Egerton
Topic Author
Posts: 841
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:50 am

Fake News, Trolls etc.

Sun Mar 25, 2018 9:33 am

I am concerned with the fake news, the trolls and the like.
In particular these issues have affected the thread “Rolls-Royce 787 Engine Snag Extends to Airbus A330”.

May I suggest that these issues need attention from the Mods, failing which the owners of A.net may find themselves in the Courts (in English English) for libel.

May I suggest that the following new Forum Rules might help:

1. Reports from news organisations without attributable sources should not be published.
The Bloomberg Report initially quoted of March 23, 2018, 4:32 PM GMT was one of these.
Bloomberg have since issued an update of March 24, 2018, 10:02 AM GMT.
(I consider this update still contains gross bias and error.)

2. If the thread name is a quotation from a news organisation report, it must be followed by a question mark.

3. Reports quoted from news organisations should always be published in full, not using selective extracts.

4. Trolls and trolling should be permanently banned.

5. Folk who are intentionally offensive should be suspended for one month.
Repeated transgressions should result in permanent bans.

6. The task of a Mod is to exercise the judgement of Solomon, which is not compatible with debating.
So moderators should not involve themselves in discussions on threads unless to add factually correct information with minimal comment.
 
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qf789
Moderator
Posts: 5459
Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2015 3:42 pm

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Sun Mar 25, 2018 1:51 pm

What you have suggested has been taken to the moderators for further discussion. Once we have discussed it we will get back to you.
Forum Moderator
 
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atcsundevil
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Posts: 2583
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:22 pm

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Sun Mar 25, 2018 2:38 pm

Egerton wrote:
1. Reports from news organisations without attributable sources should not be published.
The Bloomberg Report initially quoted of March 23, 2018, 4:32 PM GMT was one of these.
Bloomberg have since issued an update of March 24, 2018, 10:02 AM GMT.
(I consider this update still contains gross bias and error.)

While I agree that we should all be skeptical of "fake news", this isn't generally an issue when it comes to aviation stories. I encourage users to flag posts that contain links to potential dubious sources for our review. However, we will not ban it outright, and we're far more likely to issue a disclaimer rather than make a deletion. Contrary to the beliefs of some users, we don't exist as a means of censorship, we exist to make this place as respectful and orderly as possible. Most of our users are intelligent enough to make their own determinations when it comes to the legitimacy of a source.

Egerton wrote:
2. If the thread name is a quotation from a news organisation report, it must be followed by a question mark.

I'm not sure I understand the point of this.

Egerton wrote:
3. Reports quoted from news organisations should always be published in full, not using selective extracts.

Since this would violate copyright laws, this cannot happen. Users are highly encouraged to post fair use extracts only in such a way that accurately portrays the contents of the article. We also highly recommend users posting a summary in their own words. It is each user's responsibility to either follow the link and read the story for themselves, or to rely on the summary/extract provided. You mention being sued for libel, how about for copyright violation? That's a far more imminent risk for a website like this.

Egerton wrote:
4. Trolls and trolling should be permanently banned.

Okay. How do we determine who's a troll? Is there a definition we can use? Most of our users who "troll" also post legitimately. A select few are rather obsessed with specific subjects, but are still posting with good intentions, albeit in a manner annoying to the rest of us. We have banned a few users for obvious trolling, but it's far more complicated than "ban them all" as you're suggesting. Our role is to encourage the forum, not find ways to exclude people; if we do exclude them, it needs to be for the benefit of the community. The only blanket permabans we issue are for spanners, and I don't foresee that changing.

Egerton wrote:
5. Folk who are intentionally offensive should be suspended for one month.
Repeated transgressions should result in permanent bans.

This alone would cause a roughly 30% drop in users. I completely agree that there are several vitriolic, disrespectful users on this site. We regularly issue warnings and bans to them, but since we don't post a list of users who have been warned or banned, other users have no knowledge of this. However, most offenses don't warrant a one month exclusion, much less a permaban. And again, the term "intentionally offensive" is highly subjective. We act in accordingly, because every situation is different. Maybe we should increase our enforcement on purposely disrespectful behavior, but part of that is reliant on users flagging comments to us. There aren't many of us, and we can't read everything.

Egerton wrote:
6. The task of a Mod is to exercise the judgement of Solomon, which is not compatible with debating.
So moderators should not involve themselves in discussions on threads unless to add factually correct information with minimal comment.

As a moderator, I can never support this. If I were instructed to no longer participate as a user, I would resign, as I suspect most/all of us would. We were all users for many years before volunteering to moderate, so while we put importance on our moderating duties, we consider ourselves users first. I realize that opens the possibility for conflict of interest, but we regularly consult each other for second or third opinions. We generally don't moderate threads in which we regularly participate, and if we're involved in a situation where we've posted as a user, we'll defer to another moderator's judgement. Apart from that, finding a moderator who won't engage in the forum would not only be difficult, but I would argue is bad for the forum. Having a moderator who can set a positive example in their own posting is important, as is their ability to engage with the community. We aren't robots, and we don't want to be robots. I'm an air traffic controller at one of the busiest facilities in the world, I play ice hockey, I love Formula 1, and I travel all over the world — do you see it as a benefit to the forum that I not share my industry experience and personal insight? I'm certainly not the most valuable contributer on the site, but I'd like to think that some people value what I have to share, and I don't think that should undermine or delegitimize my ability to function as a moderator.
 
Egerton
Topic Author
Posts: 841
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2015 9:50 am

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Sun Mar 25, 2018 3:56 pm

Thanks, I have made my thoughts known.

On my item 2, some folk do not get it that in the case I mention, the initial and the update from Bloomberg were damn lies, intentionally aimed to damage the share price of RR. This is an increasing tendency from them. The thread name should be changed to add a question mark. Many readers took Bloomberg to be an honest outfit, in my view they are a purveyor of fake news. As this tendency towards fake news is becoming more common, my item 2 would act as a warning flag to readers.
 
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atcsundevil
Moderator
Posts: 2583
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:22 pm

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:40 pm

Egerton wrote:
Thanks, I have made my thoughts known.

On my item 2, some folk do not get it that in the case I mention, the initial and the update from Bloomberg were damn lies, intentionally aimed to damage the share price of RR. This is an increasing tendency from them. The thread name should be changed to add a question mark. Many readers took Bloomberg to be an honest outfit, in my view they are a purveyor of fake news. As this tendency towards fake news is becoming more common, my item 2 would act as a warning flag to readers.

Bloomberg is a source that most people would classify as being reputable. You may feel differently, but that doesn't alter the fact. Users who source Bloomberg will not have their posts treated any differently than if they had used CNN, BBC, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, AP, etc. Those are all reputable news sources and will be treated as such here, but users should always think for themselves. We will not be asking users to add question marks as a way to discredit the source unless the source is truly questionable. In this case, Bloomberg is not a questionable source.
 
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NeBaNi
Posts: 292
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2009 10:45 am

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:22 pm

atcsundevil wrote:
Egerton wrote:
5. Folk who are intentionally offensive should be suspended for one month.
Repeated transgressions should result in permanent bans.

This alone would cause a roughly 30% drop in users. I completely agree that there are several vitriolic, disrespectful users on this site. We regularly issue warnings and bans to them, but since we don't post a list of users who have been warned or banned, other users have no knowledge of this. However, most offenses don't warrant a one month exclusion, much less a permaban. And again, the term "intentionally offensive" is highly subjective. We act in accordingly, because every situation is different. Maybe we should increase our enforcement on purposely disrespectful behavior, but part of that is reliant on users flagging comments to us. There aren't many of us, and we can't read everything.

This I take issue with. So is the purpose of the website to have as many users as possible, or to facilitate reasonable discussion? I understand that you might not have intended it to come across as this way, but to me it sounds like you're more concerned about a 30% drop in users than anything else. OTOH, I get that VerticalScope might have an internal goal about user numbers and I get that (the company has to make money off of us too), but if that's the case, then it should be made clear to the users, that A-net cares more about number of users.
 
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atcsundevil
Moderator
Posts: 2583
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:22 pm

Re: Fake News, Trolls etc.

Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:49 pm

NeBaNi wrote:
This I take issue with. So is the purpose of the website to have as many users as possible, or to facilitate reasonable discussion? I understand that you might not have intended it to come across as this way, but to me it sounds like you're more concerned about a 30% drop in users than anything else. OTOH, I get that VerticalScope might have an internal goal about user numbers and I get that (the company has to make money off of us too), but if that's the case, then it should be made clear to the users, that A-net cares more about number of users.

It was sarcasm. The purpose of this website is to have many users while facilitating reasonable discussion. I don't personally care what VS's goals are when it comes to membership, because I don't work for them and neither do the other moderators. I've been a moderator for a couple of years, and the site owners have always left us to manage the forum without interference in the manner we feel appropriate. The point of my comment was that we aren't going to ban and permaban users without reasonable cause. Moderators are users too, and we care about this site as much (if not more so) as anyone, and our actions are reflective of that. We have a fairly consistent disciplinary method on an escalating scale, and I don't see any reason to change that, because it generally works.

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