enables us to reflect on ours as well as see what isn't flawed behaviour is.

no one is perfect and expecting all members and moderators to be so is expecting people to be enlightened, maybe one solution I have had disagreements with a mod which wasn't against the terms of service, or off topic, and the discussion was that a bit of funwhich ended before it could of gotten out of hand.

I do agree it would be better to address a complaint to the person, instead of going behind there back, and I have reported in some cases accidentally, not realising there was the cancel button, or I could of back tracked [insert slapping own face emoticon here], maybe one option would be att times another room room where this could happen openly and doesn't distract from the thread, this would potentially allow the members involved to reach a compromise and in other cases allow others to input productively for the original participants to see how they were both wrong, although this does have the draw back of being a place where other users take sides and flames happen more openly and aggressively.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:02 pm

Good responses here. I was giving this some more thought. The complaints procedure doesn't mention post deletion, but that is a powerful moderation tool, and it seems to be an outcome sometimes of complaints about posts. Earlier, I made the suggestion that posts should not be deleted by mods except in the most egregious cases. I'd like to amend that suggestion. How about if posts are never deleted by mods under any circumstances?

Personally, I like that idea for several reasons. One is that, for the most part, we can tell when a post is inappropriate or ill-advised. So if we know our crummy posts are going to continue to exist until we ourselves delete them, then hiri-ottapa comes more into play. This would make the board more of a Dhamma practice, where the effects of our bad kamma are visible to us, and we have to live with them until we choose to change our own kamma.

Another is that there's no way to "unsay" something that's been said, so post deletion by moderator action is a way of trying to change our reality. In real life, there's no moderator to come in and delete the bad things that happen to us. We have to live with them. I think this board would be more conducive to Dhamma practice if it more closely resembled reality in that way. Hearing the Dhamma, discussing the Dhamma and interacting with others is not going to be comfortable 100% of the time, and we're going to hear things we don't like. Part of Dhamma practice is dealing with that. Part of Dhamma practice also is dealing with our aversion to that, with our desire to make it go away. If a mod steps in and makes it go away for us, then we lose that opportunity for practice.

There will be times when a member gets way out of hand and become abusive. My suggestion would be: ban the member for violating the TOS if necessary, but let his or her abuse stand without deletion. Even foul language, slander, falsehoods, let them stand for all to see. That, in my opinion, would make this board a more effective place to really dig in and practice Dhamma.
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby appicchato » Sun Jul 19, 2009 8:56 pm

Do I agree with the above?...yes, I do... :coffee:
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby cooran » Sun Jul 19, 2009 9:33 pm

Hello jechbi,

There will be times when a member gets way out of hand and become abusive. My suggestion would be: ban the member for violating the TOS if necessary, but let his or her abuse stand without deletion. Even foul language, slander, falsehoods, let them stand for all to see. That, in my opinion, would make this board a more effective place to really dig in and practice Dhamma
.

I totally disagree with this and, like many of us, wouldn't remain on the type of discussion list which would allow it.

Why should someone who has been slandered and hurt by abuse have to endure seeing it as a permanent part of a discussion list? And possibly find it is cut and pasted as part of a discussion on another list - as 'truth' ... and so it goes. Something that is left to stand by moderators is seen as probably containing truth. Or as a passive-aggressive way for moderators to hurt/slander someone unpopular, without taking the "blame". People from many cultures already find it difficult dealing with abrupt (and mannerless by many standards) westerners on discussion boards.

What makes you think someone who is capable of posting foul language, slander, falsehoods is going to ever regret posting them? Particularly as most of us use anonymous 'pen names' and not our own.

metta
Chris
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jul 19, 2009 11:08 pm

Greetings Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:The complaints procedure doesn't mention post deletion...


That falls under "an act of moderation".

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:25 am

Hi Chris,

Chris wrote:I totally disagree with this and, like many of us, wouldn't remain on the type of discussion list which would allow it.
In that case, it's not worth it, because I'd rather have you here. I figure my position about this will be a minority viewpoint and likely won't be implemented.

Chris wrote:Why should someone who has been slandered and hurt by abuse have to endure seeing it as a permanent part of a discussion list? And possibly find it is cut and pasted as part of a discussion on another list - as 'truth' ... and so it goes.
Yup, that can happen, and it's not fair. Life's not fair. But what do we really have to lose? Our reputation? Believe me, the people who care about you won't care what other people say about you.

Chris wrote: Something that is left to stand by moderators is seen as probably containing truth. Or as a passive-aggressive way for moderators to hurt/slander someone unpopular, without taking the "blame".
Yup, that can happen too. Again, what do we have to lose? Let's say the whole board unfairly gangs up on you, or on me, or on some other person. And we feel really uncomfortable and want to leave. And we feel foolish, and angry, and a sense of righteous indignation occurs. That's rich stuff. This is a Dhamma discussion board, and that's the kind of stuff we ought to be able to deal with here, in my opinion. I think this can be a safe place for us to have that kind of experience.

Chris wrote: People from many cultures already find it difficult dealing with abrupt (and mannerless by many standards) westerners on discussion boards.
No doubt. Cultural differences can be huge. Believe me, I know from extended first-hand experience.

Chris wrote:What makes you think someone who is capable of posting foul language, slander, falsehoods is going to ever regret posting them? Particularly as most of us use anonymous 'pen names' and not our own.
Nothing makes me think that. There are people who will have no regrets, and those people probably would end up getting banned. Meanwhile, though, the people whose input you really benefit from, those people probably will see (as you do) that these postings are foul, slanderous and false. The people who really care, those people know what's going on with those most egregious posts.

I just don't see the risks, unless we choose to be overly sensitive and overly attached to our reputation. Out in the real world, I personally know people who are relatively public figures in the community, and who receive hate mail not infrequently. These anonymous diatribes can be caustic, full of foul language, full of slander. For the most part, the recipients don't get upset about it. Sometimes they'll even tack it up near their desk or office or whatever, and everyone can see it. It can be worth a laugh. Nobody takes that stuff seriously.

But then, on a board like this, even far less egregious stuff tends to get deleted pretty readily. When that happens, I think we all miss out on a chance to be present with those uncomfortable feelings, and to offer metta to those who disturb us, and to allow those who make such posts to possibly revisit them later and try to see them from the other person's point of view.

Just my 2 cents.

:smile:
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:45 am

Hi Jechbi

With great respect, I can't support what you are suggesting. Sorry mate! One of the reasons that DW works so well is that its members do feel that they're in a respectful and friendly environment. My observation is that if we don't maintain an environment that is conducive to mutual respect and friendliness, the quality of the discussion (and membership) falls away. I witnessed one 'Buddhist' discussion board that operated under conditions that you recommend. When I witnessed tricycle it was anarchic and became the haunt of some very nasty trolls who shouted down and harranged anyone who had an alternative point of view.
Please keep in mind that not everyone is where you're at, and while you might be ok about having unwholesome things stated about you or your posts, others may not.

Also, if you have concerns relating to posts being deleted, please feel free to contact the mods or admins. I don't think it happens all that often. And to provide some perspective, I deleted a thread that I started on the weekend (Dawin award contestants caught on TV) because in retrospect I felt that it was probably a lightning rod for defilements. With regards to other post deletions they are almost always to do with breaches of the TOS.
Metta

Ben
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Jul 20, 2009 4:22 am

There's an old saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it!

:anjali:
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:55 am

Hi Ben,
Ben wrote:... while you might be ok about having unwholesome things stated about you or your posts ...

Actually, I'm not ok with that either. Often I'm as sensitive as anyone. But I don't expect anyone to step in and rescue me, and I'm not likely to ask a mod to delete posts about me, no matter how bad they are. Instead, I'm likely to respond to the poster directly, and deal with whatever arises and use it an as opporunity for practice.

Sometimes I mess up in doing so, and on two occasions in the history of DhammaWheel that I recall, this has resulted in my posts being deleted by mod action due to concerns about TOS. In each case, you guys probably did me a favor and made me look like a better poster than I really am. I'm not going to complain too much about those posts being deleted. But in each of those 2 cases, it was not my intention to violate the TOS, and there were elements of each post that I thought had some merit. So there was also something lost, in my opinion. Lesson for me: Be more careful, and more mindful to make my point without involving the person. But I do wonder who would have experienced the harsher dukkha in the long run had those posts been allowed to stand: the other guy, or me? No way to tell. And I also wonder what opportunity for growth might have been lost with the deletion of those posts, as well as others. Perhaps not much, but who knows? Each post deletion has its cummulative effect on the board's atmosphere.

For you it's a balancing act, I know. I have no complaints about the way this board is run. You work hard, and I appreciate it. I do think, though, that it's possible for friends sometimes to treat each other disrespectfully, and sometimes even be unfriendly, and yet still be friends. Hey, we're just human.

Sometimes I'm a crank and I need friends who can accept me any way. Sometimes I'm a crank and I need to be able to look back and see it in myself. Sometimes I'm a crank and I need to hear other people tell me so, perhaps harshly. And sometimes the tables are turned and the other guy is the crank. I think DhammaWheel is strong enough to be a safe place for that kind of thing to be allowed to occur. That's a great credit to your efforts.

There's a catchphrase I love: The delete key shall set you free. But honestly, I think it only applies to the act of deleting one's own writings, not to the act of deleting what others have to say.

Ben wrote:When I witnessed tricycle it was anarchic and became the haunt of some very nasty trolls who shouted down and harranged anyone who had an alternative point of view.
Then ban those people who just don't get it. No reason to allow them to continue breaking the TOS. That kind of corrective moderator action can be taken without deleting a bunch of posts first, tho.

Ngawang Drolma wrote:There's an old saying, if it ain't broke don't fix it!
Agreed. Though I also think fundamentally, it's always going to be at least a little bit broken. That's samsara.

Metta
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But never soddens what is open;
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Ben » Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:40 am

Hi Jechbi

Nice post.
Like you, I tend to call a spade a spade and I think the way that we relate to each other here is probably very similar to the real world where there is a degree of robustness in our communications that is tempered by respect. But I guess the robustness of our discussion is going to be measured out by how well we know someone. isn't it? I've got no problem with you or some of my other friends on DW taking me to task on my views or behaviour. And that's fine. The issue is when near-complete strangers start behaving in a grossly unwholesome fashion.

I don't want anyone here to feel like they're walking on eggshells or that the mod team is looking over everyone's shoulders ensuring absolute compliance to the minutae of the TOS. Like you, we're here to discuss the Dhamma. Acts of moderation are unfortunate and for the most part, rare.
Cheers

Ben
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Re: About the complaints procedure ...

Postby Mawkish1983 » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:46 am

Ben wrote:Acts of moderation are unfortunate and for the most part, rare.

"Tru Dat"
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