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Author Topic: What about actually ENFORCING forum rules? Back to Topics
tony1679

Rookie Author
Oklahoma City

Posts:75
Points:15,680
Joined:May 2014
Message Posted: Jun 10, 2014 8:21:04 AM

General Gas Talk - Third "Sticky" or "Pinned" Topic - "Five things that will get a topic closed" - #5

"5) Bumping old, inactive topics. If a topic has been dead for two months or more, please do not post to it."

Something has to change. Period. Suggestions: Give someone the ability to close/delete topics, replace/evaluate moderators, or get rid of the offenders.

1st suggestion - not sure who or how

2nd suggestion - I think is the best answer

3rd suggestion - I think a three strike system that stays with each user should be set up. Accidents happen. Every violation is a strike. 3rd strike, you're out. I think this would be useful site-wide.
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

Posts:4,757
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Message Posted: Jun 15, 2014 3:31:08 AM

It's been mentioned or speculated before that maybe this forum software does not have the ability to assign a limited set of actions to an assistant mod, so without investment in updating and software development GBO can't create limited assistant moderator accounts for volunteers, and doesn't want to risk letting all the volunteers have access to the Launch Nukes and History Eraser buttons. Since forums are low priority, well...

My suggestion for what GBO might do to help alleviate bumping old topics.

Gas_Buddy,
>> Here's the problem with bumping old, inactive topics. In order to know you're not supposed to bump old, inactive topics, you have to have read the topic "Five things that will get a topic closed". And part of the problem with expecting people to read that topic is:

1. People don't know that the topic is from a moderator or from an general website member such as you and I.
2. The "Started by" indicates it was started by someone with a screen name "GM", whatever that stands for; for all anyone knows, this is a gas price posting website, automotive related, GM might simply stand for a General Motors car owner, not much different than a screen name that starts with Mustang or Camero, or tony1679 (which could stand for anything).
3. And, obviously, if they don't read a topic that's not of interest to them, or that they're not required to, or that there's no clear indication of "READ THIS BEFORE POSTING...", they don't know the "rules". <<

Or GM could stand for General Manager, and Gas_Buddy could stand for... GasBuddy.com ?
(not picking on you GB, I agree with your premise but just found it funny and ironic)
.

CK,
>> With respect to bumping, I have never seen a rational explanation for the anti-bumping rule. <<

I've seen it on other forums, mostly on technical forums. I believe it helps prevent keeping topics near the top that may no longer be relevant because advances in technology have fixed the problem or rendered the topic obsolete. For example a topic discussing a software bug; once a newer version is released to fix the bug, others chiming in with "I also have that problem" and similar will just be advised to apply the update, which they can figure out by reading the existing discussion which already addresses the fix.

>> We don't know what constraints are put upon them, say by being allowed to work only limited hours, etc. Unless someone draws back the curtain (and I don't think they will), we shall never know. <<

Time for a video... "A Day In The Life" Starring (insert GB mod team names). They could post it on youtube.

scout,
>> The mods have been more absent than normal. Something is up. I just don't know what it is. <<

Vacation time? Traveling and speaking engagements at petroleum company meetings? Playing basketball in the office parking lot now that OPIS has everything under control?
.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jun 10, 2014 8:07:46 PM

This suggestion has been added to the Suggestion Tracking List as a new topic on an existing subject and new subjects. For the purposes of indexing, I will assume that "someone" is intended to mean an appointed volunteer, and further, that each of the phrases separated by commas stands alone (correct me if I am mistaken).

With respect to bumping, I have never seen a rational explanation for the anti-bumping rule. If that was clearly expressed, there would be less of a tendency to ignore it and more enthusiasm in encouraging conformance. After all these years, without further explanation, it still seems like nothing more than a silly, arbitrary rule. (Color me ignorant.)

1. It is fairly clear that from what has recently been written that appointed moderators with limited powers would be a welcome addition. Personally, except in rare and extreme situations, I don't think topics should be closed or deleted, because topics, not being human, can't be at fault; the authors of offending posts would be and that is what should be dealt with. At the most, they should be moved to more appropriate categories with canned reasons sent to the authors by PM.
2. It is hard to know what to say about whether or not the moderators can be blamed for doing/not doing their jobs.* We don't know what constraints are put upon them, say by being allowed to work only limited hours, etc. Unless someone draws back the curtain (and I don't think they will), we shall never know. I think it would be better to concentrate on 1.), above, for moderation improvement.**
3. A "three-strikes" system is reasonable if proposed banishment is submitted to GBO moderators for final adjudication. Allowing volunteers to "pull the trigger" themselves, even if well deserved, may burden them with too much baggage to continue effectively; knowing that GBO made the final decision would prevent that.

----
*Although, in the past, I must admit to having been gruff several times about the lack of announcements of changes to the system.

**Certainly volunteer moderators would be easy enough to "vote off the island" if their actions are not seen as fair and unbiased. A record of all actions taken by volunteers could leave a transactional trail in the same manner as MSL edits do, so that their actions are transparent.



[Edited by: CampKohler at 6/10/2014 8:12:51 PM EST]
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 10, 2014 6:39:40 PM

You could change everything you can, Gas_Buddy, but you can't force people to read.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jun 10, 2014 5:01:12 PM

Here's the problem with bumping old, inactive topics. In order to know you're not supposed to bump old, inactive topics, you have to have read the topic "Five things that will get a topic closed". And part of the problem with expecting people to read that topic is:

1. People don't know that the topic is from a moderator or from an general website member such as you and I.
2. The "Started by" indicates it was started by someone with a screen name "GM", whatever that stands for; for all anyone knows, this is a gas price posting website, automotive related, GM might simply stand for a General Motors car owner, not much different than a screen name that starts with Mustang or Camero, or tony1679 (which could stand for anything).
3. And, obviously, if they don't read a topic that's not of interest to them, or that they're not required to, or that there's no clear indication of "READ THIS BEFORE POSTING...", they don't know the "rules".

Two suggestions:
First: Change all moderator started topics to being with something like: "READ THIS BEFORE POSTING" or MODERATOR'S POST REGARDING..."
Second: Change all moderator started topics so that the list shows that the topics was Started by "Moderator", and not some generic screen name that no one has reason to read (other than out of curiosity).That said, and while I'm in general agreement about enforcing the two month rule, especially when the reactivating post reads: "Interesting...", "OK", or provides a response to a thread started a year or two or more ago by a member who seemingly hasn't been back to the website since starting the topic (telling the absentee member where to shop, or answers a question about which car to buy, or why he should/shouldn't use premium, etc.), if one person reactivates the thread (by not paying attention to two month rule, others follow-up. Do you blame the people that respond after the reactivating post? After all, they should have seen that the thread was inactive (but they're responding, aren't they, to the new post).

I can see some honest oversights and would hate to throw out a member, especially a long time price posting contributor, for a simple oversight. But that doesn't mean I don't understand the problem.

One of the things I used to do when such posts were made (reactivating old topics), was to suggest the moderators lock the outdated thread and include a moderators note to the effect "Don't bump old topics..." (the #5 in the original post). I doubt I've seen a moderator post that more than a couple of times in the past several years.

This all goes back to, "if the moderators don't have time to moderate", consider allowing "volunteer moderators to move topics obviously in the wrong discussion category, and to either lock old threads (even if you make it a three month period) or to post a "Moderator warning" to not post to inactive threads.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Jun 10, 2014 9:18:45 AM

The mods have been more absent than normal. Something is up. I just don't know what it is.
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