"Smokejumping" moderators to fight fires on the worst forums

  • 22
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • Not Planned
Archived and Closed

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies and is no longer visible to community members. The community moderator provided the following reason for archiving: IMDb boards

A number of forums have spun out of control, descending into flame wars and general abuse. As well as the recent posts about the religion forum, we've seen complaints about Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Man of Steel, Family Guy, Evil Dead, etc. forums:

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...

On some of them, and others:

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...

I have floated the idea that smokejumping moderators might help.

The idea is that IMDB has a vast number of forums and the huge majority are no problem or the existing system can deal with the occasional troll that turns up, so there is no need for having moderators assigned to them, especially as such a system would require huge numbers of people that would be impossible to police (so could itself en up causing more problems). However, some turned into a form Hell with numerous trolls stirring things up and it descending rapidly to a point that an average user just avoids the place (and eventually IMDB).

These tend to be genre TV shows or films with a rabid fanbase or ones that are potentially controversial, as well as those about the recently deceased (there was a thread reporting problems with the James Gandolfini forum that I can't currently find). In fact, it'd probably be possible to predict future flashpoints (the upcoming Star Wars sequels, for example).

So while I don't think we need an army of moderators, there does seem a need for a smaller group who could jump into forums that have gone up in flames, fighting the fires - handing out sanctions before the current system would have rumbled into gear, checking IP addresses to see if we are dealing with a lot of trolls or just a few using multiple accounts and whatever else is needed. Hopefully, this would address the problems of a forum early on, before it spirals down getting almost out of control. It might also be that the presence of such moderators would put some people off even trying to troll the forums - at the moment the system is slow and that gives trolls time to get in and cause damage before sanctions start being applied. See them off early and they may end up seeking out easier targets.

Obviously there is always opportunity for abuse with a group of moderators (although my experience tends to suggest most of the issues are the product of paranoia) but the smaller number of people will make managing them easier (hopefully sanctions are already logged somewhere) and restricting their remit to the worst forums means they'd have less opportunities to turn to the dark side. If IMDB had started out with a more conventional message board system, this would have already be in place.

Anyway, that is my back of the envelope idea - there might be more tweaks, ideas, etc. that other people can offer (or I'll think of later), so over to you:
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes

Posted 6 years ago

  • 22
Photo of Christian and proud

Christian and proud

  • 272 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
Hear hear

Though in light of the Arizona tragedy, your choice of analogy could have been a tad more thoughtful.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
sigh, cursed by timing again - although in my defence I've been using the term for a month or so in relation to this problem (I also don't believe they were strictly speaking smokejumpers, although over here in the UK the news on this hasn't been that in-depth).

Apologies to anyone this might have upset.
Photo of Christian and proud

Christian and proud

  • 272 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
I don't think anybody thought your choice of analogy was intentional, but it was definitely unfortunate. All the more because they were 'smoke-jumpers' in a literal sense.
Photo of Dan Dassow

Dan Dassow, Champion

  • 13084 Posts
  • 13283 Reply Likes
I endorse the concept. It appears to be a viable solution to combating message board abuse. However, the specifics will need to be worked out.

One other strategy, would be to flag message boards subject to abuse. Post a message on the banner of these boards that members have been abusing the boards.

Another strategy would be to automatically increase posting quotas for anyone posting to a contentious board and noting this in the banner.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
Yes, there'd need to be some tinkering.

I like your idea about the message board banner, as it fits with the idea that the moderators would have a very proscribed focus to their bailiwick (I much prefer that term to remit or purview) and the forums they'd be allowed to moderator would have to be flagged within the system, so there is no reason it shouldn't be flagged up publicly. The hope would be that the concept that the specific message board were being moderated would, itself, become a form of deterrent and just by their presence it'd keep things under control.

I am not sure about the quotas (although I'm open to being convinced ;) ) as the moderators would be applying sanctions to the worst trolls, which would mean quotas would be going up for the worst offenders while the ordinary users would be free to post as usual. This might help drown out the background noise at the same time moderators are working to hammer down the problematic threads.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
I just thought I'd bump this following all the Ask.fm news (and the Twitter threat business from the previous week), as it is becoming increasingly clear that sites have a duty of care for their users and the danger is that IMDB might be seen as coming up short on this front, with a partly automated system and a lot of lag from the first report to action being taken (which can mean that offensive and even damaging posts are online for too long).
Photo of Dan Dassow

Dan Dassow, Champion

  • 13084 Posts
  • 13283 Reply Likes
I still endorse this. The banner indicating that a board is moderated still makes sense. I agree that increasing quotas for everyone was an ill-conceived idea.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
Granted this won't cover all the potential problems, but it'd be a start.

I suspect they will need some kind of... panic button for extreme problems (like stalking, death threats or encouragement, posting of personal details, etc.) that require a human to see them and deal with them asap. I'm afraid that when people come on here and post about nastiness directed at potentially vulnerable individuals, I feel just telling them to report and ignore the troll seems... inadequate. Granted a lot of the cases that come up on here would need a panic button (and in a lot of cases report/ignore is exactly what is needed) but there will be rare cases where this will be essential and could cover IMDB's ass.
Photo of Christian and proud

Christian and proud

  • 272 Posts
  • 44 Reply Likes
Yes. A panic button to be ONLY used in the most extreme circumstances with strong sanctions against a reporter if used frivolously or unjustly.

Death threats. Violence threats. Asking users to kill themselves. Unsolicited privacy invasion, (NOT use of information already supplied by the user). Approval of violence against or sexual violation of children. Terrorist/mass violence threats.

In these instances, a hot-phone to administrators and immediate action taken. The traffic should be far lower than typical abuse reports and only 2 staff should be able to handle it.

A small price to pay in these days of exploratory litigation
Photo of Pikabo ICU

Pikabo ICU

  • 73 Posts
  • 58 Reply Likes
I am totally on board with this idea! This is a very common practice for public message boards & chat sites.
Who better than trusted members of the community to monitor the boards..

I've seen this used on many, many sites and it does help!
There are degrees of moderation powers so they can be limited to deleting a single post, a thread or an entire posting history.
Most mods can give warnings if needed but just knowing a site has moderators watching will often deter the trollish, abusive behavior.

It's a good idea and I believe it would help keep the site within the TOS and member mods are FREE!! That's always a bonus! One avatar/chat site I admin'd gave free VIP membership to the mods so at most IMDb could give "pro" status to moderators, if they gave anything at all..

Two thumbs up on this idea..
Photo of bluesmanSF

bluesmanSF, Champion

  • 10815 Posts
  • 6429 Reply Likes
Odds of them giving control of the buttons to non-employees are somewhere between slim and none. I think this idea is suggesting adding an ability to flag a board at which an existing moderator could monitor and add a banner alerting users it's being watched.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
Yeah that'd be down to management to work out. There are plenty of sites where trusted users are given access to a limit set of the buttons and levers to help fight the flames (I'm an admin/moderator on two such sites), but if this isn't a way they want to go, part of the point of the suggestion is to get the number of moderators down to a manageable number, so it could be dealt with by staff (although I suspect they'd need to hire more, as the ones we have seem to be working hard - I'd imagine that a lot of big sites might be scrambling to get in more staff to head such problems off at the pass).
Photo of Mars KHan

Mars KHan

  • 19 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Hell NO trolls are better then lame boring goody goodys users
Photo of bluesmanSF

bluesmanSF, Champion

  • 10815 Posts
  • 6429 Reply Likes
Mars,
Trolls are idiots. They're not better than anyone else.  Only they, themselves, think they're clever or entertaining.  All others think they're a pile of dung they need to step around.
Photo of sliat1981 .

sliat1981 .

  • 28 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
We're having a problem with this user: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur50944780/.
He's practically hijacked the board and turned every topic into his own flame war.
No one is posting to him but he's trolled up the entire topics and changed them to be about his personal quest against people. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097647/b...
I wish an admin would remove ALL his troll messages, not just the ones we report
Photo of bluesmanSF

bluesmanSF, Champion

  • 10815 Posts
  • 6429 Reply Likes
sliat, funny you found this. I was just digging it up to suggest support in the other thread!

Did you +1 this suggestion?
Photo of RED DOGG 88

RED DOGG 88

  • 14 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
sliat_1981 is the SOURCE of the problem with him taking any opinion other than his own as a challenge and a fight -to-the -finish simply for someone daring to disagree with his own warped illogical views .oh .... that and his obsession with joking about CHILD ABUSE  and CHILD RAPE on a message board for a MOVIE FOR KIDS !!!!
Photo of summer summers

summer summers

  • 6 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
The admins are useless! This happens on every board. They stupidly and blindly delete posts that are NOT offensive and then without checking, they put a posting quota on the "Accused" when the people accusing are trolls and accusing wrongly!

The admins are too moronic to exist, and this is a problem THEY are contributing to everyday on every board! The ADMINS are a bunch of MORONS! Really.
Photo of bluesmanSF

bluesmanSF, Champion

  • 10815 Posts
  • 6429 Reply Likes
Summer,
They're not useless.  They just have a different job to do than you erroneously think they do.
Photo of Emperor

Emperor, Champion

  • 6418 Posts
  • 3002 Reply Likes
I've made another suggestion which could fit with this, as it'd use similar tools (and perhaps personnel):

https://getsatisfaction.com/imdb/topi...
Photo of bhertz

bhertz

  • 31 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes
You're getting my vote. It's a reasonable approach and would certainly prove itself to be a major step forward, given the bleak state of affairs. Where a (partly/fully?) automated reporting system seems to have devolved into a trolling tool more than anything else.

Good luck with this one. Hope somebody listens.
Photo of bluefishermen13

bluefishermen13

  • 11 Posts
  • 4 Reply Likes
Great concept, IMDB should really put this in practic, i ́ve already offered my services to them and only wait for my mod badge :)
Photo of K Dot

K Dot

  • 22 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
I like the idea, just wish they'd put it into practice.  Initially it will require a lot more work, but I think one of the reasons there are so many issues with trolls on this site is because they know that they can get away with their behaviour. 
Photo of Mark Rose

Mark Rose

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
I also like the idea but it doesn't stop the trolls from creating new accounts again and again and again as has been demonstrated by a person called Boki on the Horror board. How long would it take for the new troll account to be flagged up as a problem. The board would need to be monitored continuously which in practice is probably not feasible.
(Edited)
Photo of Martyn

Martyn

  • 5 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
YES! This is a great idea! When Bebo was first introduced, they had a huge problem with Spam (think there was a bug in their code somewhere). After normal users reported a certain amount of genuine SPAM reports, they were invited to use additional tools where they could see reports and they would vote either delete/keep/or don't know. If a certain amount of deletes were accumulated, the posts were removed. If someone with the tool voted too many deletes on a wrongfully reported post (which should have been voted 'Keep'), they'd lose access to the interface.
Photo of someone somewhere

someone somewhere

  • 18 Posts
  • 2 Reply Likes
I strongly suggest you talk a look at the Annie 2014 board. Trolls are out of control there and have been since Oct before the movie even came out. I saw a threat to one woman who was a mother. The troll wrote disturbing story about her getting in the car drunk, crashing her car & dying. This troll has continued to make up lies also claiming another user sent him suggested photos. This troll has other accounts and one story he wrote up is about a black little girl (Annie) and talks about her changing body & period. These trolls are seriously mentally ill. One of the main accounts now appears to be limited so instead of the usual 200 posts he is now posting about 10 or so a day on this one account then switching to others.

I was one of the users he attacked and someone here suggested I delete my account which is what I did. I still visit there now and then just to help report the more out of control posts and shocked some of the worse ones are not being removed.

Something needs to be done. When that woman was threatened with dying in her car that post and troll should have been removed right away. Yet this troll claims to work with IMDB, gets written apologies personally from IMDB and he is just plain mental. Something is wrong with this person.
Photo of Nostromov

Nostromov

  • 15 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Just got hear, from another boo-hoo thread... Says: Posted 2 years ago, Updated 4 days ago.

(which can mean that offensive and even damaging posts are online for too long)
What, are you (guys) new to the web; have you joined, not too long ago?.. Ten (even 20+ on BBS) years ago, spam and offensive posts were there - as soon as the first POST form went up online - and they will be there for as long as we shall live (I'm guessing :)).

Just - take a chill pill; because, realistically, you're (actually, lolz) trolling 1010
Photo of Jediknight

Jediknight

  • 33 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
I have joined recently myself and exploring this place all over. This site and others. I've noticed many people complaining about this, spam and trolling running rampant everywhere. I even have advice last night to someone dealing with harrassment and stalking. I think this is needed before everyone leaves and taken over by socks and trolls.
Photo of Nobody

Nobody

  • 1455 Posts
  • 706 Reply Likes
BTW:

In another thread today (Sept 5 2016),  Col Needham wrote:
"Get Satisfaction is not for boards issues and such posts are removed these days ..."

Will the old existing board-related discussion threads,  such as this one,
probably be removed at some point?
(Edited)
Photo of gromit82

gromit82, Champion

  • 7023 Posts
  • 8367 Reply Likes
Nobo: I thought Col was talking about specific boards issues, as opposed to this thread which is about how to deal with management of the boards in general.  But I could be wrong.
(Edited)
Photo of Dan Dassow

Dan Dassow, Champion

  • 13078 Posts
  • 13272 Reply Likes
Nobo: I also understood that Col was talking about specific board issues.
Photo of Nobody

Nobody

  • 1455 Posts
  • 706 Reply Likes
"... to fight fires ...."
And now it seems IMDb has opted to fight fire with fire
by burning down the boards.      :-/
(Edited)
Photo of bruce3

bruce3

  • 8 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Yes the boards are about to be nuked off the planet, so you won't have to worry anymore.

This conversation is no longer open for comments or replies.