Mods' silent corrections to users' posts

Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171645)
In this post, calima wrote:
I wonder whether the admins could mark their edits of users' posts - rude to find out your post was edited without any indication as to who did so or why.

I have sometimes silently made corrections to spelling, grammar, or mechanics in other users' posts for the benefit of others reading the posts. Though some users consider it rude to silently edit a post, it is also rude to a post's author to put him or her down for having made errors that need to be corrected, and public indications that a post has been edited might be misinterpreted as a passive-aggressive way of doing that. It may also be rude to readers to disrupt the flow of reading a conversation with detailed "commit logs" on each post, especially if it is not the first in a topic. (This is why Stack Overflow encourages users to suggest edits to other users' questions and answers and puts each post's revision history on a separate page, though phpBB does not support either feature.)

I edited this post to add attribution for the image. Some operators of websites consider it rude to hotlink for a couple reasons. One is possibly outdated perceptions of the cost of long-haul Internet bandwidth, which may have dropped dramatically in the years since someone first started to operate his first site. Another is that authors of photos and illustrations feel they deserve credit for having created those copyrighted images, and the law agrees with them (as codified in attribution laws such as 17 USC 1202). A fair use defense requires having acted in good faith, and I feel attribution is one of the elements of establishing clean hands.

So when a site operator reads server logs and finds people hotlinking too often, he will try one of three things. One is to add a rule to the web server's configuration to produce a 403 Forbidden status when the value of the Referer header isn't an approved site. The other is to replace the image with disturbing pornography, as textfiles did to a bunch of MySpace users (NSFW: Goatse). And even if the image is on a site that explicitly tolerates hotlinking, such as Imgur, the author could do a third thing: sue for infringement. So I silently edited in an attribution to deter the website from taking measures against hotlinking because at least the site has a possibility of getting visits out of the deal.

After the complaint, I edited calima's post again to provide a notice that I had edited the post. I've put up a poll about what to do in the future, especially until such time as phpBB supports revision history for each post.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171646)
I was wrong for not including attribution, however tepples's edit significantly changed the meaning of my post, making it look like I endorse a store. As such, not finding any indication for who did the edit or for what cause was rather disconcerting.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171657)
tepples wrote:
I have sometimes silently made corrections to spelling, grammar, or mechanics in other users' posts for the benefit of others reading the posts.

Count me among those that think this is extremely rude to make any kind of silent edit to anyone's post but your own.

It is absolutely not your job as a moderator to decide what people mean. It is acceptable to make an edit to someone's post to resolve a matter of policy, abuse, violation of rules, etc. It is not acceptable to correct something you think is a spelling or logical or other mistake. If you think it needs to be corrected, mention it to them, either in the thread, or in PM if you want. It is up to them to correct themselves. DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN WORDS IN THEIR MOUTH, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT'S WHAT THEY MEANT. If they don't want to change it, or are absent, leave it. Again, don't put your words in someone else's mouth.

tepples wrote:
It may also be rude to readers to disrupt the flow of reading a conversation with detailed "commit logs" on each post.

If you have made ANY edit to a post not your own I think it is very rude NOT to leave a note explaining it. If you make a non-trivial edit to your own posts, you should still mark it so that people who have already read the thread aren't confused when they come back.


All of this is also part of the reason I find thread splits very offensive. While you don't seem to change people's words when you do it, you certainly change the context of them, which does alter their meaning as well.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171660)
tepples wrote:
Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a question and answer reference site, not a forum for discussion. Please do not use it as a model for how to moderate this forum. People do ask questions and give answers here, but this place is much more importantly a public place to talk and share ideas.

We have a separate place for collaboratively edited reference material. Forum posts might be used as reference, if relevant, but they should never be modified to become reference, unless by their original author.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171664)
rainwarrior wrote:
It is acceptable to make an edit to someone's post to resolve a matter of policy, abuse, violation of rules, etc.

That encourages the expansion of definition of "policy" and "abuse".

Quote:
It is not acceptable to correct something you think is a spelling or logical or other mistake. If you think it needs to be corrected, mention it to them, either in the thread, or in PM if you want.

If editing others' posts is unacceptable, and a post's author fails to apply a diff sent by another user through a private message in a reasonable time, should I take this as meaning that you believe it is acceptable for another user to post a public reply containing a spelling-nazi diff seven days later?

Quote:
DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN WORDS IN THEIR MOUTH, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT'S WHAT THEY MEANT.

Should I take this as implying that it's polite to reply publicly to what a user said, even if I know it is not what the user meant?

Quote:
All of this is also part of the reason I find thread splits very offensive. While you don't seem to change people's words when you do it, you certainly change the context of them, which does alter their meaning as well.

What means of correcting the derailment of a topic is not "very offensive" to you? If you answer to the effect "none", then I plan to describe an extreme case.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171665)
One issue with moderator edits as that you lose the ability to edit your own posts after a moderator has done it.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171666)
Dwedit wrote:
One issue with moderator edits as that you lose the ability to edit your own posts after a moderator has done it.

Is this documented anywhere?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171667)
While I'm not a mod any longer (by choice/unrelated to this subject), I will give my two cents (esp. given my background):

Editing a users' post, no matter how positive the intentions (and I think everyone here would universally agree that tepples, you're a great guy and always have positive intentions!) is considered inappropriate, or bare minimum considered "bad form". Most people I know of would NOT be participating on a forum where this happens, even if done in good faith.

There is no way I'd consider editing actual words/sentences of someone though (this includes "attribution for fair use") -- if I had issues with it, I'd send them a PM asking if they could edit it themselves. I believe I edited users post at one point to fix a URL that was wrong (I think it was a sticky? I forget), but even doing that made me feel awkward.

A person's words (including mistakes, bad decisions, etc.) are his/hers alone. Positive or inflammatory, accurate or inaccurate, references provided or lack thereof, they need to remain *their* (unedited) words. Anything else starts to breed a Ministry of Truth scenario, and the direct effect of this is that the community will bail (or riot). For the moderators, the repercussions (even if their intentions were 100% positive 100% of the time) weigh heavily on the psyche.

This isn't about transparency either -- transparency isn't needed when by not editing posts the entire issue become moot.

Also, consider volatile situations (there has been an example lately, re: people showing up to bother psychopathicteen), where in situations like that possibly the thread content could become reference material in legal matters. If mods have edited things (for whatever reason), this becomes precarious at best (expect a subpoena, etc.).

My point is that the ramifications of editing people's posts go a lot deeper than one initially might think. I don't want to sit around pontificating them for days -- I'm a person with high enough stress levels as is! -- but sometimes even the most innocuous good faith efforts can have dire consequences unconsidered at the time.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171670)
I reverted my own edits to calima's post and instead offered my correction as a reply, as a sample of what sort of posts this policy is likely to encourage. While doing so, I noticed that the checkbox "Lock post [Prevent editing]" below the edit was unchecked. If all edits by a moderator blocked further edits by the author, then why would there be a checkbox to do so? I'm seriously not understanding the mechanism through which this behavior happens.

Do I need to leave for a while?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171671)
I pretty much agree with rainwarrior on every point he made.

tepples wrote:
Quote:
DO NOT PUT YOUR OWN WORDS IN THEIR MOUTH, EVEN IF YOU THINK IT'S WHAT THEY MEANT.

Should I take this as implying that it's polite to reply publicly to what a user said, even if I know it is not what the user meant?

As far as I can tell, that's called being a smart-ass, and many people don't appreciate that. If you think something is ambiguous, the polite thing to do would probably be to ask the poster what he meant, possibly offering reworded alternatives for HIM to choose whether to make your words his.

Quote:
Do I need to leave for a while?

Why? Just don't go editing people's posts based on OCD rather than actual necessity. :wink:
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171676)
A forum is different from a wiki.

Moderator edits to user posts should be reserved for urgent problems, like inappropriate conduct (doxxing, malicious links, etc), things that go out of control, or anything that would make everything explode.

Other edits, such as spelling corrections, URL corrections, etc, may be in good faith, but aren't a moderator's job. Same with incorrect information, a reply with the corrected information is preferred, since that's just normal discussion.

Finally, all moderator edits need to be disclosed in the edited post, because the edits are not the user's intent, but winds up attributed to them anyway, which is always a bad thing everywhere.

Edit: "Things that go out of control" can apply to rampant offtopic discussion in a thread, but a split (or other action) isn't really necessary unless the OP requests it, or several posters agree on it. It's only "off topic" when everyone agrees that it adds nothing to the discussion. :P
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171677)
tepples wrote:
Do I need to leave for a while?

Absolutely not! tokumaru's advice is the same as my own; just don't do it (edit posts) and I think all will be well. :-) You deserve kudos in discussing it all openly and with the community; a lot of forums I frequent wouldn't have done that.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171679)
tepples wrote:
Should I take this as implying that it's polite to reply publicly to what a user said, even if I know it is not what the user meant?

No, not at all. If you respond to what someone said knowing they meant something else, you're being a pedantic ass.

tepples wrote:
rainwarrior wrote:
It is acceptable to make an edit to someone's post to resolve a matter of policy, abuse, violation of rules, etc.

That encourages the expansion of definition of "policy" and "abuse".

The whole point of having a moderator is so that someone can make a call about whether something is abuse or not.

tepples wrote:
If editing others' posts is unacceptable, and a post's author fails to apply a diff sent by another user through a private message in a reasonable time, should I take this as meaning that you believe it is acceptable for another user to post a public reply containing a spelling-nazi diff seven days later?

You're making a false comparison here. Part of it is that you want to use the word "rude" to evaluate administrative action vs. someone's honest comment, or maybe part of it is an assumption that all rudeness is equal, or that you can do anything practical at all without being at least a little rude to somebody in the process.

It is, in general, rude to correct someone's spelling if it's not affecting comprehension in a significant way; unless you think they would appreciate spelling instruction. Given that this is not a forum about learning the English language, it's probably off-topic in most cases. It's still acceptable to leave a reply about it. It's also acceptable to reply to that reply criticizing them for being a pedantic ass. (There are, in fact, polite/tactful ways to correct someone's spelling subtly, too. Also, sometimes being a little bit rude is amusing. This is a whole topic of its own. Please do not split the thread for this.)

tepples wrote:
What means of correcting the derailment of a topic is not "very offensive" to you? If you answer to the effect "none", then I plan to describe an extreme case.

My answer is that I wish splits were not a feature the forum had, but that's not the point. The purpose of moderators is to have a human evaluate when something has gone too far. In my opinion, not changing the meaning of what people are saying is far more important than keeping threads on topic. Again, forum threads are a historical record of a dialogue, they are not collaborative reference material. If it has gone too far, I'd prefer a locked thread to a split, as a lock preserves meaning, but that's me.

Again, perfectly acceptable to post a "stay on topic" reply too, long before we reach an "extreme case".

koitsu wrote:
Editing a users' post, no matter how positive the intentions (and I think everyone here would universally agree that tepples, you're a great guy and always have positive intentions!) is considered inappropriate, or bare minimum considered "bad form". Most people I know of would NOT be participating on a forum where this happens, even if done in good faith.

Yes, I'd leave forever, in a heartbeat, if I knew it was happening.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171709)
As far as I can remember, most splits that I have performed have been requested and/or seconded by another user. Often the exact point was PM'd to me.

So were these "fairy was here" edits inappropriate?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171710)
tepples wrote:
As far as I can remember, most splits that I have performed have been requested and/or seconded by another user. Often the exact point was PM'd to me.

I brought up splits because they were relevant to the issue at hand of loss of authenticity/context/meaning for the original authors involved. (Even when I'm not the author I find them confusing, though, as a reader, as they inhibit my ability to remember the course of the conversation.)

If you think they're warranted, I'll abide by them, but I'll probably never agree that a thread split is a good idea. It never fails to disorient me, and I've posted to the wrong thread on many occasions because of it.

I've complained about specific splits in the past, but every time I've done so it's because I had just suffered some kind of confusion because of it. (I get similar confusion when posts change their subjects, or move across forums long after creation, etc.)

tepples wrote:
So were these "fairy was here" edits inappropriate?

Absolutely inappropriate, though doing it silently would be even worse.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171711)
rainwarrior wrote:
tepples wrote:
So were these "fairy was here" edits inappropriate?

Absolutely inappropriate, though doing it silently would be even worse.

I disagree: I appreciate(d) the syntax edit(s) made to my posts. Spelling and mechanics edits are more an overreach.

I also disagree about thread splits: I like them. it's nicer if a new topic has a new thread, even if it wasn't originally started as one. It makes things harder to find. If threadsplits link the thread from which they were split, then the context is still available. (Moreover, the times I've requested a threadsplit, it was requested by Tepples that the posts be clearly one or the other, or it wasn't as good an idea: and it's not like he can split off half a post, except by just going in and editing it).

For instance, it feels weird to me that, say, that FDSstick? topic is titled something nontrivially related ("perfect sound on FDS without FDS"?), and therefore is harder to find.

Splits and edits should never be silent, though.

tepples wrote:
Should I take this as implying that it's polite to reply publicly to what a user said, even if I know it is not what the user meant?
You already do that, frequently. And usually obviously not what they meant. It's usually funny, but a bit off-the-wall and sometimes not contributing to the topic at hand.

It's a different issue from [silent] edits and from splits, though.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171722)
In addition to being mostly by request of and/or seconded by another user, my splits are not silent. I document the context of the original topic at the top of the new topic by editing the first [quote] element in the first post to use the formula "In this post, username wrote:". What makes this insufficient?

At this point, despite my positive intentions, I'm not sure that my moderation does more good than harm. I'm an acceptable poster, but I've proven myself a terrible moderator for so long that I'm not sure it's forgivable anymore. With the unrelated resignation of koitsu, and with the adequate demonstration of my own unworthiness, where does Memblers find another moderator?

I'm told that both silent correction and vocal correction are rude to the author, but no correction at all is rude to subsequent readers. Despite this, I'm told that politeness to the author trumps politeness to subsequent readers because forums are for discussion, not for reference. Unfindable topics, unreadable individual posts, and derailed topics left alone by moderators are preferable to beautiful discussion well organized by moderators because that's how the respective authors prefer it, and as rainwarrior and Drag pointed out, we have a wiki for reference. So how do we encourage forum users to take the initiative to summarize the conclusion of each topic to the wiki?

On Slashdot, I was told that phrasing things in the form of a question, especially rhetorical questions, was a bad habit of mine. So I tried to change my habits by using more indirect phrasing for questions. In this post, I discovered that a formula that I had used for such indirect questions had become a catchphrase, and I inferred that this catchphrase had become annoying to at least two users. I tried to consciously add more variety to my forms of a question, but in this post, I was dinged even for that. Perhaps I ask too many questions period. Is it just that I've been around here too long and that my post count is too high?

Or perhaps I'm accidentally misinterpreting things said to me. If I am misinterpreting something, please feel free to describe what was meant, and preferably explain the point that I most likely missed that distinguishes my interpretation from the intended one.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171727)
tepples wrote:
At this point, despite my positive intentions, I'm not sure that my moderation does more good than harm. I'm an acceptable poster, but I've proven myself a terrible moderator for so long that I'm not sure it's forgivable anymore. With the unrelated resignation of koitsu, and with the adequate demonstration of my own unworthiness,
Emphases seem like gross exaggeration to me.

As for the question thing/"wonders whether", 1. is not about you in your capacity as moderator and 2. is something you are being lightly teased for, not attacked.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171734)
I don't think you're a bad moderator, but if something you do bothers me I mention it. Most of what a good moderator does goes unseen, so probably the only comments you'll get on it are negative.

I did mean what I said about leaving. If I found moderators were editing my posts I would not want to be here at all.


I'm not pro derailed-topics, I'm just against the split feature, or renaming topics. I come back to conversations I was watching and have no idea where they are anymore. I don't have this experience on any other phpBB forum, because I've never seen any mods use this feature so heavily as you do.

I don't mind at all starting a new thread and encouraging one side of a discussion to continue there instead; I've seen you do that many times and I think it's good, much better than to reorganize the past.

It is important that records of threads be preserved, but it's not supposed to be tepples' personal library of organized answers to questions. You keep mentioning Stack Overflow, which I think is a terrible site, but also one with completely different goals. Yes, material in threads makes useful reference, but don't mangle the preserved conversations in the name of reference. Make referential links on the Wiki, or in new threads.

The most valuable resource when searching these forum archives is people who were here for the conversations, know what has been talked about, and have memories of past threads. Old users know how to find the old threads, when to look for them, etc. and will search for them and link them to new users asking new questions. I think it's really important to leave things as they are so that we can take advantage of the long memories of our users.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171738)
Myask wrote:
tepples wrote:
I've proven myself a terrible moderator

Emphases seem like gross exaggeration to me.

You might have missed the terrible incident.

rainwarrior wrote:
Make referential links on the Wiki

Again:
tepples wrote:
So how do we encourage forum users to take the initiative to summarize the conclusion of each topic to the wiki?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171739)
tepples wrote:
I'm told that both silent correction and vocal correction are rude to the author, but no correction at all is rude to subsequent readers.

It's simply wrong to treat these three things as equivalent concerns.

There are cases where it's very reasonable to ask for a correction; in general it would be because you honestly had a hard time understanding it yourself.

There are also cases where it's demeaning, or insulting, or a waste of everyone's time to publicly ask, i.e. where the meaning was already clear, but use your judgement on this.

If it would be insulting to ask them, making an annotated edit without their permission is a lot more insulting. You're taking away their agency. Maybe you think it's rude to other readers to leave it in, but that rudeness is THEIR PREROGATIVE, NOT YOURS.

Forum posts are always attributed to someone; any silent edit is gaslighting, both to the author and anyone else who already read it. I think this is reprehensible. This is an act of rudeness on an entirely different scale than correcting someone's grammar.

Leaving spelling mistakes in a reference work like the wiki is undesirable, but you're encouraged to correct those. Do you understand why that's a completely different situation?


I'll put it another way. Everybody here is capable of spotting errors in others' posts. You are not alone in this, and I don't believe you're arrogant enough to think your judgement is better than everyone else's. Do you think we should all be able to edit each others' posts when we see errors? Why would you think it's appropriate for you to use your moderator privilege to do so?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171740)
It should be obvious, as one who has requested a number of splits, I'm obviously in favor of them.

I usually believe it's better to have a single concept in a thread, especially if a tangent arises in a manner that would encourage people to talk about things prior to the tangent and the tangent at the same time. (Obvious counterexample: this thread )

I'm not certain about moderators editing posts. Certainly in this instance I think it was justified and helpful, although should have been explicitly called out. The instance that I assume relates to why koitsu is no longer a moderator I consider fully justified. This ancient one (as it affected me) just confuses me. Occasionally I reread posts that I made and think that that was not the phrasing I had used, but I'm not really bothered by it ... but visible attribution would at least keep me from doubting myself.

OTOH, I clearly would make a terrible moderator, at least in Rainwarrior's view, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171742)
tepples wrote:
So how do we encourage forum users to take the initiative to summarize the conclusion of each topic to the wiki?

This question seems out of the blue to me, but I think you've already taken two different effective approaches in the past:
  • Do it yourself, mention it, link the wiki page, encourage others to review it.
  • Or just vocally suggest that someone should.

tepples wrote:
without said gross spelling errors?

The Wiki isn't a transcription of the forums. How is this relevant?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171743)
I realize that I just deleted my own post before I noticed that you had edited a reply to it into your post. Is that also "absolutely unacceptable"?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171746)
I don't think editing or deleting your own posts is unacceptable. It's doing it to others that really bothers me.

(I often add things to a dangling post of mine, hoping I'll finish before somebody catches it. I consider this a bad habit, but I do it anyway.)

(...did you want me to delete the quote and reply I made of your deleted post?)
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171754)
tepples wrote:
You might have missed the terrible incident.
All that really made me think is that you're too hard on yourself.

rainwarrior wrote:
Make referential links on the Wiki

tepples wrote:
So how do we encourage forum users to take the initiative to summarize the conclusion of each topic to the wiki?

"Be Bold!"
Getting others to do it? I dunno.

Quote:
(I often add things to a dangling post of mine, hoping I'll finish before somebody catches it. It's a bad habit)
And here I was under the expectation that it was expected to avoid the stigma of double-posting...which, like necromancy, is a board-peculiar etiquette policy decision.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171755)
What was meant in that reply can be guessed from what you quoted, so I'll reply to it.

rainwarrior wrote:
Do it yourself, mention it, link the wiki page, encourage others to review it.

I lack the time to do this for all forum topics that I consider remotely relevant while still fulfilling my obligations to my other jobs.

rainwarrior wrote:
Or just vocally suggest that someone should.

Such of my suggestions are not fulfilled as often as I would like.

rainwarrior wrote:
The Wiki isn't a transcription of the forums. How is this relevant?

What you wrote earlier made it sound like the wiki is the product and the forums are the process. Thus the wiki isn't a direct transcription of the forums, but it is intended as a citable representation of the information discovered and/or created through the forums. The proposed rule, as best I understand it, is "if you want to make information in the forums readable, you need to rewrite the whole thing in your own words on the wiki."

Myask wrote:
All that really made me think is that you're too hard on yourself.

That or giving myself a break to keep from contributing to escalation of drama.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171759)
(Self edited. )

I also think tepples should remain a mod...for 2 reasons. 1. He has free time.
2. He reads every post.

Also, ...detail oriented.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171761)
tepples wrote:
The proposed rule, as best I understand it, is "if you want to make information in the forums readable, you need to rewrite the whole thing in your own words on the wiki."

Well, I'm not sure I'd have put it that way, but yes. Compile information on the Wiki, and don't make revisions to the forum conversations.

tepples wrote:
I lack the time to do this for all forum topics that I consider remotely relevant while still fulfilling my obligations to my other jobs.

So don't do it. There's no reason to put yourself out, and nobody else is obligated to improve the Wiki either. It'll never be perfect, but it's a great fountain of knowledge in its current state. Do what you can when you have the time and interest, but you don't owe it to anybody.

(It might help if there was someone else able to approving new users and moderating the wiki, though; you are a bottleneck there. Same goes for the forum itself.)

dougeff wrote:
I also think tepples should remain a mod.

I do too, if it wasn't clear. I just don't want any mod copyediting my posts.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171770)
I originally voted "Editing in a public notice that the post has been edited" because I didn't think much about what was meant by a "minor fix". I think small formatting fixes, like wrapping a source listing in a CODE tag, are fine, although even in that case it might be best to just let the user know that it'd be appreciated if he'd fix the post. That way I think there's a better chance that the user won't make the same mistake again. Grammatical fixes are way beyond what a moderator should do, though.

If any changes are made, they should absolutely be documented in the post, preferably without any added humor ("added code tags" instead of "bbcode fairy was here").
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171772)
I guess the confusion comes from Stack Overflow influence. On SO, users are actually expected and encouraged to edit other people's questions and answer to make them more comprehensible, fixe formatting, spelling and grammar. This system works great there, only once I think I had one of my questions edited to something I clearly didn't want and I had to revert.

Here it is a completely different thing, since anyone is responsible of their own posts. I am not fundamentally against spelling/grammar fixes as long as the content itself is not touched at all. However there is also probably 25 posts per day at least, do you imagine the work it'll take to check all those posts for spelling and grammar? That's an insane amount of work to do, and certainly isn't a moderator's job.

I never was a mod so I have no idea how it is like, but in my opinion a moderator's job (on the forums) would be to lock threads when people starts to insult themselves, to split threads when they derail too much, and to ban people who are here just to spam publicity insult other people (such as Psychopatetian's infamous enemy which has annoyed us here). So the hard part of the job is to come here as regularly in order to do those tasks as quickly as possible. In this regards, tepples you are a great moderator, as you have always done what has to be done daily without delay.

Checking the spelling/grammar of every single post would be a job which is too long, complex and annoying. However, on particular posts which have some major importance, such as stickys, or posts used as reference from the Wiki, I can see how this make sense but then the OP should be aware of it and have a way to accept/reject the changes.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171799)
Well, editing people post without telling them is a big no-no ;) But since I'm been here for a while and knows how Tepples do things, I'm not surprised that it happened:

That's Tepples way to make things perfect, to the point in as must details as possible but maybe without realizing that sometime you have to be careful to how far you go and how much impact emotionally this may have on people ;) But once you know Tepples and why this happens then you won't mind why and not be offended (I will let Tepples explain the why but he already done a long time ago in another thread). You just have to tell him that it's was a bad idea and explain why and it will be ok. But from an outsider point of view I can understand why people would be surprised!

As for putting everything in the wiki.. It's not the job of the moderator but the job of the community as a whole! If you take everything on your shoulder then it's become a job, not a hobby. Just put in the wiki what interest you and you will enjoy it. For the rest, it may be there someday, no rush!

As for grammar.. I suck in French, English and Japanese so I won't be good anytime soon! So I guess you should let it go about grammar, continue the good work as a moderator and if you need help, just ask! And when you fail, nobody is perfect you know, people of the forum will be there to correct you.

So don't worry Tepples, you don't need a break. You just didn't know that it was not the right thing to do. Now you know so you will be fine. Continue the good work!
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171803)
tepples wrote:
I have sometimes silently made corrections to spelling, grammar, or mechanics in other users' posts for the benefit of others reading the posts.


I'd just like to add ... fixing people's grammar and spelling mistakes is never going to end well.

Half the people will be offended you've done it, and the other half will take it as encouragement that they don't have to bother with grammar at all, because someone else will fix it for them.

In my own case, I stopped bothering to post on forums.freebsd.org because the moderators made this system with around 20 custom phpBB tags that only exist on their board for things like "this text is the name of a command-line utility", "this text is the name of a man page entry (and it must have the # that's associated with them present)", etc. Which certainly does make things easier for people who spend a lot of time on said forum and understand the tags.

But, the mods would correct your posts if you neglected to do it, and would leave snarky comments in the "reason for editing" field. It made me feel I was causing too much work for them, but I didn't want to learn 20 new custom phpBB tags, so eventually I just stopped posting there instead.

Going back to my own forum, I've had to deal with this three or four times (my forum has 1/6th the members yours does, but close to the same number of active ones, so this isn't too common an issue), but I'll get these people who just have zero regard for grammar and spelling.

I'm fully tolerant of English as a second language types. Being someone who has spent years studying a second language, I know how hard it is. And I know what a clusterfuck English is.

But I'll get these people that post utter shit like, "lol idk y r u mad?", and I will ask them to please refrain from teenage cellphone text slang. That alone would be fine, but these types always seem to be the ones to completely ignore me. After asking them politely several times (three or more), and having them ignore me immediately after, I've gotten fed up and banned two of them.

And now there are a few people on my forums that like to point out that I ban people just for spelling mistakes. But that was never my intention. It was more for being completely ignored repeatedly. When you're a moderator/admin and you ask someone not to do something, everyone else sees that. And when someone blows you off completely time and time again, it gives the impression that you have no authority or backbone. Ironically, if you don't then ban someone, then everyone assumes they can ignore the staff with no consequences.

So, I really don't know what to do about spelling and grammar mistakes.
* editing is clearly harmful
** either the user gets outraged, or
** the user is encouraged to keep making mistakes and causing you loads of extra work
* warning is clearly harmful
** it escalates into bans, which
** leads people to think you are a tyrant
* ignoring is clearly harmful
** it's painful to read text-speak, and tends to be corrosive to the intellectual level of the entire forum

Given the above, I go with warning. I'll take the badge of tyrant if that's what it takes. But I really hate all three options =(

There's also evidence that introvertedness is directly linked to how painful it is to deal with spelling and grammar issues:

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/articl ... ne.0149885

Or for a more readable version:

http://www.today.com/health/do-you-poin ... you-t84206

Speaking for myself at least, I am on the extreme end of being an introvert, so that likely explains a lot in my case. (I won't presume to place you on that scale, of course.)
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171804)
I was going to write a huge wall of text but I'll just reply to the poll question:

Q: Which is most appropriate for minor fixes to posts by moderators?
A: None of the above, minor fixes to posts by moderators are inappropriate.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171805)
I'm finding a little strange that the "Neither; let it be" option is getting so many votes, which I interpret as most people not minding having their posts silently edited.

Since there's no "don't edit people's posts" option, I wonder whether the "let it be" option is ambiguous enough to be interpreted as both "edit and don't say anything" and "don't edit at all"...

EDIT: Yes, I put the link to the "I wonder whether" thread, tepples didn't silently edit my post. :lol:
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171807)
I thought the "let it be" option meant don't edit the post.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171810)
See, I thought it meant "don't send a notice, but edit anyway". It's ambiguous, since these 2 options aren't available.

If I'm wrong, then I'd like to change my vote.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171812)
I feel like edits may be made to titles so that readers have a better understanding of the thread they are going into and only support edits to posts that are blatantly rude or very poor, destructive advice.

Otherwise, I don't like to see posts edited for reasons like grammar or spelling. Let the fools sound like fools.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171817)
I find unsolicited "fixes" to posts extremely offensive.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171819)
I've noticed once or twice that the title of my post had changed.

It didn't bother me at all. I assumed that it was for clarity of others visiting the forum. That seems a reasonable use.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171847)
@Tokumaru

I interpreted the last choice as "don't do anything". After reading it again, yep, it could be a little bit ambiguous.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171860)
I had a thread split for a conversation on Freedom Fries and I felt like the split changed the context of what I was saying.

I would have started the split when I mentioned that I felt the abbreviation of Compo was strange. As it stands, the thread starts midway in a conversation, which seems a bit out of place, and also narrows the scope of the conversation. If you read it now, it seems like the thread was started to talk about what a person in the USA should call themselves. Really, the talk was first about how Compo is a strange abbreviation, then the suggestion of "Compe" (jokingly) opposes the anti-french sentiment of the US, then someone is unfamiliar with anti-french sentiment in the US, then someone thinks Freedom Fries are funny, then someone says, don't worry, we hate the US in our country, etc, then there's a split.

It's a small thing but I just wanted to give an example on the topic of thread splits changing context. The talk was off-topic and if someone would have told me to hush or it would be split, I would have just dropped it, but it seemed like other people were enjoying the conversation at that point.

The thread looks now like I posted to ask a specific question about national identity, but really it was more of a freeform topic, and the question posed to start it was about the abbreviation of Compo.

tepples wrote:
At this point, despite my positive intentions, I'm not sure that my moderation does more good than harm. I'm an acceptable poster, but I've proven myself a terrible moderator for so long that I'm not sure it's forgivable anymore.
I highly doubt that anybody else here really thinks that. Like rainwarrior said, you only see the complaints. The amount of work you do here is nothing small. I'd say good luck finding someone to fill your shoes, honestly. (as in, sarcastically, as in, you're gonna be damn hard pressed to find someone to do so)

These matters, with spelling and grammar corrections, are really minimal compared to serious problems we could consider having with corrupt or lazy mods. Or worst of all, no NESdev forum at all. That's right, we are in no way entitled to even have this forum if people aren't willing to put the work into maintaining it. And these minor problems with corrections, you're posting about them to ask what people think and that adjusting accordingly. I'd hate to see anybody leave, but I think the number one lesson we learned here is, "never edit rainwarrior's posts" :D

(also, I know it's not considered grammatically correct but I will occasionally begin a sentence with and. It is intentional and I do it for a specific emphasis. I would appreciate this not to be changed.)
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171862)
I have gathered from previous posts that I have handled at least one derailment incorrectly in the past. Fortunately, in phpBB 3 (unlike phpBB 2), I can modify a previously performed split if it becomes apparent that the original split point was incorrect. So let me confirm that I have your order correct: Move your post through Bregalad's, except for INL's, into the topic Freedom fries, and revise your first moved post to reflect the split by linking to the previous topic, including a rename to "Etymology of 'compo'". Am I right?

I guess this means we're going to have to take time to discuss policy for how we will handle a topic whose author-provided title does not help readers find the topic and posts that derail a topic. Should each unuseful title or each split of a derailed topic be discussed publicly before action, such as a rename or a split, is taken? And if so, where?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171866)
tepples wrote:
So let me confirm that I have your order correct: Move your post through Bregalad's, except for INL's, into the topic Freedom fries, and revise your first moved post to reflect the split by linking to the previous topic,

This would seem fitting to me.
Quote:
including a rename to "Etymology of 'compo'". Am I right?

Personally, I like the topic Freedom Fries. It wouldn't have been applicable to the first post about the word Compo, however I think it's perfect really for the overall direction of the conversation and the non-serious nature of it. I'd wanna leave the topic.

All of this stuff is totally subjective and unless the person who started the split topic (if it can be narrowed to one person) says specifically how they'd want to handle it, there's almost no way of knowing what someone will consider the correct context for their words.

If there are going to be thread splits (to avoid really weighing on that topic in this post) then I would personally think that doing them the way you're doing is almost the only option that allows for you to effectively make a timely thread split. If it's not timely, then I don't think a thread split does its job as a thread split. I'd think really, what we're doing right now is the only way to handle it. Do what you think is best, as a mod, and your discretion should usually be close to right. Then if somebody wants a correction, they'd have to say what they want or you're just taking shots in the dark.

Also, I just want to add that this wasn't a big enough deal for me to say anything about it until thread splits became a topic of discussion, so I don't want anybody to think this is like a sore point or a serious issue from my end.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171870)
tepples wrote:
I have gathered from previous posts that I have handled at least one derailment incorrectly in the past. Fortunately, in phpBB 3 (unlike phpBB 2), I can modify a previously performed split if it becomes apparent that the original split point was incorrect. So let me confirm that I have your order correct: Move your post through Bregalad's, except for INL's, into the topic Freedom fries, and revise your first moved post to reflect the split by linking to the previous topic, including a rename to "Etymology of 'compo'". Am I right?

Undoing an old split has all the same problems as splitting. Everything said after the split happened was in a different context, and you're mangling that again if you make a second change. (There's a saying about "two wrongs"...)

Again, just like the original split, also confuses history for anybody with memory of the conversation who wants to go searching for it. Three parallel timelines of memory for the same thread. :P

tepples wrote:
I guess this means we're going to have to take time to discuss policy for how we will handle a topic whose author-provided title does not help readers find the topic and posts that derail a topic. Should each unuseful title or each split of a derailed topic be discussed publicly before action, such as a rename or a split, is taken? And if so, where?

I don't really understand how this needs to be an administrative issue. Anybody can post "would you consider revising your subject to ..." in a thread. Same as anyone can post "your code has a bug" or "you've made a mistake" or "I don't agree with you", or about any number of things that the author might consider revising. (Authors shouldn't edit their old posts in a way that destroys the historical record, either, but this can also be resolved through discussion in most cases.)

Same deal with "splits". Anybody can start a new thread, and post in the old thread "hey, why don't we talk about this over here". This is already a very viable solution, and it causes no disruption or revision of history/context. Using the split feature is the nuclear option.

Every moderator intervention is an act of force, taking free will away from others to impose the will of the moderator. This difference between forcing someone to do as you say, rather than asking them is what makes it "rude". And yes, sometimes it is much better to do this than allowing these freedom, which is why we need moderators.

I just think the problem should be more significant than "the thread looks a little ugly" before you start using force.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#171920)
darryl.revok wrote:
I think the number one lesson we learned here is, "never edit rainwarrior's posts" :D

On the flip side, feel free to BBcode-fairy me...when it's BBcode you're fixing.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172027)
Just to make it clear, my vote for the last option "neither let it be" meant "don't edit user's posts", it does not mean "edit them but no not show any notice".

Editing thread titles is fine, if it makes them clearer, I'm fine with that.


Quote:
I'm fully tolerant of English as a second language types.

English is actually technically my 3rd language, German being my 2nd. We have to learn first the other national languge before learning the international one. However, I speak English much much more fluently than German, despite having spent much more time and energy learning German.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172031)
For the record, I intended "Neither; let it be" to mean "let the errors remain in the post". But it has become apparent that this was not entirely clear.

I have also gathered that different users may want to opt-in or opt-out to subject corrections, mark-up corrections, grammar corrections, dead link corrections, etc. What would be a good method of keeping track of this?

The report button is a tool for alerting the moderator team to posts that noticeably reduce the quality of discussion. In fact, some other boards ban "back seat moderation", that is, publicly suggesting that the moderator team respond rather than privately reporting it. (We currently have no such rule on the books.) But derailment is a touchy subject encompassing posts by more than a single user, and I imagine that in most cases, not everybody whose posts could be affected by loss of context can be reached promptly through private message. So other than PMing each derailing user "How does this post relate to this topic?", how should I handle it?
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172037)
tepples wrote:
For the record, I intended "Neither; let it be" to mean "let the errors remain in the post".

Thanks for clarifying this. I guess I was the only one to interpret it wrong, then! :lol: Since the question starts with "which is most appropriate for minor fixes..." I just assumed that the fixes would happen no matter what, and the only question was what should happen next... But yeah, I agree that "let it be" does sound like "don't do absolutely anything".
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172054)
tepples wrote:
I have also gathered that different users may want to opt-in or opt-out to subject corrections, mark-up corrections, grammar corrections, dead link corrections, etc. What would be a good method of keeping track of this?

I don't think you should try to keep track of this. These kinds of things shouldn't normally require moderator privilege to correct; just use the same methods that everybody else has at their disposal. (i.e. ask)

Certain kinds of cleanup are good to perform, and sure, sometimes the author is not active, but you shouldn't be making significant modifications to historical posts either. If links have gone dead because a website has moved and the author is inactive, it seems sensible enough to provide revised links in an edit-- though personally I think you should leave the dead links in the post and provide the revisions in a clearly marked addendum. The dead link URLs might be important information. (e.g. a record of what the wrong link looked like can help identify similar dead links elsewhere)

And I think that's basically the way I'd suggest doing any moderator edits to old threads; don't mess with the record. Only make clearly marked additions, not changes. Don't delete or replace things. This applies to spelling and grammar too; leave that stuff alone- it's relevant to the history of the conversation.

If someone posts bad bbcode by accident, that would normally be spotted while the thread is still active; i don't see this being a siginificant issue with historical threads. If someone makes a mistake in an active thread and they've posted a 5000 pixel wide image, or caused it to spew HTML garbage by accident, etc. I don' think anyone would object to you making an edit to correct this, but it should be as small as possible to correct the mistake.

Deleting or replacing should be reserved for intervention with bad behaviour / abuse, not for copy-editing. (Forum threads are not copy!!!)

tepples wrote:
But derailment is a touchy subject encompassing posts by more than a single user, and I imagine that in most cases, not everybody whose posts could be affected by loss of context can be reached promptly through private message. So other than PMing each derailing user "How does this post relate to this topic?", how should I handle it?

Derailment happens naturally in all types of discussions, this is not special about internet forums. I would go so far as to say that it's necessary that it happens sometimes; a lot of digressions result in worthwhile exchanges. It's important that we be allowed to pursue this. It's not such an awful thing to have a plurality of topic in a thread.

Yeah, people don't like it when they aren't interested in the digression, but that's okay. They can say so, too! Again I really want to encourage starting a new thread because of a digression instead of forcing it with a moderator action; anybody can do it, not just mods. I've seen you do it lots of times and I think it works well, without any of the context-destroying problems of a split.

If you think someone is consistently or deliberately derailing things, or acting as a troll, tell them about it. Warn them. Ban them maybe if it's bad. I don't think anyone here is causing digressions that are worth a ban, but if you think they're being a problem you can tell them about it publicly or by PM. Splitting the thread instead of talking to them is only enabling/encouraging the bad behaviour.

Same deal with editing someone's spelling. If you think it's important that someone spell things correctly, tell them about it. If you edit on their behalf, you're not helping them, you're just speaking for them. Telling them about it will correct future posts, same as how telling someone they're being too irrelevant will encourage them to behave better, if they care about your opinion.

If they don't care about your opinion, moderating them is a hostile act anyway, so it's a losing situation from the start. I think most people here respond to others, though. We're a functioning community.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172066)
tepples wrote:
I have also gathered that different users may want to opt-in or opt-out to...

I may have muddied this point because of my categorical objection to using mod powers to copy-edit, but be careful of the difference between someone saying "I think the edits you made are OK", and "I want you to do this in the future".

I'd say that most of your "fairy" edits did not cause a problem. When I state that you should not be doing this, I am not trying to demand correction of these things, or punishment for them. I know that they were done with thoughtful intention, and that you always try to be careful.

You shouldn't have to be thinking this hard about whether or not to edit someone's post.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#172702)
My opinion. I believe it's the most correct thing.

Editing in a public notice that the post has been edited.

Period. Why?

a) a moderator/admin has authority for such corrections;
b) if the mod/admin is not violating the user's rights, there's no problem of doing it so;
c) the user must accept the rules - as editing is something that must be done in a few cases.

If the user disagrees, it's easy - go away. 8-)
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#174982)
The software ought to automatically add a notice if a moderator edits someone else's message. Editing someone else's message without saying who edits it should be against the rules. However in most cases the moderator should not need to edit other user's messages, and should leave the messages as they are instead of editing them.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#174985)
zzo38 wrote:
The software ought to automatically add a notice if a moderator edits someone else's message. Editing someone else's message without saying who edits it should be against the rules. However in most cases the moderator should not need to edit other user's messages, and should leave the messages as they are instead of editing them.

Supposedly that's already the case -- sort of. To be more clear:

For a moderator/admin: there's supposed to be a GUI field shown when editing a post that allows them to provide a reason for the edit. However, as I understand it, the field can be left empty and no indication of the edit is shown. This is by design, from what I can determine from the above linked thread. You're welcome to file that feature request with the phpBB folks -- because that is where it'd need to be done. Hacking up nesdev's phpBB code just means that upgrades will require manually fixing/tweaking the code, which is a very painstaking process (they tend to change a LOT of code between minor versions, so simply keeping a patch around isn't sufficient -- you get to reimplement the patch every time). phpBB is a security nightmare, so upgrades have to happen.

Other threads talking about the same thing (either in support of it, or problems with it):

https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtop ... &t=2225461
https://www.phpbb.com/community/viewtop ... &t=2350491

If you file a feature request for this, please provide a link to the bug/ticket number so it can be known here.

(Footnote education: for a regular user: the user can edit their own post without any sign of edits, up until the point where there's been one or more replies after that person's post -- after which, you'll see a line at the bottom reading "Last edited by Author on YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM, edited N times in total.")
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#175020)
koitsu wrote:
(Footnote education: for a regular user: the user can edit their own post without any sign of edits, up until the point where there's been one or more replies after that person's post -- after which, you'll see a line at the bottom reading "Last edited by Author on YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM, edited N times in total.")
Yes, and my opinion is that if a moderator edits another user's message, then it should also add such a line regardless of if there are replies or not. For moderators editing their own messages it should apply the same way as a regular user.
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#175048)
zzo38 wrote:
Yes, and my opinion is that if a moderator edits another user's message, then it should also add such a line regardless of if there are replies or not. For moderators editing their own messages it should apply the same way as a regular user.

I completely understand your request. As I said previously: "You're welcome to file that feature request with the phpBB folks -- because that is where it'd need to be done. ... If you file a feature request for this, please provide a link to the bug/ticket number so it can be known here."
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#175071)
Better yet, file a request for full Stack Exchange-style revision history on each post :P
Re: Mods' silent corrections to users' posts
by on (#175072)
In my view the primary purpose for mods being able to edit posts is so that they can delete things that should not be seen. (e.g. if *dragon were to post psychopathicteen's telephone number, or if someone posted an illegal ROM, etc.). Complete history wouldn't be desired in that case (which should be the only case, IMO, but I already went off at length on that in this thread).

You can roll your own version of "history" where needed, though. In forums where I am a mod, I always leave a note in the edit explaining what I did and why, so that everybody knows why moderator action was taken, not just the poster.