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 Post subject: Thread pollution
Post #1 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:24 am 
Gosei
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Mods, can we please finally do something about the constant thread pollution by djhbrown? 90% of his posts are random youtube videos, barely coherent pseudo-intellectual word-salads and immature snipes at AlphaGo mingled with self-promotion of his own failed attempts at go AI.

There are users posting useful, interesting and valuable content, only to immediately have their thread hijacked with garbage (e.g. gennan's video series thread right now)

We've banned a user for thread-hijacking before, on much less egregious grounds, so lets get rid of this noise-generator already.


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Post #2 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:53 am 
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Yes, please.

I've stopped reading most threads because filtering out useful content from the discussion is hard as it is, even without said user's additional noise.


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Post #3 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:21 pm 
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Given the complaints about off topic videos, I had already taken action to improve thread readability: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=15422

What is the proposal here, specifically? A permanent ban? A ban for some period of time?

Often, there aren't explicit violations of the TOS as far as I'm aware, though, I sympathize with the desire to have useful content on the site.

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Post #4 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:33 pm 
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Just FYI you have already the ability to block all his posts in your profile settings. I use it occasionally to filter out users who post more noise than signal.


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Post #5 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:51 pm 
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Kirby wrote:
Often, there aren't explicit violations of the TOS as far as I'm aware, though, I sympathize with the desire to have useful content on the site.

Rule n°3 "Meaningless Posts" seems to be relevant here.

This post seems also to fall under rules 1 and 2.


Sure, I can block him, but I wonder if a new user wouldn't be put off by this behavior, and it's not like we have that much active users at the moment...

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Post #6 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:20 pm 
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Tryss wrote:
Kirby wrote:
Often, there aren't explicit violations of the TOS as far as I'm aware, though, I sympathize with the desire to have useful content on the site.

Rule n°3 "Meaningless Posts" seems to be relevant here.

This post seems also to fall under rules 1 and 2.


Sure, I can block him, but I wonder if a new user wouldn't be put off by this behavior, and it's not like we have that much active users at the moment...


Meaningless is somewhat subjective, but given the general consensus I see here, I'll go ahead and instate a ban.

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Post #7 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:30 pm 
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djhbrown has been banned.

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Post #8 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:45 pm 
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Post #9 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:46 pm 
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TBH, while I can understand some of the feelings here, I also think that there’s more behind his posts. They’re are NOT stupid or silly, even though he has a … well, how to say it … idiosyncratic way of saying things.

Overall I think he’s been treated a bit unfairly in this forum (and no, I am NOT a fan). People have discarded some of his content because of its form, and that’s a mistake. I’d hope that the ban is not permanent, and that somebody explained it to him instead of just kicking him without further comment.

Did anybody ever follow some of the links to his academic/work history? I did, and I found it quite impressive, although it went way over my head. This may be the case with others also who are quick to criticise him.

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Post #10 Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:19 pm 
Honinbo

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The ban is in effect until explicitly lifted. The topic has been discussed for some time, though until now, I have been lenient among admins when it comes to banning.

Going forward, I'd like to do what's best for the community as a whole, which of course, isn't limited to my opinion.

Since I'm the one who initiated the ban, I will step out of the discussion here. I'm not the only admin on the forum, and if discussion in this thread warrants that the ban be lifted, I'd encourage another admin to do so.

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Post #11 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:14 am 
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I'm against the flash mob mentality that leads to such bans. And calling it (an unproven) general consensus does not excuse it.

I can understand each point of the description made by Herman, and it's good that he raised the matter for discussion. But we got no discussion, just me-too-ism.

I'm not against TOCs and the principle of banning, but there needs to be a proper process. The fact that a sensible and rational person like Kirby was unsure whether TOCs had been breached showed a discussion was needed. The rather good patch of hiding youtube links developed by Kirby was not allowed time to work. The validity of the option of just not reading the posts in question - my own solution, though I do stick my nose in occasionally - has not been properly explored. No public warning seems to have been given.

In particular, the claim that Brown does not know what he is talking about does not appear to stand up, either, and in any case if that was the criterion many other people could be banned. Actually, although I haven't read many of his posts, those I've read recently seem to be him asking for help. And not getting it - I'd say the uncooperative lurking that goes on here is a far worse "crime" and must be responsible in part for the morbid state of this group.

Dog poo in the street is objectionable. The answer is to ban or bin dog poo - not dogs.


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Post #12 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:01 am 
Judan

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Bonobo wrote:
They’re are NOT stupid or silly, even though he has a … well, how to say it … idiosyncratic way of saying things.

I think a chief problem djhbrown has is treating an internet forum about Go like a chat in a pub: such veering of on tangents into religion, philosophy, politics and obscure British humour are appropriate in a tipsy chat, but not when you are writing on a public forum dedicated to Go to a wide audience. He himself said he is new to internet communities, and I think he has improved and matured since he first joined: he does occasionally post Go content now, rather than just going on about Swim or whatever the latest name is for his AI attempts, but there's still far too much junk.

John Fairbairn wrote:
I'm against the flash mob mentality that leads to such bans. And calling it (an unproven) general consensus does not excuse it.

Yes, the tyranny of the majority is a problem and can damage the rights of unpopular minorities. However, this is a just a go forum so I don't worry much about his free speech rights or such being impinged. I note that he started a study journal thread which linked to a blog he started, which no one else replied to. He is free to keep publishing his ideas, and people can go there to read them if they wish. I expect the net enjoyment of all forum members will increase from his absence.

Bonobo wrote:
Did anybody ever follow some of the links to his academic/work history? I did, and I found it quite impressive, although it went way over my head.

Yes, I did. His papers from the 70s are ok. His new ones are poor (in fact I wouldn't even call them papers: anyone can self-publish on SSRN without review).

John Fairbairn wrote:
I'm not against TOCs and the principle of banning, but there needs to be a proper process. The fact that a sensible and rational person like Kirby was unsure whether TOCs had been breached showed a discussion was needed.

He's breached the TOCs (rules 2 and 3) many times, I will document some (the worst may have been reported and deleted already) for clarity later. I think Kirby was being overly diplomatic or not wanting to rush to judgement.

John Fairbairn wrote:
The rather good patch of hiding youtube links developed by Kirby was not allowed time to work. The validity of the option of just not reading the posts in question - my own solution, though I do stick my nose in occasionally - has not been properly explored.

Isn't that what we have been exploring these past few months? And it doesn't seem to work as it frustrates others users and turns them away:
Marcel Grünauer wrote:
I've stopped reading most threads because filtering out useful content from the discussion is hard as it is, even without said user's additional noise.

I don't know the numbers, but let's imagine 80 users find his posts annoying (and 40 of them so much so it reduces their forum participation), 20 don't mind and just ignore it, 20 are annoyed by it but sometimes engage and get caught up in unfruitful conversations (I'm in this category), and 5 like his contributions. Then is it really better to allow him to stay and expect the majority to hide/ignore his posts when very few people actually want to read them?a

John Fairbairn wrote:
Dog poo in the street is objectionable. The answer is to ban or bin dog poo - not dogs.

But what to do when you repeatedly tell your dog to stop pooing and he doesn't? IIrc djhbrown was banned some months ago and told to stop his off-topic waffling when he was allowed back. He hasn't.


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Post #13 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:18 am 
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Some examples of TOC breaches:
TOCs wrote:
2. Controversy
Religious, political, and sexual topics are not allowed. Keep debates civil, and respect that everyone does not share the same view as you do. "Baiting” people by writing anything controversial is not allowed. If the debate becomes too heated or the thread just goes out of control, it will be locked or deleted if the content is found to be lacking or distasteful.

3. Meaningless Posts
Keep posts relevant to the topic and make sure to use the edit button when appropriate. Don't post for the sake of post counts. Spam is not allowed. <snip>


Turning talk of white and black stones into skin colour/race is baiting with controversy, and saying 5d and 5k are the same is also just asking for people to disagree and start arguments in my eyes:
djhbrown wrote:
gowan wrote:
White has a feeling of urgency and a feeling of being behind.
i want to take issue with this; you are 5D and i am 5K, so we are pretty much the same and can argue on even terms.
Throughout prehistory, White has always been behind Black - the first people were Black, and the first Britons were Black too.

It was maybe a mistake for Black to cross the tropics, because after he did so, his skin started to turn white, and then all the trouble started, but that's Another Story.


Not relevant:
djhbrown wrote:
Fedya wrote:
Proof
there's a flaw in your straw, dear Liza, dear Liza; there's a flaw in your straw, dear Liza, A Flaw!


When asked to explain flaw in an argument, going off topic about avatar and racial stuff. Baiting, not relevant.
djhbrown wrote:
Your avatar is Charles Coburn.
Wikipedia wrote:
In the 1940s, Coburn served as vice-president of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, a group opposed to leftist infiltration and proselytization in Hollywood during the Cold War.[citation needed] Coburn was a member of the White Citizens' Councils, a group which opposed racial integration.[4][5]

in my eyes, black and white are equal.


Sexual:
djhbrown wrote:
... M16 just creates a target for black; and (d), most of all, it's Wrong Direction, because white's bottom is wide open, just asking to be penetrated, which would make white feel very uncomfortable - unless, like Stephen Fry, she likes that sort of thing...


Religious:
djhbrown wrote:
having unravelled the jigsaw of God (she started off 37000 years ago as a woman, but was changed into a man by the agricultural revolution about 8000 years before The Bible was written)


Sexual and off-topic:
djhbrown wrote:
Bonobo wrote:
so grumpy :roll:..COME ON, this is a newbie ;-)
as far as i understand it, bonobos settle disputes by knocking each other off, so thank God i'm not a bonobo because i prefer swans.


Meaningless (unless you count linking youtube music videos by people with similar name to the username of study journal owner):
djhbrown wrote:
During BridgeBase tournaments, they offer music to help the players relax and concentrate. Maybe Go could use something colourful too..
play to the beat of this PakO and all your dreams will come true

or to this one, even dreamier


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Post #14 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:08 am 
Oza

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Yes, the tyranny of the majority is a problem and can damage the rights of unpopular minorities. However, this is a just a go forum so I don't worry much about his free speech rights or such being impinged.


Quote:
I don't know the numbers, but let's imagine 80 users find his posts annoying (and 40 of them so much so it reduces their forum participation), 20 don't mind and just ignore it, 20 are annoyed by it but sometimes engage and get caught up in unfruitful conversations (I'm in this category), and 5 like his contributions. Then is it really better to allow him to stay and expect the majority to hide/ignore his posts when very few people actually want to read them?


I didn't talk about the tyranny of the majority. I was worried of the tyranny of the MOB. Slipping in a putative "majority" plus giving an example of spurious figures weighted to suggest a majority already exists is a poor way to make a case. It may turn out there is indeed a majority who feel that way, but the whole point is to get the facts first, surely?

I personally don't see freedom of speech coming into this. It's more a matter of due process, for me.

I can't really speak about his alleged breach of TOCs as I read so little of his posts, but from what you quote I don't see that he's necessarily in breach. It's true that the TOCs prohibit religious, political and sexual topics but I'm unsure that he's started any such topics. He has made such references within other topics, and they seem generally in poor taste - very clumsy attempts at humour at best - but to me that's just a reason not to read him, or to warn him, not to ban him instantly.

Don't get me wrong. If a case is properly made, and supported by a clear non-fictitious majority, I too would support a ban. But again: due process first. I'm sure those of the Anglo-Saxon law persuasion will know what I mean. I confess, though, I don't know what those of the European/Napoleonic persuasion expect in such a case, but if they expect something different they could perhaps explain what that is, but I'd be amazed if their legal systems are based on "rush to judgement."

Just disliking something is not a good basis for those who "social join and leagues combine." It is better to try do something about it first (e.g. provide dog poo bins). As happened with Malkovich games. I disliked intensely having to clear up their dog poo by having to click every one as read to get rid of page clutter (it used to be much worse). I was one of those who campaigned for a solution. The site owner installed a "Malkovich read" button and that worked a treat. Malkovich games were not banned.

I might also add that recent ageist and sexual remarks by another certain person within a go topic did not elicit calls for a ban, either. Is equal treatment to be denied to old farts?


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Post #15 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:07 am 
Oza
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This whole discussion seems pretty out of line to me. Calling publicly for a member to be banned in itself seems like a breach of the TOC, and such decisions should not be made on the basis of who is shouting the loudest.

To me, a ban is a last resort, before which other alternatives should be explored. Have they? Kirby just yesterday instituted an automated hide tag for you tube videos. Is no one willing to wait and see if this alleviates the problem? What is the problem exactly? Seems to me like a mob doesn't like the way that this member expresses himself. Is that really a good reason to silence somebody? As has been pointed out, if one doesn't want to read posts by a certain member, the forum has tools available to block them. Another option would be for a moderator to have a private discussion with the member and ask them to ... to what? To shut up? What exactly is the crime here? Are threads being hijacked? Are the posts off topic? Are there just too many posts? I understand that a person's loquaciousness can get on people's nerves, but that's not a good reason to treat someone unfairly.

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Post #16 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:12 am 
Judan

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John Fairbairn wrote:
I can't really speak about his alleged breach of TOCs as I read so little of his posts, but from what you quote I don't see that he's necessarily in breach. It's true that the TOCs prohibit religious, political and sexual topics but I'm unsure that he's started any such topics. He has made such references within other topics, and they seem generally in poor taste - very clumsy attempts at humour at best - but to me that's just a reason not to read him, or to warn him, not to ban him instantly.


It seems you are reading the TOCs "Religious, political, and sexual topics" to say starting a new topic a.k.a thread on religious/sexual etc themes is not allowed, but replying to an existing thread (such as one about some go position or learning from AG or a study journal of user X) is ok. I do not interpret "topic" there to mean specifically the thread construct of this forum software, but to mean "theme" or "idea", the topic of conversation. It would be strange for the TOCs to allow a user to start talking about sexual themes in a thread just because the thread started abut go: in fact I think that's worse than starting a thread about sex because it's off-topic thread derailment as well as unsuitable content. If Solomon or adrian or whoever wrote the rules could clarify if my reading is correct that'd be appreciated.

As for do the majority dislike his posts, I could start a poll to gather real data in place of speculation, but at the risk of being accused of witch-hunting/mean. I expect daal wouldn't like this. Would wording like this be fair?

What do you think of djhbrown's contribution to this forum, and what to do?
- Strongly negative contribution to the forum, better off banned.
- Mostly negative, people can hide/ignore if they don't like it, don't mind if banned or not.
- Mostly negative, people can hide/ignore if they don't like it, ban is too harsh.
- It's okay
- Mostly positive contribution to the forum
- Strongly positive contribution to the forum
- Don't care

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Post #17 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:30 am 
Oza
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Uberdude wrote:
As for do the majority dislike his posts, I could start a poll to gather real data in place of speculation, but at the risk of being accused of witch-hunting/mean. I expect daal wouldn't like this.


Indeed. This is not a matter where public opinion need be gathered, but rather for the mods to determine whether the spirit of the TOC is being violated. My impression is that most of the cited examples are not baiting, but rather just banter, and have not resulted in heated discussions. Whether their content is lacking or distasteful is a matter of a moderator's judgement. Even if it is so determined however, the TOC threatens first locking or deleting a thread, not banning, which the TOC reserves for "if worst comes to worst" after a) a warning, and b) repeated violation. If this has taken place, fine. If not, I think it would be more appropriate for a mod to delete this thread than to take part in it.

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Post #18 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:39 am 
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daal wrote:
Seems to me like a mob doesn't like the way that this member expresses himself.


When people are sufficiently annoyed to post about an issue, that doesn't make them a "mob". Negative words like "mob" are often thrown around to make others retreat from a discussion.

Participating in an online community is a bit like going to a tech conference. Various smaller discussions are taking place all over the hallway. Sometimes a person wanders around and joins a discussion but only says things that are tangential or jokes or generally out of tune with the overall discussion. Usually the group engages with this person and tries to find out what he has to contribute, but at some point they realize that this is fruitless; then they just slip into awkward silence until that person goes away or they themselves go somewhere else.

No one wants to take away that person's right to say whatever he wants, but it's the other people's choice whether to listen or to go somewhere else.

daal wrote:
I think it would be more appropriate for a mod to delete this thread than to take part in it.


If you advocate completely free speech, that must include discussions about said freedom as well.

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Post #19 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:02 am 
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I don't see how anyone could have logged on yesterday and not thought that dhjb needed to be banned - meaningless posts strewn across about a dozen threads. I clicked on the "Report" button a few times, and if others did so too, then yes, process was followed, and there may have been more consensus than was visible.

On top of that, he's a repeat offender who clearly won't learn.

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Post #20 Posted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:14 am 
Oza
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Marcel Grünauer wrote:
daal wrote:
Seems to me like a mob doesn't like the way that this member expresses himself.


When people are sufficiently annoyed to post about an issue, that doesn't make them a "mob". Negative words like "mob" are often thrown around to make others retreat from a discussion.

Participating in an online community is a bit like going to a tech conference. Various smaller discussions are taking place all over the hallway. Sometimes a person wanders around and joins a discussion but only says things that are tangential or jokes or generally out of tune with the overall discussion. Usually the group engages with this person and tries to find out what he has to contribute, but at some point they realize that this is fruitless; then they just slip into awkward silence until that person goes away or they themselves go somewhere else.

No one wants to take away that person's right to say whatever he wants, but it's the other people's choice whether to listen or to go somewhere else.

daal wrote:
I think it would be more appropriate for a mod to delete this thread than to take part in it.


If you advocate completely free speech, that must include discussions about said freedom as well.


I don't advocate completely free speech. That's why this thread seems objectionable to me. I don't think a member should be allowed to say anything, that's why we have a TOC. If one objects to a post, it can be reported. Publicly calling for a ban however is like going up on stage at the tech conference and saying that it's time we told Joe Watercooler to skedaddle. That's just not the right way to go about doing things. It's humiliating and yes, it's a call for like minded people to shout "hear, hear!" As you said, if people don't like someone's contributions, they don't have to listen to them, or if they really object to what someone is saying, they can start a conversation about what is appropriate to be discussed and what isn't, but jumping in to say let's boot the guy is something entirely different.

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