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Feedback thread for PI, RI & Bereavement

  • 02-02-2018 9:49am
    Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    Hi everybody,

    Recently we had a really interesting thread in After Hours about Boards where there were a lot of very good points were raised. One of the points was that fora often don't run feedback threads, and it reminded my fellow mods and I that PI is long overdue one. :o

    You are folk that are well used to giving constructive feedback, so I've no doubt that we'll get some great suggestions and ideas from you all.

    Here's what the mods want for the forum: we want a lively, busy forum where the original ethos of trying to help others figure out a solution for what is going on in their lives stays the same. We want it to be welcoming to newcomers. We want people to feel that if they start a thread here, someone will do their best to help them.

    We'd like to get feedback on points of the charter that warrant discussion, feedback on how we mod the place- and if you've any questions on the modding side of things, we will do our best to answer them for you.

    Over to you :)



  • Registered Users Posts: 18,471 ✭✭✭✭The Princess Bride

    Firstly let me compliment the Mods as I am sure it is incredibly difficult to moderate this forum.

    I'd imagine it takes a lot of careful thought processing before a poster starts a thread in PI/RI.
    Perhaps they're vulnerable, overwhelmed and at the end of their tether- for them, this is the often the last chance saloon.

    Of late, I've noticed some rude replies creeping back in.
    Some hostility too and generalisations.

    'Grow a pair' or 'cop on' surely helps no OP.
    It's just adding more negativity to a usually bleak scenario.
    It might allow a random poster to vent.
    But that is not what the forum is about.

    (And yes, I do report such posts.)

    Perhaps if all posters could read the OP more than once before replying?
    There's a tendency to ask a question when the answer has already been given in the OP.

    My little old opinions, that's all.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,168 ✭✭✭Ursus Horribilis

    It'd also help if posters kept their eyes out for any further updates from the OP. Especially if someone's posting anonymously and has to have their posts approved by a mod. Sometimes there seems to be quite a gap between a post being submitted and it finally showing up on the thread. I'm not making a cut at the mods here, by the way. I know it's a tough job and that you all have real lives too. I think these updates can be easily missed and lead to people continuing to advise on old advice.
    As a suggestion, is there any way an update from the OP can be brought further down the thread and be easier to spot?

    This is a harder one to police but there are times when I wonder how genuine some of the threads here are. Too many fake threads and I think it'll make people stop bothering to reply.

    In general, I think the mods here are doing a sterling job. It can't be an easy forum to moderate and I don't envy ye what you're doing.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    Even as a poster, I've never been a fan of confrontational posts in PI - those kind of tough-love I-tell-it-like-it-is style ones. I've never seen one where there wasn't a way to deliver the same point in a kinder and more considerate way.

    I think we can work on steering posters towards that a bit more.

    With regard to the unapproved posts, I don't think they can't be moved down the thread by us. I'm not very techy but Mike and Dudara know more than me about the tech stuff. It would be great if we could, but maybe as a stop gap we can work towards approving them quicker, or even encouraging a type of ****OP POST**** bold header so it stands out more?

    We tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to fake threads.The last thing we would want is a genuinely distressed person getting their thread locked and accused of being a fake when they were in fact real. We check out the OP and if there's anything odd, we may let it run a bit to see if anything confirms our suspicions. I know none of that helps a frustrated regular poster when they see what they are sure is a fake one staying open and it seems like no mod is bothering with it but usually we are on it, just behind the scenes. I don't mind answering a pm if a regular user wanted to check it wasn't getting ignored.

    What is really valuable to us here is posters themselves spotting those and reporting them. I read every single reported post in PI. I'm pretty sure the other mods do too. Some might not warrant action, but they are always welcome regardless.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,767 ✭✭✭GingerLily

    The most frustrating thing I find in PI is that some posters will offer some genuine advice, and then finish it off with a horrible sexist or offensive remark. I know to report them rather then challenge them because I know PI is about helping a poster and not debate, but it's frustrating!!

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,012 ✭✭✭stop animal cruelty

    It really comes down to the people posting.

    Iv seen many times an op would get a too tough, no nonsense response....from a poster who clearly has no idea what it's like to have that person's problem or the situation they are in....and I have felt it would have been ott, but would have many likes. It's happened to me agessss ago and I did not read anymore replies or else I asked for the thread to be closed. To think I didn't know these people but still they had the power to upset me, ya that's the internet for U.

    I have seen recently a bit of a backlash on a poster here, who's post was not the most useful, but to me came across like s/he was "ganged" up on. That poster coiuld have taken that badly...and yes his/her responsibility what they say etc....I just felt it wasn't nice.

    I don't have any suggestion tbh cause like I said it comes down to the poster, and it's up to them to read the character form...and remember not to use their words too loosely.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,168 ✭✭✭Ursus Horribilis

    I think people not reading the original post properly is a problem. For example, there was a thread here* recently where someone posted something lengthy and had a lot of detail in it. The meaning of what was said in the first paragraph changed utterly when read alongside the rest of the post. The first reply to it went along the lines of "I stopped reading when you said X" and the poster proceeded to tear the OP a new one. It got loads of thanks. If anyone had bothered to read on past that first paragraph, their replies would probably have been very different. It was a post that badly needed to be read in its entirety. It was all to do with context and the bigger picture. But people's prejudices had them jumping to conclusions and they didn't seem interested in making sure they had all the information before posting their replies.

    *Ironically this thread was locked by the mods. I think I know why. Still, it was about as clear an example as you can get of people obviously not reading a PI post properly.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 10,070 ✭✭✭✭ Dayton Low Cardinal

    Would it be possible that when a mod approves a post by the OP, they then post and flag that if the OPs post ends up far back in the thread? Just "MOD NOTE, update from OP post #xyz". Again, not meant as a criticism of the mods, totally understand why there can be a time lag, just might improve the flow of the thread.

    I would also personally like to see a ban on all variations on the phrase "I can guarantee if the genders were reversed all the replies would be different". It's not advice, it derails threads, and some people, it seems, like half their replies are just saying that.

  • Politics Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 22,655 Mod ✭✭✭✭Tokyo

    Thanks for the feedback guys, it's very much appreciated.

    Neyite's post is pretty spot on in terms of how we as mods work together in the PI forum, but I'll try to fill in the blanks on a few points (simply because as an admin, I have a few more tools available to me).

    With respect to moving posts up and down the thread, it's not really possible, even at admin level. Posts appear in the order of time posted, and there's no easy way for us to change that. The best solution is to follow the thread - I believe that those following the thread are notified when an unapproved post is approved by us.

    When it comes to fake threads, unapproved posts etc, a lot goes on behind the scenes that you may not be aware of. PI has its own moderators forum, and I'd argue that it's by far one of the busier ones on the site. While you are correct in saying that there are times where we could probably get posts approved quicker, there are also plenty of times where we discuss the merits of a person's post/thread in terms of how genuine it is, before we approve it. We also deal with a surprising number of rereg accounts, people who have posted repeatedly in the past about their issue but are unwilling to get help, posters who we feel that posting in PI is delaying them from getting the professional help they actually need, posters who are using PI as fodder for the next article/book they are writing instead or having a genuine problem, or posters who are in a dire situation and need immediate help at a level we can't provide here - all of these things are constantly monitored by the forum mods.

    I do take your point about non-genuine threads, we get our share of Walter Mitty's at times, however we do have to err on the side of caution in this - it's better to let a thread run that might not be genuine, than to shut down a thread that may be genuine, and the OP is looking for genuine help. It's also worth remembering that your advice helps more than the OP - I imagine that many people search PI for situations similar to theirs before posting, and the advice given is no less relevant to them.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Thanks to everyone who has posted so far. With regards to posters going the "tough love" route, or posters making broad sweeping usually untrue generalisations ("if the genders were reversed", "all women are...", "all men say..." etc.) oftentimes we find that by the time a moderator sees the reported posts or the thread in question, other posters have dealt with it. And dealt with it without getting in to a scrap or breaching the charter.

    I know I have personally seen posts which might have required moderator intervention, but the good posters of Personal Issues will have posted en masse refuting the claims and adding intelligent backup to why the claim/advice offered is ridiculous. That is one point where as a group of moderators we have decided that it has been dealt with and the offending poster hasn't continued with their argument. So sometimes, we don't step in with a warning because the flow of the thread has naturally dealt with it, and adding a warning can sometimes be unnecessary after that point.

    It very difficult to police what people say. We rarely snip or delete posts and you will always get that cohort of "I didn't bother reading that", "if the genders were reversed". Just like in 'real life' you will always have people who base their entire argument on those statements. I often find that types of posts tend to come in cycles. We go through a cycle of hardly needing any moderator action in the forum to then having an influx of "cop on", "grow a pair" etc.

    (Speaking of which, I think that should become a banned phrase.)

    There are always ways of offering advice without being dismissive or rude. Sometimes, serial posters need it pointed out to them that they are trapped in a cycle and not taking any advice on board. But it can still be done with a bit of tact.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,347 ✭✭✭LynnGrace

    First of all, it's a well moderated forum, in my opinion. Well done to all concerned.
    I agree with previous points here, so won't repeat them.

    A minor suggestion - maybe remind people in the charter not to quote the OP. Most times, there is no need. If it is a very long OP, it creates work for the mods going in to edit unnecessary quotes, and it makes threads difficult to read, especially on a phone.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,048 ✭✭✭✭Dial Hard

    LynnGrace wrote:
    A minor suggestion - maybe remind people in the charter not to quote the OP. Most times, there is no need. If it is a very long OP, it creates work for the mods going in to edit unnecessary quotes, and it makes threads difficult to read, especially on a phone.

    Sometimes it's necessary to quote part of the OP for context, though. And imo, the mods are very pro-active about snipping posts that quote the entire thing.

    In general, I think the modding here is top notch. Something that could perhaps be looked at is the lenth of time posts should stay open without a reply before they're automatically locked. There are a few repeat offenders on here who clearly just drop by every few weeks, read the posts that interest them and reply on an ad hoc basis, even though the last reply to the post might have been weeks previous and the OP might not have been back at all. It's the equivalent of digging up zombie threads elsewhere on Boards and I find it quite annoying as it's clear the posters in question have just swooped in on a particular opening topic without giving any consideration to how old the thread is or even any of the advice already given. They just read the OP and post their reply which 9 times out of 10 is completely redundant because it's already been covered in-depth while the thread was actually active.

    I always report these but would an automatic lock after a defined "dormant" period be worth considering? With a note that the OP can PM a mod to have the thread reopened should they require it, of course.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,347 ✭✭✭LynnGrace

    Just to clarify -^^, I meant not quoting the entire post unnecessarily. I can see reading back that I didn't make that clear.

    It's a minor point, anyway, and I agree the mods are good for snipping unnecessary stuff.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    LynnGrace... Quoting the entire (often times very long) post is a particular bugbear of mine. If we could put it in the Charter and ban offenders for a week I would love it :pac:

  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    ..... And a lifetime ban for those that repost 3 or 4 screens of text and then add a 1 line reply like "Why don't you just ask them?" :mad:

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,885 ✭✭✭Caranica

    I know this has come up before but the vague thread titles can be frustrating. Particularly when (near)duplicates appear on a regular basis. Things like "what do I do", "is it over" or even "help" recur regularly though often with completely different threads.

    Other fora have things along the lines of "please use meaningful thread titles"?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,282 ✭✭✭pitifulgod

    Not a regular in here but there seems to be walk into a thread that can be incredibly judgemental and veer away from being helpful in anyway. This can result in debate rather than an effort to offer useful feedback to op. It might be worth considering something close to a zero tolerance policy on posters who do things like this.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,873 ✭✭✭wyrn

    I'm a regularly lurker of here. I tend not to post because I've found some of the posters have more articulately and succinctly written what I would like to say.

    I think the moderation here is great. The only issue I've had over the past while is that some posts are very hard - either on the OP or in tone. I'm not sure how I can describe it exactly but I know by reading some of the replies on posts, I've felt less inclined to visit PI / RI.

    Some examples would be when an OP might get upset about some of the replies and you see "you're only angry that people aren't agreeing with you". I find this annoying. I think the posters could word it better but instead it gets the OP defensive. Now the poster is probably in the right but it would be more beneficial to make it sound less scathing. As someone pointed out earlier, the OP is in an emotional space and probably not seeing the wood from the trees. I think sometimes they just need to write out their issue to start to clearly see it especially with the perspective of strangers. I went through a bit of a tough time recently and I was going to post asking for some advice but honestly I spent so long trying to word it (because I knew certain posters would pounce on certain aspects instead of the whole picture), I was frighten off and left it.

    The other thing I've noticed is that some posters have certain biases in certain areas. One example would be students not working or paying their way through college or offering up money at home. There was a post (waaaaaaay back) wondering how much to pay back their parents. The parents initially said they've cover it but when she got a job, the mother wanted to be paid back indefinitely (even though they didn't need the money, it was more of a cultural / bragging rights. The post got derailed from so many "why didn't you pay for yourself OP, I had to work 6 jobs in college and pay my parents". To me the issue was that the parents changed the deal on the OP and while she was quite willing to go along with it, she wanted advice on when to stop because she had no idea how much her parents shelled out for her. Or how to approach them to ask for a cut off point. Some posters just fixated on that she didn't work her way through college.

    To sum up I think the moderation is excellent but I've found some posts too hardline. I do think some posts need to be tough love but I can also see why someone who feels the need to post in PI / RI might be put off by this stance and lets face it, some regulars who do often have great advice can have very tough stances on certain issues. I don't think this is something that can or needs to be moderated.

  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Thanks wyrn,

    And I fully understand and agree with your point. There is always different ways of imparting advice. Some people have the skill/ability/empathy to be able to say what a poster needs to hear without getting personal or being too harsh . Unfortunately many people seem to lack that basic skill. It is a difficult one to moderate because often the poster doesn't exactly breach the charter. They may not stray into personal abuse etc. As moderators we repeatedly stress, "mature, constructive, civil advice". There are posters who regularly skim the ourskirts of this and as a group the moderators (like regular posters!) have a fair idea of who those types of posters are, and we keep a general eye. Sometimes even though individual posts may not be card worthy a pattern of posts could often result in a moderator sending a PM to a user and asking them to tone it down a bit.

    As a rule we don't like handing out cards and bans regularly. And a card or ban will only be handed out when it really is necessary. Often time posters will be nudged in a more civil direction. There are all types of people in the world, and I suppose it is impossible/impractical to police what people say and how certain people communicate. All we can do, really is to repeat the standard of posting we expect here. And then if people continually ignore than and go on their own crusades, then the cards/bans have to be given out. As you say it is not nice to be in a vulnerable/upset situation and to come on looking for advice just to be kicked when you're down. It serves no valuable purpose whatsoever.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,022 ✭✭✭✭Permabear

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  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    From a personal point of view I agree. It is frustrating to see that. In the real world you are not going to leave your husband or wife and only see the kids every Wednesday plus every second weekend because your spouse looked at your phone. It's non-advice to offer that in most cases. Now, if you were two months dating on the other hand and he's checking your phone, my advice would be to run like Gump. :P

    With an open forum, you'll get anyone posting, even people who give poor advice. As much as we'd like to though, we can't ban them. Posters can however point out the obvious flaws in their 'advice', provided it's done in a civil manner and keeping the OP in the loop rather than two posters going off topic and having a nitpicking debate on it.

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    Yeah, in cases where you have people (generally who we assume are not married, and probably have never been in any sort of long term stable relationship) immediately going to "dump him" the forum then depends on wiser heads to come along and bring a bit of sense to the thread. I know we stress direct all replies to the OP, and that is to stop posters getting in to a debate with each other but posters can still disagree with another poster in the context of offering advice to the OP.

    But on the note of online posters "pressuring" people into making decisions, I think/hope that strangers online telling someone to end their marriage wouldn't be enough for someone to end it. People posting publically asking for advice will get just that, and they have no idea who they are getting advice from. Boards has a lower age limit of 13. So that's something to bear in mind when asking for relationship advice. It's up to the OP in every case to take what they want from the thread and ignore the rest.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,022 ✭✭✭✭Permabear

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    I wouldn't like MY 13 year old to be reading it - but if parents allow their 13 year old free access to the internet, and the permission to have a account (although they can read it unregistered) then as a parent you have to realise that your child might read and see things you'd rather they didn't.
    First point under the heading "Your use of"

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,022 ✭✭✭✭Permabear

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  • Administrators Posts: 13,024 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Big Bag of Chips

    My original reference to 13 year olds was in reply to your post about people jumping straight to the "dump him" brand of advice. I never said people should post bearing in mind there might be young eyes reading. I said they should bear in mind when reading advice that they have no idea who is in fact advising them. They have no idea if they are reading advice from a marriage counsellor with 40 years experience or from a 14 year old who has recently dumped their boyfriend because he liked a friend's profile picture on Facebook.

    We, as posters and moderators have enough to be doing without playing "mammy" to the teens of Ireland too. If your child reads a post that you deem unsuitable for their eyes on, then that's your issue to monitor. Not everyone else's.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 39,022 ✭✭✭✭Permabear

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  • Registered Users Posts: 563 ✭✭✭orthsquel

    I'm getting a bit worried about the PI/RI forum over the last few months. There seems to have a surge of recent registered users and re-reg users (that got banned) showing up in here and trolling, flaming and being disruptive, pulling threads and other constructive users off topic and into arguments.

    Those users tend to hit one section of boards, troll and argue to get their post count up, get banned and move into other sections before they either get bored, carded, or banned. One that got banned from After Hours started turning up in here, posting. There's been a steady increase in users newly registered since April onwards with high post count from e.g. After Hours landing in here and going against the charter... This isn't just happening to PI/RI but across boards and I've seen more and more posts across various sections of boards calling out members as "trolls" and "yet another re-reg" when they seen they're registered since April or July 2018. I'm worried what will this do to the forum in the long-run and the constructiveness of responses to posters and advice being given.

    I find even myself wary of threads where I suspect they be just be a troll bored of After Hours content as their last point of posting and less welcoming to those who seem just to be in PI/RI to troll and de-rail threads, argue and not contribute... or where their only contribution is something unhelpful and unwise a suggestion for whoever the person the OP is in a difficult situation.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,885 ✭✭✭Caranica

    To add to the above, I know mods have a life but there are loads of PI mods yet obvious troll posts are often left for hours. It makes it very hard to trust new posts.

  • Administrators, Politics Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,947 Admin ✭✭✭✭✭Neyite

    Apologies, I wasn't online this weekend I'm afraid.

    Sometimes it's not immediately clear if a person is a troll or if they have history and requires the higher- ups with more mod buttons to check. I'll tend to err on the side of caution though - PI is a place where OP's come already distressed and I'd rather catch a troll a few days later than ban someone who is genuine and compound their distress.

    It's happened before though where there's an influx from elsewhere on boards and then it calms down after a while, I'm not sure what causes it tbh. I'll have a chat with the fellow mods about this, and see if there's anything we can do to keep on top of it.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 229 ✭✭ElizaBennett

    I think the moderation is very good but, as has been stated above, you can't legislate for people who are insensitive and just fond of giving their two cents worth and hang the need for any kindness or empathy. It's a very vulnerable place to put yourself, at the mercy of strangers with strong opinions when you're in an emotional quagmire and I think some posters should try to remember that these are real people they're judging. And there is a lot of judgement going on - sometimes very harsh. I can always tell the posts that will end up with everyone against the OP from the get go, telling them what they should have done or how it's all their fault really when they came on hoping for sympathy, even when they state from the outset that they know they've been at fault but are suffering. I agree with the poster above who said they'd really hesitate before baring their souls if they had a problem. I tend to just lurk and take advice given to others that relates to my situation etc rather than put myself at the mercy of some very careless and often unnecessarily tough commentators. Pity you have to remind people to be decent and kind but that's how it is. It often feels like people are very easily triggered and are just waiting to pounce on any hints that someone is a less than perfect parent / has ever fallen in love with someone they shouldn't have or some other sign that they are less than perfect. It's sad and frustrating but I still think Boards is incredibly helpful and a great service. Thanks Mods!