[Meta] New moderation tools and moderation guidelines

by habryka2 min read18th Feb 201877 comments


LW ModerationSite Meta
Personal Blog

[I will move this into meta in a few days, but this seemed important enough to have around on the frontpage for a bit]

Here is a short post with some of the moderation changes we are implementing. Ray, Ben and me are working on some more posts explaining some of our deeper reasoning, so this is just a list with some quick updates.

Even before the start of the open beta, I intended to allow trusted users to moderate their personal pages. The reasoning I outlined in our initial announcement post was as follows:

“We want to give trusted authors moderation powers for the discussions on their own posts, allowing them to foster their own discussion norms, and giving them their own sphere of influence on the discussion platform. We hope this will both make the lives of our top authors better and will also create a form of competition between different cultures and moderation paradigms on Lesswrong.”

And I also gave some further perspectives on this in my “Models of Moderation” post that I posted a week ago.

We now finally got around to implement the technology for this. But the big question that has been on my mind while working on the implementation has been:

How should we handle moderation on frontpage posts?

Me, Ray, Ben and Vaniver talked for quite a while about the pros and cons, and considered a bunch of perspectives, but the two major considerations on our mind were:

  1. The frontpage is a public forum that should reflect the perspectives of the whole community, as opposed to just the views of the active top-level authors.
  2. We want our best authors to feel safe posting to LessWrong, and us promoting a post from your private blog to the frontpage shouldn’t feel like a punishment (which it might if it also entails losing control over it)

After a good amount of internal discussion, as well as feedback from some of the top content contributors on LW (including Eliezer), we settled on allowing users above 2000 karma to moderate their own frontpage posts, and allow users above 100 karma to moderate their personal blogs. This strikes me as the best compromise between the different considerations we had.

Here are the details about the implementation:

  • Users above...
    • 100 karma can moderate everything in their personal blog posts section,
      • This functionality should go live in about a week
    • 2000 karma can moderate all of their posts, including frontpage and curated. (We’ll likely increase the ‘2000’ threshold once we import the votes from old LessWrong)
      • This should be live right now
  • Before users can moderate, they have to set one of the three following moderation styles on their profile:
    • Easy Going - I just delete obvious spam and trolling
    • Norm Enforcing - I try to enforce particular rules (See moderation guidelines)
    • Reign of Terror - I delete anything I judge to be annoying or counterproductive
  • Users can also specify more detailed moderation guidelines, which will be shown at the top of the comment section and at the bottom of the new comment form on the posts they can moderate
  • The specific moderation actions available are:
    • Delete comment
      • Optionally: with a public notice and reason
    • Delete thread without trace (deletes all comments and all its children)
      • Optionally: With a private reason sent to the author
    • Ban user from commenting on this post
    • Ban user from commenting on any of my posts
  • If a comment of yours is ever deleted, you will automatically receive a PM with the text of your comment, so you don’t lose the content of your comment.

I also want to allow users to create private comments on posts, that are only visible to themselves and the author of the post, and allow authors to make comments private (as an alternative to deleting them). But that will have to wait until we get around to implementing it.

We tested this reasonably thoroughly, but there is definitely a chance we missed something, so let us know if you notice any weird behavior around commenting on posts, or using the moderation tools, and we will fix it ASAP.