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Care and Discretion

by footpad (Abbot)
on Jan 27, 2001 at 00:45 UTC ( #54633=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

The Monastery has a tradition of general peace and tranquility punctuated by (thankfully) brief invasions of trolls. Our fearless leader has been working to help reduce the impact of these incursions and provided powerful tools that allow higher level monks to help moderate the content on the site.

These have proven useful and (sadly) necessary devices. However, I noticed something this morning that makes me vaguely uneasy. By describing it, I hope to stimulate a discussion on how we can best help each other provide the best feedback and help our newer members with their travels along the Perl Way.

As most of you know, one of most-recently inducted is having a bit of a time finding his (assumption) voice here. By which, I mean this initiate has made several posts, most of which have been (generously) less than appropriate. As a result, they've been appropriately considered or reaped, including at least a few from this morning.

One of this morning's plaints, while whiny, did ask a legitimate question about voting. With many misgivings (and not a little deliberation), I decided to try one last time to get through to our errant colleague. To that end, I carefully collected variety of nodelinks that I'd hoped would provide an opportunity that would be taken advantage of.

Sadly, the original post was deleted through consideration before I hit the Submit button. Via CB, I shortly discovered that another monk had also decided to respond.

Having a post in thread limbo doesn't bother me. I am concerned, however, at the (admittedly slim) possibility that some form of "personality consideration" may be manifesting.

I will be the first to admit that the initiate in question has brought it on himself. He's contributed little to date, demonstrated a surprising lack of taste, made extremely poor choices, and shown very little promise of becoming a valued member of the community.


Given the monastic traditions the site is based on, would it not be wise to hope that certain individuals can be reformed? After all, there were repeated attempts to help a certain monk during the last half of last year, in spite of some rather outlandish claims and poorly expressed ideas. Should we not continue this tradition, even when the most troubled and trollish of voices posts an honest (though whiny) question?

Delete is a powerful consideration and I respect the community's decision in making it in this case. If I'd been the only one suckered into answering the original post, I would have chalked it up to experience. However, I wasn't the only one and it's prompted me to reflect.

I am glad we have tools like Delete and the Reaper, however, I don't believe they should be used indiscriminately. Should not each node under consideration be taken at face value? Should we not offer every member the chance to learn, grow, and (perhaps most importantly) evolve beyond trolldom?

I welcome your thoughts...


Update: Thanks to the untiring efforts of the ever vigilant; the original thread has been restored. However, I think the ideas expressed so far are worth continued meditation.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Care and Discretion
by Blue (Hermit) on Jan 27, 2001 at 01:14 UTC
    We have a careful line to walk, as we need to provide fertility to two different grounds at once. One one side, we have all of the new Monks, entering the monastery with little idea of our traditions and what has gone before, who bring with them a wide diversity, they only common link that we can completely depend on is an interest in Perl. (Not even a liking of Perl - I've seen many "I've got to maintain this old code..." posts.) In order to grow and expand we need to embrace these, and grow. By grow, I mean not just them, but all Monks, and the monastary itself.

    On the other hand, we have the Monks who are here, who has long toiled over the carrot patches, honing their Perl skills while developping a comminity. And now, there are those who have no respect for the work they have put in, what they have helped to build. Some new Monks give the impression that they do not wish to stay, not even giving a name, but just use and discard them. Others may intentionally make things more difficult, either for a single Monk to the brotherhood as a whole.

    Reconciling these two faces is hard. In my personal beliefs, we need to grow. Which means accepting some trouble makers. Which means dealing with the trolls. But they do tend to shatter the feeling that we have here. I have seen other places, /. for example, where the "masses" have taken over. And that does not appeal to me in the same way as the monastary. But if we keep the masses out, where will we get our new blood?

    It's a hard balance. Recently I saw a message by our latest Troll, asking a real question. My first thought was to ++ it, as encouragement in the right direction, even though I wouldn't ++ it from a Monk who had been around. It was hard, thinking about that reverse discrimination. But it gave me personal insights on what I liked and disliked in the monastery, and what I would do to help it achieve it.

    =Blue might be eaten by a grue...

      While I believe that new blood is a good thing and that the monastery should not be a stagnant fixture, I don't think that means we have to put up with deliberate rudeness. And I do disagree with the deletion of the last two posts by the troll (but I didn't check the anagram).

      We don't want to be like the monasteries that were raided by vikings because we're easy targets. We should be accepting of those that have something to offer, whether that is something to teach, or the willingness to learn. If someone comes in like a troll and then wants to become a member in good standing, let them reenter under a different moniker. With the setup as it is, that's easy to do and will keep people from being prejudiced over old flames.

        Personally, I would be more impressed by someone who stuck with the original moniker and, though careful participation, worked to overcome their initial reputation.

        It would be difficult in this case, but is still possible.

        Throwing away the tainted moniker seems a little too much like a cop-out.

Re: Care and Discretion
by turnstep (Parson) on Jan 27, 2001 at 01:30 UTC
    Sadly, the original post was deleted through consideration before I hit the Submit button.

    This is odd, because to have a post disappear a few things have to happen: 1) someone has to nominate it to the Nodes to Consider section, and then 2) at least 3 other high level monks have to vote to have it deleted. This seems like a fairly good method so far. And of course, having a couple of monks vote to keep it will prevent it from being deleted. The only changes I might suggest to this system is playing around with the ratio (but I think it is okay for now myself) and perhaps having a "cooling-off" period - the Grim Reaper will not harvest a node if it is less than 20 minutes old, for example. Assuming a lot of monks are constantly watching the Nodes to Consiser page, this gives them a chance to register a "keep" vote.

    Having typed all that, I note that I cannot find the post referenced above in Nodes to Consider nor among the Bony One's humble collection. I may be wrong, but I suspect this was submitted as a Q&A question, which can be removed very quickly by a Q&A editor. In which case, we should be asking about this policy, not the "considered nodes" ones, as they are very different. The fact that the reply mentioned above has no "parent" further encourages my suspicions regarding it's Q&A origins. (For contrast, this reply to a deleted node still mentions it's parents)

    All in all, I feel the current system is working fairly well, and this particular case is probably an exception to the normal course of things.

    Update: The parent node is now there. Weird. Perhaps it was a hiccup in the Everything engine. It really was gone for a while. Ohwell. *shrug*

    Update #2: Okay, I guess you can disregard the whole thrust of my "Q&A" argument. The real question is, where did the post go? There were at least 10 minutes when it was not in the Meditations section, not on the Newest Nodes page, not showing up as a link in the "In reply to" at the top of the replies, not in the Nodes to Consider section, and not listed in Scary Monk's writeups.

Re: Care and Discretion
by Desdinova (Friar) on Jan 27, 2001 at 12:24 UTC
    Personally I favor the idea of 'principles before personalities' in simplest terms this means that the questions, comments whatever should be judged only on their merit regardless of who that are posted by. The worst troll may stumble upon a real good question that we all can benifit from and even the most learned monk can have a bad day and post something silly (I have yet to see the latter). This gives the new member a chance to correct his ways as time goes on and they learn thier way. Some people like me learn by lurking while others tend to start off by bumping into things

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