All things in moderation

Thanks for this portion of the FAQ page:

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by acknowledging it, consumes your energy, and wastes everyone’s time. Just flag it. If enough flags accrue, action will be taken, either automatically or by moderator intervention.

In order to maintain our community, moderators reserve the right to remove any content and any user account for any reason at any time. Moderators do not preview new posts; the moderators and site operators take no responsibility for any content posted by the community.

I took these screenshots just now and have a few questions.

  1. How does “seen” differ from “posted”?
  2. How are moderators chosen?
  3. What is their job description, or is it what I’ve quoted above?
  4. I see that some moderators–Asa Raskin, Joe, and Randy Fernando–are members of the Center’s team. Do they report to others on the team about this forum? If so, what do such reports say?

I hope these question are not out of line. Would appreciate learning the answers if possible.

Hi Pat, this is not an official answer on behalf of the mod team or of CHT, but I believe your questions are valid and deserve a quick response.

“Seen” is when the user last logged in, but not necessarily when they posted. “Posted” is, obviously, when they last posted. All users have these metrics on their profiles, not just mods and admins.

As for how mods are chosen, I don’t know what the criteria are. @metasj made a post back in February asking for volunteers who wanted to spend some of their time re-categorizing topics, making the Discourse forum easier to use, etcetera. I sent him a message saying I was really excited about CHT, was active on this forum, and would love to help out. That’s all I can tell you.

For the rest of your questions, you will need to ask an admin.


Aaron described it well… I do not have anything to add to this :slight_smile:

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Many thanks, Aaron and Arnold. Your responses are much appreciated!

Thanks, Aaron. I’ve enjoyed your posts and comments, BTW.

Admins @Max @metasj @joe, please tell us if reports, formal or informal, have been generated by you for the Center’s team. If so, what do these reports say?

Also, for those members who have commented on this forum’s lack of direction, I’d like to ask if the forum is part of a strategic or master plan. If so, what are your goals and aspirations for it?

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+1 to Aaron’s summary. I chose people who write well and were helpful to others, though admins are free to appoint other mods as necessary. Moderation should be no big deal.

There are no ‘reports’ on forum activity; its initial purpose is to let humane tech activists find one another and collaborate. (It seems better at this than the FB page was.)

Founding community members (the many people writing eloquently about this in the past year; only a few of whom are staff of the center) are trying to figure out where leverage can best be applied (in tech, policy, and design) to reduce attention hacking – starting with public interviews and writing about the problem. The forum and wider community resulted from interest in those public campaigns, talks, and writing. No master plan, but experimentation.

A global multilingual movement to change social and attention norms is clearly part of the change we all want to see; I don’t think any of us knows yet how to get there from here. It’s reasonable to think that community discussion may lead the way as much as speaking from mountaintops.

As a short-term strategy, I at least would like to see local networks of expertise on these topics – analysis and defense, inspiring alternatives, and outreach – in many major cities. We can map existing local projects, bridge those networks and introduce new communities to them. The list of local meetups is a fine start. Perhaps we can find someone to focus on catalysing a few of those into regular events with their own momentum and regular speakers.

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Many thanks for this response, metasj. Very glad to see it.

I noticed that you had asked for a map in another post, and I see you use the phrase “local networks of expertise” in this response. I have no expertise of the kind you are asking for and can only comment as an ordinary member of the public.

I just found this response to the false-missile alert issued in Hawaii on Jan. 13. Perhaps it is the kind of expertise you are looking for? Here are some paragraphs from the article:

We can talk all day about hindsight, but the human-centered design process in software development is there to provide foresight, and every one of the five points above is a red flag for practitioners experienced in its application.

First, exactly what is human-centered design? It is an approach to system development that prioritizes the experiences of the people who will be using the system. It takes into account how people perceive information in all senses; what people are capable of doing physically with their hands, fingers, eyes, and whatever else they are using to interact with a computer system; how people process information, what they can remember, and what taxes their information processing capabilities or confuses them; how human feelings and emotions affect performance and attention; how the context of people’s activity influences what they think and do; and so on.

A human-centered designer is therefore someone with knowledge about the behavioral, cognitive and and physiological sciences, who also knows about the design of interactive computing systems. They should be part of any development team, and play just as important a role as the best software engineer or programmer.

Hi Pat,

These are all the right questions. I’m personally on the east coast and am not involved full time, that question should be answered with a clear and cohesive strategy. The short term answer is that we get so many messages and inbound and the community is a place where we can not be blockers for others to work on “Humane” projects.

I think the team needs to define “Humane” tech for there to be any sort of effective rating systems or funneling/filtering towards projects and I don’t see anyone but Tristan being really qualified to do this (which in the past has proven to be a slow blocker).

Also this community is a place for people to feel like they’re not alone in how they’re feeling about tech and the world.

Sorry to not be able to give a more thorough answer but didn’t want to leave you hanging,



For non-tech person the terms, words, topics etc. being used here often are to technical apparently easily understood by tech people.but not by lay people which make this site intimidating for a regular guy. For technical topics that is understandable. I think if we want to attract more users from all communities worldwide and make this movement more inclusive we have to make this site more “user friendly” and more intuitive. I don’t know if you have some kind of figures or statistics on the people worldwide and by region who are affected by the negative effect of technology. Knowing the numbers means you can have an idea on how to proceed forward in an inclusive way.


Thanks, mark2u. I don’t understand the technical language either, but I understand–and hold dear–the principles espoused here.

I read today that Facebook moved the responsibility for its 1.5 billion international users from its headquarters in Ireland to its U.S. HQ, apparently in an attempt to subvert the new GDPR rules. FB’s move is dastardly; not only is it greedy but cowardly.

As @metasj has said, this forum is an experiment–I would add in faith and goodwill as well as in social progress. That is, faith in each other.


Thanks too @patm. the principles being espoused here hold dear to me too.

Facebook moved was made to lessen or shrink their legal liabilities when GDRP put into effect this coming May. In addition facebook is using design tricks to collect data under the new european laws. There are a valid reasons really why we cannot trust facebook.and tech in general. People need to rise to make a difference

Humanetec is a work in progress. Hope people could help and share their ideas.

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I agree that for a techie it is easy to drop a word that is hard to understand for others, but the same is true when e.g. 2 neuro-scientists or psychologists discuss matters. Fact is, we have a broad range of expertise that come together in this forum, and that is a good thing.

To alleviate the problem we should be aware of this - describe it to the forum guidelines - and send other members a private message (a PM :wink: ) kindly requesting to edit a message, to make it more accessible to others who are no expert in the field.

When a topic is really specialistic, then adding a label of technical, science, research or e.g. behavioural-science would be a great way to make others aware that it could get complicated :slight_smile:


A sticky with a glossary, in the Help category, might be a step in the right direction. Anyone with questions about a term can add it to that topic.

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Thanks to @aschrijver and @metasj. Whaf t I am trying to say that if we can have a discussion in a particular topic that do not need to be technical. Why not use plain language that is understandable to most people. We have to keep in mind that majority of people affected by negative aspect of technology are plain folks or non technical people. I understand that some topics need technical language that is given. With that in mind we can attract more people from all communities and make the site accessible and not intimidating to most people.

How far we go in this depends on the intended target audience of the CHT.

If this is the audience that addresses the problem and implements solutions, then expert language is hard to be avoided. If on the other hand the goal is in bringing together the largest possible crowd of concerned people in a general discussion platform, then it should be ‘least-intimidating’. And it could also be a mix of both.

@metasj, as an insider in future plans, what is your opinion on this?

We need both the doctor and patient in here. I hope I make my point clear,


You are making good points.

This forum is helping us to clarify what we as a community NEED and what we as a community can OFFER. My suggestion to the admins is to allow some kind of new thing to emerge. Is anyone familiar with Substack? Perhaps the free version could be for everyone and the paid version for technical people. Revenue from this source could be used for campaigns, etc. Of course, the disadvantage would be that it would divert time and attention from the forum.

As @aschrijver says, technical language is necessary when it comes to evaluating the worth of technologies old and new. I got lost trying to follow the Android-vs.-Apple discussion between him and @andrewmurraydunn. I wonder if that conversation could be restated for the lay person…

@metasj’s suggestion of a glossary is super.

One example of a Substack newsletter, in case anyone is interested, is Phil Plait’s The Bad Astronomer.

Substack looks nice, and the Stripe payment system it uses also, but it all depends on the total toolset which needs to be consistent and not too intricate. I suggest adding this idea to Ideas for additional CHT tooling.

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Aloha from Hawaii, Max.

I have started a blogpost about the community and will share it with others after I’ve finished it. It represents my six weeks of experience with the community.

Aside from the lack of involvement by the founders, I am troubled by the apparent silence of most of the membership. They have in some sense dropped out, which I don’t think is healthy. Like other organic structures, the community demonstrates health and viability through activity and growth.

While the size of the membership may be an indication of health, the silence of most members is not.

Of course everyone realizes that the founders are engaged in important work, but the community appears to be orphaned by them. This is not good.