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Moderators

Jan. 11, 2023.
3 min. read. Interactions

About the Writer

dave

17.5979 MPXR

Mindplex is a place for human minds and machine minds to connect together and share ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

Ideas, thoughts, opinions should stand or fall on their own merits. We believe in freedom of conscience. We believe in open discussion. 

Minds, and mindplexes, can get closer to the truth by a process of striving and struggling and examining ideas. Truth is not given to us ready-made as a set of dogmas. It is impossible to struggle towards truth if you are not allowed to discuss ideas that are wrong.

Remember that overly strict policing of content can be a solution worse than the problem it solves. Don’t take down honest discussion just because you disagree with it.

Generally, take a minimalist approach to moderation. Take content down only as a last resort. 

Generally, what someone says is less important than how they say it:

  • It’s ok for users to say words that appear bad if they’re said in a friendly, bantering way.
  • It’s ok for users to say words that appear bad if you said it in innocence, not knowing any better.
  • It’s ok for users to say words that appear bad in a spirit of honest enquiry, considering what might possibly be true.
  • Take down harsh words spoken with hostility and an intent to hurt. But treat all sides equally in this: don’t selectively shape the discussion by taking down the namecalling from one belief-group.

Be nice to noobs. We all started knowing nothing, then we learned bit-by-bit. Be considerate of anyone at any stage of this process.

AIM FOR NEUTRAL, HIGH-QUALITY DISCUSSION

Moderators should favor no point of view or political or scientific ideology over another. If someone wants to claim some conspiracy theory or fringe science is true, let them present their views, as long as it is done in a friendly and honest way.

Take down deliberate hoaxes or any content intended to deceive. Take down any content intended to disrupt the platform or its ranking and reputation system. Cleverly trying to disrupt the platform to prove a point is disruptive to open discussion. We will intervene in such cases, for example, when a user uses sockpuppet accounts to game the system. 

Apply common sense in applying these guidelines, rather than treating them as inflexible laws. 

There is a difference between an argument and an assertion: an argument presents evidence and logic towards a conclusion; an assertion presents a conclusion emphatically. Arguments that include verifiable (or falsifiable, or otherwise testable) facts are in a stronger position than unverifiable/baseless assertions.

Assessing the credibility of content must be done on a case-by-case basis. No source is 100% reliable. As some guidelines: breaking news reports, tabloids, social media, and claims by commercial enterprises are not reliable; high-impact scientific journals, textbooks, and encyclopedias are pretty reliable. 

If a user backs up claims with Wikipedia, remember that Wikipedia is a tertiary source. It’s as strong as the primary and secondary sources it stands on. Uncited Wikipedia articles, or Wikipedia articles that cite tabloids, are about as reliable as other noise on the internet. Wikipedia articles that cite Nature are about as reliable as Nature.

RESOLVING DISPUTES

When disputes arise, it’s the job of users, moderators, and administrators to resolve them. (Corollary: it is not your job to “beat” the other guy in the dispute.) When disputes get resolved, Mindplex gets stronger.

Find out what each party thinks, what each party wants, and what outcome would satisfy all parties. 

Assume all parties are acting in good faith, even to the point of ridiculousness. This helps disputes get resolved.

Get a second opinion from other moderators or admins when necessary.

EMERGENCY TAKEDOWNS

Take down content quickly in cases of emergency (especially where content may be illegal) and review the decision later.

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