Moderation feedback

I want to share some general thoughts in response to some recent feedback, and to some of the behaviours displayed recently.

The principles of free speech and anti-censorship underpin the Zcash project. However, in the context of providing a forum where people can constructively discuss and debate the Zcash project, we’ve adopted a Code of Conduct.

For example, we prohibit personal attacks. We expect forum participants to debate the idea, not attack the person who espouses the idea. Does that prohibition limit forum participants’ free speech? Yes.

If you don’t like the restrictions imposed by the Code of Conduct, you’re welcome to provide feedback in a constructive and respectful manner. You’re also free to start your own forum, where you can set the moderation policy.

Forum participants who respect and comply with the Code of Conduct are welcome to discuss topics that are relevant to Zcash (modulo specific topics that are prohibited for legal or regulatory reasons - e.g. gambling, political lobbying) including proposing changes to Zcash (e.g. changing the emission curve or supply cap).

Others are welcome to express their disapproval of or opposition to such proposals.

They’re also welcome to simply ignore them.

@silentZcollector - Nobody is forcing you to read the topic about raising the supply cap. If you don’t want to discuss it, simply ignore it.

If someone repeatedly raises a subject in multiple topics, simply flag the posts that you consider to be off-topic and the moderation team will review them.

In case it isn’t obvious, the moderation team doesn’t read every single post on the forum. We rely on users to flag posts that they believe are in breach of the Code of Conduct. Flagged posts are added to a moderation queue, and the moderators can hide, move or delete the post (or reject the flag if they don’t agree with it).

Pro tip: If you believe that a post breaches of the Code of Conduct, don’t reply to it. Just flag it and move on. It mystifies me why some users will flag a post as, say, “off-topic”, and then reply to it, thus exacerbating the problem! :person_shrugging:

Replies or responses to posts that are hidden/moved/deleted may also be hidden, moved or deleted, when appropriate. For example, if someone posts a personal attack and someone else replies to that post, it often makes sense to hide or remove both posts.

Posts that question or reference the hiding/moving/deletion of other posts may also be hidden, moved or deleted.

Always bear in mind that our goal is to balance freedom of expression with the goal of providing a forum where people can constructively discuss the Zcash project. Moderation is difficult and almost all of it falls within grey areas. Human judgment is fallible, and perfect consistency is effectively impossible.

Also bear in mind that moderation never happens in isolation. If you are kind and respectful, if your tone is generally positive and constructive, if you make an effort to learn about the history of Zcash, how it has evolved and how it works, so that you can make well-informed and meaningful contributions to discussions on this forum, then you are likely to receive the benefit of the doubt.

If, on the other hand, you are snarky and disrespectful, if your tone is negative and confrontational, if you consistently pick arguments and denigrate others, if your presence has a generally negative impact on others’ experiences, then you should not be surprised if you find that you are subject to greater scrutiny and harsher judgment.

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A post was split to a new topic: Alternative forum platforms

Is there any way I can see what happened here? I can sign a waiver or whatever in case reading these messages harms me in some way.

its shielded

You can start your own censorship-resistant platform built on the Zcash network…

Posts are hidden for a reason (usually because they contravene the forum’s Code of Conduct, or because they respond to or quote posts that contravene the CoC).

this is a funny thread

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You’re not wrong. We can agree to disagree. As I have mentioned before, I think focusing on price is a fruitless waste of time for many reasons.

Like:

  1. There will never be a good enough price to stop talking about price. "ZEC is $20 today, it should be $100, ZEC is $100 today , it would be better if it was $200, ZEC is $1000 today, why isn’t it $2500 like ETH?, etc… etc…
  2. As I mentioned before, ZF and ECC do not talk about price unless it’s in the context of disclosure of their current holdings, therefore users constantly asking about what they are doing to prop up the price is also a waste of energy.
  3. If price is the be all, end all goal of discussion on the forum then users can take literally any topic and invent some tangentially related reason to make the topic about price instead of the OPs intent of making the thread in the first place.

There’s a reason other forums like Polkadot, Ethereum, the Zcash Community telegram, Namada, etc … ban any price discussion: because there’s never an end to it and it gets in the way of other conversations. IMHO this forum should take the example from those others and simply disallow it or move it to a single thread where users can vent and not interrupt everyone else.

I was a mod here for 6 years so I tend to think with my mod hat on when viewing conversations (old habits die hard) and I know the CoC has rules against:

Please do not:
Derail topics.
Repetitively post in the incorrect topic.

So when I see users constantly repeating the same content that they already have two or three threads about I feel it’s derailing and inconsiderate to the others that are trying to have a conversation.

But ultimately that comes down to how the current mods choose, or choose not to, enforce the rules.

(Which is also why I’m replying in the mod feedback thread, to keep from driving the other thread off the rails even further)

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That’s categorically false. IF Zcash actually maintained some semblance of parity amongst other cryptos during this bullrun then I guarantee you would have way less people concerned with the price talk.

Why shouldn’t they? They work for the holders and the people that fund them via the devfund? Especially if they are continually dumping the ZEC for USD, it shows:

  1. ZEC isn’t private digital cash
  2. They are not confident enough to believe #1

All examples of other coins that haven’t had a down-only trajectory. It’s mentioned so frequently because all the schizos (myself included) are the only ones to seem to feel like it’s necessary.

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As far as I can tell, your opinions are not the same as moderation rules.
And nobody but you are compelled to retort everything that you feel is contradicting of your opinions.

Again, we can agree to disagree.

When threads, and entire company meetings, are held to talk about Zcash Adoption but the topic of ZEC price is ignored, that is when I’m compelled to speak up.

Because somebody has to. I understand why the majority inside of the block reward teams remains diligently focused on how to create new people/ merchants to sell their ZEC to. The incentives are lined up that way (when ZEC fall out of the sky for some parties in this ecosystem).

But for the ecosystem (i.e. the Zcashers who exist outside of the ECC), somebody has got to advocate for the most inclusive strategies about how to grow our project.

The Zcash ecosystem pays for the initiatives of the ECC, so why wouldn’t you expect for some members of the ecosystem to speak up about ECC strategy sessions that are lacking in their framing around challenges like adoption.

I don’t think that the free block reward model creates the appropriate economic/ behavioral incentives to create a virtuous growth cycle for Zcash.

Creating these 2 American Non-Profit Companies as the central controllers/ promoters of Zcash looks more and more like a foundational mistake to me. Why? Because they are legally cornered into a situation where they can’t act in the best interest for Zcash to succeed.

i.e. they are legally protected to liquidate the hell out of their free ZEC, but they’re also legally prohibited from discussing the value of ZEC?! That equation reads like an obituary to me.

It has slowly began to look like as foundational of a mistake as it was to make the low effort copy-paste of the Bitcoin halving schedule for ZEC coin issuance. We’re still suffering the consequences of that decision (or non-decision).

Mistakes are made, they have been made, they will be made again in the future. Mistakes are inevitable.

We’ve all got to live with them! But we do ourselves no favors to ignore them or act like they don’t exist.

What separates the successful from the unsuccessful is how they respond to mistakes.

Banning the discussion of price makes a lot of sense in engineering threads. If you ever see me going on about price, within engineering or related threads speak up. I think this forum and its moderators do a good job at keeping threads generally in the correct lane.

ZEC value-price falls under the umbrella topic of Adoption/ growth/ project relevance/ etc.

Agree. This is why I keep noting that there is a 101 level comprehension problem here in the forum. Some members simply do not comprehend how central coin price/ value is to the equation for success.

If ZEC were healthy, and had sustained value like hundreds of its peers, the ECC, ZF, ZCG would be financially strong. ZEC holders would be feeling alright, and the stress of everybody losing (except the teams taking in block rewards) wouldn’t be such a dark cloud over the ecosystem.

I’ll continue to use the phrase: virtuous growth cycle

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:100: :100: keep up the good fight :muscle: :crown:

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Ironically, @Shawn literally wrote the moderation policy, and, as the founder of these forums, his opinion regarding how they should be moderated carries more weight than anyone else’s.

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This echoes feedback we’ve had from multiple community members in recent months (including from ECC team members, ZCG committee members, and grant recipients), to the effect that trying to participate in productive discussions on these forums is difficult, due to “constant aggressiveness” from a small number of users “flooding every single topic” and “derailing the conversation” (quotes from actual feedback).

There are plenty of memes that allude to a person forcefully making a point about something to someone who’s not interested…

e.g.

meme1
meme2
meme3

…but we’re far beyond that, to the point where it’s akin to that scene in A Clockwork Orange

Fundamentally, the purpose of these forums is to provide a place where people can constructively discuss Zcash.

If people are unable to have productive discussions about improving Zcash because a small number of users keep derailing the discussions, that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

This approach makes a lot of sense to me. I think we should trial moving any price discussion to a single topic (e.g. Price Speculation). We can see how that works for a few months.

We’ll formalize this with a change to the moderation policy in the coming days.

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The reason price discussion is relevant and constructive here is because there is a development fund. It’s relevant since your organization gets paid from it.

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It doesn’t make sense because its a form of censorship.

Stripping away the context of discussions around ZEC (wherever they may pop up), and things like adoption or treasury finances, look like a strong armed attempt to white wash the history/ sheep dog the thought exercise of the forum/ the opinions of the growing Zcash ecosystem.

If any mention of the value/ price of ZEC gets boxed under “Price Speculation” then the forum becomes void of nuance related to how the value/ price of ZEC can interact with many aspects of the project beyond simply taking guesses about Where will ZEC be next year

Nimmy also makes an important point. The Zcash Foundation and the Electric Coin Company are in some part, in control of ZEC because they have taken in so many coins over the life of the project, they want to continue taking in more ZEC, over the next halving cycle, and they are the largest non-PoW sellers of the coins.

Is moderation policy really this quick to change?
A couple handfuls of people are annoyed by ongoing comments about ZEC, so now we snap our fingers and change the policy?

Do we all agree that this is a priority? (Over-engineering moderation rules to specifically box-in speech about ZEC/ box-out ZEC from all other threads)

Many of us saw that there is a history of using authority to attempt to control/ change the speech of others!

Did it make sense professionally to interrupt @zooko on stage, mid presentation, to tell him your opinion about what he should/ shouldn’t be saying about Zcash governance?
It wasn’t like he insulted your mother up there

This is a helpful piece of history. This is the first time that I’ve seen it suggested that the forum is Shawn’s Zcash forum. The presentation here is that the forum is for everyone/ all opinions and ideas.

Are you suggesting that Shawn makes the final call about the rules/ moderation?

Now that Shawn announced his new job with the ECC, I’ve got to wonder out loud, maybe we ought to try and decentralize some of this ecosystem management work(?)


To make my opinion clear, I think these forums are moderated well as-is/ with the existing policies. I’ve accidentally derailed a thread or two, and have been a broken record at times; and I haven’t been angry about cases where you moved comments, removed them, etc etc. I generally feel the same about what I’ve observed, the moderation here is what any reasonable person should expect.

The concern is that we would over extend moderation to close down discussions about the value of ZEC… making a huge blanket out of “Price Speculation” that doesn’t make sense, it is painting with too broad of a brush/ it takes away the importance of nuanced discussion.

It is nice to see a lot more people in the forum who I’d describe as (decentralized) Activist Investors. People in Zcash who have invested money, time, energy, reputation, and who rightfully feel like they were sold swampland in Florida.

There should be no surprise that as the project grows, more of these types of people would get active in the forum - making suggestions that are business/ investor/ economics minded.

It doesn’t make sense to pigeon hole all of their remarks under the “Price Speculation” banner because it isn’t all merely speculation; part of free speech is about respecting nuance of speech

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There is a lot of healthy Price Speculation happening over here. I hope you two have rethought (and abandoned) the idea of it needing to be flagged/ merged/ cornered into the only Price Speculation thread in the forum.

image

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There’s a difference between planning for future budgets by charting potential price movement in a thread and “Zcash dumps” or “Wen Zcash pump?” or “How come Zcash price went up/down today” type conversation.

One is constructive, one is not.

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I like that you’re acknowledging some nuance now. (Maybe you meant to suggest nuance all along, but from the quotes below, you and Jack seem to have be framing out a black-and-white moderation policy change).

I haven’t seen any When Moon style price speculating in the forum for a long time, especially not as derailments of non-price threads. We’ve all collectively suffered under this Zcash bear market long enough to have had our imaginations dampened out of that kind of dreaming!

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I haven’t posted much in quite a while. Frustrating with development direction (my username should provide a clue) was a large part of it, but so has been my perception of heavy handed moderation. Upon my return I see moderation is still overly aggressive (particularly marking posts as off topic)

If the goal of moderators is to slowly drive away community members that want to encourage developers to listen to the people that actually care the most about on chain privacy and the public perception of Zcash, you are succeeding.

You may eventually achieve the echo chamber you desire but it will come at the expense of adoption of the shielded functionality that is the true purpose of zcash.

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Is there a way to get the raw forum data for analysis?

I mean for normal plebes lol.