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Keeping UMSF at an 'impressively high level', Please take a moment to read
djellison
post Dec 2 2008, 12:20 PM
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QUOTE (Oersted @ Dec 2 2008, 12:08 PM) *
a default MT or Wordpress template signals a lack of care or attention on the part of the blog's owner, leading readers to think they can get away with something.


We're about a nanometer from a default invision board skin here - but I think it has the right sort of tone smile.gif

Moderation is not easy - you try to draw lines, but it's not a black and white situation - it may seem arbitrary to some, but here, at least, it works in the long term. Set the tone and the guidelines firmly, at all times, and it can work. BAUT manages to tread a very interesting line between what UMSF is like, and the Mars Rover Blog. I've spent 10 years in and around forums, and you can tell the troublemakers a long long way off usually. It's not especially pleasant watching a ticking time-bomb posting on a board, when you know you'll be hitting the ban button before too long, there's an inevitability about it, especially when they try to argue with the moderation team - that's always a terminal sign.

It's a fascinating ecosystem all of its own.
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Stu
post Dec 2 2008, 12:46 PM
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I sometimes think it's a bit like a school... you've got the really cool kids who are the centre of attention and always sit on the best bench in the yard or best chairs in the 6th form wing, sharing in-jokes; the cool-ish kids who hang around the really cool kids, chipping in now and again when they feel confident enough to; the not-cool-but-interested kids who watch from a distance, happy just to be involved and witnesses to the cool stuff; the not-cool-and-resentful kids who lurk in a corner of the playground glaring at everyone else, hating them for being so popular but too timid to do anything disruptive; the annoying clown kids who run in and out of the other groups generally being pains in the **** but sure in their own minds they are hilarious, and the wrecking kids, who share no real interests with any of the others and just come into the yard or the 6th form wing now and again to try and cause trouble, just for the sake of it, then strut away laughing...

(raises a single eyebrow) Fascinating....


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ustrax
post Dec 2 2008, 02:17 PM
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Stu...I don't feel like I fit in any of your groups...should I ask for being transferred?... tongue.gif


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ngunn
post Dec 2 2008, 03:29 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Dec 2 2008, 12:20 PM) *
It's a fascinating ecosystem all of its own.


That's an interesting way to think about it. One could maybe try to identify oneself with a particular niche. Let's see . . what type of organism do I feel like here? A coarse-feeding fish perhaps?
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dvandorn
post Dec 2 2008, 03:57 PM
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Fascinating concept, the broken window theory, and one that fits very nicely into what I've always called the "Will to be stupid" theory.

People in general (with the exceptions that prove the rule, of course) tend to do what they feel they can get away with... and driving that function is what I call the will to be stupid. It's the powerful desire to act on impulses that you can easily determine to be negative, disruptive or just plain not in anyone's best interests. The disruptive/self-indulgent/just-plain-stupid act almost always brings with it some very transient gratification, but is characterized by immediate remorse and realization that, even if you can get away with it, it's still a wrong (or at least completely non-useful) thing to do.

However, even when you realize you did something stupid, the immediate response when challenged on the action is usually either "You'd have done it, too" or "Everyone was doing it." It's the anonymity of the mob that drives the self-justification; after all, most people would never do, as individuals, what mobs are known to do.

So yes, policing is always necessary. The great pitfall in the policing function is when a megalomaniac gets into a position of power over the policing function, and attempts to limit all discourse to that which supoprts his/her own opinions. That becomes an oppressive environment which may maintain order, but at the expense of the free flow of ideas.

I do feel that Doug has come across the primary means of avoiding that pitfall, though -- appointing a team of moderators that can self-check itself against any one person imposing such an oppressive limit on discourse. And Doug has selected as his mods people who weren't necessarily desirous of being the "board cops," but instead those people he thought would be good at it. That's important, since megalomania is one of the more powerful motivators for seeking authority over others. (In other words, you don't want the police to be composed entirely of people who *want* to do the job, because the desire to impose your will onto others is precisely the trait that ought to disqualify you from achieving such power.)

It's good to remember, though, that the will to be stupid is omnipresent, and just because you wear a badge (or have "Moderator" pinned next to your name) doesn't mean you're immune. I'm pleased to say that, for the most part, the mods here have done a good job of avoiding mob-think amongst themselves and allowing discordant opinions (when presented respectfully, and when in keeping with the mutually-agreed subject matter limitations of the forum) to be expressed.

-the other Doug


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RoverDriver
post Dec 2 2008, 05:21 PM
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This discussion is pretty fascinating to me. Just as you guys are curious about the day to day operations on the rovers, I'm curious about what's behind the UMSF pages I see every day. From the hard/soft-ware down to the "mod"-ware. I'm all ears (hint hint hint).

Paolo


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mhoward
post Dec 2 2008, 06:13 PM
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QUOTE (Stu @ Dec 2 2008, 06:46 AM) *
I sometimes think it's a bit like a school...


No offense, Stu, but your description of the 'ecosystem' here makes me feel somewhat ill. I wouldn't like to participate in such a system.

See? The mods don't agree.
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centsworth_II
post Dec 2 2008, 06:28 PM
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QUOTE (mhoward @ Dec 2 2008, 01:13 PM) *
No offense, Stu, but your description of the 'ecosystem' here makes me feel somewhat ill.

The ecosystem he describes exists in every human group and organization.
At least at UMSF is it's the science nerds that are the "cool kids"! laugh.gif
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mhoward
post Dec 2 2008, 06:34 PM
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QUOTE (centsworth_II @ Dec 2 2008, 12:28 PM) *
The ecosystem he describes exists in every human group and organization.


Perhaps, but in my opinion such categories are hats that people temporarily wear - not castes that they should be assigned to.
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ElkGroveDan
post Dec 2 2008, 06:42 PM
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QUOTE (RoverDriver @ Dec 2 2008, 09:21 AM) *
I'm curious about what's behind the UMSF pages I see every day.

If we took you into the backroom Paolo we'd have to use this on you:



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centsworth_II
post Dec 2 2008, 06:54 PM
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QUOTE (mhoward @ Dec 2 2008, 01:34 PM) *
...in my opinion such categories are hats that people temporarily wear - not castes that they should be assigned to.

True. Someone can be "cool" in one group and a "hanger on" in another. Most people are members of many different groups and play a different role in each. USSF is just one of those groups.

Or do you think a person should be able to easily change "hats" within one group.... not an easy thing to do.
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mhoward
post Dec 2 2008, 07:08 PM
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I think my only important point was that mods don't always agree on everything. Now I think I'd better drop the topic, before I tick off the mods.
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djellison
post Dec 2 2008, 07:53 PM
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QUOTE (RoverDriver @ Dec 2 2008, 05:21 PM) *
This discussion is pretty fascinating to me. Just as you guys are curious about the day to day operations on the rovers, I'm curious about what's behind the UMSF pages I see every day.


You show me yours, I'll show you mine wink.gif In March smile.gif
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RoverDriver
post Dec 2 2008, 09:19 PM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Dec 2 2008, 11:53 AM) *
You show me yours, I'll show you mine wink.gif In March smile.gif


I would love to see you giving a presentation regarding the history of UMSF, behind the scenes stories. Is that a promise?

Paolo


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Disclaimer: all opinions, ideas and information included here are my own,and should not be intended to represent opinion or policy of my employer.
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djellison
post Dec 2 2008, 11:01 PM
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Yup smile.gif
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