How to deal with WP Drama on the forums

Continuing the discussion from Is it time for Samuel "Otto" Wood to leave WordPress?:

As James said in this post. We probably do not want to become involved in WP Drama to much. How should we deal with the times that it comes to find us?

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Move it to a “Trash” section or somewhere?

Personally, I don’t want to read and even see that toxic rubbish. It’s not worth my time and attention. I’m here for ClassicPress, not YellowPress :slight_smile:

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I don’t understand the desire to “deal” with it at all. This is an open community. If someone is clearly abusing our openness, we already have a policy for dealing with that. Otherwise, just leave it alone.

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I think if we do not want drama, we have to ignore people who do.
As already pointed out, this user is a new one. As newby he has to grasp a feel for what we are. Came here maybe out of frustration and needing to vent or attack what frustrates him.
My best reaction to this was read the thread and then do something constructive while thinking what the best answer would be to him.
I wrote code, run errands and cleaned the house. You know…
Best answer would have been “hey, welcome! We don’t do drama here. If you feel to contribute go here (link), please if you write code maybe you want to submit survey.
Here you won’t find any Ottos but we are happy for every contribution you may give in terms of suggestions, activity on forums or slack and so on.
Have a look around and engage!”

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I agree in general. Сlosing/deleting topics may turn into kinda censorship. But toxic topics are harmful if they are left in the top positions of the forum.

  1. New people (not involved in WP-dramas and other internal conflicts) get distorted idea about local community in whole. Just imagine they come here to know more about CP and see something like “%username% is sadist!” as a heading of a top General section.

  2. Communities tend to replicate “mainstream” behavior. If toxic topic stays on top and there is no reaction from active minority, that topic becomes a precedent and a new ethical reference. Since that content slowly tends to degradation. I’ve seen that many times)

Moving toxic topics to a “trashy” section solves both. Topic still exists, everyone is free to discuss and post, but it can’t be forced anymore and new people feel that this content is a bit “inappropriate” for a friendly community of business-oriented CMS. Saving image)

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@norske I think you are mistaken. People will come here and just have a look round. Then they will get an introduction to the ClassicPress way of doing things. All good.

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Well, maybe.
I just know that I can’t recommend a resourse to my client/partner in case I know that at first look it would seem toxic or inadequate. I can’t rely on their “look around” and I don’t want them to think I am a part of infantile internet fights) It’s a shame to share that. (IMHO).

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There is a balance we need to achieve with it. If we are seen closing every thread that mentions WP then how are we any better than what they do when someone mentions CP?

Drama or not it will be taken out of context.

On the flip side I was thinking about making a category that is demoted in the “latest”, but then that looks like we are encouraging people to talk about the drama but trying to hide it from the public.

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Mod edit: moving this thread here as it is not longer relevant to the previous thread.

Figure it out before it gets to the size and complexity of WP. This thread shows that those that have the authority to moderate this forum don’t agree on how to do that. Otto has the role of moderating the moderators at WP, and the plugin review effort. The buck stops there, and that’s what you have to figure out how to do before you have plugin and theme directories and large numbers of reviews and support threads to moderate.

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It’s okay to disagree as we work toward a better solution. Clear communication is something we can, and will, continue to work on.

The intent of my comment is to start the discussion toward that end. This is something for the community to “figure out” as a group. Do you have any specific processes we can examine as good examples of where moderation is done successfully? That would be most helpful as we – the community – explore this further.

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One method I have seen on another forum I use is a dedicated “Talk with a mod” process. This gives the opportunity to open a direct (private) channel with the mod who initiated some action. It’s mostly used if your post has been deleted for some reason and you want to challenge it, or get clarification.

I’m also not sure if it is possible on this forum but perhaps we can consider requiring 2 mods to do something definitive, like closing a thread. I know that closing a thread can often be seen as shutting down debate, and I don’t think it is something that should be done lightly.

Edit: Actually, it would only need one mod as long as there is a clearly defined code in place to justify the reason. See my comments below.

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@joyously, I have to disagree with you. It shows we are learning in real time and are open to community feedback regardless of the subject. In a perfect world we could, in theory, have rules around every possible comment that stirs up disagreement, but unfortunately this isn’t a perfect world. There are going to be discussions and threads we didn’t plan for and I believe that the best approach is to listen and learn. As long as we have open lines of communication, and are willing to learn from the past I think the community as a whole is in a fantastic position.

Closing this thread was a judgement call, and I believe was the right call considering it was an edge case we hadn’t encountered before. Reopening this thread was based on discussions and the careful weighing of pros and cons. People may disagree with the decision to reopen the thread, and people may disagree with the decision to close the thread. Either way by listening to the community and hearing the arguments from both sides next time we can be better prepared.

As I have mentioned on this thread, we will work towards finding a balance, and I would love to hear your (and everyone else’s) constructive feedback either way; whether you agreed with closing the thread or agreed with reopening it.

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There’s nothing to disagree with. All I meant was that the moderators disagreed and that is a fact that I pointed out. It’s not the only conclusion to draw, as you showed in your response.
My suggestion is only to think ahead to when CP is more complex and the moderators don’t have time to look at every forum topic, review, or reply. There sort of needs to be someone to make the final decision (or maybe not), and at WP, that’s Otto.You either need some guidelines to refer to or someone to decide… or maybe there’s some other way.

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I understand, but I think having 1 person (or set of guidelines) people refer their decisions back to leads to an authoritarian approach. I would prefer to have the dialog and come to a consensus as a community :slight_smile:

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I think finding consensus is fine while it is small. But planning for big before it happens is smart.

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I agree, and I think by learning from this next time we will be better prepared for how we deal with drama (of any kind, it doesn’t have to only be WP drama).

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One thing is apparent to me, the way the moderator thinks doesn’t necessarily match how the poster of the comment thinks. For instance, these last few comments were just moved here “because not longer relevant to the previous thread”, yet this makes no sense to me and I even used Otto’s name, so I don’t see how that wasn’t relevant.
(I don’t care if it is moved, and I don’t have the access to move it myself if I thought it needed to move, but it’s just an example of how people think differently.)
Moderators are going to do what they do. Some people won’t like it or understand it. Oh well.
I never saw any of the drama on the WP forums, but I do know they have guidelines that they enforce. People take it personally, but it’s not meant that way. It’s how that community chose to be long ago, and it’s their site so they get to choose…
just like this community at this site gets to choose its own.

If there were a downvote, users could push it down themselves without needing a moderator. But most people will ignore those drama topics. It seems that there are always some wherever you go.

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@joyously I think what the community is trying to achieve is taking a decision on how to react for good in the future not by enforcing it as a solo decision like it happens in wp, but because majority of the community wanted CP to react in a certain way to drama.
So I think you and @wadestriebel are saying the same thing with different words.
Your comments were moved because they were resonating more with the “how can we decide how to react?” And in that context loosing them by not moving them would have been a mistake, but not everyone has trust level to move them, it’s true. Trust levels here are gained by interacting. I got my level three because I read, I answer and I am respectfully of others. Since I see the same behaviour in you I think it’s a matter of time, and you will receive the level three badge too :wink:.
Coming back to the issue at hand: is there a good way to deal with drama in a positive way we have to consider the following:

  • People, drama or not, need to feel listened to and they have a right we listen
  • We need to encourage people to engage in the community
  • We don’t want to be a place where people dump their frustrations about WP
  • We need to discourage backbiting and people speaking behind other people’s back

Someone suggested a dedicated category like a “trashy” place to put such posts. IMHO it’s the wrong move. It’s going to Create the idea we hide what we don’t want to see. Moreover it will tell people that we regard posters in a different manner one another.
I suggested to “ignore the drama and answer in positive way” this means listening to the concerns behind the drama, answering by encouraging people to take action (be the change you want to see) and demonstrate to poster we indeed listen to everybody but indulge in no venting or backbiting by not continuing discussing on those lines.
I suggested this way of reacting for a very specific reason.
I have seen this behaviour implemented in all Linux forums I have visited (and they are many).
It comes from the assumption of “Ubuntu” (I am because we are, meaning a community works better when it’s United. To be noted that United doesn’t mean everybody thinks the same, but that everybody come from a point of respect towards the others, so that everybody is welcome to speak his mind because people will try to understand were he comes from rather than attacking).
I also said another thing:
This new user arrived here full of frustration and in need to be reassured. He felt at war with a certain attitude he received or witnessed. He felt rejected from another place. Since people were treating him badly, he went in defensive/offensive mode. He reacted to all the drama by venting to us. That is only human. I have said this because: as a community we need to listen and acknowledge where people come from. Then we may remind them there is a positive way they can be the change they want to see by taking action positively. But first we have to listen and acknowledge in respect.
To be noted that in Linux communities nobody answers to such posters untill a mod very kindly has approached them to welcome them and remind them to keep convos free from backbiting and drama. People in such communities behave like this for they know it’s better for this user to meet a trusted senior member who may lead the conversation on a positive path.
This doesn’t mean we can’t speak about the Ottos of this world. It means only we must not judge them or speak behind their backs just for fun. Indeed a senior member may have stirred the conversation in a useful direction by asking directly to the poster: instead of venting about Otto, could you suggest to the community a way for us not to behave like this? How can we motivate our trusted members to treat people kindly and respectfully? How can we manage disagreement?
Then the poster understands the good vibe, feels listened and engages with the community.
To do this, high communicating skills, patience, time and dedication are needed, I know. But I think if other have succeeded in this we may as well be able to ourselves.

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I think it would help to have a more detailed code. If mods take some action, they need to be able to point to some publicly available document and say “See, you broke the rules here”. Something like this: https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/wp_modfaq (this is from a huge Aust forum that is very successfully managed).

Note they have very clearly outlined the reasons for thread deletion: https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/wp_modfaq#wp_modthreaddeletion
and thread closure:
https://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/wp_modfaq#wp_modthreadclosure

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I would only agree with this if it is a drama or a topic that is related to ClassicPress.

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