Proposal: Simplify Moderation, Accept it or Vote on it

Originally a reply to: Is Discourse the Right Software for this Forum?

I don’t have a strong opinion about your views @kirkion (on the purpose and priorities of this forum, discourse etc) except to say they are conjecture for me at this stage, and I’m not ready to accept them as fact without more investigation and discussion.

However, I’d like to suggest an alternative to recurring debates and discussions on how this forum should be moderated, what the community/forum is for, what software to use etc, because it simply is not possible to please everyone.

Why A Change of Tack?

Only a small fraction of the community generate most of the need for moderation, so maybe this is what needs addressing. Some people want something not on offer here, but right now it’s the only game in town. (Well, actually there is another forum, but maybe it doesn’t have the legs… yet.)

Voting Is How To Get Change

Meanwhile most people are either happy or don’t support the changes being advocated - judging by the threads each time someone lobbies for a big change anyway.

We’ll only know that for sure when something goes to a vote of course, but my sense is that has not happened because it’s obvious there isn’t enough support, otherwise - come on - put up a proposition and a poll if you want a change. So, if there is not sufficient support for a change…

An Alternative Suggestion

My alternative suggestion is to further decentralise. If some people want a different kind of community, especially running different software, surely they can create it, and people will then have a choice. They may coexist, one may dominate - but that’s ok if the other(s) still serve a need, even if smaller. If they die, that’s fine too.

If there are not enough who want something different to do that, and they can’t get the community to vote for what they want, then they need to lump it, and we mods need to be able to just get on - meanwhile the community can still evolve the guidelines.

Let Mods Moderate

This leaves mods able to get on with day to day issues without having to justify or explain each time a small number of people are unhappy with a mod or a moderator action, until a significant proportion of the community call for this though a vote.

We could add a “how to raise an issue with the community” section to the guidelines, so people know how to call for changes, whether to guidelines, or a particular moderator, or how moderators are chosen etc. This relieves moderators of this until the community decides something needs to change, and let’s us get on with doing what the guidelines - approved by the community - say we should be doing on their behalf.

Multiple Forums

Apart from helping resolve differences of opinion on forum aims, forum software, moderation etc, an additional forum (or forums) also creates diversity and resilience.

Each forum would learn from the others - cos I, and I’m sure others, would certainly hang out on more than one if another gets going and has something useful to offer me. One might attract more Devs, become nerd centre, the other the public & newbies etc., another those who want philosophical or creative space. Each can decide the aims, guidelines, software to use, agreed between the people who start it, and each will attract and retain those in tune with that.

We Can’t Please Everyone

I think we need to stop trying to accommodate everyone. That’s what I think we’ve been trying to do and it’s just not possible - which is not a bad thing because we can turn it into an advantage.

I’m not a bitcoin forum person, but I’m wondering how many forums there are in that space. I think we will soon be big enough to merit more than one forum for SAFEnetwork. Maybe not yet, so dissenters may need to be patient, but I think that’s a better approach, and it won’t be long to wait. We’re already seeing signs of increased growth recently, and I think we’re on the verge of interest taking off once public testing and some early apps are in play.


I have a fantastic proposal. In the USA we call it the “my way or the highway” approach. You may have a gentler UK equivalent English phrase.
Run the forum exactly the way you want. Moderate it the best way you know how. Do what you need to do with confidence and pride. Negotiate with users as much or as little as you see fit.
When there are malcontents, they are free to generate their own forum. They can moderate their forum in any way they want. Any whining, moaning, or bellyaching on this forum is with the understanding that anybody who is unhappy with the leadership, structure, or moderation on this forum is free to go somewhere else and do it the way they want.

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Just to be clear, is this a proposal for creating another category, say a Mod Complaints category, which would be hidden from the front page? The sanction then imposed for violating this rule of conduct would be to have your topic shunted to this hidden topic as soon as one of the mods notices it? At this point I would be (tentatively) in favor of getting these kinds of discussions off of the front page.

For that matter, I would be in support to have all of the meta discussions off of the front page.

5 posts were split to a new topic: Request for consistent moderation towards reasoned arguments

all of this talk scares me…

lets not all split up please…

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Discussing and addressing community members issues would be the best way to achieve that I think Framing things as a few dissenters that should go somewhere else if they don’t like the way things are is not. :smiley:

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IIRC there was a disgruntled community member within the last month who had a thread about doing just that.

No, my proposal is only as detailed as what I’ve written. I do like this idea though, so we can consider that at the same time.

Here’s clarification and more detail on what I’m thinking we could do. The aim is to clarify moderator and member responsibilities, and reduce the amount of work involved, while keeping the community in the driving seat:

  • we define the procedure(s) open to members who are unhappy with something, or who want something changed, as part of the guidelines.
  • moderation becomes a matter of mods applying the guidelines, which the community are also responsible for following and accepting, but which can be changed as needed according to the appropriate process.
  • guidelines explain that mods don’t need to get involved with discussions with individuals over decisions they’re making day to day, while ensuring they can still be held to account by the community, according to the defined procedure. Members are required to accept decisions, or use the appropriate procedure to request a change. Essentially mods just act, do their best to apply the guidelines, and users accept this, or raise it with the community if they feel it is important enough and something needs to change.
  • we need to think through if one procedure is enough for all issues or if we need more than one. But let’s assume one is enough for now, and that it is something like: post a request for community action, giving the nature of the action you want taken, and any information you wish to provide that supports your request and which the community will need in order to vote on the issue, and include a poll which allows members to vote for or against your requested action. On the topic members can ask for more information from you or anyone else involved, and can express their opinions and explain why they think this or that. After a set period, quorum etc (to be decided) mods will close the poll and act on the outcome. We can give a couple of example posts to help when people who want to do this.
  • I think we should limit the frequency an individual can do this, or how soon a particular issue can be revisited etc (again to be decided)
  • I think we should also limit this to members of a certain trust level

This would make it harder to raise disputes over isolated incidents or disagreements, or for changes that don’t have broad appeal, encouraging us all to just get on with it. At the same time it would ensure that serious issues can always be raised, by anyone with standing (the trust level we set) and that the community as a whole decide the outcome - and makes this fact crystal clear in the guidelines. That has always been how we moderators have acted, but it hasn’t been made clear that’s how we were working.


I don’t know who the moderators are, but I think they are doing a fantastic job. Probably for little or no pay. It’s our job as users to hassle them as little as possible.


Why would multiple forums scare you? That’s what additional contact info is for. If you want to keep in touch with people ask for an email address or something.

Less is more when it comes to moderation.

Empowering moderators or groups of users too much, can create problems of politics, that are seen on other forums.

Removing posts; banning users; parenting debate; removing fallacies and cognitive biases, all of which get suggested from time to time, do a lot to detract from quality debate and learning for the users.

Users should be empowered by the software as much as possible - ignore users etc, moderation perhaps should not be opinionated and just administrative and functional, defending the forum against attack such as spam.

I don’t know if it’s practical or useful to have moderators help form sub-forums that hold a particular perspective - conservative and liberal topics; those who understand SAFE and then talk constructively about it; another for those with more negative and challenging perspectives… the arguements with those who do struggle to understand the basics of privacy; freedom; and security, are important.


I don’t know that we could get enough coherence from the users to sit down and determine what kinds of procedures people would agree to.

Isn’t it enough to have any complaints off the front page? They don’t really belong in off-topic, but if the mods don’t want to deal with them, shunt them off the front page and put ignore them until there is time and bandwidth to deal with it. Then you can let discussions rage behind closed doors so to speak. If someone keeps bringing posting their objections as uncategorized, then that sort of spamming behavior would justify a further response under the current guidelines.

I know that I tagged your name at the beginning of the thread prior to this one, but if thats not something you want me to do, I won’t in the future.

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Yes, we agree that it’s a good idea to remove the meta category from the front page. In fact, I just removed it.

People can use the community category to discuss general topics related to the way the community is organized. For complaints, bug reports, discussion about moderation, etc. that are specific to this forum, the meta category can be used.

Even if the meta category is not on the front page anymore, it is still very easily accessible.

Either by clicking on “all categories” and filtering to a specific category:

Or by going on the “Categories” page:

That way we can keep the front page interesting for the rest of the users who don’t want to participate in those discussions.


wow…lol… :smiley:

There need to be more people here and moderators keep coming up with ways to shut people down. It is so bad. How is this network supposed to attrack interest? Examine this current small group’s lack of knowledge more closely and make better arguments in better categories? You should take off the front page anything to do with a practical application b/c the threads there say “we have no idea what we’re talking about and no idea we have no idea what we’re talking about, but we are going to go on and on anyway” Didn’t the programming team just lose a major developer for being so closed off? holy mackrel. You are being very stubborn controlling and it is very bad for Maidsafe


yeah idk about the moderation process.

i always saw it as against SAFE core ideals (100% freedom of speech for all people, etc)


Really good to see others noticed the dynamic of the threads involving community discussion about important security concerns leading up to the discussion being dragged out of plain community sight. All the mod actions/arguments only heighten and actually illustrate the danger of a self-appointing clique without community consensus directing conversation. Why take off main page after those particular discussions at that particular time, immediately and without discussio? People on here need to wake up and smell the coffee I think.

Absolutely spot on …:smiley:

This forum is probably the biggest advertisement for the SAFE network outside of the site. New people are coming here every day to find out about this (super important… potentially life saving for some) project but when they arrive a lot of what they see is people with their ego’s hurt, arguing about irrelevant political ideologies, complaining about moderation etc.

The current system isn’t perfect, and I’m glad there are people who speak out for improvements but if they aren’t generally accepted then there has to be a bit of acceptance of that. The sheer number of posts about this topic recently appearing on the home page have been sabotaging the forum a bit IMO and that’s not cool.


Luke is right about why we needed to move meta.

Moving Meta Discussions

Meta is for established members to discuss forum issues. It probably should never have been on the front page, but had been relatively quiet for so long it wasn’t previously an issue.

We moved meta from the front page because (as with off topic previously) it was blotting out anything about the network itself - which would not help new visitors find what they want, or anyone returning to catch up with what’s happening with SAFEnetwork.

This is primarily a place for people to learn about and discuss SAFEnetwork, so regardless of meta discussions, off topic and anything else, as moderators we continue to make that our priority.

We didn’t do it to stop discussion - and clearly that continues. Yes it makes these things less prominent, so it’s a compromise.

How Should We Make Changes?

The OP is a proposal for how to make changes, with the aim of clarifying moderator and member responsibilities, and reducing moderator workload, ready for when things get really busy.

Rather than placing absolute power in anyone’s hands, it also formalises what has been the principle behind his things are run since I became a moderator: that the community as a whole get to decide how things are done here. Not a “clique”, whether moderators, or vocal members, but everyone with equal say.

What Else Should Mods Be Doing?

@kirkion I don’t know why you say “if the mods don’t want to deal with [recent complaints]”. What else do you think we should be doing?

We read the complaints, answer them, the community discussed them, and I made a proposal to the community for a new way to deal with them because of the workload.

On that, we can now (in this topic) discuss & refine, we can gauge support, form a concrete proposal and put it to a vote. This is how to get change within a community - propose, discuss, put forward something concrete that can be voted on.

I’ve suggested that process more than once to those wanting change, but so far nobody has followed through like this with any of the complaints themselves, or the things they say they want changing. If you want elected mods, put it to a vote. If you want mods to wait until a post has ten flags before we act, put it to a vote. Or create a package of proposals and put that to a vote.

I’ll be more than happy to abide by the decisions of the community, but I’m not willing to go ahead on the basis of things that haven’t been put forward in a way that demonstrates more general support.

During this process we’ve realised that we do need to consider ways of reducing the amount of work involved in moderation - so this is exactly the right time to form such proposals and get the community to choose how to go forward.

If people complain, want change, but can’t get to the point of putting something concrete to the community so we can gauge support, such as a poll. What else do you want the mods to do?

[BTW I have no problem with you tagging me in a post, and no idea why you thought I might]

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As I read it, the proposal is saying that having people be able to complain about the moderation without going through a formal process is bad. It is bad because it takes up too much of the moderators time. Well if the objection is that it takes up too much of the moderators time, then if you guys are too busy then don’t respond. If getting notifications if interrupting your day, then mute them, and make a rule not to ping the admin/mods in those sorts of issues. That was what I meant by apologizing for tagging you in my original post.

My response to the proposal is that if someone has an objection, having a formal process is not going to stop them from complaining. Moving things off the front page, (a move that happened REALLY fast btw), is about the best you can do. But having a formal process is not going to stop troublemakers from complaining and taking up time, but it will make it more difficult for honest discussion to happen about moderation by people trying to follow the rules.

When I saw @warren’s thread, I honestly didn’t think I was going to agree with him or any points made on his side. But I read through the posts and some of the arguments particularly the points by @Seneca and @neo made me think that there was something work exploring and discussing here. The original thread was not closed, or flagged or treated in any way that would have put me on notice that it was off limits for me to keep talking about it. At the same time my take on the issue was not the same as the OP, so in the interests of not being off-topic, I started my own thread.

So as far as the proposal, I think that shunting mod complaints off the front page deals with the issue of allowing new users to have a landing pad. And I think that if dealing with a complaint is frivolous, a waste of time, or just too much for the mods to deal with on top of their real lives that week, then they should just ignore the complaint until they have the bandwidth to deal with it. That to my mind is a far more practical solution than trying to come up with a formal process for changes, because then instead of having to take the time to explain the original mod to the disgruntled person, you are going to have to deal with those complaints PLUS objections to the formal process. It won’t really save any time, unless you get everyone who is on here to agree to a strict version of those rules and flat out ban people who disagree with them.

Given that one of the whole points of this forum is to serve as a landing pad, a “loose ties” community for new users, many of whom are coming to us from a bitcoin, libertarian, anarchist, anti-statist, decentralized perspective I don’t think that is going to work. It won’t actually save the moderators any time, and they will end up just ignoring complaints, anyway.

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