15

(Transparency) It's becoming clear that Raddle is not what we thought it was. It was not democratic, and good people were unnecessarily hurt. We need to figure out what steps to take.

Submitted by leftous in meta (edited )

Note- This post is in the interests of transparency to outline the deceit and manipulation that was going on during /f/meta decisions. I don't believe ziq had intent of being a dictator. He was doing his best to build raddle and provoke participation in /f/meta with limited users/participation. But in the process of doing so, it resulted in abuse of power and manipulation where he would get his way. I don't want to undermine the hard work he put into raddle and I hope he remains as an active (single) user here.


I'm sure by now everyone has read ziq's apology. He apologizes for the toxic drama he perpetuated and stirred up, and the people he wronged. This is perhaps forgivable for those of us who weren't harassed or hurt by one of ziq's many alts. Others may understandably be more hesitant or unforgiving.

However, through discussions on that thread it has become disturbingly clear that /f/meta has essentially been manipulated and controlled single-handedly by ziq. Using the influence and power of multiple accounts, ziq manufactured consent and democracy, making it seem as though he was following the will of community. In reality, he was ruling the community with an iron fist. This is not only unacceptable and horribly abusive, but completely antithetical to what this site was supposed to be about.

Currently I am upset and not sure how I am supposed to restore faith that this site will be run properly, with anarchism and socialism as guiding principles, when I find this situation unbelievable and have no trust in what was going on here.

Here's what I think needs to happen:

  1. Currently ziq still owns the server/domain, so we will need to see those transferred (preferably to emma or tequila) Ziq apparently offered the domain to the others and they declined..sorry for this misunderstanding.

  2. We need to re-vote on every policy and proposal that has been "democratically" passed or rejected. We have no idea how far this "raddle hole" goes e.g. this thread where ziq single handedly (with his alts) removed powers of users he had personal disagreements with.

  3. We need to vote on whether admins should be regularly rotated or put to vote to diffuse power

  4. Working toward removing all admins and mods, using our tech projects like /f/konsent and working together to make this happen

Overall I'm really sorry for everyone. This is the worst especially for those of us who love this place and were deceived that this was all in the open. I know many may be tempted to leave, but I really believe emma's work, tequila, the many tech projects we have going on here make it worth sticking together and figuring something out.

Edits - correction to my first point. I'm not sure about a hosting alternative currently.

Also removed some of my emotional hyperbole and the admin flair from this post because I should have consulted T_W prior. I also added a note to start to clarify the intent of this post. I don't want this to be misperceived as a personal attack when I meant it as a call to restore trust and integrity in how we make decisions.

A thread to address point #2 https://raddle.me/f/meta/28531/use-this-thread-to-post-meta-decisions-and-policies-that

Comments

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11

selver wrote (edited )

So, not to get too nihilistic about this or anything, but really this all just highlighted how absurd and pointless this sort of rhetoric and planning is. Unless you all want to start scanning your passports, there is literally no solution to this kind of problem on a pseudo-anonymous platform. There is no process or technology that will prevent these abuses. Embrace the chaos folks.

One must imagine leftous is happy.

5

Random_Revolutionary wrote

At least the useless drama kinda prouves that raddle isnt a honeypot, for now.

3

SouthsideGrackles wrote

Not necessarily. What kind of person engages in time intensive disinformation campaigns and manipulation directed at leftists and radicals? Pays for and sets up a site to do it on? Maybe a very board and very sad individual with disposable income. Or maybe someone motivated by more sinister things...

I mean, so far we just know of the alts and behavior they were pressured into admitting to. What about the things the people pressuring them don't even know about? The things ziq is lying about and keeping from them.

Given what we know so far, why take it at face value that ziq isn't lying and manipulating emma too and doesn't have more up their sleeve.

5

leftous wrote

I am doing this in the interest of transparency. We have no idea how far this goes and people should be aware.

Sure we can probably never have faith anything is legitimate. But we can at least do some things to limit the manipulation and deceit we are exposed to.

1

mofongo wrote

I don't think it goes deeper than this and we're just freaking out by the revelation.

2

leftous wrote

I honestly hope so, but that doesn't make me have any more faith or trust in anything that has happened in /f/meta. And I'm sure others feel the same.

7

RosaReborn wrote

I think Raddle is still a great community. I want to get involved more in chats, generally I lurk far more than I comment. I hope comrade ziq still participates on the site. As was pointed out, the removal of admins completely, f/Konsent being a good starting point.

Too bad it panned out this way but to be cliche, the path to change will have some stumbling before you can soar

5

md_ wrote

I haven't realised that many of the most active users are closely related, that definitely creates weird dynamics. For what it's worth, one way to decrease the need for people to use throwaways to express their real beliefs is to moderate more lightly. I've been active here for a month, and the only occasion I really noticed an overreach (most controversies seem to have gone over my head because I'm not in the out-of-band comm channels) was when someome proposed banning a person for using the term "open source software", and that's despite me also believing that "open source" is a problematic term - now, afaik the proposal didn't pass but because of the tone of the OP proposing that ban, I felt afraid of saying anything in that thread, lest I also be targeted.

If such situations arise often, I can see someone who doesn't want to drift away from raddle will start using throwaways.

On the other hand, I do like how all mod/admin actions are publicly logged.

2

leftous wrote (edited )

That's true, we need to limit frivolous calls for banning or extreme actions. However, luckily that debate did go to /f/mediation instead of /f/meta, so it gave the community a chance to build understanding with imminent that there was no offense or promoting of reactionary ideologies intended.

-2

zombie_berkman wrote

If you want to call me out and talk shit do it to my face. The called it open source multiple times after being corrected. It was simple trolling. Any claim of ignorance of the term went out the window after the first correction

5

mofongo wrote

Chill, I don't think they know your handle by heart to do something like that.

3

md_ wrote

Not only I didn't keep a mental note about who made that proposal, but also it is not my intention to call them out or "talk shit" about them (whatever that means), or to re-open that topic in an irrelevant thread like this. I'm sorry if I made it look like I was trying to talk about it behind your back, but I feel like if I went back and found the usernames involved in that case it would also look like targeting people.

I brought it up as the only example of me feeling some sort of chilling effect on what should I say on Raddle, and related that to how in ziq's apology there multiple mentions of creating different profiles, some of which were used to express genuine views (with which I very much disagree, being clearly on the pro-civ side myself) and not just to create artificial controversy. Of course I'm not saying that the whole ziq story is just this, but it ties with my proposal for more light moderating.

4

Wrestitaway wrote

https://raddle.me/f/konsent/25339/comment/32517

I had this idea when I thought konsent was going to be implemented into raddle and not as a stand-alone web app.

First - I can't program. I dunno if I used the term "scripts" correctly, but I'm sure those who know kinda know what I mean.

So I don't know how feasible some of this could be, but I think there are some basic hurdles to jump over before anything.

A lot of it can be solved by time limit windows or making discussion topics subraddle-specific.

We need an f/meta type subraddle where all these discussions can take place under their own post and be archived. People will be redirected to there from wherever they are originally.

  • Before any discussion can happen we need to figure out who can start discussions and where best to advertise and where those discussion should take place. Should it be in one specifical subraddle like f/meta or in any relevent subraddle? We should go with the former as I think its easier to archive and log.

  • We need a way to figure out how many people are going to be involved initially and are able to vote all the way through to the end to make the process consistent and deter vote manipulation. Like a time-limited open enrollment. Also, we need people to vote from their main accounts - accounts that are new should be excluded. Negative/low karma/troll accounts excluded. Which means:

    • We need a way for a member to post a groupwide/raddlewide topic that is distinguished from other regular posts (maybe a different color) that is essentially a script that allows people to sign up and enroll. So OP will create a title for their post and select a checkmark next to the submit button that will say something like: "Do you want this to be a consensus post?"

    • If they check that box - OP will have that posted to whatever subraddle they're in and it will serve as an open enrollment, but it will also automatically post to the f/meta type subraddle with the discussion title OP chose, .

    • That open enrollment is time-limited and when the clock runs out, it tallies up who enrolled and sends them a link to the f/meta type subraddle post. So we need to create a script that launches a dialogue box inside each "enrolled" members inbox that says something like this. It will create a link to that f/meta type subraddle discussion post.

If they click the link:

  • They are redirected to that post and they see another dialogue box that outlines the steps: like this

  • If everyone consents and/or concedes within some given timeline:

    • motion passes
    • thread is automatically locked and archived
    • it's logged in some public fashion where anyone can refer to it
  • If they object or oppose:

    • Each opposing member is given the original reply box to make their cases and express their concern. They are also given post-flair that states OPPOSE.

    • The now comment is open to other replies as per usual. Members can ask questions. Make statements and advocate their positions.

    • This process is under a time limit as well (2 hrs, 2 days, 2 weeks, whatever it may be) and when the clock runs out the dialogue box reappears and those opposed are given a chance to vote again.

    • If they still oppose - the process starts over. And other members are again allowed to make their compelling arguments and the opposing member is able to make new points.

    • That process repeats until everyone comes to a solution that they can live with and reaches consensus.

  • If someone thinks its imperative that they block the topic:

    • They choose block from the dialogue box
    • An automatic post appears with text "XXXXX has blocked this proposal" in the thread
    • If a high percentage (40%) block the proposal - the OP would be sent a message asking if they want to revise the initial post
    • If 50%+ block the proposal - then the proposal is logged and archived but deleted from the f/meta type subraddle and OP is messaged stating that it was a rejected proposal.
4

jadedctrl wrote (edited )

Until /f/Konsent is ready to run Raddle, I think #2 is a good course of action. #3 is probably unnecessary. I'm thinking of the current form of administration as interim until Konsent is ready— and there's no need to overcomplicate a temporary system.

I used to be really happy with the community that encompassed raddle… seemingly democratic, transparent, and truly leftist both in rhetoric and administrative action. I think that can happen again. I hope it does. Maybe it would take #4 to create a community we can be proud of again, but we can do it. :)

1

leftous wrote (edited )

Good point, additional mechanisms are probably a bad idea. I think there should be some way admins can get called out or kept in check without users fearing repercussions/animosity.

4

killuminati wrote

So far, I think Raddle is better than Dread (another Reddit like site) I am new here.

2

leftous wrote

Hey, welcome.

Currently trying to reform how things have been done here to be more democratic, transparent, and fair.

Hope you stick around. There are a lot of interesting initiatives going on.

4

killuminati wrote

I definitely will! I promoted Raddle on my site, Grams Reloaded the darknet social search :)

http://67c3c3vgvuo6q2yn.onion

Dread is run by the government I believe. Censorship has already begun there as well as all the other negative aspects that Reddit has and that we all try to escape.

I am a marketplace staff member and it is hard to even get the word out about any new markets. LE is pushing Dream and trying to herd new users onto it to mine data.

4

365degrees wrote

I wrote up a concept for voluntary administration, where users follow their peers' advice on what isn't constructive content. Could that work?

7

selver wrote (edited )

Got me thinking a bit last night, I really like this idea.I don't know if this is along the same lines as what you were suggesting, but here's what I was thinking:

End universal moderation entirely. Every user can become a moderator by simply making their ban list public, which will then show up on a list for site-wide moderation. Other users can then choose to follow whichever moderator they like, and will see the posts that they have approved.

They can also fork someone's list. Say I like Tequila's moderation in general, but disagree with a ban, I fork Tequila's list so that I'm still seeing their mod choices, minus the ban. If I want, I can then make that list public for others to follow my fork. One possible solution to the arbitrary power that popularity might grant Tequila would be to show how many of their followers are overriding one of their decisions, so that people are aware of controversies.

Forums could also be forkable. You could choose who's /f/communism you want, for example in the case of MLs and anarchists fighting over it. Different sidebar, different bans, different approved posts, etc. So you could choose moderators on a site wide basis and on a forum basis, and then prioritize who's decisions are followed when your lists are in conflict. This would also be forkable. So if one version of the forum has a vote for a decision, a significant number of people disagree, they can simply fork the subreddit.

Mods could also join their lists with other mods if they want to split the work for a forum/sitewide list.

The only universal bans should be shit that is unquestionable. Nazi propaganda, porn, etc.

Overall, I think that we need a solution that does not rely on voting or group decisions. What happened with ziq was not unusual because of the socks, vote manipulation, shit starting, etc. The only unusual thing about it was that they actually came forward about it. I've seen that shit happen time and time again on here and reddit, but usually no one admits it. Forcing all users to accept a decision about a ban isn't just bad because it's counter to ideas like free association, but because those decisions can never objectively be considered valid. Users need the ability to decide when a decision is valid themselves. The majority cannot have any claim to authority when at any time half the majority could be socks or bad faith actors. As nice as an idea like Konsent sounds, it does not come with any guarantee that it's not being used by bad faith actors. If there's one eternal law of forum moderation, it's that it will absolutely be abused, probably on a regular basis.

Edit: Also I think this could work to limit conflict. It allows users to simply stay out of each other's way, instead of coming to some big final decision.

4

jadedctrl wrote

That's a pretty good idea— it's how a distributed forum would work, at least, since it's probably the best technological solution. But it'd be great to see even on a centralized site like Raddle :o

5

selver wrote

Ideally we could decentralize the servers somehow too, so you could choose whose you want to use, but I'm not sure how/if that would actually work technologically.

4

jadedctrl wrote (edited )

There's some decentralized and distributed forums on IPFS, like this and this. Both are pretty interesting! Maybe one's ready for genuine use? I can't tell.

2

365degrees wrote (edited )

Yeah, I was focused more on implementation. That's exactly what I had in mind.

3

wieke wrote

Are these merely about sharing text-based filters or does it cover ban/hide lists as well? (So I could create a situation where if a friend of mine hid someones comment/post for whatever reason it wouldn't show up for me either. A kind of shared moderation.)

2

leftous wrote

Sounds like an interesting idea, but I think it needs some fleshing out.

Can you provide a more concrete example of how this would work? Would it require technical changes?

2

365degrees wrote

Yes, there'd be a lot of technical change.

Users would provide lists, users and other means of deciding that computers like that specify what they consider spam, trolling, or otherwise unwanted.

For example, I might have something like:

* titles containing dogs in /f/aww
* Joy Division covers
* a specific post where not-ziq makes fun of an excellent meme

(These examples are absolutely made up and aren't very computer friendly.) If anything matches those specifiers, Postmill/Raddle would not show it to me. Since these lists aren't easy or quick to make, I could optionally rely on other people's lists. Someone else could say these are unwanted:

* GNOME release notes
* sandwich recipes with tomatoes

The server could use majority logic or some other Boolean operator to decide, using both lists, what is unwanted.

3

leftous wrote

That is a really cool idea. Basically a sort of custom filter. I wonder if there would be a way to implement that similar to the way emma implemented themes, where people make custom user-defined rules and views. It almost needs a programming/style language of its own, though.

1

365degrees wrote

Nettle has two which are good for string operations and booleans.

The first was a FORTH, which emma and I agreed to design to write similar rule engines for Postmill and Nettle. Arithmetic was also there, but the order that arguments were supposed to be in got confusing, so we moved it around a bit.

The second, which is used now, is a Lisp and is written as 260 very verbose lines of Python, with functions that aren't very needed.

An intermediate would be easy to work with though. This is loosely based off Haskell, but with less syntactic magic:

canPost x = substring? x "Everyone say this or no posts!"
postDelay = * 7 + 3 3
3

ArbitraryHuman wrote

First of all—having just gotten back on the site after a short hiatus—I’d just like to say: Holy shit...

Second off, I wholly concur with your suggestions near the end. I’d honestly be more worried about the site if nobody actually had proposed anything yet.

3

boringskip wrote

I was looking into Loomio for decision making and OpenCollective.com for financial transparency, but I've been super busy.

3

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Hi all!

Long comment, sorry. Just woke up. Hopefully those of you who are invested in the space will take some time to look over the specific cases here and think about them for yourselves.

A lot of questions have been raised here and I think that's good, since people need to deal with the news in their own way. I'm mostly interested in having this process as open, clear and transparent as possible; for us to work through it all so that we can make something real out of whatever comes out at the end.

To clarify, as part of their amends, ziq did offer both me and emma the domain. We were both fine with ziq keeping it: emma would still have the keys to the server, and because we didn't want our real names associated with raddle (which is what would happen if we started paying the bill). Ziq was doing right by us keeping the domain, and I'm sure they would hand it over if someone appropriate came along.

As I mentioned in the chat, so far as alt usage with votes goes, ziq had told me that if they used alts to vote they would put an even number on each side of the issue. Since the alts were made with the intention of making it look like there were more users on the site to get it up and running, I do recognise that it would be odd if all of a sudden participants in the forum simply didn't vote. I haven't had the energy to check, but assuming that ziq was giving equal votes to each side with alts, that would (for me) significantly reduce my sense of harm done.
So assuming that votes were spread evenly over issues with alts, then this is part of what I already understood ziq to be making amends for by leaving as admin.

That doesn't mean it was ok, insofar as alts used social power rather than voting power to influence votes. That in itself needs to be discussed, and I haven't given it much thought, perhaps because I naively assumed anarchists would be less prone to this sort of influence.

The shiningwing removal thread was done very, very badly. Instead of a straightforward post explaining why shiningwing would be removed with a proposal, which I think everyone would have agreed to given shiningwing's behaviour, presenting it as a conversation between users in which people reach the conclusion that shiningwing should have been removed, was just not ok. I hadn't given that thread a proper look until yesterday, or I would have suggested to ziq that they address it in their apology.
It's a real shame ziq didn't just wait for others to say what they said, because there was no circumstances I could imagine that would have made it ok for shiningwing to stay on after what she did.
That said, ziq did make a lot of trouble for ML's and transhumanists on this site, and I don't want to diminish that. It must be acknowledged, and you can read about it for yourself in here - I'll link to the same link leftous noted earlier. This is part of what I understood ziq to be apologising for, in their apologising specifically to those users by name:

to nodefunallowed for being a bad friend to you and speaking ill of your ideology, to gnu_ponut for villainizing you and blaming you for everything when I was largely responsible, and to shiningwing and sudo for making you both feel unwelcome because of my nihilistic aggro anti-ML bullshit.

I do think that ziq's apology was sincere, that it significantly encompassed the things they did wrong though it could have been clearer about them, and that their act of amends (stepping back from the admin position) is significant. emma and I are partly responsible since we saw drafts of it for comment before it was sent out. Different people were differently affected and each person must decide for themselves their feelings. However we look at this, we should keep in mind that ziq is no longer admin and that they stepped back of their own volition as part of a process of amends.

So what to do moving forward? I like leftous's proposals and I think we should take them on and work to make them viable where they aren't yet. Outgrowing the limitations of the software sounds great and we should make it happen. Emma said some time ago that it's one of her main interests going forward, and now others are joining in and that's great.

As an aside: Personally I don't mind that leftous didn't consult me first or that he used an admin flair, as he laments. I think he's doing his best given that he was thrown in the deep end yesterday, and I think it's better for us to assume that this process will be messy, because it's not easy. I've got little emotional energy to spare and I appreciate whatever good faith work others try to do.

Last aside: I wish emma would say something, in part because she was aware of ziq's alts from the start. I know she's got a lot on her plate though, at the moment.

2

glokaya_kuzdra wrote

We need to vote on whether admins should be regularly rotated or put to vote to diffuse power

I vote yes.

Working toward removing all admins and mods, using our tech projects like /f/konsent and working together to make this happen

Even better.