A Conversation for The H2G2 Telephone Sanitizers

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 1

a girl called Ben

7Rob7 - you have done a great job on this.

I have been pretty sceptical about some of the recent suggestions which have emerged about how to move forward. Brainstorming throws up all sorts of stuff, and the best idears are often sparked but the more lunatic ones, so we needed all the ideas which have been suggested, and some.

Back to the Telephone Sanitisers:

These suggestions seem practical and workable.

There needs to be some thinking about the escalation process - what happens if the arbiter thinks that what is being complained about merits a warning, suspension or ban; what happens if it turns out that there is an unacknowledged link between the arbiter and one of the disputants; what happens if flame wars continue between two people, and so on. And I am sure that the beeb's lawyers will want to consider it too.

One thing which I think is vital if this scheme is to work: arbitration MUST be requested by the RESEARCHERS.

If the Towers can send in an arbiter then arbiters just become the Towers' police force. You cannot have the judiciary being the police. If a researcher complains to the Towers, then the Towers can recommend they request arbitration; but the Towers must NOT be able to 'send along an arbiter and sort it out'. This looks like a small detail, but it is really important. It is the small civic details which blow up into the messiest situations.

And - at last - here is a volunteer scheme I would like to volunteer for!

It must have taken some time to do. Well done.

a girl called Ben

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 2

Tube - the being being back for the time being

Yep, Arbitration/Moderation on demand only. As for the link between the parties: if the one who goes initiates the proceeding has a choice and (deliberately) chooses a Arbitrator which s/he knows, there are three possibilities:
A) the Arbitrator's got enough work-ethics not to decide the case (which I should think would work within H2G2)
B) the other party claims the Arbitrator's biased, which would than (if baked up with some proof, i.e. an ongoing (personal) discussion between the Arbitrator and one party or relationship in RL) be decided by TPTB unless the Arbitrator backs off hirself
C) have a panel of three Arbitrators, one chosen by each side and the third being allocated at random or being an Italic (which is messy and consumes a lot of time/manpower)

The problem with claiming someone is biased is that we all interact here and thus it would seem rare to find arbitrator who never had any contact with either of the parties. Especially so sine from the suggested job-description Arbitrators are active members).

But anyway, and as I said elsewhere, I'd like to apply as well. smiley - smiley


Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 3

a girl called Ben

Hell, we cannot have completely independent arbiters, here; we come across each other too much.

But to go back to the recent kafuffles, I was upset by the situation between MoG and LeKZ in their personal spaces, and initially felt very supportive or MoG and very un-supportive of LeKZ. I could not have arbitrated in that situation. (I have since apologised publically and privately to LeKZ for my posting/s at that time).

I guess we have to trust the integrity of the arbiters to some extent. IMHO arbiters should not have seen and certainly should not have participated in the back-logs of a particular dispute. It makes more work for them, but it also makes it easier to be impartial.

And Tube is right. There needs to be a clear distinction between private and official postings. Thats a tough nut at the best of times.


Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 4

Mother of God, Empress of the Universe

Hello there smiley - smiley
I was going to create a thread of my own for this vague concern of mine about arbitration based on my position in the skirmish agcB mentioned here. This looks like as good a place as any, though.

*sigh* this might be kinda rambly... it's based on my feelings rather than logical argument, so please forgive.

In that instance, I don't think I'd have wanted mediation. From the beginning I was *trying* to make a point to LeKZ for her to think about-- MY take on her approach and why I didn't find it to be effective. Due to other situations she'd been involved in, most of which I wasn't aware of, she took what I said as an attack. Things escalated REAL fast. I never DID get through to her. I wish I could have.

[on rereading, I've removed 2 paragraphs which I don't think need to be here. I'll put them in the Tangled Webs journal entry on my page instead. That's a better place for them.]

hmmmmm.... that's awfully rambly. Anyway, the point is, I didn't want things to escalate and was dismayed at the way they did. I think for mediation or arbitration to work, ALL parties need to agree that it's welcome before the process starts.

And I have a vague concern that if arbitration is used to draw the attention of the PTB to things which they might otherwise never feel the need to involve themselves with, it'll increase moderation, suspensions, and lifetime bans rather than help eliminate them.

Just my opinion, for what it's worth.

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 5

7rob7: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Mornin' (well, for some of us still...)

Thanks for both the input and bothering to check the thing out. I just spent a couple hours looking over Col. Sellers Magna Carta again, reading your comments and adding a couple of sections to the proposal. (Something I will try to keep to a once-a-day thing for now.) (Have I opened a can of worms, or is such a thought grandiose on my part?)

Are either (or both) of you volunteering to be Arbiters or co-editors of the proposal?

Thanks again.


Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 6

Tube - the being being back for the time being

MoG: I haven't read that thing with you and agcB. Dunno, whether the proposed system would have helped you and LeKZ (+ whoever), but it could have been worth a try. Yes, all parties need to agree, that is, the ones who participate in the proceeding, like when you have a discussion based around two people and 20 more join in, the two main ones could move to Arbitration/Moderation and only these two would have to agree. But on the other hand: if User A says "look here, User B, we have this fight, let's go and resolve it in front of a neutral party, because I don't really want to go on fighting over this with you and B says "No, I want to keep all this in the open so that all others can join in would it not be sensible nudge B to agree to arbitrate/mediate? (of course you can't really have a mediation/arbitration process with only one party...) Attention of PTB/moderation: As I suggested in http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F73521?thread=131607&skip=0&show=20 the Mods must/should be kept out of the process. And PTB should, as well, there's no sense in us trying to figure things out amongst ourselves only to have the PTB to run the show in the end. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F73521?thread=131605&skip=0&show=20 For an idea how to deal with that. 7rob7: Any suggestion where I could look for the Magna Charta? Volunteering to Arbitrate: Again, yes :-) Co-editing: If you could accept my suggestions (the three new threads and the old one) as something worthy of taking me as a co-editor, then yes. ;-) Tube

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 7

7rob7: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

MoG - Didn't mean to skip you: simulpost or something. Thanks for being here.

Tube - I definitely will be seeking help on this – god/dess forbid I try it all on my own – I'm way too new to know all the ins and outs of the joint. Let me clear my head for a bit and get back to you. (No selfishness implied, just need to go punch holes in the walls to wire up a new phone jack for the computer so I can finish the crown moulding so I can... you get the picture.)

agcBen - that thing about the lightening and the sand is about the coolest thing I have ever heard! Wow!



What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 8

Tube - the being being back for the time being

7rob7, you wrote: "Speculation has arisen, based on certain preliminary comments by the editors, that this proposal is doomed before it starts”. Could you point me to these comments?
I feel that we'll need to involve some Italics about some basic facts of what is possible at all (either by e-mail or by open discussion here on h2g2). For example if the Italics say that there will never ever be a closed off Arbitration Forum on H2G2, we can forget about a lot of ideas here. That is something which I'd like to have worked out, before really digging into the matter.

What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 9

a girl called Ben

Why does this bloody site make me think so much?

A few thoughts at random:

MoG - I am sorry that I used that example as an example. I wanted to point out my lack of impartiality in the situation, and NOT any other aspect of it.

I don't think it would work if a participant selects the arbiter. I think an arbiter should be assigned, based on their available time, where on the site they hang out, and their personality. The participants should be asked if they accept the individual as arbiter, and if they accept their decision as final.

Other stuff elsewhere


What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 10

Mother of God, Empress of the Universe

No problem, Ben. smiley - smiley That's exactly how I read what you said. And I agree that arbitration could be very useful on h2g2, in most skirmishes. I also agree that the arbiters should be assigned, with veto power given to those involved in the disagreement.

I'm kinda thinking that this plan would be better off without the 'official' sanction of the PTB. If the whole plan is implemented by the community, for the community, I think it'll hold more validity.

I'm not sure it's feasible to have a closed off arbitration area, but I DO think that if the system has been designed by the researchers and agreed to by the participants, almost everybody will accept those terms and stay out of it if they aren't a part of it. Seems to me that most of the people here on h2g2 who care enough to be involved in such issues in the first place are pretty honorable people.

Once y'all have gotten it as clear and sorted as you can, I bet you could do an extensive publicity campaign to make the knowlege of it available to the majority of the users. smiley - laugh I'll volunteer to help with that part, if you want. I'm pretty good at getting people's attention, when I want to. smiley - winkeye

What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 11

a girl called Ben

Ooohhh! an Unofficial scheme - EVEN BETTER!

In which case arbitration would have to take place offsite by email, or by using ICQ (horrible programme - f****d every computer I have ever installed it on) AIM or MSN, or in Yahoo or in a private forum somewhere like (tee hee) Topica.

an anarchist called Ben

What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 12

Mother of God, Empress of the Universe

That's not exactly what I meant... though it's worth thinking about.

I thought y'all were talking about a place on h2g2 with access to only certain parties. I think maintaining the record of such events on h2g2 would be a very good thing for everyone, because it would be there as a precedent for other people to look over, see what sort of thing the community decides is and isn't acceptable here and how it regulates itself.

That could be valuable in many ways-- for the researchers, the italics, and also for the powers behind the PTB as they determine the direction they want this thing they own to move in, and what their influence on it will be.

What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 13

a girl called Ben

Apparently that is not so easy technically. I'd assumed that the italics and the badges had secret venues here - but not.

I agree that ideally it should be within the confines of h2g2, even if it is invisible to most of the researchers.


What do TPTB think of the idea?

Post 14

7rob7: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

(I'm back for a little while...) Thanks you all for the thinking. A quick hit list: Tube: I was referring to a comment Mark made (to an earlier post of mine in the same thread) in his post #38 at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F67082?thread=125494&post=1113583#p1113583 I believe he may have thought I meant something else maybe something designed to supercede the Editors' authority and it *was* a very testy period. I dunno; I think my proposal is pretty even-handed and non-threatening and all sorts of hyphenated things. We'll see. agcBen and MoG: Yes, indeed, researchers would not 'pick' their arbiter: far too much chance of cronyism being cried, even if non-existent. I'll make sure I've got that clear in the piece. As to the closed forum thing: My initial idea was to create a "safe place' where only the three people directly involved with the process would meet and hash things out, free from well-meaning and otherwise comments,opinions and suggestions from friend or foe. I do not know if this is possible technically I have a vague idea that the "Big Bandwagon" group is/was set up like this, but I really don't know for sure and would have to rely on others to tell me/us. I also wonder if the 'transcription' was made available 'after the fact' that it would negate the whole process by opening up not only the original disagreement to new discussion, but also then the Arbiter's decision-making process would be available for scrutiny and value-assignation. This is precisely the kind of thing that I have in mind for the more-experienced community members to work out I have no experience here to build from, only a desire to make things better and more fun. And I think that a method of dealing with infractions of the "Rules" in which the community is actively involved and the terms of which are clearly spelled out publicly will indeed make this a more fun, and safer, place to be. Thanks. -7r7

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 15


Hi all, and 7Rob7

I hope you don't mind me butting in here, very briefly.

It's good to see you all discussing this, we certainly won't reject any suggestions out of hand, so please don't think that the idea is 'doomed from the start', it certainly isn't.

Any community activity that helps sort out disagreements has to be a good thing. I really don't think that it would increase moderation or suspensions. This looks like a positive move, and as such it shouldn't have any negative repercussions.

I'm going to back off here and let you refine your system. Please let us know when you've reached a conclusion, if we can help in any way then, just let us know.

Have a nice weekend everyone.

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 16

7rob7: Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

Thanks, Peta - very glad you checked in. See you next week.

Ok, gang, the coast is clear! Oops, I mean, ok gang: let's whip this puppy into shape!

(...Ewwwwwww! Ever notice how gross some clichés can be?.......)

Tube and agcB - I'm about to add you as co-editors to the proposal. I have no idea how that arrangment works; I've just found the little box where I can do it. It would seem to me that we keep the questions and discussions in th thread, and put the conclusions in the proposal. Let me know if otherwise.


Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 17

a girl called Ben

Gosh! smiley - bigeyes

r7r, if you want to email me about this, then [email protected] diverts itself into my main email box.


Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 18

Mikey the Humming Mouse - A3938628 Learn More About the Edited Guide!

Well, now that it's received a sanction from above, I'd be more than willing to invest some time in doing whatever I can to get this going.

One point I've made elsewhere, but will also bring up here: I think it would be a good idea to have the two parties select a mutually agreeable arbiter. Simply assigning them via queue, or allowing one person to pick the arbiter could easily lead to charges of bias. If both parties agree on an arbiter, they will be much more willing to cooperate with the findings, and will be much less likely to cry "bias!" if the results aren't what they had hoped for.

While I think having a panel of arbiters decide together on a case might be ideal, I think it would also slow things down a bit, and also potentially make things more impersonal(?). My suggestion would be to have the 1 arbiter per case be the general situation, and to use a panel of arbiters in either a) especially sticky situations, b) situations that have previously failed arbitration, or c) situations in which the parties cannot agree on a single arbiter.

What do y'all think?

smiley - smiley

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 19

a girl called Ben

Well, by the time the disputants have agreed an arbiter, they may have settled their other differences too! smiley - magic

They should certainly have power of veto over arbiters, and arbiters should be able to refuse to take on a particular case without giving a reason (say it is a dispute about abortion, and the arbiter themselves holds particularly strong views).

Perhaps there should just be a list of arbiters on the Arbitration page, all arbiters should be subscribed to new conversations there, and if someone has a dispute they start a thread there. An arbiter can then volunteer in that thread to arbitrate in that dispute, and invite the other disputant to join in. Either disputant can turn down the offer of that particular arbiter, without stating a reason publicly. If both disputants want to hold the arbitration in that thread they can; (but the arbiter has the right to yikes other peoples' posts off the thread regardless of content - it is a private discussion in a public place); or they can agree to take it into an AIM chatroom for example, or simply do it by email.

I think involving more than one arbiter for most cases would make it unworkable; the ideal should be to resolve it in half a dozen emails or so. In most cases I think that setting up a panel would probably be front-end-heavy; and slow things down. You then have the issue of internal debate within the panel. Arrrrrggg! smiley - headhurts

So I vote for one arbiter, with a clear escalation process either to a panel or to the italics.

If people are given space to put their own point of view, and know that their opinion will be considered respectfully, then tempers magically cool, other peoples' rights to their opinions get respected, mutal apologies are made, and the tooth fairy brings everyone a present from santa claus. smiley - fairysmiley - giftsmiley - santa Apart from the tooth fairy, this works.

a friend of the tooth-fairy's called Ben

Well thought out, and should be workable

Post 20

Tube - the being being back for the time being

Hi Peta! Thanks for dropping by smiley - smiley
7rob7 post 14: "I also wonder if the 'transcription' was made available 'after the fact' that it would negate the whole process by opening up not only the original disagreement to new discussion, but also then the Arbiter's decision-making process would be available for scrutiny and value-assignation.”

I feel that the transcript/proceeding should *only* be available to the Arbitrators (naturally TPTB will be able to look into them, provided they assign a pace at H2G2 for the Arbitrators to work in) and *not* the general public, because it would, as you said, negate the process.

Mikey: see my post #2 for my ideas smiley - smiley

Ben post #19: "Perhaps there should just be a list of arbiters on the Arbitration page, all arbiters should be subscribed to new conversations there, and if someone has a dispute they start a thread there.”
Exactly what I had in mind! smiley - smiley
The system (open/closed/email) to conduct the proceeding is up to TPTB to decide.

Yes, single arbitrator.


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