moderation, kind of meta but more general 

A shocking amount of people really needs to learn that a lot of bans/defederations/whatever are not handed out for specific directly-observable behaviour, but for the offender's active refusal to reflect or reconsider when approached about it.

This is true for defederations on fedi, but it is very much also true for community management more broadly.

Most moderators do not act impulsively. If someone got banned somewhere, and they're telling you that "all they did is <innocent sounding thing>", then the reality is that *they are probably lying*, and there was actually a whole conversation (or multiple) where they were asked to stop doing the thing and they trivialized it or actively refused.

That doesn't mean that every moderation action is always justified. But it *does* mean that if you want to question the legitimacy of a moderation action, you actually need to do the work of understanding the full context and not just go off whatever the banned person claims (nor just what's in the public logs).

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

I should've probably included the tag, considering that half of the 'discourse' on there seems to fall into this exact bucket

update, re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

In an oddly timely twist, you can see almost this exact thing happening in several of the cases in hbomberguy's latest video about plagiarism.

People getting caught on plagiarism and patterns of behaviour, and them then reframing things as if it was just one little irrelevant thing that people got mad at, completely removing all context from the accusation to mislead people into believing they are innocent.

moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@joepie91 excellent point. Can I quote a bit of it ("you actually need to do the work of understanding the full context") in the discussion of receipts in my post on Blocklists in the Fediverse?

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@jdp23 Absolutely! Feel free to repost any part of it, as long as it doesn't misrepresent anything :)

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@joepie91 sorry for the belated followup ... I wound up moving this section to the previous post in the series where I'm discussing instance blocking in general (because it's not just blocklist-related).

how does this look? You can see it in context in

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@jdp23 Looks good to me, thanks :)

@joepie91 Had exactly the "All I did was X" thing recently. Was a situation where I was directly there and knew all the details of what happened but because we weren't at liberty to say everything for privacy reasons, the banned party immediately got online and started telling a wack ass version of the story where they just did one tiny thing and they can't believe that's ban worthy, what a horrible injustice was done, woe is them!
It's exactly what I expect from the banned party but I hate how the tiniest but of motivated reasoning has others siding with the most blatantly obvious lies.

@powermad @joepie91

A forum I'm reading regularly now has ban reasons due to that, and it's pretty common to see 'history of' in there.

It's most likely less of an issue in that format though, since everyone sees more or less the same stuff and gets a feel for how the moderators operate over time.

moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@joepie91 I've done moderation on irc and forums, so I know this is often true. If anything typically a ban results from a threshold being crossed after a lot of nonsense. On the other hand, I've done moderation on irc and forums so I know it's not unusual that some interpersonal conflict or difference of opinion can also result in moderation action. It's really hard to tell from the outside, and I'm not sure to what extent transparency can be achieved withouth compromising other moderation desiderata.

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@modulux When I moderate a place, I tend to be extremely transparent about what led up to something - in the more complex cases, I have sometimes spent literal hours explaining the rationale to community members, and basically turned it into a community management class (with good results - this resulted in better self-moderation of the community over time as well, as people learned to spot abusive patterns early).

Unfortunately the tradeoff for that is that it requires a lot of time and energy, and not everybody can afford to spend that on it...

re: moderation, kind of meta but more general 

@joepie91 That's a good thing, but it can be very hard. As you say, limited time, limited resources. And sometimes thrashing over the decision just stirs things more and creates more friction, at least that was my experience, to the point in some places I was meta-talk was explicitly banned.

@joepie91 Counterpoint: the mods need to be sufficiently transparent and open so that work can be done.

I once had a Community Working Group lead tell me, after they expelled someone very popular on seemingly flimsy grounds to heavy backlash, "there's more going on you don't know."

The tell us! Something. Anything. If you actively hide info, people will fill it in with their least charitable imagination.

Privacy should be protected, but give *something*.

@Crell I would broadly agree with that; with the caveat that there's a big difference between "some details on why they were banned" and "an exhaustive justification to the satisfaction of the listener".

The former is definitely a reasonable thing to expect (and, IMO, crucially important to teach communities to do more self-regulation too), but the latter is not, because that is where the "expertise and context needed to fully understand the conclusion" comes in.

@joepie91 Oh, absolutely. It's a non-trivial balancing act, both for the mods and the community.

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