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Locking topics and banning people

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Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Nov 26 2011 09:00
Locking topics and banning people

I find the recent spate of locking topics and banning people a little disturbing. Whilst it is on nowhere like the same scale to me it shows the beginnings of the same tendencies exhibited by the admins on RevLeft, which I think most people here would agree is pretty shocking.

In general in the past I had always thought that the admining on Libcom was pretty good, and even some of the decisions like banning someone for spamming the report posts function seem reasonable to me. However, all in all I think that the impression that comes across is pretty negative.

Particularly disturbing is people's posts being deleted for 'lying' about an organisation, specifically SolFed, one which some of the admins are members of. Unless a post contains something that is a direct threat to security, I think that you have got to let it stand. People will always tell lies about others, and will also make factual mistakes. I don't think that deleting posts is a way to deal with this. As irksome and tiring as it may be, I think it is necessary to publicly refute them, and that deleting posts just fuels rumor mongering.

Devrim

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Rob Ray
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Nov 26 2011 09:14

Mm I'd probably agree that if a rumour is going round it needs dealing with (though it was a bit nonplussing that lines was told exactly what the situation is in SF and simply ignored it in favour of continuing his fantasising about SF being controlled by a shadowy cabal of academics).

I can see it being problematic for admins mind, they've been asked by various posters to be more proactive in dealing with disruptive behaviour but (particularly when the evidence of disruptive behaviour has been deleted) they get accused of ban-hammer madness. Because of the subjective nature of judging what crosses the line it's a bit lose-lose really.

Devrim's picture
Devrim
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Nov 26 2011 09:21
Rob Ray wrote:
Mm I'd probably agree that if a rumour is going round it needs dealing with (though it was a bit nonplussing that lines was told exactly what the situation is in SF and simply ignored it in favour of continuing his fantasising about SF being controlled by a shadowy cabal of academics).

People are always going to do that though.

Quote:
I can see it being problematic for admins mind, they've been asked by various posters to be more proactive in dealing with disruptive behaviour but (particularly when the evidence of disruptive behaviour has been deleted) they get accused of ban-hammer madness.

Yes, I think it is a difficult task, and people will make mistakes in it, and make bad calls. You have to accept that. I think that this has been dealt with badly though, and feel that when their are critisisms against your own organisation, you have to be doubly careful.

Devrim

no1
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Nov 26 2011 09:47

As far as I can see, all the admins are doing is enforce the guidelines - and are doing so in a way that is very transparent rather than arbitrary. The reason lines was banned and samotnaf and blasto temp banned is not what they were saying but because of their manipulative trolling behaviour, after repeated warnings. It's simply not true that there was any valuable political content to the fantasising about Solfed, it was just a way of trolling. All they need to do is change their behaviour when the temp bans expire.

I'm really glad that this is happening. The Libcom forums have a pretty bad reputation among a lot of people, and the only way to change that is to enforce the guidelines. I know lots of people who never take part in the discussion here, because they are put off by the dickheadish discussion culture created by the people who were banned/temp banned. I'm pretty impressed by the patience and amount of time admins are sepnding on this. In the end libcom is meant to be a useful resource for workers organising to improve their lives, not a platform for anti-social bullshitters who gain a sense of self-importance through trolling.

dinosavros
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Nov 26 2011 10:12

Anything JD-related outside of the "Why was this article removed" thread was being locked, the reason being "there's already a thread to talk about JD" which is just a rubbish excuse because libcom forums are full of threads that have already been discussed. The reason the admins took such a hard stance is because they were being accused of being complicit in covering up JD's activities and so they want to limit the discussion to the very very long thread nobody else is going to read. In this way bad publicity is reduced. The main criticisms of JD by the way have been backed up by evidence that was already publicly available and you can see that on the thread Blasto started. (With the exception of lines' attempt at analysis of Aufheben's text which I felt was a waste of time)

Once that began to happen those who felt it was important to continue pursuing the JD case got upset because their speech was being restricted by certain admins. When you spend time writing things that are then deleted you will often respond by satirising authority. This is then labelled "trolling" by the admins and deleted as in my case or temporarily banned as in the others. Another thread was blocked again today for criticising this (for "wasting the admins time").

Joseph Kay tells us complaints from now on should be e-mailed to the admins and not be on the public forums.

Its all very disgusting and I don't think there is any possible way forward other than a change of certain admins which I think is unlikely.

no1
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Nov 26 2011 10:29

dinosavros, you seem to think that the libcom collective owe it to a handful of people to provide a platform for a denunciation campaign. That's not the purpose of libcom, it's meant to be a resource for workers organising to improve our lives. To talk about restricting freedom of speech is baseless when this issue (and personally I'm sick of it) can still be discussed here:
http://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/why-article-has-been-removed-07102011?page=12

But that's not even the reason for the ban/temp bans, which were provoked by trolling. It's essential that the guidelines are enforced in these circumstance. What is "disgusting" about that? Do you think there should be no posting guidelines, and trolls should be allowed to make the forums useless for everyone else?

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Rob Ray
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Nov 26 2011 10:35
Quote:
Joseph Kay tells us complaints from now on should be e-mailed to the admins and not be on the public forums.

Technically he said complaints on that particular issue should be emailed in, or put in a single thread. Clearly complaints in general are not at issue (I mean you're actually posting on a complaint thread for a start).

dinosavros
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Nov 26 2011 10:40
Rob Ray wrote:
Quote:
Joseph Kay tells us complaints from now on should be e-mailed to the admins and not be on the public forums.

Technically he said complaints on that particular issue should be emailed in, or put in a single thread. Clearly complaints in general are not at issue

Yes sorry I meant complaints about this specific issue not complaitns in general. But he didn't say "put in a single thread" he said "If anyone has any further questions or queries about the moderation of the thread they can use the contact form and the admins will discuss it and respond. "

Quote:
(I mean you're actually posting on a complaint thread for a start).

Yeah and the only reason they're not locking this thread so far like they did today to the thread I started about the same topic today is because Devrim is a high-status user with a lot of respect and it would lead to worse publicity for the admins to lock this one too.

Jason Cortez
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Nov 26 2011 10:50

Or perhaps they cannot be arsed to read yet another thread that will just go round in circles?

no1
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Nov 26 2011 10:58
dinosavros wrote:
the only reason they're not locking this thread so far like they did today to the thread I started about the same topic today is because Devrim is a high-status user with a lot of respect and it would lead to worse publicity for the admins to lock this one too.

Your speculative mind reading of admins is another tangent. This thread is not about the same thing as the other thread, it's about Devrim's perception of a new tendency to ban people and lock threads similar to RevLeft. I think he's wrong about that, all that's happening is that admins are enforcing the posting guidelines, which they have to do to stop the forums from becoming even worse and off putting.

no1
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Nov 26 2011 11:07

dinosavros, you ignored my questions:

no1 wrote:
But that's not even the reason for the ban/temp bans, which were provoked by trolling. It's essential that the guidelines are enforced in these circumstance. What is "disgusting" about that? Do you think there should be no posting guidelines, and trolls should be allowed to make the forums useless for everyone else?
dinosavros
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Nov 26 2011 11:26

disgusting because the guidelines are not enforced for everyone in the same way, they are enforced very one sidedly. "trolling" is subjective and is not a useful word to describe anything.

no1
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Nov 26 2011 11:41

I think trolling is widely recognised as a behaviour on the internet, and the libcom guidelines are quite clear:

Quote:
"a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion." Trolling is not allowed, and may lead to posts being deleted, users warned and persistent offenders banned.

Granted, admins are just human and make decisions on what is/isn't trolling when they have little time, especially when there's an avalanche of trolling (I'm not saying that the decisions made were wrong at all here, I'm talking about the general principle). Can you think of a better way to stop trolls from having their way?

Wellclose Square
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Nov 26 2011 11:41
no1 wrote:
The Libcom forums have a pretty bad reputation

You don't say... and it's getting worse, as Devrim's opening comment on this thread indicates.

The verbiage about admins' enforcement of guidelines (unequally applied, considering the frankly vile content of some of Nate's responses on the academia thread) is a red herring.

The 'rackets threads' of last year were very revealing to me about the groupthink of some libcom admins - Joseph Kay's notorious solidarising with the ICC in its 'recovery of stolen property' being a case in point. Aufhebengate has merely confirmed for me what has seemed the essential corruption of this project, in which the organisation (SF/ICC/Auheben/Libcom/etc. - delete as applicable) or the 'organisational effort' (with appeals to a false unity) is to be defended against the discordant voices of critics, apostates and 'splitters'. It doesn't take much of an effort of the imagination to see how the miniscule social power wielded virtually through the medium of libcom (deletions, thread-locking, exclusions, in-group ridicule of 'outsiders') would translate in the real world if the stakes were high enough and 'the organisation' is to be defended against its enemies.

I await the in-group ridicule... fire away!

no1
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Nov 26 2011 11:44
Wellclose Square wrote:
The 'rackets threads' of last year were very revealing to me about the groupthink of some libcom admins - Joseph Kay's notorious solidarising with the ICC in its 'recovery of stolen property' being a case in point. Aufhebengate has merely confirmed for me what has seemed the essential corruption of this project, in which the organisation (SF/ICC/Auheben/Libcom/etc. - delete as applicable) or the 'organisational effort' (with appeals to a false unity) is to be defended against the discordant voices of critics, apostates and 'splitters'. It doesn't take much of an effort of the imagination to see how the miniscule social power wielded virtually through the medium of libcom (deletions, thread-locking, exclusions, in-group ridicule of 'outsiders') would translate in the real world if the stakes were high enough and 'the organisation' is to be defended against its enemies.

I await the in-group ridicule... fire away!

You're obviously just trying to provoke a response, aka trolling, and I think you should just fuck off to somewhere else on the internet.

Wellclose Square
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Nov 26 2011 11:44
no1 wrote:
I think trolling is widely recognised as a behaviour on the internet, and the libcom guidelines are quite clear:
Quote:
"a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion." Trolling is not allowed, and may lead to posts being deleted, users warned and persistent offenders banned.

Granted, admins are just human and make decisions on what is/isn't trolling when they have little time, especially when there's an avalanche of trolling (I'm not saying that the decisions made were wrong at all here, I'm talking about the general principle). Can you think of a better way to stop trolls from having their way?

But who's trolling who?

dinosavros
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Nov 26 2011 11:53
no1 wrote:
You're obviously just trying to provoke a response, aka trolling

See this is what I mean, what the fuck does this mean? "youre just trying to provoke a response" so why do people say anything then? dont they want to provoke responses in other people whenever they write anything at all on a discussion forum? Meaningless

no1
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Nov 26 2011 12:14
dinosavros wrote:
no1 wrote:
You're obviously just trying to provoke a response, aka trolling

See this is what I mean, what the fuck does this mean? "youre just trying to provoke a response" so why do people say anything then? dont they want to provoke responses in other people whenever they write anything at all on a discussion forum? Meaningless

dinosavros, I'm pretty sure you're able to understand what it means, and even if you don't, most posters on here will.

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Nov 26 2011 13:10

We're on on to "groupthink" now, are we?

What's the principle called when they are determined to have lost a debate if they bring up Hitler? I think the same logic applies to groupthink.

Quote:
Yeah and the only reason they're not locking this thread so far like they did today to the thread I started about the same topic today is because Devrim is a high-status user with a lot of respect and it would lead to worse publicity for the admins to lock this one too.

Lot of conjecture there, mate.

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Nov 26 2011 12:54

The mode of expression of some has been pretty dumb and childish on both sides, even when valid points were made. But the admins have really disgraced themselves and their site with their recent behaviour - and now shredding their reputation further for petty revenge and censorship against their critics by a uniquely literal and strict application of 'the rules'.

Whatever the 'excesses' of some posters on all sides in recent debates, the admin disciplinary measures now taken are blatantly biased; and inconsistent in their selective application when compared to the toleration of behaviour of other posters and admins more 'onside'. Which all indicates that there are some very raw nerves exposed by the critiques made - with no better answer than censorship.

Harrison
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Nov 26 2011 13:25

Personally i don't think libcom admins have done anything questionable so far. Just trying to protect the forums from mentalness on the one hand and trolling on the other. I don't think the've deliberately 'shut down debate about JD'. Samotnaf was deliberately trying to provoke a ban from the admins, by repeatedly using JD's full real name when told several times that libcom does not allow touting, pus spamming other threads with JD stuff. And often using the phrase 'before i get banned' before posting a long hyberbolic touting rant.

Rob Ray wrote:
his fantasising about SF being controlled by a shadowy cabal of academics

To be fair, i would actually have quite enjoyed reading this

dinosavros wrote:
Anything JD-related outside of the "Why was this article removed" thread was being locked, the reason being "there's already a thread to talk about JD" which is just a rubbish excuse because libcom forums are full of threads that have already been discussed.

yeah but loads of JD related threads were being started and it was flooding the forum and make it almost impossible to use libcom without being bombarded with JD related stuff.

dinosavros wrote:
The reason the admins took such a hard stance is because they were being accused of being complicit in covering up JD's activities and so they want to limit the discussion to the very very long thread nobody else is going to read.

You are just speculating.

I'd say they just wanted to stop people from being forced/spammed with lots of JD stuff who aren't really interested in taking sides over "Aufhebengate" and just want to get on using libcom for it's intended purpose. (whilst still allowing people somewhere to discuss it)

no1
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Nov 26 2011 13:39
Harrison wrote:
Rob Ray wrote:
his fantasising about SF being controlled by a shadowy cabal of academics

To be fair, i would actually have quite enjoyed reading this

Yeah it's amusing, but it's a classic troll strategy: deliberately break the posting rules ("Untrue smears or allegations against other forum users or related individuals or organisations are not permitted") to get the post removed, then demand the right to 'debate' them and 'let people make up their own minds', and get a conversation about NAZI ADMINS!!iii!!! going.

If that kind of trolling is tolerated, the forums will soon be inundated with posts about "Why Harrison owns a second home in France", "Does no1 touch kids? You decide!" and "how Rob Ray became a cop collaborator". It's amusing when you know it bears no relationship to reality, but it's absolute poison for forums.

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Nov 26 2011 13:42
Harrison wrote:
I'd say they just wanted to stop people from being forced/spammed with lots of JD stuff who aren't really interested in taking sides over "Aufhebengate" and just want to get on using libcom for it's intended purpose. (whilst still allowing people somewhere to discuss it)

Yeah, that's basically it. Don't have time for a proper reply at the moment as am off to bring stuff to the Edinburgh uni occupation people and see how they're doing, and as far as I know all the other admins are also busy today. But just to let people know, we've discussed the temp bans and decided to keep them in place until Dec 1st when they will be reviewed by the admins.

This is because we are too busy preparing for the n30 strikes in our local groups, and have already spent a lot of time trying to answer calls for heavier moderation, and then counter calls for lighter moderation, and this is (in my personal opinion) getting ridiculous. The 'Pro-revolutionaries in academia' thread is still open, as is 'why was this thread removed?' so anyone who wishes to talk about these things still can, if not on here there are other sites who do not moderate posts at all that you may feel more comfortable with.

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Nov 26 2011 14:58

I have ever met anyone from Europe who posts on Libcom, I haven't even pm'd anyone who has been involved on "Aufhebegate", ever. I think that people claiming some far-reaching conspiracy behind modified adminning practices is nauseating, and frightfully ignorant. Please look at any of the recent threads from people who are asking for more and stricter posting guidelines andmore proactive banning. None of these threads are related to any academics or have anything to do with the eight people who want to discuss Aufheben. I have never read Aufheben, don't know anyone who works in a university and don't think that the discussion of academic work is particularly useful to me as a worker. I'm a fucking grease-monkey trying to cope with work and housing issues and frankly have been very depressed by peoples insistence on overrunning Libcom for their own selfish, macho ends. To then try and manipulate other peoples very real concerns about being abused and shouted down into yet more ammo for their shitty, pathetic internet feud is shameful.

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Nov 26 2011 15:19

Tarwater, I think that about sums it up. Well put.

dinosavros
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Nov 26 2011 15:27
Tarwater wrote:
Please look at any of the recent threads from people who are asking for more and stricter posting guidelines andmore proactive banning. None of these threads are related to any academics or have anything to do with the eight people who want to discuss Aufheben.

Have you got links for that Tarwater?

Black Badger
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Nov 26 2011 15:39

So there are rules, and there are guidelines. Then there are assumptions and presumptions - not to mention imputations.

Rules are created to limit the scope of discussions, and their enforcement is periodically necessary to remind participants who's in charge. Guidelines are more or less voluntarily agreed upon as good ideas and easy to follow parameters of mutual respect. One of the main assumptions is that everyone who posts here has the same interests in working class self-organization to oppose capitalism, and the presumption is that despite our disagreements on certain details, that we're all in this together. One of the imputations constantly repeated by some of the people invoking the rules is that their opinions are shared by the vast majority of others; I would say instead that most of the rest of us can't be bothered to take sides in this dispute. I can't.

I am in favor of rules (anarchy means no ruler, not no rules) and guidelines, but I positively bristle at assumptions, presumptions, and especially imputations. These are the real-world manifestations of bad faith.

It seems to me that people who are banning posters and locking threads are doing nothing more than enforcing the rules they decided upon to keep discussions on track. Those who are not involved in administering this site but who have expressed their support (whether enthusiastically due to the alleged trolling of some commentators, or casually because they don't see any abuse of the rules) seem to do so because they agree with the opinions of the admins.

But just because others don't chime in with their opinions doesn't necessarily mean that all the rest of us agree with the bans and locks. I do not agree with them. However, I recognize that the admins can do whatever they like in terms of creating and enforcing the rules of their site. They are not obliged to provide a free for all forum for people who disagree with their assumptions, presumptions, and imputations.

One more thing: calling someone a troll just because you disagree with or don't like what s/he is saying is like a leftist calling someone a fascist or an anarchist calling someone a cop. It is a careless smear, meant to end a discussion.

petey
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Nov 26 2011 16:19
dinosavros wrote:
no1 wrote:
You're obviously just trying to provoke a response, aka trolling

See this is what I mean, what the fuck does this mean? "youre just trying to provoke a response" so why do people say anything then? dont they want to provoke responses in other people whenever they write anything at all on a discussion forum? Meaningless

more meaningless than the assertion that devrim is a "high status" user and for that reason this thread has not been locked?

Quote:
People will always tell lies about others, and will also make factual mistakes.

surely there's a vast difference here? a poster can make an accusation in anger, which because of its recklessness could be called a lie, and that can be countered, but when it is countered it should either be acknowledged or at least let drop in silence. to persist in it is abusive and "people will always do it" is no reason to tolerate it.

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Arbeiten
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Nov 26 2011 19:46
Red Marriott wrote:
The mode of expression of some has been pretty dumb and childish on both sides, even when valid points were made.

Pretty much this....

Yeah it has all gotten a bit out of hand. It is a real shame. There has been mud slung on both 'sides'. I was pretty dismayed this morning to see like 4 threads on Aufheben-gate and I don't think it is unreasonable to keep the discussion to one (may be two) threads.

I for one want to apologize if anybody thinks I have been overtly rude. Looking back at these threads is a little bit depressing really....

gypsy
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Nov 26 2011 22:54
no1 wrote:
Wellclose Square wrote:
The 'rackets threads' of last year were very revealing to me about the groupthink of some libcom admins - Joseph Kay's notorious solidarising with the ICC in its 'recovery of stolen property' being a case in point. Aufhebengate has merely confirmed for me what has seemed the essential corruption of this project, in which the organisation (SF/ICC/Auheben/Libcom/etc. - delete as applicable) or the 'organisational effort' (with appeals to a false unity) is to be defended against the discordant voices of critics, apostates and 'splitters'. It doesn't take much of an effort of the imagination to see how the miniscule social power wielded virtually through the medium of libcom (deletions, thread-locking, exclusions, in-group ridicule of 'outsiders') would translate in the real world if the stakes were high enough and 'the organisation' is to be defended against its enemies.

I await the in-group ridicule... fire away!

You're obviously just trying to provoke a response, aka trolling, and I think you should just fuck off to somewhere else on the internet.

behave.

gypsy
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Nov 26 2011 22:56
Red Marriott wrote:
The mode of expression of some has been pretty dumb and childish on both sides, even when valid points were made. But the admins have really disgraced themselves and their site with their recent behaviour - and now shredding their reputation further for petty revenge and censorship against their critics by a uniquely literal and strict application of 'the rules'.

Whatever the 'excesses' of some posters on all sides in recent debates, the admin disciplinary measures now taken are blatantly biased; and inconsistent in their selective application when compared to the toleration of behaviour of other posters and admins more 'onside'. Which all indicates that there are some very raw nerves exposed by the critiques made - with no better answer than censorship.

This.