Request for feedback: Fortran Discourse Administration, Moderation, and Editing Guide

Hi Everybody,

Thank you all for making Fortran Discourse such a great place to discuss everything Fortran. With the forum scaling up with traffic and increasing visibility on the internet, there’s an increasing need for editing and moderation to keep the place in good health and functioning. This calls for rules and guidelines, as well increased transparency into how things work.

To that end, we’d like to present the first draft of the Fortran Discourse guidelines on administration, moderation, and editing. We’d like to hear back from all users here what you like or don’t like about it, if we should change, add, or remove anything. With community feedback, we’ll make an informed decision and make this document accessible to all users, and especially visible to newcomers in the “Welcome to Discourse” pinned topic.

The draft follows the separator below.

We look forward to your feedback!
Milan, Ondřej, Sebastian, and Laurence


Administration, moderation and editing

This section describes how administration, moderation, and editing are done at the Fortran Discourse. We welcome any suggestion for change or improvement.

Administration

The Fortran Discourse administrators are responsible for performing any administrative or technical tasks to keep the forum running smoothly. These tasks include, and are not limited to:

  • Maintain the hosted Discourse instance
  • Maintaining user and moderator guides
  • Managing administrator and moderator teams
  • Creating and editing tags and other metadata
  • Moderation
  • Editing for style

Fortran Discourse has four administrators:

Administrators are also moderators and editors. We describe these roles in the following subsections.

Moderation

The Fortran Discourse is moderated. We define moderation as

editing or deleting user content to conform to the Code of Conduct, or otherwise maintain respectful and civil discourse

The Code of Conduct (CoC) can be found here.

By participating at the Fortran Discourse, you agree to follow the CoC, and that your posts may be moderated. We reserve the right to delete or edit any post that we find inappropriate, without prior notice or explanation. However, if we do moderate your post, we will do our best to reach out to you via direct message, explain why your post was moderated, and ask you to conform to the forum rules.

Guide for users

Following these guidelines will help your posts have the highest possible quality. They will also help Fortran Discourse be as friendly, welcoming, and inclusive as it can be.

  • Please follow the Code of Conduct.
  • If you find a post offensive or otherwise violating the CoC, please flag it for moderation. We do our best to read all posts on Fortran Discourse, but it is possible to miss some. We need your help getting notified when things escalate.
  • When you flag a post for moderation, please state explicitly why moderation is needed.
  • If you find a post that is offensive or otherwise violating the CoC, please do not respond. Moderators will handle it.
  • Please do not post source code or other content whose license prohibits posting on a public forum.
  • Although not required, we encourage all users to use their real names.
  • Please use exclamation marks moderately; For example, using “!?” or “!!” may be received by some users as yelling or conveying an aggressive tone.
  • Please avoid writing plain language in uppercase letters. This may be received by many users as yelling. Acronyms and fixed-form FORTRAN code snippets are fine, of course.
  • Please refrain from using sarcasm; it is easy to misunderstand and other users can get unnecessarily discouraged from continuing the conversation.
  • Remember that we are all on the same team.

If you’d like to help as a moderator, please email us or send us a direct message on Discourse.

Guide for moderators

This section describes what should moderators do in the event of a post that violates the CoC or is otherwise inappropriate.

  1. Delete the post immediately. This is important to minimize the exposure of offensive content to the rest of the community and beyond. Please also delete any follow-up posts that quote the problematic content.
  2. Send a direct message to the user letting them know that their post was deleted and explain why. Please include other moderators in the message.
  3. If this is a recurring instance with this user, state an official warning to conform to the CoC or risk locking of the user’s account.
  4. If the topic is escalating with conflict between users, lock the topic immediately. The moderators will review the topic at a later time and may choose to re-open it.

Editing

Fortran Discourse is edited to maintain the highest possible quality and user experience. If you noticed that many posts on Fortran Discourse are clean, well formatted, and easy to read, it is because editors put their time into editing posts. We follow these guidelines:

  • Posts and topic titles will only be edited for style, clarity, or correctness. This may include corrections to grammar, typos, code formatting, and similar.
  • We will never edit to change the content or meaning of your posts. We will only edit or delete your content if it needs moderation, as described in the previous section.
  • Duplicate posts occasionally happen. We will delete the duplicate copy of a post.

Guide for users

Following these guidelines will help your posts have the highest possible quality, and it will help other readers have the best possible experience. This will help Fortran Discourse serve as a high-quality, long-term archive of knowledge.

  • Aim to write thoughtful, clear, and concise posts.
  • Topic titles should be short, specific, and as objective as possible. Please avoid general titles like “Need help with Fortran code” and similar.
  • Please apply a tag (e.g. help, homework, announcements, etc.) when creating a new topic. This helps readers easily identify in what category does a topic belong to.
  • Please use code formatting blocks when inserting code snippets.
  • When asking for help, please include a minimal code snippet that reproduces the problem. This is essential for other users to easily diagnose the problem and provide help.
  • When asking about a homework problem, please use the homework tag for your topic. This will let other users know to not provide the complete answer, but only to guide you in the direction toward the answer.
6 Likes

I wonder if a Guide for editors subsection would be helpful as well.

Most of the posts that violate the CoC have some technical content and could be made appropriate with some editing. So an alternative to the procedure above would be “Edit out the content of posts that violate the CoC”. Some members may not want their posts to be edited. If there were a way for members to express this preference, posts from such users that break the rules could be deleted.

In the past, moderators have sometimes edited problematic posts rather than deleting them. Is there a change in procedure?

1 Like

Fair points but I’ll offer a contrasting opinion: editing posts makes more work for the moderators - it’s much easier for them to just delete the post. They have to message the user in either event, so no difference in that respect.

I think it’s each person’s own responsibility to govern their own behaviour. If they want their voice on the forum, it’s up to them to make sure they’re following to CoC. If they object to the CoC, that can be discussed separately (which is totally fair).

1 Like

Perhaps the discobot :robot: can be programmed to check if a post is duplicated.

1 Like

We started with just editing the problematic parts, and changed that later. There are a few advantages to deleting, in my opinion:

  • There’s often no clear cut between the acceptable and the problematic content, and they can be intertwined. The edited post can thus often end up bare and without substance.
  • More work for moderators, as @hsnyder pointed out.
  • Deleting is instantaneous. Because of the above two points, it can sometime take considerable amount of time for a moderator, who is already busy and jumping out of their current work to put out a fire, to properly edit a problematic post. With offensive content, any extra minute that it stays visible is more risk for Fortran Discourse as a whole.
  • Deleting is more harsh than editing. It sends a clearer message that certain behavior and content is not acceptable for Fortran Discourse.

As we wrote in the doc, the current rules and guidelines are not set in stone and we can discuss and decide to change.

1 Like