Discipline around low effort posts or poorly sourced posts


Bltizo

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Registered Member
I've noticed in the last year or so there have been an influx of new members.
That is not a bad thing, having new blood is good.
And some of these members have produced constructive input and in some cases new material that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to access.

However, there are also some new members whose contributions to the forum are low effort, poorly sourced, or tend to be more political in nature than otherwise.

In some of the "non-military" subforums that is fine. Member's Club Room, General Pictures, even Strategic Defense to an extent, I accept and give up that moderating the quality of discussion in those subforums is beyond the scope of the current moderation team.
Some topics are too big of an elephant to ignore, and all we can ask is members respect general courtesy and literally do not descend to screaming matches.

However, in the flagship military threads, in Army, Air Force and Navy, I still hold a certain level of expectation that new members -- but also old members -- should please contribute to the threads in a way that is preferably high effort, relevant to the topic of the thread, and preferably well sourced.

That is to say:

1. Posts should preferably not be "low effort".
- i.e.: one liners even if they are enthusiastic like "go China!" or "I think China needs more aircraft carriers" or "I hope China builds more 055s". And one liners which are more political and/or non-relevant to a threads topic like "this XYZ event that happened is great/infuriating, why does this happen" or more emotional posts that are essentially "I am mad/happy/sad/etc" frankly are all the kind of posts we can do without.
- This isn't to say that one line, short posts cannot also be constructive and very useful -- if someone asks a technical question about something and a single line is enough to answer, it then that's obviously fine. Applying common sense and critical thinking for what you're contributing is obviously useful, and if someone else has started a squabble over something and you are replying to them in a stern and brief way to try to shut them down, that obviously will be taken into consideration as well.

2. Posts should try to be relevant to the topic of the thread:
- In many military threads, discussion obviously inevitably overlaps with grand strategy, national requirements and geopolitics. We all accept that there is a big overlap between geopolitical realities and strategic requirements and military procurement. When discussions slowly trend towards the more geopolitical side of things, I think gentle warnings are fine. But there are too many instances in the last few months of users immediately jumping the gun and writing things like "I think China needs XYZ number of J-20s/055s/carriers/SSNs because US is a threat and want domination of the world" or something that's unnecessary and silly and is unable to read the room.
- In other words, try to please use some common sense when discussing topics related to the thread.
- There are sometimes very long winded technical discussions that spin off from a given topic -- e.g.: one of the most common ones over the years is in depth discussions about aerodynamics or stealth spinning off from the J-20 thread. For those kind of discussions, the involved members might be off topic but if they are contributing useful discussion and/or engaging in good faith argument, they will be moved to a different thread instead, or warned to just knock it off.

3. Posts should try to be sourced well:
- We like sources here on SDF, and PLA watching depends on being able to identify reliable and good sources and information and convey them accurately. I think we also all accept that newcomers may not be able to identify reliable sources immediately, and therefore might link to articles from either disreputable websites, or to videos or pictures that they give unnecessary credence and give unnecessary weight to.
- However, I also think new members need to accept that if they think that there is some doubt as to how credible or real their source is, please post it in a manner that is seeking clarification rather than posting it in a way that makes it seem like it is "fact" or as if it is "real". There are many members here who are more experienced who might be able to give clarification, but if you post a video or an image or an article and insist that it is "real" or "good" when in fact it is rubbish or fake, then that is just going to create more animosity. I understand that the determinant of what is "real" or "not real" for something as fluid as PLA watching is not something that should rely on the fallacy of appeal to authority, but at the same time for the sake of keeping the forum relatively smooth, please also apply some discipline for how you initially post.
- If you're unsure, I think members should feel free to ask it in a question and be receptive to answers, especially if one is new.
- Furthermore, it goes without saying that links to articles which are poorly translated from random websites that try to portray an aura of legitimacy is also not welcome here. We all know what I'm talking about.

... there's also number 4. IMO, members should please try to post in a way that is not just "reposting links and articles and pictures"
- There's some members whose contributions almost exclusively seems to be reposting links from Twitter or links to articles who offer no commentary of their own. Obviously posting links to Twitter every now and then for interesting, milestone developments and news is completely fine. But if 90% of your posts are just links to Twitter for any little random thing that happens, and especially if it's something that is of no great interest (e.g.: do we need to know every single poor quality satellite image that is trying to track Liaoning or Shandong), and/or if the pictures you're posting are not of any good quality or recent, and if you're not offering any commentary of your own... then please reconsider whether your post is that beneficial.
- This is a forum, where the purpose is to learn, exchange ideas, and discuss new developments, and to respect high quality images especially if they are recent. This is not a repository of literally every single random development and poor quality image (especially if they have recently been posted in higher quality form).
- If there's a new piece of news or development you've found on the news or on social media, please consider going to the relevant thread and going back a couple of pages in the thread to see if it's been discussed in the last 24-48 hours before posting. Honest mistakes happen sure, but going that extra mile will just help people avoid rolling their eyes and chiding you for repeating something that everyone had already been discussing for the last two days.




The rules of the forum have not been altered in many years to account for the new realities of the forum, but I believe now might be a good time to start considering if some alterations or additions to the rules might be beneficial so that our flagship threads and subforums do not become crippled by excess low effort and political posts in the future.

I'm not sure if there is a clear way of enforcing the "spirit" of what I described above in the four points, however IMO for the purpose of keeping our flagship military subforums and threads as free of "low effort posts," "off topic posts," and "poorly sourced posts" as well as dissuading people from making "posts that are just links/poor quality pics/random videos".

I do think that those four aims are useful to try and maintain what quality we do have at SDF.
Enforcement might have to be some sort of "strike" system, such as "X number of strikes within a given time frame and you're banned for XYZ duration" kind of thing, but it will also obviously be at the discretion of the moderator in question who judges whether a given post is sufficiently low effort or off topic or poorly sourced or just a link/bad pic/random video etc.

But for the purposes of keeping our threads clean so experienced members can still make use of it, and so new members are still able to contribute and learn from the forum, certain improvements need to start being considered.

I ask for the opinions of the current fellow active moderator team:
@Deino
@siegecrossbow
@SampanViking
And @WebMaster

As well as other members of the forum, particularly our longer stayers and more active contributors.

?Thoughts
 

Totoro

Captain
VIP Professional
I am not sure enforcement can do much. Forums are, by their nature, more of a discussion place than an information depository place or a learning resource. Of course, with sufficient moderation effort anything can be enforced. But if I am not mistaken, there is the core issue of the whole website that the webmaster is absent? So actual changes to the moderator team (or was it administrator team?) and the actual changes to the software of the forum (which would facilitate various changes such as automatic accumulation of infraction points) are not possible?

Do correct me on those, if that's not the case. But if it is, then I'd say that's the first and most urgent thing that needs to be addressed. Having a website that can be easily transformed and evolved over time, as needs change.

A bit more closer to the core of your question; a personal suggestion.
Perhaps if people had threads to vent out on and go off topic on, they'd be slightly less inclined to do so on the "flagship threads". Basically - for every J-20 flagship thread, (and other big ticket threads) that discusses only news and keeps closely to the topic to organize a "J-20 tangential discussion thread". And have moderators (and this is important but maybe impossible due to low number of moderators and volunteering nature of the job) not delete off topic posts from the J-20 thread (and other threads) but to move them to the tangential discussion thread. That way the offending posters might be more inclined to simply continue their posts in the other thread.
 

by78

Brigadier
I agree with every suggestion in Bltizo's post, especially the call for updating the rules of behavior to better reflect current realities. I believe this is the third time this issue has been raised in the past 18 months, and I think it's becoming urgent that we collectively address this now.

IMO, an update of forums rules is long overdue. In the past year or so, there has been an alarmingly precipitous drop in the quality of our flagship military forums. An influx of new members have brought with them a flood of chest-thumping bombast and inane political twaddle. These new members insist on injecting politics into what should be a technical and dispassionate discourse, while demonstrating a lack of rudimentary knowledge required for substantive participation. They are also resistant to suggestions from more experienced members as well as warnings from our moderators. In other words, they are unwilling and unable to meaningfully participate, and they make the forum miserable for everyone else.

So what is to be done?

I'm of the opinion a multi-pronged and echeloned approach is needed to arrest the decline in the flagship military forums, and to that end I make the following suggestions:
1) New members be made to sign an agreement to follow the (new) forum rules, especially with regards to desired behavior in the flagship military forums.
2) A probationary period – of two weeks or longer – should be implemented for new members, during which they have no or limited posting privileges in the flagship military forums.
3) The enforcement of rules be stepped up, with penalties clearly laid out and swiftly handed out, if possible. I recommend that penalties for political posts be especially harsh. Upon the first instance of making an egregious and frivolous political post, the offending member should be warned. A second instance should merit a two-week or one-month ban (preferably one-month), a third instance a three-month ban, and if the member insists on staying the course, a permanent ban should follow. As things stands now, the penalties for political content are far too lenient. To hold back the rising tide, penalties should be stepped up concomitantly.

The goal should be to ring-fence the flagship military forums from political posts. It can be done. It has to be done.

I understand that moderator resources are always stretched thin, so it's understandable that only some of my suggestions are realistic presently. Perhaps we should add more moderators?

Just my two cents.
 
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horse

Junior Member
Registered Member
The most important events in the world today is the irregular struggle between the United States and China, the trade war and tech war.

The trade war and tech war, that is where the battle is fought, non-kinetically.

The importance of the semiconductor industry and telecommunications industry of China, today the China military news tends to pale the former.

Look at it from this angle. In the Cold War, the ideology and the arms build was important. Today is it the trade war and tech war that are important, and not the arms build up or the ideology.

That is why everyone is interested in the non-military threads, because everyone senses something important is happening. We are witnessing history happen before our eyes.

That kind of leaves the military threads in the Catch-22 situation.
 

LawLeadsToPeace

Junior Member
Registered Member
I also suggest reign in all the profanities being used in many posts by new members. Profanities seems to be more and more common these days and is also encouraging more people to use it without any moderator response.
Its not only the new members though. Some of the old members act like this as well.
The most important events in the world today is the irregular struggle between the United States and China, the trade war and tech war.

The trade war and tech war, that is where the battle is fought, non-kinetically.

The importance of the semiconductor industry and telecommunications industry of China, today the China military news tends to pale the former.

Look at it from this angle. In the Cold War, the ideology and the arms build was important. Today is it the trade war and tech war that are important, and not the arms build up or the ideology.

That is why everyone is interested in the non-military threads, because everyone senses something important is happening. We are witnessing history happen before our eyes.

That kind of leaves the military threads in the Catch-22 situation.
BUT discussing whether or not the WS15 is out or something technical like that DOES NOT require politics.
 

horse

Junior Member
Registered Member
BUT discussing whether or not the WS15 is out or something technical like that DOES NOT require politics.
I do not really hang around those threads too much, as the news tends to be the same. Not much happens, until something really important develops, then we got back to waiting for the new development which often takes years.

However, when someone says, China cannot do this or has trouble doing that and will be always be behind, that is ideology, as the Americans believe the Chinese and the communists cannot innovate and steal everything from the Americans.

Call them code words, or dog whistles, once someone starts talking that way, expect a reaction.

The Americans are living through a very ideological period, with their Black Lives Matter, Trump and his white rights (whatever they call it), and before that, the reaction against the 1% where people sensed something was wrong but cannot put their finger on it with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The only solution it seems to me is for the forum to ask posters to tolerate one another.
 

LawLeadsToPeace

Junior Member
Registered Member
I do not really hang around those threads too much, as the news tends to be the same. Not much happens, until something really important develops, then we got back to waiting for the new development which often takes years.

However, when someone says, China cannot do this or has trouble doing that and will be always be behind, that is ideology, as the Americans believe the Chinese and the communists cannot innovate and steal everything from the Americans.

Call them code words, or dog whistles, once someone starts talking that way, expect a reaction.

The Americans are living through a very ideological period, with their Black Lives Matter, Trump and his white rights (whatever they call it), and before that, the reaction against the 1% where people sensed something was wrong but cannot put their finger on it with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The only solution it seems to me is for the forum to ask posters to tolerate one another.
I believe Blitzo already addressed and accepted those types of threads since US-China politics is an elephant in the room and will be inevitably discussed. He was mainly alarmed by the uptick in irrelevant political discussion that start derailing threads like the ones about carriers or the J-20. Heck there was a full blown war in the mbt thread due to an ultranationalist poster who attempted to convince everyone that Indian tanks are better that of China with insults and regurgitated and debunked info.
 
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by78

Brigadier
The most important events in the world today is the irregular struggle between the United States and China, the trade war and tech war.

The trade war and tech war, that is where the battle is fought, non-kinetically.

The importance of the semiconductor industry and telecommunications industry of China, today the China military news tends to pale the former.

Look at it from this angle. In the Cold War, the ideology and the arms build was important. Today is it the trade war and tech war that are important, and not the arms build up or the ideology.

That is why everyone is interested in the non-military threads, because everyone senses something important is happening. We are witnessing history happen before our eyes.

That kind of leaves the military threads in the Catch-22 situation.

What are you banging on about? Did you not read Bltizo's original post? He was talking about the excessive politicization of the flagship military threads, which are frequently being derailed by off-topic political discussions that are wildly outside the scope of the said threads. In other words, the flagship military threads were never intended to be political threads, and they should stay that way.

Don't worry, you can still have your political discussions to your heart's content, just NOT in the flagship military threads. What's so hard to understand about that?

Let me put this in yet another way: if you just want to talk politics or geopolitics, then stay away from the flagship military threads.
 

horse

Junior Member
Registered Member
What are you banging on about? Did you not read Bltizo's original post? He was talking about the excessive politicization of the flagship military threads, which are frequently being derailed by off-topic political discussions that are wildly outside the scope of the said threads. In other words, the flagship military threads were never intended to be political threads, and they should stay that way.

Don't worry, you can still have your political discussions to your heart's content, just NOT in the flagship military threads. What's so hard to understand about that?

Let me put this in yet another way: if you just want to talk politics or geopolitics, then stay away from the flagship military threads.
I read slow.

Maybe you can explain it to me again?

Please!

:p
 

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