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  Moderator Review: Dilaton

+ 1 like - 3 dislike

Dilaton has already admitted he made some mistakes regarding partial deletion of answers/comments. He has apologized to the community, so I personally have forgiven him. However, due to the seriousness of the incidents, I think he should stop moderating, becoming a regular user. Otherwise, should deletion of content occur again, some of the community could arguably suspect Dilaton of censorship again. In addition, we should set a precedent in which any abuse of power by the moderation/administration team is penalized. I think this is for the best of Physics Overflow. Apologies are welcome and honor him, but they should not replace a penalization. Impunity is the seed of future abuses. Edit: Please, vote one of the answers below: Dilaton should stay on as moderator or Dilaton should step down as moderator. Or propose a new idea in a separate answer.

asked Jan 28, 2015 in Conflict Resolution by drake (875 points) [ revision history ]
recategorized Apr 13, 2015 by Dilaton
@RonMaimon The moderator pages aren't hidden, you can nominate whom you want.

@RonMaimon You want to invite a bunch of random people, to vote on the thread so that you can have your way? I can't agree with this. OK, so polarkernel and Dilaton don't talk to you, because you've treated polarkernel as if he were an employee of the site, who is obliged to listen to you, and you've accused Dilaton of being an NSA agent, a sockpuppet, and an account operated by multiple people at the same time.

@dimension10 As far as I know, thanks to Ron Maimon we know Vladimir is not a liar, but someone belonging to the moderator team deleted his comments or answers. Is this what you mean by "after all you've done (need I speak about it?)"? Is that a threat in order for him to shut up? If it is something private, keep it private. Otherwise, make it public. But stop threatening.
@drake That's not what I meant; I was referring to Ron publicising Dilaton's private emails out of context, and accusing him of asking him to leave the site (when what happened was just the other way around).
@dimension10, @RonMaimon, ok ok ,come on, let's just calm down and settle this. I agree to be nominated as a moderator and I trust the community with 500+ reps.
When you come to a site as 1 of 4 active moderators, and you are intent on bucking the consensus of all the other three (when I came here, Dimension10, Dilaton, and Polarkernel were in complete harmony regarding VK), you need to be a TOTAL JERK. I made sure we were on completely hostile terms first, then once hostility was established, I looked into it, and found out whether anything wrong had happened. If nothing wrong had happened, I would just look like an idiot, and for the longest time, I did look like an idiot. So the price of figuring out what's going on means that I lost the trust of all the other moderators. None of them consider me worth talking to, they think I am going to do something terrible and vicious, because I cursed at them in ALL CAPS, said things like "GET AWAY FROM ME, YOU *@#&!* &#@#!". I didn't quite say that Dilaton is an NSA agent and Polarkernel is a Kingpin of the Russian mafia--- I don't believe this nonsense. I said "I have no idea who they are, and there's no trust, so they could be anybody, and they could be doing anything". This can be easily fixed by just telling everyone honestly what happened. The story still doesn't add up, as Vladimir insists some of the comments erased were standalone, and the Weinberg deletion which Dilaton denies doing. Here's the latest statement by Dilaton: "@VK also there has been no cut in the Weinberg comment you mentioned above. However, I'm really sorry for having censored your comments on the Higgs-less universe thread..." But obviously there WAS a cut in the Weinberg comment, because we've established that VK is not hallucinating or lying, just Dilaton refuses to say that he did it. That's not exactly forthright admission of guilt, it is the usual politician business of minimum possible acknowledgement of guilt, and then shutting up.

@Dimension10: If Vladimir Kalitvianski and the last administrator Eduardo Valera are considered "random people", then yes. I don't have a gaggle of friends I can invite to vote, I'm an unlikeable and not particularly endearing person, as you have had plenty of opportunity to see. Polarkernel is just saying that to make politics. I have never said anything to him at all before today beyond random technical questions and "thank you". He's not an employee of anyone, and I'm the most despised moderator in the team, so nobody has to do anything I say.

@RonMaimon Then Eduardo Valera can vote because he has rep > 500. The only thing you are asking is  that Vladimir Kalitvianski is able to vote as well, right? As for Dilaton, you cannot force him to publically say his real name. That's not right. You can propose, as you did, all moderators either making their real name public or leaving the moderation team.
@dimension10 Can you please explain your reasons for thinking that he must keep moderating? (in a separate answer)
@RonMaimon Stop saying trivialities to me. I repeated several times I had forgiven him, but impunity is the seed of new abuses. And they even refuse to explain. If by "users" you are including  me, stop making assumptions: you don't know me.
+1, Dilaton's response has been entirely inappropriate (shutting up, admitting as little as possible, hiding, etc). I agree that stepping down is mandatory.
@RonMaimon @JiaYiyang : Please, vote one of the answers. The question has been edited, so that one should vote on the answers.

@drake, see my comment here.

4 Answers

+ 2 like - 1 dislike

I was asked to make clear my reasons for why Dilaton should continue to be a moderator, so here goes.

Dilaton did a mistake, thinking that it's right. He edited out the posts, because he thought that it's fine to edit out "insults" from posts. Had he knowingly violated the principle of community moderation, or user rights, I would have agree with stepping him down. In fact, I suspect that he didn't even hear of the "user rights" document - to be fair, that was discussed by just Ron and I (Ron proposed it, I modified it and made it official, without consulting anyone). In fact, I just found, that he had once said, in public, a long time ago, when asked by an SE moderator, that "of course insults will get edited out, but it's just that people won't be banned for saying rude things". Now if that isn't a testimony to his innocence (in terms of intention, not action), then I don't know what is.

Probably all of us (us, meaning those who've been active moderators since a long time) have made such a mistake unknowingly in the past. Ron overruled a community moderation decision, I too would have done something stupid if I look back far enough. In fact, I have. In the early days of PhysicsOverflow (when private beta was just over), I had just assumed that an anonymous poster accidentally posted it anonymously because he could not login to his account, and assigned it to his account. Luckily, it was indeed the case, so there wasn't a problem, but there could have been.

answered Jan 31, 2015 by dimension10 (1,955 points) [ no revision ]
Thanks for your answer. It's a big relief to see that you care about this issue. Please, please, please, consider giving reasons next time . Downvoting is not enough. Not saying that it must be enforced, but it's a good practise. Thanks. @dimension10  Please, vote one of the answers. The question has been reformulated.

@dimension10: The idea that the Dilaton "thought it was fine" is an outrageous lie that Dilaton keeps on lying. Dilaton knew it was an egregious abuse as Dilaton was doing it, and did it anyway, because, you know, who the heck would investigate? Who the heck would find out what happened? Dilaton read and (negatively) commented on user rights when I wrote it, I remember that Dilaton strongly objected to point 2--- users control the content under their name, and wanted to add caveats about deleting insults and trolling from contents, but begrudgingly agreed to this after we discussed how important it is. Look at your email logs, don't make up nonsense based on what Dilaton is saying now with those lying fingers.

Dilaton did it behind your back. Dilaton allowed you to lie again and again about these actions, so as to harrass Vladimir Kalitvianski more, and lied on the very thread where VK resigned his account. Dilaton lied and lied, for pure power, for control (although Dilaton lies about it inside Dilaton's brain), and Dilaton continues to lie, now, afterwards, both about what happened and about the response. There is a reason why the communications between you were all private and didn't include me. There can be nothing to do with a politician on a physics site. Even with unsparingly honest moderators, people become suspicious.

Dilaton with Vladimir Kalitvianski, as long as there was no one looking, was simply a cat sadistically toying with a mouse. The abuse was deliberate, and designed to get him to leave the site, and it worked. It also worked to get me to leave the site, perhaps others, I believe all the others. Do you still understand, as you once did, that these moderation actions were actually worse than anything that happened at physics stackexchange?

Dilaton never made a secret of wanting to control who participates on the site, and to make sure that there are only people that Dilaton approves of. This was made clear to me from the beginning, and I would not go along with it, and I still won't, and I never will. Now that I'm a user, not an admin, I can see it from the proper vantage point again through experience, not vague memory, thank God.

The abuse and selective treatment went on for months. The final orgy of deletion and "official warnings" (there were two of these--- the first on the thread where Dilaton deleted stuff, and the second on the meta thread where VK complains about these deletions) began after a quick email to me to check if I was following what was going on (I wasn't).

The dishonesty spills over to all decisions, and the control of other mods is through an enormous cloud of mind-fuck that you are still trapped in, and I am just now fully getting my head clear of. Dilaton needs to step down immediately just for the mental health of the other moderators, especially you, Dimension10. You have been complicit with gross abuse and you still don't get it, and if you continue down this road, you never will. For example, all your attacks on me as "Ron-aparte", "Dictator", etc was total garbage planted in your head by Dilaton since 6 months ago, and that you repeated on auto-loop the past weeks. Your continued looking for misdeeds for those on Dilaton's enemies-list is another mind-fuck. Get this through your head: neither Vladimir Kalitviansky, nor I, did anything deliberately wrong (I did do one potentially wrong thing accidentally, because of paranoia caused by this, but nobody could tell me it was wrong because in this particular instance, to point out my mistake would make the mistake worse).

There are no shades of grey here, just simple right and wrong. Dilaton did something wrong, and still does not admit the wrong, and must step down. It won't be so bad, it's good to be a user again, really.

You still compare Dilaton's actual, gross, deliberate, abuse of power, and deliberate cover up, including lying to you, to my unhiding community hidden message in ignorance, which was reversed in 10 seconds and cleared up with one email. This comparison is another Dilaton implant into your head, and it is absurd, because it shows you don't understand what makes the difference between deliberate wrongdoing and innocent mistakes. Wrongdoing comes from the kingdom of hell, mistakes come from Dilbert's kingdom of heck. You can live with a whole lot of heck, you can't live in hell. You need to shake garlic around, make your fingers into a cross, hold up a mezuza, I don't know what, just do something.

Both active original moderators should resign one by one over the next weeks. Get a good mod to replace Dilaton, and yourself, and let the community take over, as Dilaton always claimed to want (but I suspect will never actually do). You should also make a policy of accountability for mods, and institute temporary modship as a requirement, not an option. I am still reserving judgement on the site, unfortunately, until it is actually community run, not run by a bunch of saps who seem to operate under the control of hypnosis.

+ 2 like - 2 dislike
Dilaton should stay on as moderator
answered Jan 31, 2015 by drake (875 points) [ no revision ]
Besides what I said in my answer, I also believe that if rotating moderation is to be stable, then it must happen slowly. Ron had told me in an email that it's best if these step downs happen in the order of political to administrative ratio, which I agree. Ron stepped down yesterday, so I'd wait at the very least till say, April, or May, before Dilaton could voluntarily step down from moderatorship.
@dimension10: That would be reasonable, but it's not going to be fine by Dilaton, but if it actually happens, I am pleasantly surprised. But you are enough for administrative continuity. Dilaton is an abusive moderator, and will continue to be such until Dilaton is a totally honest moderator.
+ 3 like - 3 dislike
Dilaton should step down as moderator
answered Jan 31, 2015 by drake (875 points) [ no revision ]
My vote goes to this option.
So does mine, Dimension10 is enough for administrative continuity.
+ 1 like - 3 dislike
All reasons in the questions argue that Dilaton should stop moderating. And my upvote to the question should be added.

The main goal goal of this forum was: freedom of speech in science. One of the moderators has admitted he has broken this rule on purpose. How can anyone think that he must keep moderating?
answered Jan 29, 2015 by drake (875 points) [ revision history ]
edited Jan 31, 2015 by drake
You can be mod too, you have good rep and seem decent. I'll nominate you if you agree. The moderators get all chummy with each other due to shared experience, and don't like it when their friends are picked on. Rotating modship should fix that.
I'm relaxed. I don't want to become a mod for now. I used "superpowers" in a sarcastic way. I don't understand how someone can behave so unethically, for so little privilege. They're following all steps politicians take: 1) Admit as less as possible. 2) Keep silent, disappear. People forget, get tired, and dislike being angry with other people, so 3) After a while you can come back as if nothing has happened. I don't tolerate this.

@drake: Nobody else tolerates it online either (Edit: sorry, I guess Dimension10 does). The discussions are preserved forever, it can't go away as an issue without redress (I mean, I think). That's why dishonesty is a counterproductive strategy. The only strategy that works (on an open forum) is complete and total honesty. If you are being a duplicitous politician, you would need to censor all the drakes. Why not be a mod? It's not a big deal, you see hidden posts, you have a few extra buttons. You don't have to use them, I hardly ever did. Please say yes, I'm sure that you will enshrine accountability. How are the other mods supposed to do it? Will you tell me? The community is so small, and Dilaton is the founder. I agree with you completely.

@RonMaimon Thanks for your words. I cannot say yes, though. Sorry. Reasons: 1) I can trust neither Dilaton nor dimension10. 2) I don't like having more power than other users do. 3) This issue has given me a real headache and will give me more if I become a mod. I know I'm being selfish here because someone has to do it. I'll reconsider it later on.
@drake: The only good mods are those that don't want to do it.

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