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View Full Version : On the issue of the two "new account" Senior Moderators


DerekWilson
07-15-2007, 07:35 PM
We've gotten quite a bit of feedback on the fact that two of our Senior Moderators have newly created accounts. We would like to share the facts behind this in an effort to help everyone understand why this is neither extended anonymous moderation nor disingenuous.

First we have to define our terms. When we're talking about anonymity, we aren't talking about personal anonymity.

For us, the definition of anonymous moderation is: a system where the action a moderator takes cannot directly be traced back to a single person. Under our new system, every account with a moderator title has exactly one person operating it. This gives us the ability to enforce our guidelines on a per account basis rather than needing to highly control, audit, and monitor access to a single account.

All of our members, including moderators, have the right to be as "personally anonymous" (or not) as they choose. We are all represented by a username, avatar, profile, title and post history. We don't require people to put their real name in their profile, use their primary email address, their actual city, state and country. We don't restrict people from doing these things either.

There are plenty of reasons why one would choose to do be either tightly or loosely associated with their forum account. They may have real life friends they want to connect with on the boards, they may be active in FS/T or WTB/TF (where public profiles and sharing shipping addresses is a necessity), or they may take advantage of our technical forums to make real life business contacts (we do have a number of people primarily here for technical discussion despite the fact that OT is our biggest forum).

Under the old system, AnandTech Moderator was used by upwards of 25 different people. The members could not know who did what under the AnandTech Moderator account. Each of our moderators backed up all the others and tried hard to enforce the rules we set down. This resulted in a kind of schizophrenic moderator who seemed to have different personalities at different times.

Our moderators had some fun with this, using the "kinky mod" "mean mod" etc. monikers to try and place the personality on an ideal rather than a person. There was no single "mean mod" or any other type of mod ? everyone used these names when the situation called for it.

This system had its advantages, as we were able to avoid issues like mod shopping and (in theory) we could keep people from personally retaliating against specific moderators over a perceived slight. In the end, for us, the negatives outweighed the positives. One of the big disadvantages is that of public accountability. This, combined with no real public list of guidelines, caused us to lose the perception of fairness among our members.

The old system of moderation had been in place for a long time, and when the two members who have now created new accounts decided to become moderators, they had the expectation of anonymity. AnandTech has no desire to go back on what was essentially a promise we made to our moderators when they volunteered. These two members had shared enough personal information in their profiles and on the boards over the years (for all of the reasons we listed above) that they were not comfortable being publicly identified as a moderator.

At the same time, these two members proved to be highly valuable and fair moderators who know the system and the community very well and care deeply about the future of these forums. They've served us well, and we do not want to lose them.

In engineering this transition, one of our intermediate ideas was to create multiple moderator accounts (AT Mod 1, AT Mod 2, etc) and assign each person to one of these accounts. We decided not to do this, as we didn't feel it made sense with the sheer number of moderators we want to build up to. It simply would be very hard to manage if every moderator had more than one account. It also leaves open the door for blanket accusations of moderator bias.

In moving forward, we decided that it would be acceptable to allow only Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster to create new accounts. These accounts are not just for moderation, as they have also been encouraged to transition their forum time to these new identities as much as possible. Only allowing two new accounts seriously cuts down on the overhead involved and oversight needed. These mods, as with all others, will be encouraged not to moderate in threads they are active in. Our senior mods all know the other accounts Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster use, and we will absolutely make sure that there is no abuse of the system.

I agree that this is not as transparent as it could possibly be. This is not something that will be done going forward, but is simply a transitional step between our old system and the new one. I sincerely hope that all of our members will see how seriously we take the issue of moderation and that we have put a lot of time and energy into building the best system we could.

I hope you will see that we are committed to making this place as open and fair as possible under our new system. Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster will be held to the same standards all of our members are, and they will follow the same guidelines as all of our other moderators.

We will handle all personal issues between members and moderators through moderator@anandtech.com or by PM through AnandTech Moderator as our administrators have access to these accounts.

MmmSkyscraper
07-16-2007, 04:52 AM
Sorry Derek, none of that has convinced me that pseudo-anonymous accounts are a good idea. It goes against the whole point of announcing who the moderators are when 2 people with conflicts of interest (personal or otherwise) can remain anonymous based on a promise made under the old system. If they can't abide by the new system, they should give up moderating and no-one outside the moderation team will be any the wiser as to who they were.

I imagine nothing is going to change regarding Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster but that's how I feel.

DerekWilson
07-16-2007, 05:25 AM
Originally posted by: MmmSkyscraper
Sorry Derek, none of that has convinced me that pseudo-anonymous accounts are a good idea. It goes against the whole point of announcing who the moderators are when 2 people with conflicts of interest (personal or otherwise) can remain anonymous based on a promise made under the old system. If they can't abide by the new system, they should give up moderating and no-one outside the moderation team will be any the wiser as to who they were.

I imagine nothing is going to change regarding Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster but that's how I feel.there is no conflict of interst here, and there is oversight to make sure it stays that way.

they aren't remaining anonyous -- you know who they are -- they are Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster. The thing we've provided them in allowing this during our move from the old system to the new system is to protect the personal information they shared under their original accounts.

it doesn't go against what we are trying to do, as they will be publicly acountable for their actions. if we abide by this goal i certainly hope that our members will be able to trust what we are trying to do.

it is worth restating the fact that one of our moderators was actually staked and assualted at home by a member. while we certainly hope to change the perception of our moderators, the fact is that there are people out there that hold a grudge.

MmmSkyscraper
07-16-2007, 06:19 AM
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
there is no conflict of interst here, and there is oversight to make sure it stays that way.


If I remember correctly from the other thread, one of the anonymous mods had a business which they were growing here. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me.


they aren't remaining anonyous -- you know who they are -- they are Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster.


New accounts means they're anonymous to the community, whereas all the original mods are out in the open as who they were before. Special treatment doesn't breed trust.


The thing we've provided them in allowing this during our move from the old system to the new system is to protect the personal information they shared under their original accounts.


If that's because of FS/FT and there's no other reasoning behind it, I think it would have been better to say the 2 mods would moderate as AnandTech Moderator, and only in FS/FT. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with that, given FS/FT is unique as it involves transactions, legal stuff, troll hunting etc which can get messy.


it is worth restating the fact that one of our moderators was actually staked and assualted at home by a member. while we certainly hope to change the perception of our moderators, the fact is that there are people out there that hold a grudge.

Whoever did that needs serious help from the Looney Tunes brigade, hopefully the mod gave them a good kicking. I think an open system will go a long way to preventing incidents like that in the future.

I'm sure these arguments have come up before so I'm not going to beat a dead horse, it's just feedback.

EagleKeeper
07-16-2007, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by: MmmSkyscraper
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
there is no conflict of interst here, and there is oversight to make sure it stays that way.


If I remember correctly from the other thread, one of the anonymous mods had a business which they were growing here. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me.



If there had been a conflict of interest previously, someone would have complained.

Apparently, either people knew about the Moderator status and did not care (no perceived conflict) or they were unaware of the status (created no conflict).

It would seem that by keeping the two items seperate now that the Moderators are out in the open would actually prevent the fact that the person is a Moderator to have any impact on what ever relationships that may exist.

Pliablemoose
07-16-2007, 08:33 AM
Originally posted by: EagleKeeper
Originally posted by: MmmSkyscraper
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
there is no conflict of interst here, and there is oversight to make sure it stays that way.


If I remember correctly from the other thread, one of the anonymous mods had a business which they were growing here. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me.



If there had been a conflict of interest previously, someone would have complained.

Apparently, either people knew about the Moderator status and did not care (no perceived conflict) or they were unaware of the status (created no conflict).

It would seem that by keeping the two items seperate now that the Moderators are out in the open would actually prevent the fact that the person is a Moderator to have any impact on what ever relationships that may exist.





I guess the argument could be made that since no one knew they were a mod, how could they complain about a conflict of interest.

Also, one of the major reasons (if not the major reason) for the changes is to be able to track & monitor the moderators actions, so the admins will review the 2 anonymous moderator's actions to hopefully prevent a conflict of interest from occurring in the one case, or continuing to occur if it happens.

The second anonymous is anonymous for personal reasons I gather?

Seems sort of unusual, but as long as they're held to the same (and in reality a bit higher standards since they'll be have their actions reviewed by the admins more frequently) I guess I can't complain...

SVT Cobra
07-16-2007, 11:03 AM
I really don't see the problem here...everything was in the past...this new system will prevent it, or deal with it better if a mod abuses his/her privileges, and the mods are volunteer, and if they choose to stay anonymous then it is only their choice.

Chunky Monster
07-16-2007, 01:28 PM
The whole point of open Moderating to see which Mod took what action. When there was just anonymous Moderation there was no way for the members to know which Mod did what. That caused many members to blame favoritism or grudges for actions they felt were unfair. Now, they can see who has done what. Also, with so many of us from so many different ages, personalities and viewpoints, we sometimes appeared inconsistent.

I have no problem taking responsibility for my actions as Moderator. I do not feel, however, that sharing my personal life and/or any personal info about my career, family, or associations outside here should be required to do this job. That was not part of the original deal. If I were a new member, or if I was asked this when I first became a Moderator, I could have made the choice then or could have done more to keep the Moderator side and my personal life side of being here a bit more separate from each other.

Chunky Monster will moderate as fairly and consistently as I have under my own account and any one (at any time) may question my actions, may disagree with my actions or may applaud my actions. I just do not feel that it is fair, after all this time, to force me to choose to make my personal life an open book or hit the highway. I have seen some of the abuse that some of the senior Moderators have taken (mostly undeservedly) for being a volunteer here and to be honest, I do not want to open that can of worms. I have been on the internet since the superhighway was a two lane road and there are quite a few ways that a disgruntled member could cause me grief in my personal life, should they feel that they do not like my Moderation. The way it stands now, they can search for Chunky Monster from now to the second coming and my real life, my real career and my real family will be safe. TPTB here will know what I am doing and will be able to deal with whatever problems may arise from my Moderation ... and my other account, if I choose to use that, will be open to the same standards, the same rules and the same guidelines as every other members account on AnandTech.

I do not intend it to sound as dramatic as all of that but, well, better safe than sorry.

Just because ppl do not know my name, address and career choice (As they do under my other account) does not mean that I am shrouded under a mysterious/anonymous cloak. What I do as a Moderator here is as open and transparent as any other Moderator. I am Chunky Monster, senior moderator... what else do ppl need to know about me for me to do my job?

Alone
07-16-2007, 03:06 PM
Instead of an action being signed "Anand" it's signed "Common Courtesy". I really don't see the problem. What difference does it make if you know their old account or not?

compuwiz1
07-16-2007, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by: MmmSkyscraper
Originally posted by: DerekWilson
there is no conflict of interst here, and there is oversight to make sure it stays that way.


If I remember correctly from the other thread, one of the anonymous mods had a business which they were growing here. That sounds like a conflict of interest to me.


they aren't remaining anonyous -- you know who they are -- they are Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster.


New accounts means they're anonymous to the community, whereas all the original mods are out in the open as who they were before. Special treatment doesn't breed trust.


The thing we've provided them in allowing this during our move from the old system to the new system is to protect the personal information they shared under their original accounts.


If that's because of FS/FT and there's no other reasoning behind it, I think it would have been better to say the 2 mods would moderate as AnandTech Moderator, and only in FS/FT. I don't see why anyone would have a problem with that, given FS/FT is unique as it involves transactions, legal stuff, troll hunting etc which can get messy.


it is worth restating the fact that one of our moderators was actually staked and assualted at home by a member. while we certainly hope to change the perception of our moderators, the fact is that there are people out there that hold a grudge.

Whoever did that needs serious help from the Looney Tunes brigade, hopefully the mod gave them a good kicking. I think an open system will go a long way to preventing incidents like that in the future.

I'm sure these arguments have come up before so I'm not going to beat a dead horse, it's just feedback.



You might be thinking of me. Years back, I was one of the original Celery guys. I had people seek me out to sell them pretested overclocked cpu's. Over time it grew into a business, but eventually we implemented the no dealer rule, so my business and trading on the forums ceased.
I have been Compuwiz1 all along, still am, and have no other aliases. And, yes, I have been, and am still a Moderator.

AnandTech Senior Moderator
Compuwiz1

Zugzwang152
07-18-2007, 03:08 AM
I agree with the logic behind letting the two seniors remain anonymous. However, you have to admit that the "I was stalked and assaulted" explanation seems a bit contrived and all too convenient. I for one would hope that in time, they will come forward just as everyone else has. Hiding behind a secondary account is just going to turn public opinion against you. And unless the forums become a dictatorship, the respect and support of the member population is required to moderate effectively.

EagleKeeper
07-18-2007, 07:46 AM
Originally posted by: Zugzwang152
I agree with the logic behind letting the two seniors remain anonymous. However, you have to admit that the "I was stalked and assaulted" explanation seems a bit contrived and all too convenient.

Neither one of us applies to that example.

However, it does demonstrate the depravity that some AT members will go to vent their frustrations.

Some of the demonstrations have been against those that are not even Moderators.

1EZduzit
07-27-2007, 11:07 AM
I have a question. From the OP:

In moving forward, we decided that it would be acceptable to allow only Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster to create new accounts. These accounts are not just for moderation, as they have also been encouraged to transition their forum time to these new identities as much as possible. Only allowing two new accounts seriously cuts down on the overhead involved and oversight needed. These mods, as with all others, will be encouraged not to moderate in threads they are active in. Our senior mods all know the other accounts Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster use, and we will absolutely make sure that there is no abuse of the system.

So what your saying is Common Courtesy and Chunky Monster could be posting in one thread, one post with their old identity and another one with their new "mod" idenity?

LOL, that seems pretty bogus to me. They should not be allowed to use their old identity in the forums they are modding in, IMHO.

EagleKeeper
07-27-2007, 11:51 AM
Threads that we are active in will not be moderated.

This applies no matter what personality we are using.

The old personalities have had the capability to moderate threads on the fly removed.
Those identities operate on the same posting rules as imposed by Fusetalk as you have, no more or less.

As a Moderator, I have had to request assistance from another Moderator to review a recommended action regarding a thread to remove any perceived conflict of interest.

When in my other persona, I have had to PM other Moderators to handle or review items rather than change into Moderator mode.

bGIveNs33
07-31-2007, 04:32 AM
If this whole thing is about moderator accountability, it really doesn't matter who common and chunky are... as long as you know it is them who is doing the moderating.

JujuFish
08-12-2007, 01:04 AM
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
When in my other persona

Openly breaking the AT forum guidelines. Nice.

Originally posted by: DerekWilson
Member and Posting Guidelines
[snip]
8) Only one account is allowed per person. If you've been given a vacation or a ban, do not create a new account. Instead, please discuss the matter with our moderators via email at moderator@anandtech.com. We have various ways to check if accounts were started by the same person. We will also permaban new accounts based on strong circumstantial evidence or the appearance that they may be secondary accounts.
[snip]

compuwiz1
08-12-2007, 05:09 AM
Originally posted by: JujuFish
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
When in my other persona

Openly breaking the AT forum guidelines. Nice.

Originally posted by: DerekWilson
Member and Posting Guidelines
[snip]
8) Only one account is allowed per person. If you've been given a vacation or a ban, do not create a new account. Instead, please discuss the matter with our moderators via email at moderator@anandtech.com. We have various ways to check if accounts were started by the same person. We will also permaban new accounts based on strong circumstantial evidence or the appearance that they may be secondary accounts.
[snip]

Oh, please! That particular guideline does not apply. It's a moderator you're talking about / to, not a normal registered member. Moderators, as explained already, have different situations, as in the original post by Derek. Sorry, but it is what it is.

Senior Moderator
Compuwiz1

JujuFish
08-14-2007, 10:34 PM
Originally posted by: compuwiz1
Oh, please! That particular guideline does not apply.

Exactly. That much is obvious.

Chunky Monster
08-14-2007, 11:01 PM
Listen, I do not have Mod functions on my other account.

I can assure you that I have no nefarious intentions that require me to do something as juvenile as post under one account while modding with the other.

In any case, it is illogical to think that I can do that, since the senior mods and admins know who I am. If I were to do anything like that, they would be all over me like white on rice.

There is no need to fear or stir crap or think the worst.

:P

JujuFish
08-15-2007, 11:03 PM
Originally posted by: Chunky Monster
There is no need to fear or stir crap or think the worst.

Let's stay on topic. I'm not trying to spread fear or think the worst. If the moderator community has placed its trust in you and the other anonymous mod, then there's a good reason for that. I trust the group moderator mind in that respect. I have a problem with the fact that by staying under your new account, it's going against the whole idea of being outright and forthcoming. If you do not feel that you or your company would be safe if your true identity is known, then there is a conflict of interest and regardless of how well you are at your job, you should step down. By having two accounts, it's very hard for myself, and I'm guessing several others, to have any respect for you and the other moderator. This is further hindered by the fact that you, as a mod, are allowed to skirt the rules (the whole multiple accounts thing), yet another thing that was an issue when mods were completely anonymous.

Anyway, I know that nothing I do will change anything, but I do feel better about being able to get it out in the open without repercussion (ie: openly questioning the moderators' decision in this matter), so I am grateful for that. Anyway, I'm done with this argument for now.

Have a nice day.

Chunky Monster
08-16-2007, 12:56 AM
First of all, I am not anonymous. I am Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator.

What else do you need to know about me? My name, address, phone number, social security number..??? Perhaps I can offer my bank accounts and credit card numbers, with pin for you? What in the world would you need to know any more about me than my user name and title?

We have a SOP, a chain of command. If you do not like what I do as Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator, then you are free to contact the higher ups with your concerns. The decision to make our identities known was so everyone know which moderator took which action, not so anyone could delve into our personal lives. That has been accomplished.

Trust? What trust? I am a moderator on website. I am not in charge of anyone's paycheck or their family affairs, or have keys to their car? I get to read PM complaints, ban spammers and lock duplicate posts. Not like I am in charge of the Worldwide Nuke button or anything. As for respect, I am not moderating for respect, or glory or a fat paycheck. I am here to ensure that the policies are not broken and this place is welcoming for all who wish to post here.

This is a tech board, not a Forbes 100 board. I am a volunteer, not a paid employee. I have explained, quite politely, in this thread why I have chosen to pick a new user name to moderate under. If that does not satisfy your need to find trouble where there is none, there is nothing more I can tell you, except to contact my bosses.

Perknose
08-16-2007, 06:48 AM
Originally posted by: Chunky Monster
First of all, I am not anonymous. I am Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator.

What else do you need to know about me? My name, address, phone number, social security number..??? Perhaps I can offer my bank accounts and credit card numbers, with pin for you? What in the world would you need to know any more about me than my user name and title?

We have a SOP, a chain of command. If you do not like what I do as Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator, then you are free to contact the higher ups with your concerns. The decision to make our identities known was so everyone know which moderator took which action, not so anyone could delve into our personal lives. That has been accomplished.

Trust? What trust? I am a moderator on website. I am not in charge of anyone's paycheck or their family affairs, or have keys to their car? I get to read PM complaints, ban spammers and lock duplicate posts. Not like I am in charge of the Worldwide Nuke button or anything. As for respect, I am not moderating for respect, or glory or a fat paycheck. I am here to ensure that the policies are not broken and this place is welcoming for all who wish to post here.

This is a tech board, not a Forbes 100 board. I am a volunteer, not a paid employee. I have explained, quite politely, in this thread why I have chosen to pick a new user name to moderate under. If that does not satisfy your need to find trouble where there is none, there is nothing more I can tell you, except to contact my bosses.



And if you have some sort of psychotic personal beef with "moderator bias" and you are unwilling to use our well defined and easily available avenues of complaint, just try and come visit me without an invitation... or body armor. ;)

senseamp
08-30-2007, 02:39 PM
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
Threads that we are active in will not be moderated.

This applies no matter what personality we are using.

The old personalities have had the capability to moderate threads on the fly removed.
Those identities operate on the same posting rules as imposed by Fusetalk as you have, no more or less.

As a Moderator, I have had to request assistance from another Moderator to review a recommended action regarding a thread to remove any perceived conflict of interest.

When in my other persona, I have had to PM other Moderators to handle or review items rather than change into Moderator mode.

O'Rly?
In this thread:
http://forums.anandtech.com/me...id=52&threadid=2089966 (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=52&threadid=2089966)

You are first active.
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
A big concern would not be the bundling, but the potential of foreign contributions.

It happened under Bill Clinton (with his blessing or wearing blinders).

At present, the potential for it happening with Hillary (based on the article) raises the hint of suspicion.
Then the immediate dumping of the funds after the story breaks, increases a sense of mis-doing.

Then you are not only active, but you moderate that thread by preempting other's ability to present arguments.
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
[quote]Originally posted by: senseamp
Well Well Well.
Now we find out who is really behind these racist innuendos.
http://www.politico.com/blogs/...g_the_China_angle.html (http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0807/RNC_Pushing_the_China_angle.html)



There was already a discussion about racist innuendos in FI

It is one thing to use a person's ethnicity as a slur (which was never proven and venimentalty denied), another thing to ask questions/information about a person when things do not add up.


There will be no more discussion of racism within this thread.


Senior Anandtech Moderator
Common Courtesy
[/b]

EagleKeeper
08-30-2007, 05:05 PM
You may have noticed that he backed out afterwards and removed the "handling of racism" comment as a Moderator.

As for others comments after the fact regarding your comments, that is up to you to address.

JEDI
09-06-2007, 08:19 PM
Originally posted by: Perknose
Originally posted by: Chunky Monster
First of all, I am not anonymous. I am Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator.

What else do you need to know about me? My name, address, phone number, social security number..??? Perhaps I can offer my bank accounts and credit card numbers, with pin for you? What in the world would you need to know any more about me than my user name and title?

We have a SOP, a chain of command. If you do not like what I do as Chunky Monster, Senior Moderator, then you are free to contact the higher ups with your concerns. The decision to make our identities known was so everyone know which moderator took which action, not so anyone could delve into our personal lives. That has been accomplished.

Trust? What trust? I am a moderator on website. I am not in charge of anyone's paycheck or their family affairs, or have keys to their car? I get to read PM complaints, ban spammers and lock duplicate posts. Not like I am in charge of the Worldwide Nuke button or anything. As for respect, I am not moderating for respect, or glory or a fat paycheck. I am here to ensure that the policies are not broken and this place is welcoming for all who wish to post here.

This is a tech board, not a Forbes 100 board. I am a volunteer, not a paid employee. I have explained, quite politely, in this thread why I have chosen to pick a new user name to moderate under. If that does not satisfy your need to find trouble where there is none, there is nothing more I can tell you, except to contact my bosses.



And if you have some sort of psychotic personal beef with "moderator bias" and you are unwilling to use our well defined and easily available avenues of complaint, just try and come visit me without an invitation... or body armor. ;)

Perknose
Elite Senior Moderator
Posts: 9808
Joined: 10/09/1999

woah.. we now have Elite Senior Moderator?!

what's the diff between elite and regular Senior Moderator?

and Who else is an Elite Senior Moderator?

Perknose
09-06-2007, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by: JEDI
what's the diff between elite and regular Senior Moderator?

The word 'Elite' appended to the title. I promoted myself. I felt I deserved it.

crimson117
09-12-2007, 11:17 PM
fwiw I don't care whether mods use their own personal account or not.

Anyone who does places WAY too much importance on their off-topic rant threads.

montypythizzle
09-19-2007, 11:53 AM
Originally posted by: Perknose
Originally posted by: JEDI
what's the diff between elite and regular Senior Moderator?

The word 'Elite' appended to the title. I promoted myself. I felt I deserved it.



Should have done 1337.
I really want the link to the harassment and assault, heh AT member takes internets to the EXXXTREME.