Edit: A follow up question has been made by KorvinStormast here.

This has the potential to be a flame war, so I encourage everyone who involves themselves in this to self-moderate. On the other hand, since this is focusing on doubts about our moderators, I'm also asking that nothing gets deleted without a comment saying that it should be deleted either coming from the same side of the debate, or from someone who has been agreed upon as neutral. (At least until we agree on something better.)

I've noticed that not everyone trusts our moderator team anymore, and I don't know all the reasoning behind this. Earlier today, I asked on Meta.se about what appears to be a schism in our community over our moderators. I didn't bring up too many details, as I hope that we can resolve this by ourselves. If you have not noticed any issues, that's fine.

To go along with the answer I received, and the comments left by our Community Representative, Grace Note ♦,

I am proposing three questions.

One question asking who everyone can agree on as neutral. (This one.) This person will not be allowed to propose any arguments. If both those who do not fully trust the mods and the mods cannot agree, we'll have to put our big boy pants on, and keep going without a mediator.

One question (not this one) asking what went wrong, and how we got here. Answers would be whatever complaints either party has about the other, with the comments on each addressing these concerns. If we can reach an agreement in the comments, the answer gets edited.

The last question (also not this one) would address where we are going from here, and how we plan on avoiding this situation in the future.

That's the best, most fair and impartial way I can come up with. Does anyone have a better idea?

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    \$\begingroup\$ What would the mediator do in steps #2 and #3 exactly? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 5 '16 at 1:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Umm. For clarity, can you start by introducing the need for this? As it stands anyone who's not totally engaged with the current meta is going to be confused, and people looking at the archives later will be in the dark. A link to your meta.se post and the answer is gathered would be a great start. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 5 '16 at 1:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll offer to be a "neutral" mediator since (1) I have had disagreement with each of the mods at some point and don't have any favorites; I accept that each personality is different, as we are all different people (2) I don't have an axe to grind with any of them (3) I have done stuff like this before (mediate a conflict) in real life. I am not sure if this is where to volunteer. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 5 '16 at 15:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ehh... usage patterns are different enough on weekends that I'm with Wibbs. Plus, it's a tricky enough issue that I think you want to give people a bit of time to digest it even after they've seen it. Someone uninterested in RAW may not have looked at some recent posts, but seeing this may create occasion for a bunch of back-reading. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 8 '16 at 4:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Smurfton You're not the one they're beefing with. I'd honestly be surprised if you see much reaction from them in this question; while I suspect they're not happy about it, they probably don't want to insert themselves and have it look like they're quashing complaints. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 8 '16 at 14:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ The mods have been chewing this over and while we think your heart is in the right place, we are not sure what this is intended to accomplish or if it's the right way to go about it. From the discussions in chat you've heard from the couple leading unhappy parties that they won't accept anything we say, so there's not a lot of reason to say it. We do think a clearing the air might be good, but perhaps a moderated chat and not meta is the better way to do it. We're somewhat at a loss ourselves as to what to do, or even if anything needs to be done. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 9 '16 at 1:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ You're welcome to post what you want on meta, but I don't think we'll be participating. I suspect this meta approach will just end up with loads of bitter recriminations all around and we're more interested in keeping the site running than getting embroiled in that over what seems to be the usual suspects muckraking. We have a site of thousands of users to handle, the five upset people will always be upset, it's the Internet. We may call on you to moderate a chat if you're open to that, but we're discussing. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 9 '16 at 4:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk your last two comments sound reasonable. I hope that if you-all decide this isn't a good way forward and if there is a meta post on #2 one of you three will post a "we'll not be participating and here's why..." answer there where it's highly visible, rather than just staying silent. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 9 '16 at 12:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I don't know if ^^ is in response to me; all I'm trying to say above is that your comment (three back) seems to me a better response than silence, and that it deserves more-prominent placement than 19 down in a comment list (and hidden by the "show more comments..." feature). \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 9 '16 at 15:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm disappointed to hear the mods' considered response is "we won't take our community rep's advice b/c folks won't listen" & wondering if any action at all is needed. There is now a pattern of mods saying widespread concerns aren't worth engaging b/c of the poor behaviour of a few individuals. Problems fester & spread b/c "other guys won't play nice" justifies sitting & blaming others for an issue not getting resolved. It's not just 5 folks anymore, if it ever was; many of us would like to listen & talk calmly. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 10 '16 at 2:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not want a chat discussion b/c that will lead to off-the-cuff poorly-moderated responses subject to tangents & miscommunication as speed of expression is given a priority. It's been tried multiple times before & failed. Meta will let us take the time to say exactly what we mean without interruption & have better moderation options to keep things civil & focused. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 10 '16 at 2:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Then I dearly hope the mod team proposes another dialogue structure soon, as the notion that you're considering not doing anything is very disheartening. It feels like just another example of mods dismissing real concerns as insignificant b/c some individuals are rude about it, & all that does is make us less trusting of anything you do eventually offer. (& I do think chat is an awful venue for this. On something this important I'd want to be free to engage w/disagreements calmly & carefully w/o time pressures measured in secs & mins. Your proposal should acknowledge this.) \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 10 '16 at 5:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie I was actually proud of myself when I came up with this format.It allows for every issue that they have with you, and you with them to be put on the table at the same time, by multiple people, yet still allowing the issues to be addressed seperately at around the same time. I even addressed the issue of moderation potentially feeling like censoring dissent by suggesting a requirement that someone who is arguing on the same side should make a comment requesting such before deletion happens. I don't think that chat can do that quite as well, but good luck if you choose to do that. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Feb 10 '16 at 6:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Smurfton We, individually, are each unsure of the benefit though. We've heard the accusations of ulterior motives, and maybe it would be an effective venue for stating those more clearly and less dramatically. But for our part we don't really have an interest in writing posts to air grievances against community members. It's either pertinent to our job (in which case we have tools for that), or it's not and its on us to ignore whatever annoyance it is in favour of just doing our jobs. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 10 '16 at 6:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @korvinstarmast That's fine. It still seems to me like it's very unfocused. I think an approach concentrating on specific tangible issues would be best, this is more of a "hey why don't you complain about everything any mod has done you haven't liked since the beginning of the site," which just encourages folks to all have a big gripe session - which I've never seen be an actual solution to any actual problem in any venue. Frankly I'm not even sure how we're supposed to participate or what an answer from us would say on the new question. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk Feb 11 '16 at 3:51

I volunteer to mediate this process. I am putting this in an answer as neither Smurfton nor I are sure how to volunteer, per our comment under the question. I will guess that up votes and down votes will note the support (or lack there of) for me so acting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ can I suggest "will note the support (or lack there of) for me..." becomes "will note the support for (or opposition to) me..."? I'd think a downvote would have to be interpreted more negatively than just a lack of support. (And thank you for volunteering, btw.) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 6 '16 at 0:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've dug through your moderately recent comments/posts on meta (back to August) and that confirms my initial impression that you should be reasonably disinterested in this. Given that and your usually sound judgement, +1. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 6 '16 at 1:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ You are very gracious. Just tryin' to help. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 6 '16 at 3:27

So, I'm not sure if nominating other people is kosher, but I'm pretty sure everyone on this site has a great deal of respect for BESW. If he's willing to help us sort this out, that would be super cool. Not sure we're all agreed it's worth his time though.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm flattered, and if that's actually how people feel I'd be willing to do this if all the parties came to the table. Unfortunately major voices have expressed that they don't trust other individuals to join the discussion in good faith, so I don't think this will get off the ground in any useful way. The discussion is a good idea but the major personalities involved need to buy into it for any positive effect to come out of it. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 9 '16 at 13:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would certainly upvote BESW if they volunteered themselves, but am uncomfortable pressuring them into it by upvoting this. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 9 '16 at 15:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I'm content to let this post stand as the gauge of support for my facilitating the discussion. I won't consider it undue pressure; whether I'm nominating myself or someone else is, I'm free to decline if I'm uncomfortable with the proceedings or real life rears its head. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 9 '16 at 15:19

I also volunteer to mediate. I made this question, and I do plan on following through with it if everyone else falls through. I'm likely not as good a choice as Korvin, but I'll likely be watching this closely anyway.

I don't have a problem with the mods, nor do i have a problem with the people who have a problem with the mods (aside from their arguing).

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not to say that I wouldn't love more opinions from either side of the fence on this question. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Feb 6 '16 at 6:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you want to try "question number three" please give it your best shot. I think I made a mess of question number two, as it was too open ended and thus got some unfocused replies, and some more focused ones. That comment war that I hoped to avoid happened anyway. sighs No soup for me. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 23 '16 at 18:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast nah. I think this has definitely been shown not to be the right way to do things. It is I who goes without soup. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Feb 23 '16 at 22:58

I'm happy to be part of the team to moderate the discussion. I'm not very active in the community, and have only just come across this issue on META. Regular lurker, noob RPG'r. Potentially a good outside view :)

From a first glance it does seem like everyone's gotten a bit hot under the collar!

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's pretty much guaranteed this isn't happening at this point, Community Moderators are the better choice here, but thank you for the offer. \$\endgroup\$ – Smurfton Feb 13 '16 at 0:42

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