Community Moderation Overhaul

Secured
#31
I tell you guys what. There's white hat hackers, how about you let me be a white hat troll? I'll show you just how much trouble someone with a little motivation, know-how, and an agenda can cause. Give me until after the next ANO election to fully execute the plan and then showcase why THE PROACTIVE FIRST STEP must be phone verification. I say first step as if we're truly working towards becoming a global utility, we're going to have to become far more sophisticated than just phone verification.

If there's no need for phone verification as people claim, this should be of no concern as I'll be unsuccessful with my "penetration testing" if you will. But if I'm right, you guys will understand why it's important to be proactive...
Nobody is denying the fact that you could easily pull this off. We are a small community and adding a phone registration requirement is adding an extra hurdle to joining. I don't think the problem is that big that we need to add it at this stage tbh.

At this stage it should be manageable by more strict moderation IMO.
 
Secured
#33
At this stage it should be manageable by more strict moderation IMO.
The problem is that you cannot moderate without having the ability to actually "moderate".

A soccer analogy (I hate sports so I have no idea why I use it really);
The current system is like having a referee give players the red card and they walking off the field, switching to another shirt (with another number on the back) and promptly returning to the field.... The red card had no effect.

I'm not trying to say what kind of moderation the community should be subject too, just stating that we need red (and yellow) cards that work.... If they don't its a futile exercise.
 
Secured
#34
I don’t think anyone who’s suggesting phone verification is saying that it’s necessary now. The argument that’s been made is that as the community grows, trolling and other forms of disruption will increase. And as they increase, it will become harder to enact protective policies.

Having this discussion when we have 5x or 10x the trolls and 100x the problem is not the time to begin discussing solutions for dealing with the problem. And we WILL reach that point.

Also—because this seems to be a point of confusion—requiring phone verification doesn't mean you can't access the Discord or view posts. Just that if you want to join the conversation yourself, a phone number is required.

I also find the arguments against the importance of this issue invalid in the extreme. This is a much longer discussion, but the ease with which a small handful of devoted trolls can disrupt discussion, sow fear and anger and contempt, etc., can’t be underestimated.

Neither can the downstream effects of that disruption. These things always start off seemingly innocuous …

IMO allowing trolls to gain the upper hand is a serious security risk.
Simply doing what we’ve been doing is not a tenable long-term solution.
 
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Secured
#35
On another note ... I think there are two types of potential bans:

1) A ban in which an individual is clearly, objectively breaking a rule.

2) A ban in which someone is breaking the spirit of the Mod Policy, while avoiding certain objective lines, using smokescreens and obfuscation to sow confusion about his intentions, etc.

The Mod Policy is best at handling the first case.

But the most dangerous trolls are those who know where the lines are and are adept at disguising their intentions.

For a mod, this creates a problem, as the burden of proof is often considered to be on the moderator.

A suggestion:

For situations where a person breaks a rule in an objectively verifiable way, they’re banned outright.

For situations where the person’s behaviour is arguably more nebulous, the mod who spots such behaviour posts his intention to ban the individual, and request feedback/support from the other mods in a mod channel (though we would probably need to make this channel private).

If the proposed ban receives a thumbs-up from one other mod, the ban goes into effect.

This would solve two problems:

1) Bans in which a situation is misread by a mod, or when a mod accidentally (or not) oversteps.

2) Accusations of rogue mod behaviour. For these more nebulous situations, a more united mod front is important, I think.
 
Secured
#36
Are the persistent circular arguments and negative sentiment trolling? Some would say they are trolling, others would call them ardent critics.
I naively think that the #market channel should be for price action. I am not sure it should be the medium used for venting about governance/ANOs/Grants/inc etc. Discord is a live setting and not every one is monitoring this channel 24/7. It would be way more constructive for everyone if the unhappy people took it to the right medium which everyone is monitoring aka Factomize.

David spent a lot of time and funds developing this platform exactly for this reason. If people are unhappy about X/Y/Z we should have a harder stance about it and redirect them here, where it isn't buried that easily instead of having circular ardent critics in the market channel that barely anyone is reading.
 
Secured
#37
On another note ... I think there are two types of potential bans:

1) A ban in which an individual is clearly, objectively breaking a rule.

2) A ban in which someone is breaking the spirit of the Mod Policy, while avoiding certain objective lines, using smokescreens and obfuscation to sow confusion about his intentions, etc.

The Mod Policy is best at handling the first case.

But the most dangerous trolls are those who know where the lines are and are adept at disguising their intentions.

For a mod, this creates a problem, as the burden of proof is often considered to be on the moderator.

A suggestion:

For situations where a person breaks a rule in an objectively verifiable way, they’re banned outright.

For situations where the person’s behaviour is arguably more nebulous, the mod who spots such behaviour posts his intention to ban the individual, and request feedback/support from the other mods in a mod channel (though we would probably need to make this channel private).

If the proposed ban receives a thumbs-up from one other mod, the ban goes into effect.

This would solve two problems:

1) Bans in which a situation is misread by a mod, or when a mod accidentally (or not) oversteps.

2) Accusations of rogue mod behaviour. For these more nebulous situations, a more united mod front is important, I think.
I really like that approach.
 
Secured
#38
The problem is that you cannot moderate without having the ability to actually "moderate".

A soccer analogy (I hate sports so I have no idea why I use it really);
The current system is like having a referee give players the red card and they walking off the field, switching to another shirt (with another number on the back) and promptly returning to the field.... The red card had no effect.

I'm not trying to say what kind of moderation the community should be subject too, just stating that we need red (and yellow) cards that work.... If they don't its a futile exercise.
Yes you can. I have been moderator of the largest IT community in NL. We were way more educating people and giving them warnings than banning people. That was a community of more than 100K people at the time (> 250K currently) and is a top 20 website in NL. No this is not me soliciting or criticizing current moderators. What I do notice is the amount of public intervening/warning in our discord is way lower than I think it should be for this problem/discussion to be almost non existent at this time.
 
Secured
#39
What @88mph suggests is basically what we did as well.

We had notes added to users. Every warning or walking on the line was mentioned in there. We worked in groups when in doubt. Then we had a team that handled complaints or people wanting to be unbanned (I was part of that as well). We had a public channel where people could talk about moderation actions to make sure it wasn't a totalitarian regime.
 
Secured
#41
Yes you can. I have been moderator of the largest IT community in NL. We were way more educating people and giving them warnings than banning people. That was a community of more than 100K people at the time (> 250K currently) and is a top 20 website in NL. No this is not me soliciting or criticizing current moderators. What I do notice is the amount of public intervening/warning in our discord is way lower than I think it should be for this problem/discussion to be almost non existent at this time.
You know I have great respect for your having moderated that community. I suspect it was largely a homogeneous group but no doubt had plenty of normal disagreements and its share of crazies to deal with. What we need to plan for is a totally different ballgame. The more successful the Factom Protocol, the more enemies we will make and they may be serious players. From competing projects to entities worried about how having a data integrity layer will negatively affect their unscrupulous businesses. And let's say Inc does indeed get a big US government project... that in itself can bring out a whole new breed of... special... people.

As you said above
Nobody is denying the fact that you could easily pull this off. We are a small community and adding a phone registration requirement is adding an extra hurdle to joining. I don't think the problem is that big that we need to add it at this stage tbh.
That means we have an open attack vector. And we need to close ALL attack vectors proactively. Whether that be code, governance, community, or otherwise.
 
Secured
#42
We have a tiny community, hardly any usage and we're talking about taking over the world and having to take preliminary measures to prevent trolls spreading lies and fud. If Factom will be successful, and I hope it will, more trolls will probably come, but people can think for themselves. Other view points should always be welcome even if the people behind them have the wrong intentions. Just fight them with arguments, which happens already in Discord each time a troll shows up. It also educates the rest, and if they continu to spread fud, warn publicly and ban them if necessary. And if banning people will be a real problem in the future because they register with another email, you can always add some kind of extra hurdle like a telephone nr, but I doubt it will stop real trolls. In China you need a pass to get on the internet, please don't go that way.
 
Secured
#43
I am in favor of adding the phone number step as a form of verification.

Tor's soccer analogy above makes perfect sense; we can't just continue to allow red-carded individuals to hop right back into the game when they want to.

I also really like 88mph's mod policy where more nebulous situations are confronted by the mod team, and they jointly decide to ban or not ban the individual in question.

The counter-point of dissuading entities or organizations or important people from joining Discord based on the phone number requirement (to post), I think, is somewhat weak. Yes, there will be some people who feel dissuaded from joining due to this requirement, but overall, I think that serious actors, interested in the protocol for whatever reasons they may have to be interested, will have no issue (or not a huge issue, at least) adding a valid phone number.

In reality, it's in fact possible that for some very astute organizations performing due diligence, the phone number requirement may even make our community seem (in the first steps towards interacting within our community), a far more professional, serious, and well-managed forum. If we are to become a global utility with a breadth of use cases that expand into most all walks of data-centric life, then we need a forum pro-actively managed to reduce points of attack and to yield more fruitful discussion.
 
Secured
#44
If anyone disagrees with the private mod channel, please let us know.

Actually, I'm going to go ahead and create the channel now. I think it's a fairly simple value-add step, and hopefully fairly uncontroversial.

However if there are disagreements and consensus is that it be removed, I'd of course be happy to do so. But FTTB at least, in the interest of moving things along, I'm going to go ahead and create the channel.
 
Secured
#45
My experience also tells me that trolling within our various communication mediums will get worse and worse, especially if we don't establish phone verification. If we do it reactively, those trolls, who absolutely have an agenda, will use that decision to create negative publicity around the protocol. And they will not stop. And it will be a nightmare.

We must be proactive.
I agree with David's quote above. Right now there are not major issues with the Discord, only a few users abusing the system. But there was a time not too long ago where it was more of an issue.

Mods need to be able to enforce rules in a meaningful way, but I need more information on the implementation before I can support adding phone numbers.

1. If we require phone numbers to be added to Discord accounts, will anyone have access to those numbers?
2. If no, will that be made clear to the user?
3. Can we customize a pop up if someone without verification tries to post explaining why it is needed?
 
Secured
#46
1. If we require phone numbers to be added to Discord accounts, will anyone have access to those numbers?
2. If no, will that be made clear to the user?
3. Can we customize a pop up if someone without verification tries to post explaining why it is needed?
Good questions @schmooodle. As a point of reference, the option we're discussing is called "Double Tableflip-Status." More info here.

I did a bit of digging but couldn't find any concrete answers, so have emailed Discord's support with the questions. I'll reply here when I hear back.

Or if anyone happens to know for certain the answer to these questions, please let us know.
 
Secured
#47
A soccer analogy (I hate sports so I have no idea why I use it really);
The current system is like having a referee give players the red card and they walking off the field, switching to another shirt (with another number on the back) and promptly returning to the field.... The red card had no effect.
You left out the part where players don't even join the team in the first place because they find it ridiculous that a tiny team that has been around for years and has largely accomplished nothing in the eyes of the "league" is still somehow arrogant enough to have stringent requirements to join said team.

Unless gating the community is some sort of marketing tactic (interesting idea), how about we focus on building something worth gating in the first place? Last I checked, we burn an FCT or two a day. Let that sink in.
 
Secured
#48
I don't know the first thing about moderation, but everything I know about David tells me he thinks deeply about risks and attack vectors. Unless there is a very convincing argument otherwise, I defer my opinion on this to David, and think we should have phone verification for posting on Discord. Being able to view posts without verification is enough to lower the barrier of entry to still bring in valuable new community members.

Discord and Factomize jointly make up the heart of this protocol's communication medium, and fill different and important roles. We need a version of each that upholds professionalism to the outside world, so unless we want to create a new Discord server, phone verification seems the least we can do.
 
Secured
#51
This isn't a conversation on moderation, it's a conversation about marketing/growing the community. Please take a step back and look at the big picture. Don't create barriers to entry, just be quick to put people on ice.
Community will grow as part of the protocol growing, meaning the brand and use. Also the easier it is to join and participate, the faster the growth.. which brings with it more mod needed.
 
Secured
#52
Why don't you all focus on actually implementing solutions that create value instead of bickering over a non-issue? All I see at the moment is a lot of sniping over bureaucratic nonsense and over-zealous governance; ANOs taking swipes at each other, and now trying to silence people on Discord who have legitimate concerns. Token holders can break the FCT price if they want to and you guys would be feeding off scraps if that happened. It is pertinent to note that you are the ones that are meant to be professionals, not speculators on a forum....who by the way, have not been talking that out of line. The FCT-Market channel used to be pretty fun and informative. Now it's a total joke. Discord is tumbleweed central nowadays because the people that run the protocol can't handle being challenged and want to rule with an iron fist. I'm sure many posters would take a backward step if your work was burning more than a couple of FCT per day (which is frankly pathetic after what the likes of Inc publicly stated in the past). After all the promise, what's been achieved in quantifiable terms? Nothing to really speak of.....yet. This protocol is meant to be different but all I ever hear from ANOs on Discord is that EC usage isn't the be all and end all and all crypto is based on rampant speculation. Well, newflash....most speculators invested because of that promise! There is meant to be floor price equilibrium model at play. If I wanted a copy of the rest of crypto I'd just have bought and held BTC or ETH. This is meant to be different but is it? You guys need to get a lot better at communicating and being transparent....and ultimately, you need to start showing token holders a bit more respect. Otherwise, no-one new will buy, holders will capitulate, and who will be left to prop up your protocol whilst you wait for elusive income from other means? And on that note, you are pushing people away when you need to be getting people interested in your work more than ever. Here are some facts:

  1. EC usage might as well be zero and the current floor price (based on 60K EC per month) is 0.08 cents! Currently, a times 10,000 premium.
  2. You can only buy FCT on 2 decent exchanges (and these are not considered top exchanges by the masses).
  3. The MCAP is still pretty tiny compared to peers, who have a much higher profile than you. Price is crucial to speculators but the perception from holders is that very few of you care as long as the FCT price is enough to sustain you. Many of us fear that your FCT's are just a nice side stack, with BaaS fees being your main interest.
  4. Marketing appears to be pretty much non-existent. Promotional activities have been totally neglected. Look at the top tier cryptos; they are putting slick animations on YouTube setting out use cases and how their tech works. Twitter too....Factom's presence is minuscule.
 
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Secured
#53
I tell you guys what. There's white hat hackers, how about you let me be a white hat troll? I'll show you just how much trouble someone with a little motivation, know-how, and an agenda can cause. Give me until after the next ANO election to fully execute the plan and then showcase why THE PROACTIVE FIRST STEP must be phone verification. I say first step as if we're truly working towards becoming a global utility, we're going to have to become far more sophisticated than just phone verification.

If there's no need for phone verification as people claim, this should be of no concern as I'll be unsuccessful with my "penetration testing" if you will. But if I'm right, you guys will understand why it's important to be proactive...
What are you trying to say here David? Let's take a step back and think about the objective and goal of the Discord server. Why is it there? What is it getting us and what do we want out of it? Your reasoning for adding phone verification was initially so that banned users don't come back, now it's about attack vectors and making damage to the discord community. Why do we want to only allow people with a phone to post? Why not make sure that users are following the guidelines? Yes, there are some small attack vectors but they are not worth it right now.

It seems that we're mixing up everything here. It doesn't make sense to group everything under "global utility" argument and have double graded steel doors on any communication channel. Each com channel should have its own level of verification. For discord, which is the Factom chatting channel, I still don't get the need to have phone verification. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Lastly, anyone looking to do penetration testing can bypass a phone number. There are hundreds of services out there for phone verification when the phone number isn't yours. This makes all of this quite useless.
 
Secured
#55
@PedroPierrePeter although I do not agree with every argument you make, I do agree with the overall message. We have other things to worry about than having everybody discussing a phone verification
Exactly! The fact that this thread has had the most non ANOs participation should also tell us something here. Would have been nice to have this participation on other more important discussions.

That's something to waste some energy on. How to increase the participation of non-ANO members in discussion?
 
Secured
#56
Exactly! The fact that this thread has had the most non ANOs participation should also tell us something here. Would have been nice to have this participation on other more important discussions.

That's something to waste some energy on. How to increase the participation of non-ANO members in discussion?
You'll increase participation of non-ANO members here only if you are actually willing to listen to what they have to say....whether it be positive or negative.
 
Secured
#57
What are you trying to say here David? Let's take a step back and think about the objective and goal of the Discord server. Why is it there? What is it getting us and what do we want out of it? Your reasoning for adding phone verification was initially so that banned users don't come back, now it's about attack vectors and making damage to the discord community. Why do we want to only allow people with a phone to post? Why not make sure that users are following the guidelines? Yes, there are some small attack vectors but they are not worth it right now.

It seems that we're mixing up everything here. It doesn't make sense to group everything under "global utility" argument and have double graded steel doors on any communication channel. Each com channel should have its own level of verification. For discord, which is the Factom chatting channel, I still don't get the need to have phone verification. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

Lastly, anyone looking to do penetration testing can bypass a phone number. There are hundreds of services out there for phone verification when the phone number isn't yours. This makes all of this quite useless.
Discord and this forum are the primary communication mediums of this protocol. The place where governance for what is to be a global utility takes place. If they are compromised in a meaningful way, we have serious problems. If this was code and we were talking about an exploit, people would want it fixed. But for some reason, a means to exploit our trusted communication is ok. One of the primary use cases of the Factom protocol is to enable trusted communication which everyone agrees is a very important yet some in this community don't seem to think increasing trust within our own communication mediums is important?

Please note that I said earlier in this conversation that phone numbers are just the start. We're going to need to be much more sophisticated than that. I see us eventually building proprietary communication mediums with digital identities, layered, access, and much more.

And this discussion IS extremely important. I'm pleased to see people taking part. This is a foundational discussion other structures will be built upon. Whichever direction we choose, we'll know how to build as the foundation will be in place. This is anything but a waste of time.

EC usage on the protocol is great and needed. But if everything else is crumbling because you didn't have the critical foundation in place, it won't matter in the medium to long term.
 
Secured
#58
yet some in this community don't seem to think increasing trust within our own communication mediums is important?
Part of what draws people to this industry is the allure that their isn't a gate keeper. No government exerting undue authority. No large corporation with all the power. Putting up a wall to our community tools runs entirely counter to this. It's a great way to get laughed out of the room by any newcomer. "The Factom (R) protocol claims to be the decentralized, yet they want my phone number? lol. I can't wait to tell my friends about this one."

Please note that I said earlier in this conversation that phone numbers are just the start. We're going to need to be much more sophisticated than that. I see us eventually building proprietary communication mediums with digital identities, layered, access, and much more.
And then people simply go and create their own Discord or Telegram channel. You can't stop people from talking, but you can create an inclusive, educational environment. Better to control the message as much as possible then to let people run wild.

Regarding your argument about the Discord perception from potential end-users:

Ripple/XRP works with 5-10 Central banks. They work with some of the largest banks in the world. There community is rabid (to put it nicely). This doesn't stop the end-users from exploring Ripple technology. I don't see any validity in the "end-user" argument.

Finally, I'd like to say congratulations to Andy Moto. You got a whole bunch of people to burn a whole bunch of hours posting in this thread. Not only that, you have a few of them pushing for creating roadblocks to community entry. Well played. I have a trophy I'd like to send you. Just need your address. Feel free to share it here ;)
 
Secured
#59
Discord and this forum are the primary communication mediums of this protocol. The place where governance for what is to be a global utility takes place. If they are compromised in a meaningful way, we have serious problems. If this was code and we were talking about an exploit, people would want it fixed. But for some reason, a means to exploit our trusted communication is ok. One of the primary use cases of the Factom protocol is to enable trusted communication which everyone agrees is a very important yet some in this community don't seem to think increasing trust within our own communication mediums is important?

Please note that I said earlier in this conversation that phone numbers are just the start. We're going to need to be much more sophisticated than that. I see us eventually building proprietary communication mediums with digital identities, layered, access, and much more.
I see what you mean but just believe that it is too premature as we're scrambling to get community participation and non-ano participation. I wouldn't consider this like code or an exploit.

I don't know David, the more I think about this the more it seems to me we're taking this out of proportion. Adding phone numbers increases trust within our own communications? On Discord, I know who I'm talking to and would take what a new user say with a lot more doubt than someone with reputation. So trust doesn't get built with a phone number, trust gets built with reputation, communication and engagement. It's user specific and not community specific.

In any system that we go for, a user who has been banned can come back again. Any system. So I see this move as increasing "trust" in a theoretical way but not in a practical way.

Edit: What's the attack vector you're thinking about? Impersonating reputable ANOs or Factom Inc team members is what I would imagine you doing. Is there a way to block your attack vector without phone verification because the latter wouldn't stop much.
 
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Secured
#60
I see what you mean but just believe that it is too premature as we're scrambling to get community participation and non-ano participation. I wouldn't consider this like code or an exploit.

I don't know David, the more I think about this the more it seems to me we're taking this out of proportion. Adding phone numbers increases trust within our own communications? On Discord, I know who I'm talking to and would take what a new user say with a lot more doubt than someone with reputation. So trust doesn't get built with a phone number, trust gets built with reputation, communication and engagement. It's user specific and not community specific.

In any system that we go for, a user who has been banned can come back again. Any system. So I see this move as increasing "trust" in a theoretical way but not in a practical way.

Edit: What's the attack vector you're thinking about? Impersonating reputable ANOs or Factom Inc team members is what I would imagine you doing. Is there a way to block your attack vector without phone verification because the latter wouldn't stop much.
When Satoshi solved the Byzantine General's problem, it was a monumental step forward; no longer could a single or even a minority of bad actors throw a wrench in the works. The problem is, Bitcoin and all other blockchains are still goverened by people. And people can EASILY be swayed. The recent 10-0 vote against me by the Marketing Committee showcases as much. Single people or a minority of people can throw a wrench in the works and it can have serious downstream implications.

I'm a former politician. I ran against a 16 year incumbent from the majority party in my county and I ran with no party affiliation. I won every single precinct with a majority of voters in each. I self-funded my campaign and didn't have a single hired worker. I won because I knew how to harness the power of social media. Everything was above board, I didn't use bots, didn't use sock puppet accounts, didn't hire people to post on my behalf. And I still crushed the opposition. This is why I wanted to be a "white hat troll" because if I did employ underhanded techniques against this community, because people can easily be swayed, I think you'd all be blown away by what can be done. It is being done against bigger projects and will only grow more sophisticated with time, and if we're successful, it will head our way as well. As such, we must be proactive.

I strive to think proactively. I was elected as a Mosquito Control Commissioner. Sounds silly, I know, but in places like Southwest Florida, it's pretty important. The agency I oversaw had been operating the same way for more than 50 years. The problem was, as I looked at the data, it became apparent that the mosquitoes were starting to become resistant to the pesticides we used. Some species were so resistant to synthetic pyrethroids that it would have been more effective for us to throw rocks at them. And the primary class of pesticide we had left has a reasonable chance of being banned in the short term. AND some species were starting to show resistance. Sure, we could have kept doing exactly what we were doing as the organophosphates were still working but for how long? And what if they were banned? We had to be proactive because changing direction is hard. And we were. I helped more than double our budget (some taxpayers were not too thrilled with that...) and set in motion programs that would allow for effective mosquito control well into the future. 10 years from now when the mosquito problem in Southwest Florida is still relatively well controlled despite not being able to use organophosphates, nobody will think much of it. Because people acted proactively.

Look at the most popular blockchain projects. It is very obvious to me that they are being attacked by people who do not have the project's best interest at heart. Digital identities, implemented correctly, MAY solve the human identity problem. This isn't so much about adding phone numbers. Yes, it will help in some instances but it's a finger in a dam that is starting to crack in other areas. This is also about setting precedence. If we're not willing to use phone numbers, are we going to be willing to require use of a digital identity? I suspect those digital identities will initially be more cumbersome to get than your phone number.

We need to buy ourselves time, we need to be proactive, and we need to set precedence.