Removal of Tiassa as moderator

Discussion in 'SF Open Government' started by James R, Dec 5, 2023.

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  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I have removed Tiassa from his position as a moderator of sciforums. As a courtesy to our members, I want to explain why.

    Before I do that, I would like to thank Tiassa for the work he has put into sciforums in the past, over many years.

    I also want to be clear that Tiassa is not banned from sciforums at this time. He retains the highest possible membership "rank" that we have, below the level of Moderator.

    Now, to the reasons why Tiassa is no longer a moderator. Here are the main ones.

    1. Failure to perform the duties associated with position

    Moderators on this forum carry out a number of tasks. For instance, we keep an eye out for spammers who want to use this forum to advertise and/or scam our readers, and remove them. We also remove obviously malicious posters who sign up. However, these activities make up a relatively small proportion of our workload.

    A more significant part of our work involves responding to reports filed by our members using the report facility. As you are all aware, we have a published set of posting guidelines. Members who perceive that the guidelines are being overstepped or ignored can file a report. The moderators review those reports and take action as they consider appropriate, in accordance with our published policy regarding warnings and bans.

    Moderators are not just expected to react to filed reports, however. Moderators are expected to take pro-active action to help to keep this place a welcoming place for visitors and potential new members, as well as to curate the content here. Where it is considered appropriate, moderators can close, split or merge threads, move threads to more suitable sub-topic forums and take other administrative actions.

    Tiassa has neglected the major parts of his role as a moderator in recent years. I have observed that he has removed spammers. But he essentially ceased his handling of reports and his curation of content here some time ago - certainly, he has been essentially inactive in those capacities for more than six months. A conservative, but I think more realistic assessment is that he has done very little in terms of carrying out the core duties of a moderator for at least two years.

    2. Repeated and consistently inappropriate behaviours towards colleagues

    The administration of a discussion forum like this one is a team enterprise. For consistency of vision, application of the site rules, and just the daily administrative work that needs to be shared around, it is vital that staff can trust and rely on one another. We need to be able to rely on our colleagues to do their bit to carry out the tasks we all need to complete. We need to be able to trust that confidential conversations about matters of site administration will remain confidential. We need to be confident that one staff member will never act deliberately to undermine another. We need to make sure that the staff are all on the same page about where the boundaries lie between acting in one's official capacity and acting as a "regular poster" on the forum.

    The administration of this forum is not a dictatorship. Some differences of opinion among our moderators are expected - indeed, valued. Where such differences of opinion occur, it is expected that our staff will be mature enough to hash them out, either in private discussion or in the context of the moderator team (which has its own private subforum that is explicitly there for exactly that sort of thing, in addition to discussion of more regular matters regarding the daily administration of the forum, and as a friendly support network).

    Tiassa has repeatedly and deliberately violated the trust placed in him as a moderator of this forum. He has chosen, on many occasions, to take discussions out of the moderator space and into the public forums, where he has also misrepresented their content and the points of view of his fellow moderators.

    Tiassa has, in recent years, attempted to carry out a programme of deliberately trying to undermine myself as an administrator of sciforums. Six months ago, his behaviour took its most serious turn when he made several entirely false and personal accusations against me. I immediately asked him to retract those accusations and to post a public apology for making them, since they are false. In the six months since then, he has, in fact, done the opposite. He has, at times, repeated his false accusations, while on many other occasions he has added additional false claims about opinions I supposedly hold (but which, like his other lies, he obviously cannot support). All of this activity has been in the public forums.

    Of course, these matters were discussed among the moderator team six months ago, in parallel with the (wildly inappropriate) public comments that Tiassa made at that time. In the process, Tiassa essentially broke ties with the entire moderator team. He has shown no desire to mend bridges in the past six months. On the contrary, he has put a lot of his effort into driving the wedge in further. He has now found the breaking point.

    3. Being a counterproductive presence in the moderator team, rather than constructive one

    While Tiassa has done next to nothing in terms of actually moderating sciforums for the past couple of years, behind the scenes he is very critical of the people who are doing the job that he signed on to do.

    Rather than offering constructive advice or opinions on, say, how best to handle reports filed by members, Tiassa has tended instead to disparage those reports and the people who have made them. Tiassa, it seems, is always ready with an excuse as to why nothing should be done, in terms of moderation, because Tiassa himself apparently does not want to do anything in that regard. So, Tiassa posts snide remarks that only moderators can see about members who file reports, accusing those members of hypocrisy and stupidity and base motives. (Perhaps you've noticed the pattern. This is consistent with his persona everywhere on this forum.)

    Tiassa has also - over a period of years - sought to stall any and all proposed changes in our posting guidelines, warnings system, forum structure, and so on. His opinion, as expressed to the other moderators, appears to me to be that sciforums is hopelessly broken. He claims that we - by which he mostly means me, as the particular target for his ire - have a lot of secret or implied policies regarding our rules and how they are to be moderated. There are no secret policies.

    He has given as a reason for his almost complete inaction in his role as a moderator that he just doesn't know what policies are in place. Therefore, he claims, he can't do anything, for fear of being second-guessed or overridden by me (in particular). This is despite the fact that I have on numerous occasions, both in the moderators' forum and in the public forums (after he has raised such matters there), tried to cajole him into just trying to act as one would ordinarily expect somebody to act in the ole of Moderator of this forum.

    ---
    This thread is here, in our Open Government forum, to explain why I took the decision to remove Tiassa as a moderator. It is here because I want to be transparent about this. It is significant milestone in the history of sciforums, because Tiassa has been a long-term member and a long-term moderator. It is a decision I have been wrestling with over a period of months and one that I have not taken lightly or on a whim.

    This subforum is called Open Government. In the spirit of Open Government and why this subforum was set up in the first place, I intend to leave this thread open for the time being, rather than making it a closed announcement. You, as sciforums' members, can post your thoughts on this.

    I expect reactions to this will be mixed. I fully expect that a number of the usual suspects will accuse me of vindictively targeting Tiassa because of a personal feud. Perhaps there are some who think that Tiassa is a good moderator; maybe you think he's good because he does nothing, and you'd much prefer that to having me moderator you.

    I also expect some accusations that this is like a coup and that I just want to be Dictator of sciforums. What I would actually like is some help. We've been a little short on for moderators here for some time. On the other hand, my impression is that the number of members who regularly visit sciforums is on the decline, so the workload is less than it used to be and not unsustainable, for now. I would like to see this forum grow its membership. But that's a discussion that is being had in a different thread, and probably elsewhere too.

    I am happy to answer reasonable questions. The above is not intended to be a comprehensive detailing of my reasons for coming to this decision; it is a summary.

    Tiassa is free to respond to this, as well, and I fully expect that he will. Again, in the spirit of Open Government, he deserves a right of reply. However, I will not allow new false allegations from him about me. His earlier lies were bad enough. Since he obviously has no intention of retracting or apologising for those, I am not at all confident I can trust him not to just angrily make up more libellous and false claims. As a "regular member" of sciforums, Tiassa is now expected to abide by our usual site posting guidelines - as, in fact, he was expected to when he was a moderator.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2023
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Dec 5, 2023
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    It was probably time. In addition to the benefit to the mods, it benefits the membership since members can now block him and avoid his posts altogether. Since he can still post his screeds (which he seems to enjoy) that seems like a win-win.
     
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Good point. I hadn't considered that benefit.
     
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  8. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Indeed. This is, I surmise, the best possible outcome for him. He gets everything he wants, nothing he doesn't want - and he gets to blame James R in perpetuity for it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2023
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  9. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    James, restore my access.

    You keep getting caught in lies, but refuse the evidence. What was it, late October or early November when I made the point to you in the Mod Lounge?

    Moreover, in your latest accusations, you're not even capable of enumerating your complaint.

    Face it, James, you were never able to support your claims; that's why you're doing this.
     
  10. Kristoffer Giant Hyrax Valued Senior Member

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    I much prefer this outcome than having to attempt to figure out what the walls of text are meant to convey.
    And I can finally do what I have wanted to do for five years.
    *Ignore button unlocked*
     
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  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Well I agree with others he was not a very useful moderator. One of his chief defects, as far as I'm concerned, was his almost total lack of ability at written communication, to the point of self-parody. I often wondered if there was something wrong with him. But he was also erratic in judgement.

    Frankly, I have found the recent slanging matches between you and him embarrassing to read. It made me feel I was watching a couple about to divorce - which it seems was not so wide of the mark. One question: has Bells been consulted about this, or is it just your unilateral decision? I would hope the other mods are on board with it, for the sake of good governance.
     
  12. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    I, for one, have no issue with Tiassa, nor his posting style, nor his moderation of this site - but on the latter I am obviously not aware of all the various duties required and whether he has/had fulfilled those. Regarding his posts, people can always skip over those that they don't want to read. Saying that you can now use the "ignore" button on him is really only telling us that you have little self-control with regard not reading what he (or presumably anyone) writes. Okay. Sure. Whatever.

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    My only concern going forward is who now holds James R to account for his own behaviour on this site - which, be assured, is far from rosey. At least with Tiassa as a moderator there was at least one dissenting voice in the background, someone who presumably had those discussions with him out of the public's view (albeit with some obvious spillover) whenever James R overstepped. But now? I guess James R will continue to "moderate" his own behaviour. That is never a good thing for a site. So I hope not only will Tiassa's place as moderator be filled quickly, also that additional moderators are introduced, but most importantly by people willing and able to actually stand up and have those similar discussions when needed, and not just "yes" people.

    Other than that, business as usual, I guess.

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  13. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Should any new mod be versed in some scientific discipline?

    I might nominate TheVat as he has moderated before over at the now defunct sciencechat forum and might be interested in doing it again.

    exchemist also of course ,although he once turned down the option over at the equally defunct but hopefully soon to "reopen" scienceforums site

    (It has been "sold" for about 1500 dollars about a week ago and I anticipate it will start to open for business in some shape or form soon.)
     
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  14. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Thanks for the nomination but no thanks. I haven't sufficient interest. Billvon has moderating experience I think, but may not wish to take it on.
     
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  15. foghorn Valued Senior Member

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    I’m afraid I will have to let you all down, I haven't the time to be a mod, no no I really haven’t. Sorry folks.
     
  16. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Don't know if you remember the holy mess at scienceforums when there were only two mods and one of them (Harald) left "with the keys", possibly inadvertently and locked out Kalster .

    As not even the mods could actually contact the admin it might have been academic but as soon as the site came back online after about 3 months ,I think Kalster banned Harald and brought in Markus Hanke (I think)

    Three mods would have been better than two on that occasion(and any owner who actually gave a shit)
     
  17. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I do. The person who would really kick arse as a mod is Dywyddyr of course. But he's probably got far too short a fuse for the laid back rules here.
     
  18. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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    Would DaveC could throw is name in the hat? Good scientific knowledge and balanced guy from my experience with him on another site.
     
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  19. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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    Totally agree, best to have a science person asa mod.
     
  20. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    Of course not.
     
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

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    We should probably take a look at those accusations.

    See #7↑ above:

    You haven't enumerated the lies, because you can't:

    "Whenever Tiassa refers to me in this way, he tells outright lies" — You have not enumerated the lies yuo see in #1↑. You have not enumerated those lies because there are none. You have not enumerated those lies because you know I will simply hand you the post.

    "I broke ties with Tiassa, as far as possible on this forum, after he made three explicit and serious false accusations against me in the public forums here, back in June 2023" — Actually, James, I've discussed this twice, and as you're aware, the evidence just doesn't support your accusations. You chose to just sit that out at the time, literally refusing to respond directly; recycling your accusations after they have been addressed is not appropriate.​

    Disrupting my access as a means of taking revenge is about as absurdly apropos of yourself as can be.
     
  22. Pinball1970 Valued Senior Member

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    I vote no.
    You said something pretty stupid to me early doors fella. I let it go but you never addressed it.
    That's fine but reading other posters it is probably best for the site you are just a are member.
    If you care about the site that is.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2023
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  23. geordief Valued Senior Member

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    Why do you want to be a mod ,Tiassa?
     
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