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In the vein of the inclusion project, and the long list of posts about rude comments being a network wide issue...

Could we perhaps extend the consequences of rude comments to the network level?

Some have suggested rate throttling, some have suggested comment banning, some have suggested auto flagging. All of which sound like pretty good solutions to me. But I suspect that these initiatives will fall short on an issue I find particularly irritating...

It seems like we have users who tend to behave pretty well, on their home site/s, but tend to behave poorly when they're visiting other communities. As in the user isn't new, has accumulated some rep, and seems to be aware of, and obeys the rules on the site where their primary account lives... But doesn't seem to care much if they're violating "be nice" on another network site.

I obviously can't prove the theory, but I suspect that part of the problem is that these problem tourists aren't personally invested in the sites where they're being rude, so they don't have much of a reason to care if they get suspended from those sites.

I'm thinking that if the consequences of poor behavior were network wide, it may be more of a deterrent. If you get suspended from The Workplace for being rude, you're also suspended on Stack Overflow and vice versa.

To be clear I'm primarily talking about handling rude/abusive situations. The guidelines regarding that are uniform and network wide.

I realize that network wide bans tend to be seen as an extreme solution, but I'm having trouble thinking of a better one.

If not network wide consequences, is there a better solution to the rude tourist problem?

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    So... "The beating will continue until morale improves"? – Shog9 May 2 '18 at 23:18
  • @Shog9 it certainly appears that way. – apaul May 2 '18 at 23:28
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    What happens if a user is banned for more than a month on one site but is otherwise a model user on the other sites they participate or merely visit? Do you think that user should also be banned from the other sites where their behaviour is more than acceptable? – Mari-Lou A May 2 '18 at 23:31
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    @Mari-Lou A effectively yes, that's exactly what I was suggesting. – apaul May 2 '18 at 23:35
  • @Mari-Lou A Tim yesterday banned without warning from the chat some really know users, to follow the new policy, banned from all chat, BUT, at the moment a user can comment on a site and insult pretty bad, and he got only a warning, after a ban, and restart again on another site ? The moderation is not egal and fair in that matter. – yagmoth555 May 2 '18 at 23:47
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    And if the suspension was due to a personality clash, which for whatever reason, does not happen elsewhere on the network you would say that person should pay, but really pay. We're not talking about sock puppets, not talking about revenge downvoting, we're not talking about voting irregularities, but whether another person offends another. Where would you draw the line? Character assassination, defamation or perceived "not being niceness"? How many times must that person be rude in order to deserve a network suspension? – Mari-Lou A May 2 '18 at 23:47
  • @yagmoth555 Sorry, but I don't know who this Tim is, and I don't think it's relevant here. Let's keep individual's names out. – Mari-Lou A May 2 '18 at 23:49
  • @Mari-Lou A Lets agree we dont agree, as for me its revelant. if a user got 3 warnings, got banned. You support the fact that on the other site he will got only warning for the same behavior? I dont support a full network ban, but each time a warning is done for a rude comment, a user was on the receiving side for that comment. – yagmoth555 May 2 '18 at 23:57
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    @yagmoth555 I think you massively overestimate the ability to have a common moderation policy across sites that are as diverse as Religion, Politics, Workplace, SO and gaming. You think you know what is "rude" on an absolute level, but different sites have different perceptions of what is "abusive". I would not want a moderator on a gaming site decide about my access to a site I need for my job based on whether or not he likes what I say. (This is not a fictional example). – nvoigt May 3 '18 at 9:50
  • @nvoigt I agree we can have a debate for what is rude. But can we agree that a comment like ´better kill yourself than dooing X’ leave no place to interpretation, as I already seen such. For me insult and extreme case is universal. – yagmoth555 May 3 '18 at 11:36
  • @yagmoth555 So who decides on what is an "extreme case"? I agree with you, it's just that I have been banned for "being abusive" for criticizing a moderators action. Mind you, criticizing actions, not any personal insults or harsh language. I don't want a gaming site's moderators' feelings have an impact on a work site. – nvoigt May 3 '18 at 11:43
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    @yagmoth555 Sounds good in theory. In Practice is can take weeks before a CM even looks at your appeal, and what else would they be able to say than "we trust our mods"? – nvoigt May 3 '18 at 13:15
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    @Mari-LouA From what I've seen there's an awful lot of leniency built in to the system. Users often get away with behaving poorly for quite a while before any serious per-site consequences kick in. What I'm suggesting is that users who show up in a new community, purely to post hate speech and be offensive, face consequences that they'd be a little more inclined to care about. – apaul May 3 '18 at 14:21
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    @Shog9 The beating of one problematic user can sometimes raise the moral of an entire community. – apaul May 3 '18 at 14:22
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    @yagmoth555 I'm assuming he means "beating" as in "our team beat the enemy"... beat = defeat. – Catija May 3 '18 at 16:49
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The Stack Exchange Community Management Team is - rightfully - reticent to apply any suspension network-wide without their own intervention.

The reality is that users who are problematic on one site may have spotless records on the other sites that they use - and may even be considered one of the more helpful users on that site. There have been many times that I've wished a particularly troublesome user on IPS could get the book thrown at them network-wide but I don't think that I can agree with imposing automatic network-wide suspensions, even if it's only in the case of rude or abusive suspensions.

There are definitely some downsides to your suggested solution. One that comes to mind is that it would likely only ever work once per user (if that) because once a user gets a network-wide suspension for being rude on one site, they'll quickly learn to use sock puppets instead of their main accounts. This would make it more difficult to track their network-wide behavior and possibly make that behavior worse.

You say in a comment:

The beating of one problematic user can sometimes raise the moral [sic] of an entire community.

While some of the members of that community may feel victorious and redouble their efforts, not all of the users will agree that a network-wide suspension is warranted. Some may even decide to stop participating, unwilling to risk the same fate, particularly on sites where arguments are common.

Also, what if that user is an excellent user on another site. The community there will feel demoralized and confused to see a user who they may feel is the heart of their community suspended for actions that didn't take place locally and haven't directly affected them.


I'm the last person to argue that comments aren't a problem - they are - but I think that we have to try those ideas you've already set aside as "not enough" before we move to something so antithetical to the existing system of moderation being separate between communities (outside of chat).

  • Implement comment-limiting tools or modify existing tools in ways that reduce commenting in general.
    This can be in the form of comment rate limits based on histories or a merit system, changing who can comment on a site at all, or changing the terminology away from "comments" to something that makes them seem less "chatty"... there could be other options here, too... let's think about it!
  • Give moderators more information about comment history of users, autoflags, and a broader set of tools to moderate comments effectively.
    I have a feeling that this will be coming, so let's see which options can be implemented and how effective they are. I've written a few MSE and MSO posts about these, so I'm not going to go into them here. If more moderators are aware of problem comment users on their site, they may be warned or suspended sooner for their problematic behavior.
  • Let moderators see annotations and suspension summaries on common users between all sites.
    Many problem users are problematic across several sites. They aren't really going to change their stripes because they're on Super User instead of Cooking. I've seen users with 3-4 different site suspensions running at the same time. This ties in with this existing proposal: Allow moderators to see annotations or suspensions of a user from other sites
    Right now we're limited to asking whether a user is a problem elsewhere. We don't need their full suspension history and access to mod messages but quantity of suspensions and annotations/site or network-wide would be a good start. It'd also tell us who to ping if we wanted more details about their history.

These options, alone or in conjunction will help us catch and moderate these users sooner rather than waiting. If a user, for example, has several warnings/suspensions on other sites for poor or abusive use of comments, there's less reason to warn them first on a newly joined site. They already know the rules and have ignored them.

The other benefit to some of these options is that they're not limited to rude or abusive comments. They have broader application so they're less of a one-use tool (sledgehammer), which makes them more useful to moderators and less work for the developers.

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    I really don't like the sound of "Implement comment-limiting tools or modify existing tools in ways that reduce commenting in general" - on friendly sites, comments as very small-scale chat in the context of a question or answer are great; removing this would really devalue my favourite site IMO. – topo morto May 3 '18 at 7:13
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    Many tools are implemented on a per-site basis or are up to the moderators to implement. I don't think that saying "lots of sites are fine, let's not try to help the ones that have problems is fair to the sites where this is a huge problem. – Catija May 3 '18 at 11:37
  • Per-site basis sounds fine :) – topo morto May 3 '18 at 11:51
1

I would more support a in-between solution to leave a chance to the user. You get banned on site X for rudeness/abuse, then network wide all mod will know it, to not tolerate anymore from them for the same behavior for the suspension period.

The problem is that moderator on site X know the user, not all site know them and such bans are documented per-site.

A bit related to that feature request; Allow moderators to see annotations or suspensions of a user from other sites

0

Sounds like a good idea to me. The more we can get across the idea that no SE site is a place to go and get a cheap buzz by putting someone down, the nicer the network as a whole will be.

If there is a caveat, it's that harsher sanctions (which is what they would be, as they'd be broader in scope) arguably require better evidence - but it seems like a mix of automated and mod input into the process could be made to work.

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Could we extend the consequences of rude comments to the network level?

Stack exchange could, but I don't think it's a good idea. That's because I don't think there's any big issue here that needs fixing. But I do think that if stack exchange changed the system, maybe there would be a big problem.

In the vein of the inclusion project, and the long list of posts about rude comments being a network wide issue... Could we perhaps extend the consequences of rude comments to the network level?

That might be OK if moderation was perfect, but what if it isn't?

Some have suggested rate throttling, some have suggested comment banning, some have suggested auto flagging. All of which sound like pretty good solutions to me. But I suspect that these initiatives will fall short on an issue I find particularly irritating...

What I find particularly irritating are moderators who turn a blind eye to rude comments from their friends, and then penalise the guy who answers back. You don't want to be giving those guys any more power.

It seems like we have users who tend to behave pretty well, on their home site/s, but tend to behave poorly when they're visiting other communities. As in the user isn't new, has accumulated some rep, and seems to be aware of, and obeys the rules on the site where their primary account lives... But doesn't seem to care much if they're violating "be nice" on another network site.

I haven't noticed that myself.

I obviously can't prove the theory

And there's the problem.

but I suspect that part of the problem is that these problem tourists aren't personally invested in the sites where they're being rude, so they don't have much of a reason to care if they get suspended from those sites.

Again, I haven't noticed this happening, and if you can't prove it, there's no case for any action.

I'm thinking that if the consequences of poor behavior were network wide, it may be more of a deterrent.

There already seems to be a network-wide chat ban. I don't think there should be myself.

If you get suspended from The Workplace for being rude, you're also suspended on Stack Overflow and vice versa.

I don't think that should happen. The current arrangement is that the moderator moderates one site.

To be clear I'm primarily talking about handling rude/abusive situations. The guidelines regarding that are uniform and network wide.

Again you're assuming moderation is perfect. It isn't, and Stack Exchange don't have the resources or the will to address that. See this question where Tim Post said they were going to close down abusive chatrooms instead of tackling any moderation issues therein.

I realize that network wide bans tend to be seen as an extreme solution, but I'm having trouble thinking of a better one. If not network wide consequences, is there a better solution to the rude tourist problem?

I'm sorry, but I don't recognise this as a problem. But +1 anyway for having the courage to speak up about something you perceive to be a problem, even though I don't concur.

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