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Old November 26, 2013, 11:16 AM   #1
dahermit
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Suggestion for a change.

Just a suggestion: It seems disingenuous for a staff member to close a thread that he has taken part in. It would seem more in keeping with fairness and the concept of free speech for a Mod not to be an active participant in the thread he is monitoring. Participating then closing a thread leads one to infer negative motives.
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Old November 26, 2013, 11:23 AM   #2
Mal H
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PM me an example. If it's the JFK thread, don't bother doing that. There was a lot of Staff discussion on it before the decision to close.

In general we do exactly as you have suggested. If a mod is involved in a thread in any way, they will ask for others to have a look at it and close it if necessary. It is rare for an involved mod to close a thread unless the situation obviously calls for an immediate closure.
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Old November 26, 2013, 04:01 PM   #3
dahermit
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There have been several examples over the years which I am not going to put effort in looking for, but I assure you that I have noticed such several times.

Nevertheless, when looking at the JFK thread, it would seem that a Mod made a post after the thread was closed...and I will leave it at that.
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Old November 26, 2013, 04:27 PM   #4
southjk
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I've seen that as well but what I think we are seeing is a mod posting on a thread that he is not aware is closed. Viewing the threads on mobile devices or on certain apps, it is not as noticeable as it is on a computer that a thread is closed. I don't think they were trying to be sneaky and get the last word in. My 2 cents.
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Old November 26, 2013, 04:27 PM   #5
Brian Pfleuger
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You'll notice that the time difference on the last two posts in the JFK thread is 3 minutes. That's basically "cross-posting", the last submitted post was being written when the thread was closed and since staff can post in closed threads, there is no warning that it's been closed.

On the main issue, frankly, if it's so unimportant to the person who brought it up that they won't go to the effort of even finding a single example, say nothing of enough to show a pattern which would be needed to indicate some sort of a problem, I don't think the issue needs any more attention that it's already been given. Particularly since, as Mal pointed out, we generally do involve others anyway.

On the question of "infer(ring) negative motives", well, I've found that most folks will assign ill motive to the actions and words of others under most circumstances anyway. The totality of a persons actions tell the story of their motives, not a single instance, and I really gave up being bothered by the inferences drawn by others a long time ago.

Anyone who has a problem or question with a particular staff action can simply PM that staff member, or another if they prefer. There's even the "Report Post" button if someone thinks we're out of line, it works on our posts too.
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; November 26, 2013 at 04:39 PM.
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Old November 27, 2013, 07:32 AM   #6
dahermit
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Example of participate and then close:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=536875
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Old November 27, 2013, 08:42 AM   #7
Al Norris
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That's an example of participating, then closing?
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Old November 27, 2013, 11:15 AM   #8
Mal H
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Right! If that is the best example you can find, then we are doing a darn good job of doing exactly what you wanted us to do.
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Old November 27, 2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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From what I see on closed threads in here it is because the main topic got lost in negative posts going back and forth between posters. Example is the Taurus posts. It starts out ok and then 2 people start going back and forth and it needs to be stopped. Mods are simply keeping us all friends. I will be the first to say I have gotten carried away on some posts before.
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Old November 27, 2013, 01:40 PM   #10
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"Want to offer suggestions to improve The Firing Line?" Mea Culpa...as a person with Asperger's syndrome, I took that literally and was surprised by the hostility it seemed to cause. You guys have the advantage of being able it interpret such statements as they actually are, social gestures that are not to be taken literally. As a high-functioning Asperger's person, it should be understandable that I would make that error. In any event, I do not need the stress and am leaving.
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Three shots are not a "group"...they are a "few".

If the Bible is the literal, infallible, unerring word of God...where are all those witches I am supposed to kill?
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Old November 27, 2013, 02:58 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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That suggestion IS meant to be taken literally.

We also assume that your complaint is literal, as in real.

The only example you can offer is one where a staff member essentially said "Get this on topic or I'll close it" and then the same staff member came back to close it? That's not an example of closing a thread they participated in, that's an example of doing their job.

Participating is participating in the discussion of the topic not in performing administrative duties of the staff.

An example of your complaint would be where a staff member stated an opinion of the actual topic and then closed the thread specifically because and when someone disagreed.

The "hostility" that you perceive is a result of complaining about an issue that you yourself don't care enough about to be bothered to find an example. If it bothers you enough to mention it, you must have seen it recently. Otherwise, what even made you think of it? This forum's been here for a loooong time. If your complaint were a real (as in significant, not occasional or once-off) problem, there should be myriad examples.
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Old November 27, 2013, 11:35 PM   #12
Mike Irwin
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Yes, I had the last word on the JFK thread.

That was serendipity, not active intent. To be perfectly up front about it, though, I did find it somewhat amusing and mentioned in a thread in our staff area (completely tongue in cheek) that I had "won" the JFK discussion.

Part of our mandate from Rich, as laid out in his "guidance for moderators" when he established TFL nearly 15 years ago, is to ACTIVELY participate in discussions, leading them, contributing them, and guiding them.

It's also part of his mandate that staff, when necessary, close discussions that no longer contribute to TFL's primary mission of fostering community within our ranks and presenting the best possible face to new participants or even our enemies.

The last thing any staff member should do is use the close button as a means of getting the last word in a thread in which he has become actively engaged in a disagreement with another member, especially a disagreement that has become rancorous.

That action would be completely contrary to the mandate we have as members of staff; it would undermine our authority and the respect that members hopefully have for us.

I don't believe any member of staff has acted in that way recently. If one does, please bring it to the rest of staff's attention.

Yes, sometimes a closing can seem to be abrupt or even harsh. But I think that staff generally does a pretty good job of explaining exactly why a thread is being closed.

In the specific the thread you linked is a perfect example of a member of staff (Glenn) attempting to guide the thread in the proper direction and, when that failed, closing it with the proper reason for doing so.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on this subject.
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Old December 17, 2013, 03:06 PM   #13
johnelmore
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The mods do a great job on the website. This website is the best moderated around and free of the usual stuff. Some threads are shutdown for obvious reasons like AR15 vs AK47, bugout bag, bear defense systems, etc. Those threads are at least entertaining and I will give the authors that credit, but this is a serious website and not comedy central. So fear not...your thread disappeared or was edited for the good of mankind. Its just better that way and TheFiringLine should be a serious website for pros and enthusiasts, but not comedians.
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