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TL;DR: I'm a moderator in Web Applications, and I was elected in 2020.

When I have considered to take a tough decision, like suspend a user, I have discussed it privately. One of my major concerns is the nonexistence of a core community and the low participation in moderation and in the per-site meta, but my biggest concern is that the most active users in per-site meta lately have become active to make posts to rant/dispute closed questions in a non-constructive, positive way. On their enquiries they have asked if I'm consulting other moderators, they complained that a moderator unilaterally did something, etc.

As the experienced users know, details of moderator private discussions should not be shared publicly, and moderator votes are binding. Here are several questions were these situations have already been discussed.

I have being refraining myself from editing these posts.

Should I leave these posts as they are despite that they might drive away others from participate in Meta or motivate others to think that this is the "correct" behavior in a per-site meta?

Is it OK if I edit these posts, i.e., to make the title neutral and remove chitchat from the body? Or should I add a tag to these questions that might require improvement like as occurs here?


Here in Meta Stack Exchange there are several elements providing guidance to those who want to provide feedback, criticism, complain, and dispute a moderator action like

One way to see these guidelines is as they are intended to help users to "survive" in Meta Stack Exchange as some community members might react "negatively", i.e., by downvoting, flagging, and voting to close posts that are not constructive or have other defects.

Some generous users might fix "small" post problems like typos, spelling, grammar errors, remove chitchat, expletives, among other stuff when it might be possible do that without changing the OP's original intention.

Unfortunately in some per-site meta that kind or participation from generous users helping to curate meta posts to keep the per-site meta looking healthy and friendly might not be happening at all, or might happen slowly.

P.S. There is an experimental Chrome extension, Tune, that hides toxic comments on some sites like YouTube. I think that the Perspective API that powers this Chrome extension or something similar might be used together with the Stack Exchange JavaScript library or API to have an objective metric, but it will take me some time to complete my research and develop a concept.

References

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    I’m not very familiar with Web Applications SE, but a tag like that would very likely be a meta tag. I’m not sure about your actual question, though
    – cocomac
    Apr 8, 2023 at 21:45
  • Thanks for you reply @cocomac. per-site meta might allow exceptions to main site rules , like the mandatory and status tags.
    – Rubén
    Apr 8, 2023 at 21:48
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    "a tag for tag for rant posts, rant which provide guidance for constructive rants" wow, heck no, never. Rants are inherently not able to be constructive, since all they do is identify the issues from one individual's perspective in an antagonistic manner. If it's pointing out an objective problem, seeking discussion of validity or extent, or suggesting and developing solutions, it isn't ranting, it's problem-solving.
    – Nij
    Apr 9, 2023 at 0:56
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    "Should I leave these posts as they are despite that they might drive away others from participate in Meta or motivate others to think that this is the "correct" behavior in a per-site meta?" If they're not prompting reasonable discussion or providing potentially reasonable solutions to na issue faced by the site, they're not on-topic for the meta site anyway. Close as needing focus or details or clarity, comment that users are perfectly entitled to be unhappy and entirely welcome to point out issues in a constructive way.
    – Nij
    Apr 9, 2023 at 1:00
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    "Unfortunately in some per-site meta that kind or participation from generous users helping to curate meta posts to keep the per-site meta looking healthy and friendly might not be happening at all, or might happen slowly." If the community can't or won't keep things tidy, moderators must step in. Again, users are entirely welcome to contribute positively by voting, editing, and suggesting improvements. If they're choosing to not do that, well, consequences are not a buffet.
    – Nij
    Apr 9, 2023 at 1:03
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    What are the most problematic meta-posts? I read some posts on webapps.meta.stackexchange.com and noticed in some a rude tone, may I be wrong due to cultural difference but, tending to exaction. Apr 9, 2023 at 7:16
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    "The most active users in per-site meta lately have become active to make posts to rant/dispute closed questions in a non-constructive, positive way." I disagree: the posts are typically constructive. Some users are puzzled by some of your moderation actions (e.g., suspending a user for low-quality questions even though they had posted only 5 questions in the last 2 months, and the only closed questions were due to a new policy you unilaterally introduced after these questions were posted) and try to either understand them and/or constructively argue. Anyway, maybe you should give examples. Apr 9, 2023 at 23:58
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    Could you please provide some examples of the Web Apps SE meta posts you are referring to? As you may already know, I’m one of the posters there and I’m curious if you are referring to any of my meta posts. I always try to make my meta posts constructive and detailed and avoid ranting. It would be helpful for the readers of this post if you could point out which meta posts you find problematic. Apr 10, 2023 at 3:13
  • @galacticninja You have made a good collection of them in your last post in Web Applications Meta.
    – Rubén
    Apr 19, 2023 at 19:36
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    @Rubén You mean this post? I've mentioned several. Can you point out which ones, specifically, "rant/dispute closed questions in a non-constructive, positive way"? I think this would be more helpful than vaguely alluding to them. Apr 20, 2023 at 4:49

1 Answer 1

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There's a lot to unpack here - and I will start with this

One of my major concerns is the nonexistence of a core community and the low participation in moderation and in the per-site meta

This in itself is a fairly fundamental problem that needs addressing. Investing in (re)building the cores of communities and attracting folks who left for the 'right' reasons to return ought to be a key thing SE works on. Healthy meta spaces - with users who care for the site is a serious force multiplier for moderators. And even 'big' sites like Super User have had much quieter and quietening metas over the years.

my biggest concern is that the most active users in per-site meta lately have become active to make posts to rant/dispute closed questions in a non-constructive, positive way.

No one ever uses meta because they're happy with the status quo. As someone who's probably one of the more meta-enthusiastic denizens of the network, I'm here because there's constantly things I'd love the people in charge to do better.

I love to speak of verbal ju-jitsu. Ranty disputes of closed questions and non constructive complaints ought to be dealt with care and respect. It is an opportunity to set down the rules and the boundaries of what's acceptable. If someone is being unreasonable, rather than getting into an argument, its useful to let the weight of their argument do the necessary work.

Should I leave these posts as they are despite that they might drive away others from participate in Meta or motivate others to think that this is the "correct" behavior in a per-site meta?

If constructive posts get better results than a ranty one, people will notice. Negative examples sometimes have value. When working with a community, its worth looking at both the individual situation and the broader culture you aim to foster. If its a valuable point that's completely lost under a rant, editing it is worth it. OP's going to care more that it went their way than you edited. However sometimes if someone's mostly being ranty and negative and you're the reasonable one, its worth letting them vent a bit.

We motivate others to correct behaviour through the one thing we can control - our actions.

Unfortunately in some per-site meta that kind or participation from generous users helping to curate meta posts to keep the per-site meta looking healthy and friendly might not be happening at all, or might happen slowly.

Healthy sites need healthy metas - there's a range of reasons, from discoverability to folks burning out/drifting away/quitting.

There's no easy solution (and parts of it need the network to be redesigned to make it more obvious where meta is and a period of onboarding people who drift in).

As a moderator, I'd suggest not having scripts that hide the worst of comments, simply cause we need to delete them a lot of the time :D

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  • Do mods get to select what's "Featured"? I'm thinking one idea to attract meta interest would be for mods to think up some discussion topic ("of the week" or "month" or whatever) and mark it Featured in their particular meta. Featured meta posts get a sidebar on the main site. See Stack Overflow, which currently has 4 "Featured" posts in their meta. I made a suggestion that this could be more automatic, but manually marking Featured might help attract eyeballs.
    – JamieB
    Apr 12, 2023 at 14:20
  • We do - though its underused. Apr 12, 2023 at 14:54
  • @JamieB Thanks for the suggestion. Something like that require a core community / group of users insterested to make something like a weekly discussion topic to work and effective to pull new users. Anyway, the featured has being used this year. I.E. Do we want embeded videos feature enabled in Web Applications? was asked 19 days ago, so far it has 69 views, 2 answers and 3 comments. The three posts have collected so far 7 upvotes / downvotes. Only three usernames are visible.
    – Rubén
    Apr 12, 2023 at 19:53

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