Community Moderation Overhaul

Secured
#61
I see the ridiculous moderation regime has already started in earnest within the FCT-markets channel. I kind of dispair to be honest. What do you want people to talk about in there?? Just post endless graphs? You are going to kill interest in FCT. Well done. You will reap what you sow.
 
Secured
#62
the ridiculous moderation regime has already started
What specifically are you referring to, @Deleted Account 1 ?

The only thing I can see is a single warning from earlier today.
Is this "ridiculous moderation regime" you're referring to?

I'm asking because you've accused moderators of censorship multiple times in the past couple weeks.

I'm also asking because I've worked with people who have literally risked their lives to express themselves.

If you want to see what real censorship looks like, read this.

I take accusations of censorship extremely seriously. Censorship is a complicated thing. It also involves allowing people to act without being subjected to unfounded accusations.

Moderators—who are unpaid volunteers working to improve communication on Factom’s Discord—are not “fair game.” If you want to accuse us of something as extreme as enacting a dictatorial “regime,” then I give you the floor to make your case.

But to be clear, at this point, you need to make your case.
 
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Secured
#63
I very much sympathise with the lowest-barrier to entry argument. Totally see how in future with 100x users phone number may be helpful for moderation, specially when/ if moderation is still voluntary, but I personally don't want to see it right now.

I get annoyed seeing Andymoto[cryptoinvestor's] constant repeating of the same spurious assertions, as it can make everyone spend an extra few minutes a day reading (aswel as the replies telling him the same things) everyday if you want to not miss some of great discussions and info from others (such as niels + dchapman :) ).

But I feel it is currently pretty much one person + lots that have grievances not making too higher level conversation, but a Vent channel and mod's feeling ok to warn quick and ban definite repeatedly banned people) would be the best for the foreseeable future, as any barrier to entry when we're only just growing the Discord is a loss.

1. Out of interest is there a middle ground for if something was implemented? Leave Welcome channel and Vent/Trollbox fully open and have a few open discussion (but good discussion) channels for members that have accounts over a few days/week old, or that have so many posts already, or verified phone number possibly. - I realise all of that is probably easier in this Forum than Discord

2. I like the idea of Factom decentralised identities being used in some way for high level discussions in future. I think Dash was/is trying to make a 'one-stop-shop' 'useable by your grandma' solution to sending money aswel as other things. I would love to see a Factom wallet you can log into, that can also manage your Decentralised Identity, Add contacts for sending Factom too or different values using FAT tokens (or stablecoin values, though potential unbounded inflation scares me but that's a different issue)
But having a forum and chat available on it too.

Also as an aside - thank you David Chapman for your part in making this forum, and for all your blog post and engagement with the community for the last few years, you have definitely helped many people to understand some of the incredible potential of the protocol and I hope you will continue to facilitate that however it may be :)
 
Secured
#64
What specifically are you referring to, @Deleted Account 1?

The only thing I can see is a single warning from earlier today.
Is this "ridiculous moderation regime" you're referring to?

I'm asking because you've accused moderators of censorship multiple times in the past couple weeks.

I'm also asking because I've worked with people who have literally risked their lives to express themselves.

If you want to see what real censorship looks like, read this.

I take accusations of censorship extremely seriously. Censorship is a complicated thing. It also involves allowing people to act without being subjected to unfounded accusations.

Moderators—who are unpaid volunteers working to improve communication on Factom’s Discord—are not “fair game.” If you want to accuse us of something as extreme as enacting a dictatorial “regime,” then I give you the floor to make your case.

But to be clear, at this point, you need to make your case.
There is no way to delete an account on this forum so can a mod please delete mine.
 
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Secured
#65
Hey folks, I happen to be a community manager professionally, and would like to offer some insights on this matter, and this specific thread.

  • Perception is Reality - This is my number one rule when approaching an audience with unknown traits, ie the public or new markets. What I mean by it is that, regardless of truth, people will absolutely believe what they have or have not seen. It's a practical fact in almost every facet of our lives. While it doesn't mean too much on the individual basis, it will carry more and more weight as an audience gets larger. At a certain point, it won't matter what the actual facts are, because a community and its leaders will have to deal with the perceived facts regardless. Perceived facts can be real facts, too, but they're acted out to be more important due to a number of emotional drivers behind them, including financial bias and personal opinions.

  • Project Management- There is so much happening in an active community that it's impossible to cover every every corner of it. So, you need some project management skills and execution to be able to tackle the appropriate issues appropriately. You know the perception that government bodies move slowly? Plenty of reasons behind that, but the major wrapper to many of them is the amount of steps going into actually mapping out a solution to a problem. This thread about a community moderation overhaul is opened with presenting and discussing some solutions paths but without lead in with the problems being solved. Instead, the problems are coming up from other parties within the discussion. Various levels of involvement and framing are then triggering a number of side discussions, some more volatile than others. This needs a scope, then should get back in it.
Now, I'd like to organize some of the major problem points for the project that I've been able to perceive in this thread:
  • Moderator selection
  • Moderation policies
  • Dodging bans
  • Community growth
My proposed solution approaches for these problems are summarized as:
  • Moderation Selection - A public community voting process on newly proposed moderators as they are needed.
  • Moderation Policies - Creating and publicize a common enforcement list for regular offenses. Things like a 3-strike system, hard bans for racist/sexist/similarly terrible comments.
  • Dodging Bans - Continued enforcement based on above policies.
  • Community Growth - Marketing efforts related to development, use case, and enterprise solutions.
Regarding Phone Number Verification for Discord:
This is both too much, and not enough. Verified phone numbers for a Discord account is a nice verification step, but it's not very heavily practiced as a requirement, nor will it resolve any issues we have on platforms outside of the Discord community. It's also quite the jump, as there are other steps that could be done with Discord specifically.
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Personally, I also feel it's a process that will be punishing the many for the actions of a very, very few. If we're looking to attract enterprise attention, requiring someone to give additional data to a third party (Discord) in order to talk to us can be rather off-putting. This can lead towards a walled garden perception, which isn't very welcoming for a community that wants to bring in new eyes and talents.

An alternative process step that I've already covered previously is part of a larger, rehash of the Discord community groups/roles, and access steps, and that's using a step-by-step introduction and automated role permission process, based on making people read things. Not only does this make for additional steps in being able to participate in the community, but it's an important education step for new members looking to join.

Regardless, a determined enough troll will be able to break through any of these barriers multiple times.

Another line of thinking against the ban dodging practice: It sounds like repeat offenders people primarily trying to influence the market channels. If so, what if there were separate Discord communities for the trade market and protocol development?

My perspective is neither perfect nor comprehensive. Please feel free to directly raise points to anything I said. Thanks.
 
Secured
#66
Thanks for this, Kevin—there’s a lot of great food for thought here IMO.

A few responses, in no particular order:

My proposed solution approaches for these problems are summarized as:
  • Moderation Selection - A public community voting process on newly proposed moderators as they are needed.
  • Moderation Policies - Creating and publicize a common enforcement list for regular offenses. Things like a 3-strike system, hard bans for racist/sexist/similarly terrible comments.
  • Dodging Bans - Continued enforcement based on above policies.
  • Community Growth - Marketing efforts related to development, use case, and enterprise solutions.
I suggest we deal with Dodging Bans before moving to Moderation Selection. I’m almost positive we could run a moderator election without much problem at this point, but I’m also seriously concerned about that “almost.”

One thing that’s been said here, which I’d like to repeat, is that the potential negative consequences of a few determined bad actors can’t be underestimated. @David Chapman brought up the idea of a “white hat” attack, and I have no doubt that he could pull it off to grand effect. (Please don’t do this, David.)

One of our most devoted community disruptors lobbied to become a mod just before his third or fourth ban. The consequences of such a thing being passed (during a down market when everyone’s feeling negative and distracted, for instance; or in a vote manipulated by dummy accounts) would be destabilizing in a major, long-term way. These things don’t come announced, they simply happen happened.

I sincerely worry that this possibility isn’t taken seriously enough.

I agree that phone verification isn’t ideal. As I wrote to the other mods in our private channel last Tuesday, “I don't really WANT phone verification per se, but I do think we need to better protect ourselves from malicious actors. We've had a small taste of some of their work in the past, but I think we need to prepare in advance for a greater number of better organized bad actors, with more resources. IMO it's a matter of when, not if.”

I’m open to all other potential solutions, but in regards to this criticism:

This is both too much, and not enough. Verified phone numbers for a Discord account is a nice verification step, but it's not very heavily practiced as a requirement, nor will it resolve any issues we have on platforms outside of the Discord community. It's also quite the jump, as there are other steps that could be done with Discord specifically.
First, I believe our current settings are at Low, not None (i.e. requiring email verification). The other settings aside from phone verification aren’t targeted at malicious actors looking to undermine or control sentiment—the subject of this thread—but at spam bots and casual ne’er-do-wells. Waiting 5 or 10 minutes isn’t going to slow anyone down any more than creating another (fake) email account does now.

I have a similar concern with Access Steps. While I see virtue in this possibility (ensuring a basic understanding of Factom before contributing to discussion), I don’t see how this does anything to combat the issue of bad actors creating multiple accounts with the intent of manipulating sentiment.

Changing our moderation level to an intermediary level or setting up access steps may be worthwhile in their own right, but if I understand each correctly, neither will have any effect on the issue at hand here.

Another line of thinking against the ban dodging practice: It sounds like repeat offenders people primarily trying to influence the market channels. If so, what if there were separate Discord communities for the trade market and protocol development?
I think I like this idea. There is of course overlap between the more tech-focused members of our community, and the more market-focused. But you’re right that the market discussions are the ones most susceptible to manipulation. This idea tentatively has my vote, with the caveat that we acknowledge the fact that this would double our Discord “attack surface.” It may still be worthwhile, though.

In sum:

I agree that phone verification isn’t an ideal solution, and several members have brought up legitimate criticisms IMO of its implementation. I myself am on the fence, but have been arguing for its consideration in light of what I take to be the seriousness of the inadequate defenses we currently have against long-term disruption.

It’s possible, however, that a stronger Moderation Policy, a devoted team of community-elected moderators, and separating the Tech and Market discussions, would be enough, at least for the time being. But I think we need to keep phone verification on the table as an option. It’s not a silver bullet, and is not without its own problems (including the admittedly questionably “optics” …). But it still may be the best solution we have to a potentially very serious problem.
 
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Secured
#67
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?
Hey @schmooodle, I emailed Discord's support these questions and received the following answers:

Hi [88mph],

1. No one will have access to the number
2. It's not stated on the verification page that server owners won't get the number, but you're welcome to post that in a rules channel
3. No, unfortunately not :( - A rules channel seems like a good idea here.

Cheers,
allthefoxes