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Igor

[Moderation] Resources, Tips, Guidance

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5 hours ago, jsfrederick said:

I would be happy to assist as a moderator.  I've been a moderator on a number of forums in the past and would love to help out the Armbian community.  I tried to apply through the link bit do not have enough posts.

I am on the east coast of the US (GMT-5).  Please let me know if I can assist.  


Granted! Thank you.
 

1 hour ago, Werner said:

Maybe I find some time to take a look into that.


Great!

 

Forum is our common problem and it should be moderated according to that. We created some https://forum.armbian.com/terms and https://forum.armbian.com/guidelines. Read and use them, change if needed and keep in mind that people usually don't read them ... remember when you read the small print last time?

 

I have no intention to lead forum moderation - tell you what to do, but I will tell you if you went to far ... I expect the same treatment - I am just a forum user. (even I do have the same power and more as you do). There are topics which need to be sorted out - merge or move - and there are important topics which are floating in the see of banal - I work on this when I find some time which is less and less. Important stuff should be pinned and some, that are there are not relevant anymore, unpinned. If you can not decide on a specific case, but its important, speak up here, publicly. Only if there is a special need for privacy, in private. Administrator rights - for changing more critical things on the forum - contact @lanefu and me. We are both quite busy, so perhaps we shell also expand this role later on if you will come up with lots of ideas for changes.

 

Can't believe how quick we sorted this out. :) And as a side effect, perhaps an IRC channel might get live soon. Thank you!

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Another hint for new moderators:
 

When a person paste wall of text, we edit text and put it under the spoilers (eye) or inside code <> + (eye) spoilers

 

Spoiler

Which makes reading easier


I also do that quite often. And note that under "edit reasons".

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Rather than pollute the other thread, I figured I would create a new one here.

 

As a few of us just became moderators at the same time, perhaps we can help each other out learning.

 

So far I found the following resources helpful:

 

House Rules:

Armbian Guidelines - An overview of subforum organization / "where to post."

Armbian Registration Terms - Very brief few rules.

Moderator Duties - Moderator duties described in role application

Do not censor posts

Only Edit User posts for formatting

Only delete post if empty, by request of creator, or if post is 100% spam

 

Forum Software

This forum software is called "Invision Community."

Documentation - Particularly the "Staff and Moderation" topics part way down on the left look helpful:

 

Questions

From comments in other thread, seems like most of us have moderated other places before. If you come up on a post or situation you are unsure of, ask in here, we can help each other out. Then we are building also a sort of base of institutional knowledge for others to follow later.

 

IRC

I would also encourage everyone (not just Moderators, we are all just community members, too) to hang out in our IRC channel which is #armbian on Freenode. It is still unofficial, but we are actively working on (re?)taking control of it.

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(edited)

Split one post into 2 different topics

I was trying to figure out a way to split one post up into 2 different topics, but I don't think there is a way. I wanted to add some other stuff Igor said in the other topic to this one, so here it is (I just quoted/copied instead):

 

On 1/15/2020 at 10:13 AM, Igor said:

 Hopefully more people will step up since it will be easier for everyone and the only way to keep forum readable, conduct some minimal policy and trying to improve forums on a long run. We want as flat structure as possible - being a moderator should be technical not a political function to limit our power games. Armbian is a technical forum - we don't delete content, but merge, move, reorganise. We ban bots that breaks automated spam machine, we don't ban people unless idiot level is obvious, but warn users when derived from https://forum.armbian.com/terms and https://forum.armbian.com/guidelines

 

Mistakes will be done on both sides. Which is normal and expected.


People that have moderators rights and are relatively active are: @NicoD @JMCC @chwe @TonyMac32 @balbes150 @lanefu 

 

Any objections, otherwise welcome!

 

Split posts keep chronological order

Another thing to point out, if you Split a whole entire single post out from another topic (i.e., do (Gear) -> Split -> Existing Topic -> (post URL)) like I did with Igor first post above, apparently it will keep it in chronological order. Neat! :) In example above, My post was originally OP, but when I Split Igor (earlier in time) post over here from the other thread, it not only went before mine but he also became OP. Interesting...

 

EDIT: Removed bit about Moderator Signature as in this and following post, balbes150 and Igor indicated a preference for minimalist signatures.

Edited by TRS-80
add last paragraph; add section headings; remove last bit about sigs

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More words on moderation...

Moderators are here to help users as well as help the Armbian devs....  The Armbian devs need to focus on relevant issues and keeping the project moving forward and not filtering through general support issues and enhancement requests from new users.    See Armbian's Definition of Supported

 

Needs:

  • separate armbian specific issues regarding u-boot, kernel config, and armbian enhancements such as armbian-config, hardwaremonitor, log2ram from general requests that are more oriented around linux, debian, ubuntu etc.    Issues that are not armbian specific should be moved to the Community Support Forums.
  • separate feature requests and enhancement requests from Armbian specific issues
  • empower the community to support themselves
  • come up with positive ways to encourage the users to contribute when they solve problems or make enhancements

 

Also FYI. for common issues we do have some canned responses in reply window.  It's a plugin that we added.  :
image.png
 

 

 

 

 

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Request to new moderators, do not abuse the content and size of the signature. Limit it to a single line or use hidden text. If the signature is large, it strongly distracts from the General text of the message itself and does not look beautiful when the message itself is not large and then there is a lot of monotonous information that is not related to the topic of discussion.

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3 minutes ago, balbes150 said:

Limit it to a single line or use hidden text.


Even forum have an option to disable signatures for logged users, I welcome this idea. We already removed lots of forum default distractions to be focused on the content. And I am sure it helps.

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10 minutes ago, Igor said:

disable signatures for logged users

 

Do you need to disable signatures individually for each user, or can my disable them all at once (in the user profile settings) ?

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26 minutes ago, Vanitarium said:

I am considering withdrawing as moderator since there are too many negative reactions to my posts and the forum admin is probably only looking for spam stopping moderators.

If you are a moderator, you need to be ready to "put in place" those who do not recognize the rules and do not react to their negativity. The moderator's position is initially conflicted, you need to be prepared to reasonably ignore the negative from those who are not happy. :)

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(edited)
41 minutes ago, Vanitarium said:

OK I have deleted my signature completely.


I am sure @balbes150 was not pointing toward your signature. It's an error in communication which is a daily problem and will not go away. This is online forum, not a chat in person.

 

Our project moves on its own speed. It moves slow. It moves according with the resources we have and will never be a representation of what we as users want. It moves slow.

 

Once someone comes with a technical questions, days, weeks or months can go by before things are solved. That's the reality we should be accept and communicate. Nobody can demands services. I can't demand services from you. I can ask you to do things rather this or that way. And hope you understand not insisting going your way.

 

I was working on one problem two days in a row, whole afternoon and produce one single commit. I need to be highly concentrated in that period otherwise I would never finish things. I can not go and deal with the forum or talk with people around in that time. That's why I asked for help here. This is how I operate and its pretty usual for others as well. While nobody else has so many things. I have to do other stuff for weeks without doing anything in term of moderating forum, dealing with day to day activities. That's why I need your help.


Not to remove spam in first place, because that is mainly done automatically. But to deal with users/us doing mistakes. I am user, you are user. You have a possibility to adjust it, like me. But that's it. We are a community interested to play with gadgets, secure some level of support ... Forum shell no be a place for taking care of users wishes. Its not possible to afford this kind of services. I can't reply on all question, nor deal with all problems. It would take me 24h. Remember that I also receive emails and PM which I don't even answer. In that case I would need 3 days per day.

Entire project is based on best effort principle - there are just a few people that do something about for the product, somebody sold it to you. ASUS drop support for this product years ago. They don't do absolutely nothing, only we do, what we do. We do 20-30-50h per day, which is insane number. ASUS never gave us not a singler dollar for wasting our time for their product and their users. Users contribution secure free download. That's it.

 

If we need to loose few more hours for forum, means only less for doing the part you as an Armbian user are interested. Dealing more with never satisfied people can only drag us away from things we(you) would like to do - make this cheap hardware usable.

We need your help, to not get crazy dealing every day with people that have no clue how much work is behind this. And still we allow people to dream. Nobody will pick that up since its totally out of the project scope and budget. I asks myself every day - shell I fix a problem, from never ending list, or shell I rather play with my kids. In case we stop developing, there will be no need to support us.
 

Edited by Igor
can go - > can not go

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1 hour ago, Vanitarium said:

only looking for spam stopping moderators


... moderators to look from users perspective and make forum a better place for us - users of this forum. With resources that are available. You can't answer technical questions, but you can merge two questions about the same problems into one - not for past year, but perhaps for one month, most recent ones. What is the gain of this? Questions are found easier, there are less doubled ones, higher chances that they are addressed and you save time to all of us. Our general work, which you are about to support, does exactly that. It saves all of us time and effort. You don't need to fix many troubles with the system/kernel on your own before starting to use it for some project ... we do that for you/users.

 

I don't expect concrete ideas for organisational changes today, nor next week. You need to be focused to "how to clean up forum" for longer time. Some forum sections are also more active than the others - they need different approach. Organise your work & write it down to rule out as much confusion as possible. Which you already started https://forum.armbian.com/topic/12757-moderator-resources-tips-qa-etc/ ? (probably there those few posts shell also be moved)

 

 

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I edited my post above to remove suggestion about Moderator Signatures, because in this and following post balbes150 and Igor indicated a preference for minimalist signatures.

 

Unless I receive strong opposition, I plan on leaving mine because new users not reading the most basic of things seem to be a recurring theme around here. Sometimes you need to beat people like this over the head (sometimes, repeatedly) until it sinks in. I didn't put those links in my sig for discerning individuals like Igor, balbes150 (and perhaps others) who certainly don't need the reminder, but rather for the sea of new users who don't read and listen.

 

At any rate, those discerning types can easily turn off signatures altogether, as mentioned in the other linked thread.

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So one thing I started doing (after checking notifications for posts awaiting moderation) was to start scanning down the All Activity Stream page, and quickly asking myself a few questions about each post:

  • Is the thread title too broad?
  • Does the thread title match the sub-forum it was posted in?
  • etc.

Some times you need to go into the thread to see what it is really about. Then (maybe) edit title to something better and/or move, if appropriate.

 

If changing title, I like to try and think of what search terms I might put in if I was having the same problem, or looking for the same information.

 

Another thing... In the course of doing this, I realized that suddenly I am going into all these sub-forums I never visited before. :) I guess I must admit, in the past I only visited the sub-forums of boards I owned or were interested in, all of a sudden now I am visiting everywhere... I definitely have a lot more to learn, and it can feel overwhelming at first... so...

 

One trick I realized: when dealing with an unfamiliar board, and you need a quick lookup of what chip family it belongs to, the main page of the forums actually acts as a pretty good cheat sheet. You can even text search the page for the name of the board in question -> chipset/board family. Bingo! :)

 

At least this way we are keeping up with current stuff. At some point need to start digging into older stuff as well, and getting that in order, too, but first things first I suppose...

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23 hours ago, TRS-80 said:

 

Unless I receive strong opposition, I plan on leaving mine because new users not reading the most basic of things seem to be a recurring theme around here.

I wouldn't think 3 lines is a bloated footer (I've 3 lines I didn't update in a while - maybe I should)..

 

A few thoughts about moderating (and I probably do mostly a bad job here cause I didn't do much moderating in a while - well I got that job somehow by mistake :lol::ph34r:).. I'm a fan of "as less as possible as much as needed". If someone chooses a obviously wrong title maybe change it.. If the title is not best, he'll learn from lack of attention that he might do better next time.

 

17 hours ago, TRS-80 said:

One trick I realized: when dealing with an unfamiliar board,

I don't deal much with unfamiliar hardware anymore.. E.g. there are some parts in the forum you won't find me. Mostly Armada and amlogic. We have people knowing the odds of those boards so they can deal better with it than me. Moderators moderate first responders help. For some platforms I'm both (e.g. rockchkip) for others I just unlock topics and have a quick view if there's something odd about it (e.g. hidden shit in links). But different mods will have different styles, and as long as it is not harmful to the community at all people need to deal with it. Depending on which moderator you get you might get a different style of answer. It's not that we have to follow some cooperate guidelines how an answer should look like. :D

 

If you split, merge or delete you might inform people by leaving a short post why you did it and where the other part can be found. If you move things I mostly let the checkbox with the 'simlink' so that the guy sees where his post is now.

 

 

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(edited)

Thanks, @chwe for adding your thoughts.

 

27 minutes ago, chwe said:

I wouldn't think 3 lines is a bloated footer

Well, I didn't either, but... :)

 

27 minutes ago, chwe said:

I'm a fan of "as less as possible as much as needed"

Yes I agree, perhaps I should have emphasized this more. I think I only actually moved / split a few posts so far. If unsure, I leave it. And always I leave a link to help avert any confusion.

 

When considering moving/splitting, I suppose my thought process is to ask myself if the thread is misplaced enough to offset the disruption of splitting / moving it.

 

Editing the title I view as less invasive. Especially when the title is super vague (which is useless for later searching). Having said that, so far I only edited one title...

 

27 minutes ago, chwe said:

different mods will have different styles

Cheers to that.

 

27 minutes ago, chwe said:

It's not that we have to follow some cooperate guidelines how an answer should look like. :D

Yeah some times I wonder even if this thread is a bit much, some things cannot be taught (and yet I try).

 

EDIT: Also I guess I feel like I have some job to do now, maybe in few more days/weeks I will calm down and get more into the flow and be posting less. :)

 

Edited by TRS-80
add last bit

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The more threads I read, and especially getting into other parts of forum I did not before, I do not think there is much need to change the culture. Most things are actually running quite smoothly (with a few exceptions). I have only been doing this couple days, but so far I would even venture a guess they are running more smoothly than even I think Igor's posts would lead one to believe at first. Although at the same time I can certainly understand his frustration, having taken so much on his own shoulders for so long.

 

At any rate, I think it is up to us new Mods to adapt to the existing culture, not the other way around. :thumbup:

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21 minutes ago, Vanitarium said:

Other interactions should take place at user and community level only. Bugs should be reported in a bugzilla environment and not in this forum,IMO.


I have to clarify why we don't run proper public bug collection software. Linux (distribution) is a huge collection of 3rd party software and most of the reported bugs has absolutely nothing to do with our work - it is extremely hard, stupid and simply resources are not there to cover that. This is responsibility of their authors and that must be properly communicated - we are educating users all the time not to blame us if some freely available opensource package / application (which is part of the system we distribute) is not working. Free support A support that we are paying for users can come only in as is way while people expect somebody is looking into their case like when they purchase some product - its simply a matter of habit. Here, we can't do this way. We can't fix their generic problems or solve their, sometimes extremely complicated problems, nor be a middle man between them and a 3rd party software or hardware maker. Operation is simply too costly to sponsor.

Support for Armbian should always start with the documentation, proceeded by search and if they really can't work this out ... raise a question. Hopefully to already opened topic. In ideal world :) 

 

On the other hand there are just a few people that contribute on the project which creates added value which distinguish us from a generic Linux distro. We would simply drown in a list of unrelated bugs. This can only expand frustration.

That's why this forum is more like a bug listening platform. We see where problems are and fix (critical) if possible. Once there will be several millions of EUR / year we will be able to have 10-15 full timers to cover support. Then we will open a bug collection software and cover support as pro. If we want to get there, its a long (and IHMO wrong) way.

Bottom up. Many things exists with a reason and I will try to clarify when possible. Other regulars are doing it as well.

 

Thank you for your patience.

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(edited)
11 minutes ago, Vanitarium said:

panicking from just browsing through this forum and realising how much work has been done by members and how complex the questions are , most of which I could not answer without much deeper knowledge of Armbian code and hardware architecture

 

I can certainly relate. But give it some time. As you even said right now you are already stopping some spam. Start with the low hanging fruit, the rest will come in time.

 

11 minutes ago, Vanitarium said:

using the IRC channel

 

I have already found this a valuable resource for mentoring, i.e., "asking stupid questions" until I/we get up to speed...

Edited by TRS-80
spacing

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(edited)
38 minutes ago, Igor said:

Once there will be several millions of EUR / year

 

Drinking time must have started in Igor's part of the world. :D

Edited by TRS-80
spacing

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1 hour ago, Vanitarium said:

agree, I shall use this as a reply when moderating "undocumented" posts.


Agree. Also make use of available technology - improve exiting https://forum.armbian.com/replies that we all can use it when its appropriate. 

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1 hour ago, Vanitarium said:

Provide quality information

Use this pull-down menu. See screenshot

 

image.png.6eaa2a4dec538c77b19a8cb340ec98ac.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another tip related to this:

Searching with most probable keywords on the topic "XU4 emmc" solves the problem without more knowledgeable people. I also had to do that since I completely forget about this.

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I'm all for the @chwe approach. Do what you are familiar with, and don't do too much. 
I do adjust titles with wrong spelling (arabian vs armbian yesterday for example), and make sure a title is easy to find with search keywords. Also sometimes translate for people who post in different languages, tho others will remove these posts.
We are here to help people, not to police them. I try to create as little commotion as possible. A good moderator does his tasks almost invisibly. 

I've been away for a week last week. First time I opened the forum I saw tons of notifications, and the thread of Igor to ask for more help. So it must have been a very busy week. Sometimes it's very calm, some weeks are busy. Certainly when new kernels and images go online there can be a lot traffic. 

I mostly focus on RK3399 and TV-Boxes. And sometimes H6, but that seems very well under control. Mostly advanced users there. 
I use my SBC's differently than most other users (desktop use/gaming/video editing and 3d rendering). So many/most of the questions I have no idea about. So I just accept those and don't answer. If someone else feels he's got grip on the topic then they can answer.

If/when something of importance is found by a user it can be good to make sure a dev knows about it. But this doesn't happen that much since the devs also follow what happens on the forum.

39 minutes ago, Igor said:

Searching with most probable keywords on the topic "XU4 emmc" solves the problem without more knowledgeable people. I also had to do that since I completely forget about this.

I had to do that a few days ago for my XU4. I knew the answer :) Tho I must admit I had forgotten about it too, it was Meveric on the Odroid forum who reminded me about it. 
 

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4 hours ago, TRS-80 said:

is there a hard forum permission preventing someone from posting in the general Development forum? Or just the heading stating not to?

 

lanefu's reply in IRC:

Quote

15:55 <@lanefu> so I think I may hve added a min poster recruiment on one of the subforums originally.. to keep people from jumping in so quickly about "my orange pi can't install vim" on the allwinner thread
15:55 <@lanefu> but it caused problems
15:56 <@lanefu> i think i cleaned that up
15:56 <@lanefu> last weekend
15:57 <@lanefu> let me answer differently.. should be visible to all.. there were some mild posting constraints that i think i removed

 

 

Igor pointed something out to me the other day that I had not noticed before. Some times things can slip through moderation queue, and this might even be a forum bug. From the main forum page, look closely for little triangle with exclamation point in it, like this (my theme is dark, but you should get the idea - Igor said it's supposed to be red though?):

example_triangle.thumb.png.2a7534579058d5c07898b0fe414bbf1e.png

I found one post today that had been waiting in moderation queue since 2019-12-24(!) Poor guy...

 

Anyway, just trying to keep documenting stuff...

 

Something I found helpful, if you would like to get a greater sense of past things that actually resulted in warnings/bans (and for how long), see: Recent Warnings (Mod CP). There is another option in there, Approval Queue but maybe it's not working fully, as noted above (need to keep a closer eye on this in future)?

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This way of communication we would also like to limit:

Pushing on developers with "is it ready" , "where can I see the results of your work", "where can I test" ... and when that brave abuser tries to get even more attention by calling out others or by sending this topic to private comm, he can (and IMO must) only get a ban. I will not discuss with them about their actions and consequences.

 

One option is to remove or hide topic bump message, talk to the bumper and/or give warning points, but IHMO avoid to discuss if this measure is needed or not. We also have a rule not to support development kernels - but at the end this is upon each person. Main reason is that code is changing too quickly, telling users how to solve problems is changing with the same speed, its hard to stay up2date and at the end helps little. "tomorrow" fix will not work anymore. Such information is valuable to share among developers. Users has to wait until maintenance levels become ... on users levels, without too much waste of time to support. Its yet another grey zone.


Bottom up. Post bumping is against "the forum law" :)  

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(edited)
6 hours ago, Igor said:

This way of communication we would also like to limit

 

I hid the post (giving reason: post bumping against Rules, please read again), and sent a PM to the dev (piter75) introducing myself and asking him to let me know if the guy continue to harass him via PM (as I would otherwise have no way of knowing that).

 

EDIT: BTW, guys, I cannot be everywhere all the time, and especially I might not be in dev threads, so if you see this kind of stuff, please bring it to my (and other Mods) attention by flagging, and we will take care of it. Thanks!

Edited by TRS-80
add last bit

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