Let the Users decide if something is off topic not the mods!

Once again the users should be able to decide if something is genuinely off topic not the mods.

It is maximum hypocrisy to tell people to shut or at least interrupt them and partially silence them or lose or bury their threads. Way beyond rude. There is a programmer site for hyper focused technical stuff.

And if you’re going to let the users decide, yes its a complicated process because still getting people putting out knee jerk shill responses. Threshold for off topic on user citing should be high like 90% with a delay that way you don’t have groups that simply veto lines of inquiry they don’t like.

Lets talk a bit about where SAFE is, its about to launch but as far as I can see expectations have been downgraded so some humility is in order. We’re coming back to reticence of the core folks to pronounce it internet 2. Still awesome vital and revolutionary for free speech but note the irony.


I’m all for having the decisions as decentralized as possible, that’s why almost never one mod decides to take an action before asking an other mod’s opinion. I don’t see how we can have the forum the way it is right now without a few moderators that simply follow the guidelines.

The least we can do is ask more people to flag when they see something that’s not in line with the guidelines.

I know that this topic comes after being asked to move an off-topic post from the ‘cybersecurity’ category to the ‘off-topic’ category or change the subject to make it related to SAFE. What could we have done different than even politely asking you twice(!) what this had to do with SAFE and if you could steer it the right way so we wouldn’t have to move it.


You are so free at this forum that you’re allowed to create a topic about banana milkshakes or the smell of morning air on Hawaii. Try that on some Linux or Apache-server forum. They’ll kick you out before you know it. Same for the price of Bitcoin and other crypto’s. We allow 'to the moon!" replies and “it will crash and the project is done” replies. On other forums they call that trolling and kick people out for that. We don’t. We’re very open if you ask me.

We have 41300 posts on this forum, and only 154 flags. We have 1662 users on this forum and no one blocked or suspended at this moment. We kept everybody in so far! (except for some spam-bots). Far over 99% of the users never had any mod-intervention on this forum and far over 99% of all posts and replies are still there without any of the mods touching it.

You’re mad that we moved replies from this topic to this one. But let me quote some lines:

And even more:

These replies are very welcome on the forum (again, try to discuss this on some Linux forum) but they have nothing to do in the cybersecurity category. In the SAFE vs the S.I. Arms Race topic @happybeing asked what this had to do with cybersecurity. @Melvin asked to stay on-topic. We discussed the topic on Slack and agreed it was off-topic. So feel free to complain but remember that we have volunteers here that put time in these sort of things to keep the forum clean, organized and up and running.


Oi!..I didn’t say any of that quotation…lol…does it sound like me? :smiley:


I think the mods are doing a great job here and I’m very thankful when suddenly my posts appear in a new threat because I went off-topic +didn’t realize early enough

(I didn’t read all the - in my opinion preposterous - text in this threat … Just wanted to say I like how the mods are doing their “job”)

1 Like

who the **** is emailing with who, I never get an email :grinning:


Mainly Fan emails sent to me… :smiley:


But the thing is we don’t have to justify it to you. We have to justify it to the other user or possibly to David Irvine. The interruptions and interjections are not polite they are rude. In attempting to talk to other members we shouldn’t ever have to be thinking about you.

Its up to us not you whether a thread is relevant. All you’ve got is you opinion. But the suggestion about more user input is better. But in the mod group your are at risk for a group think or a clique and that doesn’t serve the forum.

Now as for the SI thread. It may not make the grade for writing quality or even proper intelligent discourse but as we’ve discussed in the past this forum isn’t about handing out grades and its not a journal or Githhub.

@polpolrene there is no sense in trying to clarify my intentions here. I can do that. They are pretty face value. If weren’t trolling or vandalizing or trying to cover up the topics than stay out of the threads unless its to comment in line with the threads.

The stats you quote are a clue that there needs to be even less of this business about interrupting the flow of threads with on topic demands etc.

I think one thing you are not clear on as group of mods and don’t seem to understand at all is the value of the conversation itself. Making stuff clear for people who come along after-the-fact is not even remotely as important as letting people actually discuss stuff as it occurs to them so they can get issues sorted out. Improve the search function the site. People aren’t trying to produce copy they are trying to learn and discuss. Again this isn’t a site that collects papers its a site for discourse and learning. Its not quite an IRC but its also not an academic journal.

Stuff falls off the front page naturally. You could flag stuff for off topic after a sufficient delay of say a month if there is any doubt. But still use user input as your guide.

1 Like

This forum is about Project SAFE at the core. Next to that everybody is open to discuss a lot of other things. But what if a user wants to find topics on security and has to go to a lot talk about politics or whatever? That’s not gonna work. That’s why every topic falls into a category. And yes, a lot of these topics are not on the frontpage. It was a decision made some time ago.

All mods are coming out of the community. I think we added 3 of them in the last 8 weeks to be prepared for more users when the network goes live. We are not any different from you and others. We don’t get paid, we never signed a contract or anything. Just some volunteers that try to keep this forum up and running. Topics in the category etc. And we all follow some simple rules called the Forum guidelines.


Agreed - we have a flagging system to alert the mods of community “irritation”.





Does it state in the guidelines that mods can decide between themselves whether a comment is off-topic or not without user input on the matter? If so this as Warren correctly pointed out, has freedom of speech/censorship issues.
in a real life scenario, I think a reasonable person would say it was rude to walk into a room where conversation is going on and interrupt someone and tell them to stfu because they’d strayed from the topic of conversation. Usually those in conversation would notice if someone kept “going on about something” incessantly or interrupting the flow. It would be a group thing. That’s why we have the flag system.
Peopke can flag or conversants can recognise themselves when off-topic and start a "reply as new thread - as I started doing after having similar experiences.
I see the mods as judges in the Court of Community opinion, everybody agreeing to abide by the Law (Guidelines). Cases have to be brought by the public though - we don’t want a Judge Dredd type of system…lol

Literally nothing at all - you should have done nothing at all…

under what circumstances do the mods “have to” move something - either in their opinion or according to the Guidelines.
I steer my own path too…lol :smiley:


1 Like

Once again, everybody can post whatever they want as long as it is in the right category and topic. So also other people besides the poster can follow and read the forum without being interrupted by off-topic talk.

It was off-topic/off category and because we want to keep the forum clear and clean for everybody we want people to stay on topic and post in the right categories. It’s not all about the two persons in the thread only and that’s why I think we’re taking most actions.

If it has nothing to do with the project, why shouldn’t it be in off-topic? And if it isn’t in the right category why shouldn’t it be in the right one?

Maybe it is part of our voluntary job to explain why certain things are being done as they are being done on the forum. But if I may be really honest I’m done defending myself and the other moderators, if some people here think they can do a better job, they are free to start another SAFE forum without moderation or whatever, the more places to discuss SAFE - the better I guess.

And if you think we can do a better job here and it’s really your goal to improve us, start sending us PMs with ideas and suggestions that are thought through.


Firstly I think your response seems to show that you consider legitimate concerns raised by community members as some kind of personal “attack” - for some reason, - address the content of the comments please, not any “tone” you may infer (as per guidelines). Nobody suggested they’d be better at your job and my ideas are generally thought through. However if I have an idea I will discuss it openly on the forum, not by PM - for the same legitimate reason Warren mentioned with “mods deciding things” that cliques can form - these are legitimate security concerns if nothing else and should not be interpreted as accusations/criticism. :smiley:
Edit: different people find different things “rude” – I agree with Warren that interrupting conversation is rude. You’ve said it’s your job and I and warren raised our concerns about this.
That’s the situation. By what process were the new mods recruited by the way?

1 Like

3 mods have put an x-number of time into “SAFE vs the S.I. Arms Race”. No matter if we liked the topic or not we read it and agreed it was off-topic. Others have read it as well. Than people started to post in the other topic, just as asked. Only to get back talking off-topic on the “SAFE vs the S.I. Arms Race” today. Now my questions is, what do you actually want? Should we have a poll for the whole community to decide about the topic??

Yup. Here it is:

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time.

But hey, that’s not how we work. We always try to reach consensus. Always try to make the right judgement and decision. We don’t have time to send PM’s to people about their posts. So a reply is in line with the FG or not. It’s off-topic or it’s not. It’s in the right category or not. Otherwise we would be typing PM’s to people all day to ask for their input. Someone might not be online for the next x-number of days so we would have to wait for that. Than we would get a reply by PM and we would have a discussion about their post. That would be a 24H job for all moderators. So here’s the way we work:

  • We spot something that needs attention (flag/just reading).
  • We go to a private channel on Slack to see if other mods are online.
  • We discuss and reach consensus.
  • We take action or not.

You know, that’s how forums and communities work. And if you think we should change that, come up with a concrete plan. Post it here below and ask others what they think. You are more than welcome.

When we look for new mods we discuss on Slack. All names that come up are active people on the forum, people that gave flags about spam or topics that became personal flame wars which need attention. Also people that we think are giving great replies and keep their heads cool in hot discussions. So combination of gut-feeling and input to @moderators Most of the time it’s quite clear and we all have the same names that come in mind.

1 Like

Yay, I´d like to outvote this thread as offtopic. Who´s with me!

@Warren, are you aware that your posts would be framed off-topic MORE OFTEN if users would be able to decide about it? You are experiencing a liberal treatment that you won´t find in many other places.

There´s a reason why people are not gathering on a “everyone do what ye want and how ye want” forum.

Totally agree here. The forum isn´t organized decentrally, even if some people tend to think that. Other people have already alternative forums. As far as I know, not at all succesfully.


Lol…I know this. I think there’s some confusion here. I’m not talking about that thread in particular being moved entirely as being off-topic - fair enough. I was on about moving parts of conversations within a thread as being off-topic to the thread title/OP - I thought that was what had happened to Warren…lol

The suggestion was to not remove sections of conversation within threads for being "off- topic to the thread itself, without it first being flagged by the Community.

The suggestion is that in the circumstances outlined and for the given reasons, consensus between the mods only is not ideal and open to abuse - whether “allowed to” by the Guidelines or not.

Good, I expect you will do so here then.

I’d say just by flag under the circumstances I stated, but I’ve a feeling we may be talking about different scenarios so I’ll leave it there.

So the Community initially in some way chose first mods - then the mods just decide between themselves who else should be a mod? Is that how it works?
I have a number of issues with this set up and would drastically re-think it myself.

1 Like

Well, noone keeps you from drastically re-think it yourself and do it on another forum.

Also, mods have been stressed that they are open to changes if there is a majority supporting it + willing to take responsibility.

I believe that one important reason why the forum is working well and constantly gains users is because it is moderated responsibly and with the possibility to debate with moderators instead of kicked out without discussion. As @polpolrene has mentioned, this is a quite common habit on many other forums and I don´t have any doubts that the majority of users here is happy with the way things are handled here. Still, people come up and complain as if naturally the forum has to be as they envision it. Imho that´s plainly ignorant.

…and if people come up with sentences like “It is maximum hypocrisy…” I don´t see how we can have a serious debate about changing conditions.

Again, there is a reason why @Warren is not launching his own forum where things work out as he thinks it should: because anyone but maybe 5 would join.

1 Like

I see it as a partly personal attack on us as moderators because it isn’t the first time these points are raised by Warren. We’ve discussed enough in my opinion about those points and gave people multiple options to proceed after the discussion. Now the same points are raised again instead of giving us a list of improvements which we can really consider.

I don’t believe we’ve already decided or undecided a serious implementation/improvement suggestion without asking the rest of the community. But I’m looking forward to seeing a serious list of improvements that we can consider.


Is that an order?..lol…What’s wrong with me doing it here?
I’m not getting all the defensiveness and petulance coming across in these responses tbh.

I have made similar statements myself, so not sure what the issue is here.

I see, I should count myself lucky then?

Tes…so this means it is a perfect system that is beyond constructive criticism - use another forum if you want to suggest improvements because we don’t want it here? Have you heard yourselves?..lol
Legitimate concerns were raised about the forum/mod structure and possibility of clique forming behaviour - supported by the almost nepotistic process for becoming a mod. Warren also raised other potential abuses of such a system and voiced his opinion that the Community is constituted by more than “techie” people and this might not be being fairly represented in the modding/topics - especially as discussions between mods about who are to become mods only occurs on Stack.
The over-arching suggestion here is that the forum becomes more representative of/responsible to the Community, rather than the mods who do not have the Community’s legitimate authority to hold the positions they do.
You can dismiss all these concerns as “complaints” about the individual mods and advise me to just use another forum if I don’t like it, but I do like it and will continue to express my views/opinions until such a time as I get “kicked off” by anybody that I do not recognise as having the Community vested authority to do so… :smiley:

1 Like

Nope, users want clean and organised topics. So when we see something that’s not in the right category (like folks talking about the Big Bang in “cybersecurity”) we act without a flag.

Come up with a different solution and post below please. And let me know which one of the moderators you don’t trust.

Yes this is how it works. We talked about open elections or votes etc. But we all agreed this was not the right solution at the moment. And you keep talking about how things should be different. Well, make a plan and post below. You’re free to reply about all the things that you don’t like and should be changed. But I’ve asked you again and again to finally come up with a plan or something concrete we can discuss here. It stays very quiet on that perspective.

I think the larger point is being missed here. I do not recognise the authority of the mods to decide how the forum is run or what can be talked about etc, I believe that authority resides with the Community. If I make suggestions about how the forum could be improved, I will post them in the correct “meta” section, not address the mods.

  1. address the "improvements already suggested here.
  2. Think about who should be considering them
    3 Review the mod recruiting process to prevent clique forming behaviour, potential abuse etc
    4 Maybe think about de-centralising the modding back to communinty more (promote reply as new topic etc for self moderation :smiley:
1 Like