9
votes

This particular moderator is over-zealous and unfair and seems to be the only active moderator which means that all decisions are unilaterally conjured up and implemented. The latest examples is :-

What are the best days to do fasting?

The other answers to this particular question with zero references but multiple paragraphs of text with personal opinions are retained as viable to this site.

While I do not have an objection to my answers being flagged or deleted because of an interpretation of the rules (which I don't always agree with), this action by moderators is not uniformly implemented across all questions and answers.

There is a totally unacceptable answer to another question

Why does Lord Shiva fulfill wishes of evil people also?

that talks about being gang-raped as a wish. This only gets a rather tame comment from the moderator when this kind of answer should be deleted without second thought. I do not believe the user who posted this answer has malice in mind but the quality of that answer is so low w.r.t content as well as delivery and sends wrong messages.

I have made my objections to this site moderation and moderation rules in flags and comments several times. This is my formal request to update the moderation practices here. If these practices don't change, like me, many will start getting tired of this site and reduce their participation because it is not worth their time. Only Keshav's obscure, unhelpful questions will remain and his moderation needs updating.

I hate to single one person out but moderation on the SE is pitiful with only one moderator trying to do the job and he is clearly out of his depth.

I would like to state that I do not care for points (AKA reputation on SE) and am not motivated by upvotes or downvotes. I admit I may be lazy in going back to literature and picking up references and quoting them. In which case, flagging/deleting etc. is not something I will fight against too often. However, I would like the SE to know that my answers are scripture-based and truthful and are intended to share knowledge and help people, if they need that help. This post is not about my personal hurt, which is non-existent, but rather the exhausting and unhelpful moderation that goes on in this site. I do believe in the concept of community rules and adherence to them. I do not have a vendetta and won't be sad to reduce my participation; this site will benefit from better moderation regardless of who is participating.

In conclusion :-

  1. Site moderation will benefit from implementation of rules in spirit as well as letter.

  2. Implement rules (either in letter or spirit) uniformly and fairly.

Both these goals are not being served well by this particular moderator.

Renewing this request as of 2/28/2015. A moderator must be less concerned with their reputation points and more about the promotion of the site. They cannot give the impression of not having objectivity or of taking things personally. He is also aware of and conscious of who is downvoting his posts/answers. In more than one instance, he asked me to explain my downvote (I thought voting was transparent to moderators) or reverse it. This moderator is methodically driving away at least one person -me- away from this site.

Update 3/7/2015. Last few comments/conversation to the question Debate between Maṇḍana Miśra and Ādi Śankara

Update 3/8/2015 No reaction to this post which has no sources and is teeming with personal opinion Why isn't a human the vahana (vehicle) of any God?

I do not believe it is oversight or lack of time on moderators' part because they are quite prompt when reacting to my posts. The moderator is not only prompt but also excavates old posts and takes actions. He is clearly biased and has an agenda despite his assertions to the contrary.

  • 6
    I may be lazy in going back to literature and picking up references Please don't be lazy and cite scriptures always to your answers. Otherwise learners like me will never believe you. and also please continue your participation on this site.. we must let the world know about Hindu religion :) – Mr_Green Feb 17 '15 at 16:28
  • Voting is not transparent to moderators. I haven't asked you about downvotes based on any secret information, just guessing if you post a comment the same time as I receive a downvote. And I don't take voting personally, I just like to find out why someone dislikes my post, so I can improve it. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 28 '15 at 3:38
  • Again, I don't intend to drive you away. The more active users we have, the better the site can grow. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 28 '15 at 3:44
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    @KeshavSrinivasan, my answer to Why Lord Shiva fulfilled wishes for evil people also? was deleted. If because of moonstar2001's flagging as "low quality" then it's quite clear that it's not at all "low quality" because the SE definition of low quality is not with respect to substance or contents but with respect to editing. If it's deleted because containing "my own thinking", then after so many months of SE browsing, it's evident that many answers are with personal opinions. At least mine is with verses from Gita! Isn't the deletion unfair?! – iammilind Oct 12 '15 at 11:34
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    @iammilind I deleted your answer because large parts of it consisted of personal opinion and speculation. As far as other answers go, two wrongs don't make a right. When I see content that are engaged in ungrounded opinion and speculation, I try to take action. I don't always catch everything, and sometimes if it's a new user (like you were) I wait a while before deleting, to give an opportunity for them to fix things. In any case, if your answer just stuck to Gita verses, it would have been mode acceptable. – Keshav Srinivasan Oct 12 '15 at 14:35
12
votes

When I joined the site I too used to have the same opinion (except that I had nothing against any moderator) !!

I believe this question has only two main points, so I will give my vote

Why references are needed?

So let us take this situation, the OP asks 'What are the best ways to attain liberation?'

The user A1 answers it as follows:

This is only my opinion, but I think the best way to attain liberation is by serving God.

The user A2 answers it as follows:

The best way to get liberation and to serve God is present in the Gita 10:21 that 'serve Sri Krishna and attain liberation'.

The user A3 answers it as follows:

The best way to get liberation and to serve God is by believing in science. This is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita and Sri MahaVishnu Samhita of the Shiva Purana.

Now which is the best answer?

Answer A1 is opinion-based. Thus the reader reads it and says 'it sounds good but it is just His opinion'. So even though it is an opinion-based answer, it is being honest about it and therefore no false information is being spread.

Answer A2 is specific and detailed. Thus the reader reads it and can easily type in google gita 10, 21 and get the prescibed verse.

However Answer A3 is a bad one. It gives the entire Bhagavad Gita and Purana as a reference. How in the world will a newbie user or reader go through the entire purana just to check if it is there or not?

This is specifically the type of answers that should be discouraged. Because while you say that you are being honest and are sticking to shastras while posting these answers, imagine a few more users like this.

Then each question will have three answers, each one recommending the entire Hindu list of scriptures as a reference!!

Ofcourse every user will claim that his answer is in accordance to Shastras isn't it !!

Secondly there is a great benefit to citing references. That is, we often think we are an authority in Hinduism and that our answers are in accordance with shastras. But maybe they are not! Maybe we are wrong! Humilty starts by being open to the fact that we could also be wrong!! Thus when attempting to cite a scriptural reference, we may find out that such a reference does not exist at all! That our conception was really not based off of scriptures!

Using this argument, I started now writing answers which contain some sort of references atleast all the time. If I don't feel like adding a reference (does not mean that there is no reference) then I do comments instead of writing answers. Where the answers are one or two lines long, there is no reason why users shouldn't use comment instead!!

After writing answers with references, I now find that many users simply put down their opinion as answers. Thus the worry on which this rule is being built is very valid and practical. I see it everyday that people post simply their opinions and lot of arguments take place based on these!!

The question of Moderation

Imagine that you are a human being with a daily job. You work 40+ hours every week. You have a family to take care of. And then in your other times you devote yourself to study of scriptures and hinduism. The final thing is being a moderator on this site.

While being moderator is a huge responsibility. It is impossible to expect a single user to take charge of everything. This is how Stack Exchange solves this problems:

  1. Each user can play the role of moderator.
  2. There is a button called 'Flag' under each post. Every user can flag the post and bring to the attention of moderator.
  3. There is a button called 'Comment' under each post. Every user can comment on a answer or question and request for changes.
  4. There is a place called Meta where users can discuss community questions
  5. Finally each user has the permission to edit and change posts as needed with peer review.
  6. Thus the best way to change the community is by first doing our bit isn't it.
6
votes

Let me respond to your points one by one:

This particular moderator is over-zealous and unfair and seems to be the only active moderator which means that all decisions are unilaterally conjured up and implemented.

I try to be fair, and I apologize if I come across as over-zealous at times. As the site grows larger, we'll hopefully have a large pool of active high-reputation users to help with moderation, doing things like flagging content, performing review tasks, etc. But since we don't have that many right now, moderators often have to take a more active role in Beta sites like this than in more established Stackexchange sites.

The other answers to this particular question with zero references but multiple paragraphs of text and opinions are retained as viable to this site.

I agree that those answers are also problematic because they don't cite sources. They difference, as you mentioned, is that those answers are multiple paragraphs long, whereas yours was only a single line. That doesn't say anything about the quality of the answers, of course, but your answer could at least be converted into a comment, whereas the only option with the other answers would be to delete them outright, so that makes me more reluctant to do that. What I generally do with extremely short answers that don't provide any details and sources is convert them to comment, and then give the user an opportunity to add details and sources, and then I can undelete the answer. With longer answers, since deletion is a more drastic option I tend to first request that the user provides some sources for their claims, and then if they don't provide any I may delet their answer later.

This only gets a rather tame comment from the moderator when this kind of answer should be deleted without second thought. I do not believe the user who posted this answer has malice in mind but the quality of that answer is so low w.r.t content as well as delivery and sends wrong messages.

Well, apart from that one bullet point (which I agree is offensive and should be removed), the answer seems at least salvageable if the users removes personal opinions and the like. So that seems to me to be a case where we can tell the user the problems with the post (and perhaps downvote it as well), giving them the opportunity to make changes, rather than just instantly deleting it.

I have made my objections to this site moderation and moderation rules in flags and comments several times. This is my formal request to update the moderation practices here. If these practices don't change, like me, many will start getting tired of this site and reduce their participation because it is not worth their time.

I certainly hope people don't leave. Our goal in enforcing standards of quality is to give the site a reputation as a great place to learn about Hinduism, as well as a place that will attract experts.

Only Keshav's obscure, unhelpful questions will remain and his moderation needs updating.

It's certainly true that my questions are often on obscure and advanced topics. But that's because I'm trying to ask the sorts of well-researched, high-quality questions that are likely to attract experts to the site. I encourage more people to ask questions like mine that are about something specific in Hindu scripture, rather than "What does Hinduism say about X?" and "what is the significance of Y" type questions.

I hate to single one person out but moderation on the SE is pitiful with only one moderator trying to do the job and he is clearly out of his depth.

Well, this is my first time moderating a site, so it's certainly possible that I'm out of my depth. In any case, there's a whole moderation team here, and we're trying our best to make this a great site.

I admit I may be lazy in going back to literature and picking up references and quoting them. In which case, flagging/deleting etc. is not something I will fight against too often. However, I would like the SE to know that my answers are scripture-based and truthful and are intended to share knowledge and help people, if they need that help.

Yes, I don't doubt your intentions. It's just that without sources, it's hard for a reader to distinguish between good answers answers that make baseless claims, especially when different answers make claims that contradict each other. That's why it's importance to cite sources, especially Hindu scripture.

This post is not about my personal hurt, which is non-existent, but rather the exhausting and unhelpful moderation that goes on in this site. I do believe in the concept of community rules and adherence to them. I do not have a vendetta and won't be sad to reduce my participation; this site will benefit from better moderation regardless of who is participating.

I hope you don't reduce your participation. This site will only thrive as we get more users actively participating, posting questions, giving answers, helping with moderation, and suggesting improvements to make the site run better.

  1. Site moderation will benefit from implementation of rules in spirit as well as letter.

Yes, at some point I definitely want this site to have higher standards on answer quality and especially question quality (as I discuss in this post). Of course, that would require community discussion.

  1. Implement rules (either in letter or spirit) uniformly and fairly.

I try to enforce the roles as fairly as I can. We may miss some posts though, which is why it helps when users flag problematic content.

Both these goals are not being served well by this particular moderator.

I'm trying my best to make this a great site that's known it's high-quality questions and well-researched answers, but I can always do better. And you and other users can help, by voting, flagging, participating in review tasks. Together let's make this one of the the best Hinduism sites on the web!

  • How long until you wait for the post to be salvaged? (ref: question on ravana). It needs to be taken down. – user1195 Feb 16 '15 at 3:57
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    Multiple paras with wishy-washy analyses are not better than 1-sentence answers with guidance towards authoritative, scripturally-sanctioned and practised-by-learned-people (janAcAra, sishtAcAra). This is why moderation requires personal knowledge and undertsanding the spirit of the rules. Not just the letter. Some personal judgement based on maturity is required of moderators. And this is why moderators are expected to have both knowledge and mature understanding of dharma, and objective discernment of short-term/long-term consequences of letting some information stew while letting other die. – user1195 Feb 16 '15 at 4:03
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    Please continue your effort to increase question quality. My comment on this matter (i.e. your questions) is uncalled for and I apologise. I sympathise with your dilemmas and lack of experience but mods/anyone serving a community must be open to feedback.So far, I have not seen even one feedback taken into consideration. Moderation is a thankless job and we appreciate your time and effort in this matter. However, unless rules and their implementation are upgraded, this site will depreciate in quality and value, and, eventually die away. – user1195 Feb 16 '15 at 4:08
  • "How long until you wait for the post to be salvaged? (ref: question on ravana). It needs to be taken down." Well, it varies; I'm often more lenient to new users unfamiliar with the rules, for instance. In any case, I just removed the offensive bullet point, but I plan to wait some time to see if the user edits the rest of his answer on his own. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 16 '15 at 9:20
  • "Multiple paras with wishy-washy analyses are not better than 1-sentence answers with guidance towards authoritative, scripturally-sanctioned and practised-by-learned-people (janAcAra, sishtAcAra)." Yeah, that's why I said "That doesn't say anything about the quality of the answers, of course". The point is, a short answer can at least remain on the site as a comment while we wait for the user to add details and sources to it. But for a long answer, you can't convert it to a comment, so deletion becomes a more drastic option. But yes, I agree that length doesn't mean quality. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 16 '15 at 9:23
  • "This is why moderation requires personal knowledge and undertsanding the spirit of the rules. Not just the letter. Some personal judgement based on maturity is required of moderators. And this is why moderators are expected to have both knowledge and mature understanding of dharma, and objective discernment of short-term/long-term consequences of letting some information stew while letting other die." Well, I do have a lot of knowledge concerning the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata, but the point is that answers on this site should be able to be independently verified by readers. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 16 '15 at 9:25
  • @moonstar2001 The ultimate goal is that readers should have confidence that whenever they see an answer on Hinduism.SE, they can easily verify for themselves that the information in the answer is correct. That's how the site can acquire a reputation for reliability. "So far, I have not seen even one feedback taken into consideration." I and the other moderators are certainly open to feedback. I may not have implemented any of your suggestions (but keep them coming!), but we've certainly implemented other users' suggestions in the past. In any case, it's often a community consensus process. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 16 '15 at 9:31
  • I understand and agree with the sentiment. However, the implementation does leave something to be desired. I hope things will evolve. I will take this opportunity to thank you and the rest of the moderators for your service to this community. – user1195 Feb 16 '15 at 9:52
  • @moonstar2001 Are you sure you linked to the right post? I don't see any record of any comments from you on that post. – Keshav Srinivasan Feb 17 '15 at 17:10

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