Ad Hominem Attacks?

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
I have a question, which I have seen come up several times in P&N:
Calling out moderators is prohibited. Red Dawn was posting as a (regular) member, the "mod" part of your comment above was inappropriate.

You've been warned and vacationed for this previously, so you should know better. Expect a vacation.

Fern
AnandTech P&N Moderator

I understand the first part, calling out a mod is a violation. Yet the second part, posting as a regular member... where is that in the ToS? Clearly, if one has a title included in their name, it is an active title and thus while posting as a member, Red Dawn (just an example) is still actively a Moderator. Finally, if one gets banned for an ad hominem attack (attacking the poster because he is a moderator), then there really should be bans any time an ad hominem attack occurs. While the ToS explicitly forbids calling out a mod, the first rule also addresses Trolling, Baiting, attacking members (which could also include the ad hominem).

I guess it all stems that I come from boards that have debates but those debates must be civil. Ad hominem attacks are poor form, and have no place in intelligent debates (insert the requisite P&N is intelligent!?! comments).
 

Stuxnet

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2005
8,403
1
0
The mods do a pretty good job - at least in OT and P&N - of separating their "regular member" and "moderator" personas, so even though they have an "active" mod title, there's really no reason to call them out. Some people don't take kindly to having their butts ripped - in a personal fashion - by a mod. They see mods as people who should be "setting an example". Well, if these examples were to be set and followed to the letter, AT would be a pretty boring place.

So just as the mods need to keep their two personas separated and in-check, the members need to be willing to allow that to happen, as well.
 

Oakenfold

Diamond Member
Feb 8, 2001
5,740
0
76
Originally posted by: jbourne77
So just as the mods need to keep their two personas separated and in-check, the members need to be willing to allow that to happen, as well.

Well said. That's my take on it. People do sometimes get confused that moderators may be posting in a thread as a member and not the moderator even though they have a mod title. You've explained that quite concisely.
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Oakenfold
Originally posted by: jbourne77
So just as the mods need to keep their two personas separated and in-check, the members need to be willing to allow that to happen, as well.

Well said. That's my take on it. People do sometimes get confused that moderators may be posting in a thread as a member and not the moderator even though they have a mod title. You've explained that quite concisely.
How can you call out a mod if the person is not a moderator at that instant. It is not a question of judgment for the moderation decision (which is what I take calling out a mod to be), it is just an ad hominem attack at the time of the posting.
 

Fern

Elite Member
Sep 30, 2003
26,907
173
106
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
I have a question, which I have seen come up several times in P&N:

-snip-

I understand the first part, calling out a mod is a violation. Yet the second part, posting as a regular member... where is that in the ToS?

First, the rules about posting are in the PFI (Personal Forum Issues) "Anandtech Forum Guidelines" thread, not the "Anandtech ToS" thread.

Also, IIRC, there is nothing that says Moderators are subject to a different set of rules than other members. On the contrary, the posting/moderating guidelines in the PFI/Guidelines thread say:

Moderators are expected to remain in good standing with the community and uphold all of our member and posting guidelines.

I.e., Moderators are subject to the same posting rules as other members and any assumption (or desire/belief) that they be subject to different rules while posting is (IMHO) unfounded and without substantiation. The above underlined portion of the posting guidelines seems to clearly confirm this. There is nothing I can find that says otherwise?

When we are acting in our capacity as Moderators we are required to specifically say so (in bold font), and as Moderators we have a separate set of rules we must adhere to while acting in that capacity.


Clearly, if one has a title included in their name, it is an active title and thus while posting as a member, Red Dawn (just an example) is still actively a Moderator.

No, see my remarks above. Again, we are allowed to participate in these forums as any regular member may. It is hoped, and desired, that we maintain a good example for other members, but as it stands now we are only subject to the regular rules when posting as *regular members*. As you know (based upon your *join date*) Moderators used to be anonymous, the change to making our status public resulted in these *new* rules (i.e., we can post like regular members even though we now carry the Moderator label).

Finally, if one gets banned for an ad hominem attack (attacking the poster because he is a moderator), then there really should be bans any time an ad hominem attack occurs. While the ToS explicitly forbids calling out a mod, the first rule also addresses Trolling, Baiting, attacking members (which could also include the ad hominem).

Re: Ad hominem attacks, trolling, baiting, attacking members - P&N is treated differently than other sub-forums. Politics is an emotional subject, particularly recently, and therefore far more leeway is permitted there than in the other forums. Some agree with this, others do not; nevertheless that is how it now stands.

I guess it all stems that I come from boards that have debates but those debates must be civil. Ad hominem attacks are poor form, and have no place in intelligent debates (insert the requisite P&N is intelligent!?! comments).

Personally, I wish all P&N debates would remain civil. Yet I realize that doesn't even exist in our national politics nor our mainstream media. Ever heard of the campaign ads saying John McCain fathered an illegitimate black child? Politics is *Hardball*, and often P&N is as well. So, IMHO it can be fairly stated that the one is a *real life* reflection of the other. I'm not saying that's necessarily a good thing, but it is how it is.


You have quoted my post, so I am responding. I do not feel confident in attempting to respond *officially*, I will leave that to Senior Moderators (or Derek). The above bolded comments in response to your post are my own personal remarks and represent nothing more; nevertheless, I hope they are helpful.

Fern
 

Gillbot

Lifer
Jan 11, 2001
28,830
17
81
When we participate in a thread openly as a member, we can be harassed like any other member. When you question our title as a mod, that's when it becomes a callout.

We do keep the personas seperate by NOT moderating threads we actively participate in.
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
Examples - only because we have a Mod active in the thread and he can be the psuedo target.

Oakenfold has no authority to answer that question. - questionable post (no reference to Moderation directly, but is implied)

Oakenfold should not be answering that question because he is not a Moderator in P&N - questionable post (reference to Moderation and challenging his authority as a Moderator in any capacity)

Oakenfold should not be moderator if he will be posting in P&N - callout post.


There are times when it is a judgement call, but if the intent is to label/challenge a person as a Moderator when they are not labeling their posts as respect to Moderation, it become taboo.

As others will state, it is difficult to get past the extra baggage that we carry, but we try, so can the members.


Senior Anandtech Moderator
Common Courtesy
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Fern

You have quoted my post, so I am responding. I do not feel confident in attempting to respond *officially*, I will leave that to Senior Moderators (or Derek). The above bolded comments in response to your post are my own personal remarks and represent nothing more; nevertheless, I hope they are helpful.

Fern

Understand that this has nothing to do with a specific case, it is just something I am trying to wrap my head around. How can one bait a moderator if the person posting is not a moderator at the time? The person is just a normal poster, so the bait is JUST an ad hominem attack.

Sorry I got the ToS and Guidelines confused, but I am sure you knew what I meant.

When we participate in a thread openly as a member, we can be harassed like any other member. When you question our title as a mod, that's when it becomes a callout.
And yet that is the problem. One can question all sorts of aspects about the person and ignore the actual argument, just don't bring up the moderator title. It is a double standard and it is something I dislike.

People need to learn how to discuss and argue intelligently, having a double standard on ad hominem attacks is not helping (I am sure there are examples in threads where somebody is warned for a mod call out but in the same thread there is somebody attacking the profession of a user and that is okay).
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
There are times when it is a judgement call, but if the intent is to label/challenge a person as a Moderator when they are not labeling their posts as respect to Moderation, it become taboo.

I respect the positions of the moderators (I will always question specific appointments, but that is a completely different argument!). I assume you meant libel and not label, in this case why is the line drawn here? Why is it okay to do against users, but taboo and a violation against moderators?
 

Crusty

Lifer
Sep 30, 2001
12,684
2
81
Because they administrate this board can do whatever the hell they want to? It's like telling an off-duty cop he sucks at his job because he watched someone speed by.
 

Gillbot

Lifer
Jan 11, 2001
28,830
17
81
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
Originally posted by: Fern

You have quoted my post, so I am responding. I do not feel confident in attempting to respond *officially*, I will leave that to Senior Moderators (or Derek). The above bolded comments in response to your post are my own personal remarks and represent nothing more; nevertheless, I hope they are helpful.

Fern

Understand that this has nothing to do with a specific case, it is just something I am trying to wrap my head around. How can one bait a moderator if the person posting is not a moderator at the time? The person is just a normal poster, so the bait is JUST an ad hominem attack.

Sorry I got the ToS and Guidelines confused, but I am sure you knew what I meant.

When we participate in a thread openly as a member, we can be harassed like any other member. When you question our title as a mod, that's when it becomes a callout.
And yet that is the problem. One can question all sorts of aspects about the person and ignore the actual argument, just don't bring up the moderator title. It is a double standard and it is something I dislike.

People need to learn how to discuss and argue intelligently, having a double standard on ad hominem attacks is not helping (I am sure there are examples in threads where somebody is warned for a mod call out but in the same thread there is somebody attacking the profession of a user and that is okay).

The easiest rule of thumb is, leave the title out of any and all discussion and you'll be fine.

If you say gillbot is a jerk and shouldn't be here, that's ok. If you say gillbot is a jerk and shouldn't be a mod, that is a callout.
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Gillbot

The easiest rule of thumb is, leave the title out of any and all discussion and you'll be fine.

If you say gillbot is a jerk and shouldn't be here, that's ok. If you say gillbot is a jerk and shouldn't be a mod, that is a callout.

But it is okay to say User X is a jerk and shouldn't be an A (provided A is not moderator)?

I do not have a problem with avoiding ad hominem attacks, you would have to dig deep into the archives in my younger and dumber years to find any. I do have a problem with moderation just to protect your own and not to enforce all the guidelines (IE currently in P&N you can troll, bait, etc, but you better not call out a mod). It just seems like a very odd solution, to ignore the first guideline but enforce the 13th.

Fern mentions that P&N is treated differently as politics is passionate. I can not help but say that one can be passionate and respectful. Right now Fern (I am just using Fern as an example) is stating that one has to be respectful of the moderators, but does not have to be respectful of the members. Why? What have the moderators done to deserve this respect? This is a rhetorical question and I do not expect or want an answer, but if moderators demand respect then the users should be able to request the same.

I understand moderation is a thankless job, and you guys do great work, but I for one would love to see #1 enforced at a much more strict level then it is currently (at least match it in leniency as #13).
 

EagleKeeper

Discussion Club Moderator<br>Elite Member
Staff member
Oct 30, 2000
42,591
5
0
You have to be respectful of the Moderator, not the member.
As the fact that politics is dirty, some members (Moderators included) go overboard in the insult & flaming game.


The respect is that we are assigned the thankless job of trying to keep this forum under control and not allow it to turn into a cesspool. Most people try to understand and honor the guidelines. Then there are a select view who feel that they should continue to try to push the limts to see what they can get away with.

 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
0
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
I understand moderation is a thankless job, and you guys do great work, but I for one would love to see #1 enforced at a much more strict level then it is currently (at least match it in leniency as #13).
We do, the member who was sanctioned had been warned numerous times about it and been sanctioned before for ignoring those warnings thus the 3 week vacation instead of a 1 week vacation. We understand that in the heat of battle tempers can flare but we can't let repeat offenders continue to ignore the rules and the warnings.

FYI unlike before Derek took over we now have to discuss almost every vacation handed out. It's gotten to the point that it's less hassle to try and reason with the offender (with the exception of Thieves and Trolls in the For Sale Forum). But when there's no reasoning with them our only resort is to send them away for a designated period of time which is determined by their previous history and their offense.
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Common Courtesy
You have to be respectful of the Moderator, not the member.
I don't think this is a quote that should be well publicized.

We do, the member who was sanctioned had been warned numerous times about it and been sanctioned before for ignoring those warnings thus the 3 week vacation instead of a 1 week vacation. We understand that in the heat of battle tempers can flare but we can't let repeat offenders continue to ignore the rules and the warnings.

FYI unlike before Derek took over we now have to discuss almost every vacation handed out. It's gotten to the point that it's less hassle to try and reason with the offender (with the exception of Thieves and Trolls in the For Sale Forum). But when there's no reasoning with them our only resort is to send them away for a designated period of time which is determined by their previous history and their offense.
Somehow I really doubt you (collective you as in Moderators) are as lenient to rule 1 as rule 13. There are key members at each others throats daily in P&N, so much so that they can and do derail threads with their antagonistic responses.

But I can see that I am going to get nowhere on this issue, so I will have to learn to deal with this. (God help the poor soul that tries an ad hominem on me though!!!)
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
0
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
Somehow I really doubt you (collective you as in Moderators) are as lenient to rule 1 as rule 13.
And I don't see anywhere were we claimed we were.
 

Possessed Freak

Diamond Member
Nov 4, 1999
6,045
1
0
Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
Somehow I really doubt you (collective you as in Moderators) are as lenient to rule 1 as rule 13.
And I don't see anywhere were we claimed we were.
Then I really don't understand the bolded part and response you made earlier in this thread.

It appears you claimed the moderators are lenient, I basically said the moderators aren't, now you state you didn't claim it.
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
70,098
5,639
126
It is pretty easy to differentiate between a Personal post and a Moderator post. When a Member is attacking a Mod for being a Mod rather for their particular views, that's also pretty easy to differentiate as well.

Generally acceptable
You're an Idiot!

Not generally acceptable
You're an Idiot! I can't believe you're a Mod!!
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
0
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
Originally posted by: Red Dawn
Originally posted by: Possessed Freak
Somehow I really doubt you (collective you as in Moderators) are as lenient to rule 1 as rule 13.
And I don't see anywhere were we claimed we were.
Then I really don't understand the bolded part and response you made earlier in this thread.

It appears you claimed the moderators are lenient, I basically said the moderators aren't, now you state you didn't claim it.
"As"