Community Guidelines Clarification: non-mods pointing out Guideline violations
Please note, the information below this is now out of date. To read the updated information, please visit: PART2: Community Guidelines Clarification: non-mods pointing out Guideline violations
Moderators are aware that the Help page titled "How do I report abuse" currently recommends that users do the following:
- The first recommended thing to do is to let the person know they are violating the guidelines. You can post the link on their activity stream and ask them politely to follow the rules.
Please take close note of the bolded and italicized portion of the above text.
Staff's current interpretation of harassment includes public call-outs. What is a public call-out in the context of Duolingo? A public call-out is when someone uses the forums to accuse someone of violating the Guidelines. (Exceptions are made for moderators who cannot contact a person via their activity stream and have exhausted alternative options outside of asking staff to ban the person.)
Personally, I'd rather non-moderators not contact each other to point out guideline violations. Most people end up escalating situations, violating the guidelines themselves with their attempts, and/or they misinterpret the guidelines and spread misinformation to each other. Additionally, there is the risk that the people you contact will target you for harassment for contacting them. (Just to put this out there: If you target someone for harassment, you risk getting banned.)
Because of these concerns, staff will be considering whether or not to remove that suggestion in the Help page. I'll post again once they've decided.
Thanks for taking the time to read!
I've gotten some questions outside of this discussion, so I'll address those: If you are politely helping someone navigate the website and it does not have to do with the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service, such as where to post something, that is fine to post in the discussion forums.
For easy reference, the updated version of this post will be archived in the discussion titled Duolingo Wiki & FAQ (unofficial, but still amazing). That post is currently located at the top of the Popular tab for the English discussion forum.
Interesting points, misinterpreting the guidelines and spreading misinformation is something I see (and I'm sure others see) fairly often on the Duolingo forum. If that were to be removed from the help page, how would you suggest we (the regular users) let a moderator know of a committed breach, as I'm sure not everything is monitored and bits are surely missed by mods now and again?
Hi SoyPerky, thanks for your comment!
It is helpful if people down vote comments and posts that violate the Guidelines. If you need to report the abuse to moderators, follow the other suggestions inside of the Help page linked in the OP up top. There are some important, additional tips in the discussion Guide to Reporting. I hope this helps!
I'm not one who generally responds save a downvote (with which I'm very liberal), but how then would you advise people who respond to spammers with a " this is spam"- sort of message? You haven't been nearly as active as you once were, and other moderators don't seem to always be active, either, so I'd think that many users take the opinion that moderators aren't around and will do the deed for them. Are moderators active 24/7? And if they're not, then what?
People should not announce in a discussion "this is spam".
Posting spam is a violation of the Guidelines and is subject to the same constraints outlined in my OP. (Also note, most of the time when people openly accuse each other of spam on Duolingo, they have been wrong. Spam is defined differently website to website. Duolingo is no different, and spam is a nuanced issue here.)
Don't contact a moderator about spam unless:
- The person is rapid spamming (creating many spam posts in a short span of time to cause disruption.
Or, if the spam:
- Hatefully targets another user, or group of people (ie the post is racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic etc.).
- Encourages or announces violence against oneself or others. Contains pornography.
If something from the list above comes up and you cannot locate a moderator, contact Abuse@duolingo.com.
Be sure to include:
- A short description of the situation, the full link to the user's profile
- a screenshot of the concerning behavior
- and links to that behavior if possible.
In the subject of the email, please name the concerning behavior.
- For instance "Rapid spam", "Threats of violence", "Pornography", etc.
- IMPORTANT if you believe the person has posted pictures of child pornography, DO NOT screenshot it. You'll still need to upload a file to send the form. In this case, just attach something else and not it in the email.
Thanks for your questions!
Good to know. But is there always a moderator on duty, 24/7, across the globe? I think this particular point matters...
There is not guaranteed to be a moderator on 24/7. On my profile, I have a link to a list of moderators and which courses they are assigned to. It is not a complete list, because moderators are allowed to decline to be listed. (One reason why a moderator would prefer privacy is if they only delete unnecessary comments from sentence discussion forums. So, they don't want people contacting them to report guideline violations. There are other reasons, but, it's an example of one.)
If you cannot find a language specific moderator, try to locate a global moderator. Whereas language specific moderator's have consoles limited to certain forums, GM consoles work in every forum on Duolingo. The reason it's good to know who your specific language moderators are is because they will be skilled in that language. Whereas, a global moderator might not be.
Does this also apply to pointing out that the copy and paste wannabe mod messages that the kiddies are so fond of is spam ;)
If people are copying and pasting such message in the forums, please direct them here via their Activity stream. ;)
If anyone is falsely claiming to be staff or a moderator, they risk losing their accounts.
I'm glad to see this. I've been seeing this a lot lately and had been wondering if this topic was going to get a post like this or not.
I think this would be great news if there were more active moderators and I don't mean any disrespect I know that the moderators we have now, do a great job. But they are not always on and I have many times seen spam posts stay up for hours before they were finally deleted even after they had been reported. And if we regular users are not allowed to define spam then how are we to report it? I agree that often we make mistakes as to what we consider spam and even though we mean well when we call out someone for posting spam it could be considered harassment. I think that if you don't want that to happen you will have to have enough moderators and staff to make it unnecessary for regular users to have any role in spam regulation.
The majority of people who receive "this is spam" comments on their posts do not remove them. Those posts are down voted out of site or a moderator removes them.
So, telling people in the comment area of their discussion that they have posted spam does not help the situation.
There are some discussions happening in the background that I hope will yield positive changes to the moderator community before we bring new moderators into the English base forums. I can't give anymore information on that right now though.
That makes sense. Thanks! I do have to say though, a lot of times when a post gets voted down because it was spam but the person either may have meant well or just did not know any better it doesn't seem fair not to tell them why their post was voted down.
You can still contact them via activity stream and politely suggest why you think it might have been voted down. :)