[Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

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[Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Edi » 2009-11-03 10:35am

Mike already asked why there is no discussion thread about Bean's possible abuse of his moderator position. That has been a concern of mine too, because if and when Bean screws up, the rest of the mods are left to pick up the pieces while trying to present a united front to the board. I had discussed this privately with RedImperator and now it seems hat discussion is relevant in a more public forum.

To save time, I'll just quote the PM that I first sent to Mike to ask about this, because I did not want to act too hastily. The response was essentially "Why don't you start a Senate thread?"

So here we are:
Edi wrote:Hi,

First off, this is pretty long and reading it will take a while.

I wanted to bring up something private that has concerned me for a while. While there is a problem with the Senate and its sluggishness and unwillingness to act against its members, there is another serious problem that has been festering for a long time.

Namely, with certain moderators. I suspect that a great deal of the defense of Stark in the Senate can be traced to moderator actions. Mr. Bean and fgalkin gleefully took your instruction to nuke Testing and went ahead with it. They did not bother to announce this change in longstanding practice, even if nuking Testing was something that mods were allowed to do without any real requirement. Then, after they had done that, they gloated in front of everyone and are on record as saying they didn't bother to inform anyone so they could get more laughs out of the consternation (warranted or not) they caused.

RedImperator actually pointed his out in the Senate thread. It's classic trolling, with the added bonus of the miscreants being in a position of power. I'd not be so concerned with it, if this was was an isolated case. It's not. Both Bean and fgalkin have been moderators for a very long time and this is far from the first time they have done something like this. There have been repeated instances of similar actions, using their position as a moderator to do something, then twisting the knife and gloating afterward. You have actually chastised both of them over something or other repeatedly in the moderator forum, usually in the User Rants threads.

Both of them have contempt for anyone who doesn't fall in line with their views, especially if they consider the other person to be their inferior in some way. Bean particularly, and if he gets told something he doesn't like, he usually doesn't accept it at first go. Not unless threatened. Several instances of him being told by other mods or even Dalton that he's absolutely in the fucking wrong and it's been like talking to a brick wall until you personally tell him to shut the fuck up and get with the program.

I've not said anything publicly, including the moderator forum, beyond that they seem to have a tendency to act precipitously, which then causes confusion and backlash that other mods have to clean up. It's mostly gone unnoticed.

It does not help that Mr. Bean uses the Mess as his private grousing ground and rustles up support there, so if something does not go his way and he wants change, he'll try to instigate and organize something that way. I don't remember whose idea it was originally to try for a concerted effort at stacking the Senate with Mess members to gain a solid voting block in board issues, but it's never been actually buried. My own nomination of Tiriol, who is a Mess member, went through and he is a Senator, but I would not have nominated him if he weren't a solid good poster to begin with.

What with the Mess being out of bounds for non-members, including other moderators, it becomes a serious problem if it's abused to enable behind the scenes machinations. It gets frustrating when some people simply don't think and get caught in some bullshit. There have been serious suggestions of abusing e.g. Senatorial positions in relation to AFD pranks and other similar things and I've had to come down on them like a ton of bricks to make sure any sich stupidity stays at the level of idle talk.

I took the liberty of asking RedImperator for his opinion and shared my concerns with him, since he was a very long term moderator before he resigned. Part if the reason he did so, beyond RL concerns, was those two.

Our email conversation is quoted below:
RedImperator wrote:
Edi wrote:Hi,

Wanted to talk to you about the recent goings on at SDnet. I saw your post in the Senate regarding Stark's removal and why you're opposed to it. I know I supported removing him and I think there are valid reasons for that even aside from the whole HoC blowup.

Nonetheless, I do not at all like the direction some of this shit is going. You did a very good job of reaming Mr. Bean a new asshole, which brings me to the meat of the matter.
The hilarious part about this whole thing is that I think you could make a case for removing Stark. I don't know if I'd buy into it (I admit, I like the guy and I think his mockery of the Senate before the Testing/HoC blowup was spot-on), but it could be made. However, Bean, Coyote, and now Shep have made such a bumblefuck of the entire thing, I think Stark will cruise through his expulsion vote. Even if there's a large contingent who simply hate Stark and would vote to remove him if Bean had accused him of witchcraft, I don't think there's a supermajority to remove anymore.

Irony bonus: From what I can gather, Bean was actually planning to carefully build a case and compose a home-run proposal to remove Stark. Now, while I doubt Bean is actually competent to do that, it's an absolute riot that Shep blew up his entire plan by jumping the gun....exactly the same way the mods who despise Shep inadvertently gave him immunity by constantly jumping the gun trying to get him banned.

LATE EDIT: Mike may have possibly saved their bacon by actually making the arguments they should have five pages ago. But still, I take some satisfaction in knowing that Big Daddy had to come in and rescue them. No doubt, if Stark goes, they will gloat and dance and act as if they actually had anything at all to do with it.

Edi wrote:It seems to me that every time there is some shit going down on the board, if it's not the usual Testingistan suspects stirring it, it's a certain cadre among the moderators. Namely Mr. Bean and fgalkin, sometimes supported by Beowulf when he's around. And now that he has been made a full mod due to the ascension of the History Forum, Shep.

He seemed to slip into Mr. Bean's and fgalkin's company before the ink was dry on his promotion, as if he had always been there, forming some kind of triumvirate with them. In any case, Shep is tangential to this. The main problem I'm seeing is Bean's contempt of anything and everything that doesn't go his way where those he sees as inferior are concerned. Fgalkin is much the same and they both have a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, which usually just leads to a bigger mess. Their unholy glee at sticking it to people they dislike and provoking shit is at least as serious as any provocation from the spammy, chatty crowd. More serious, if you ask me, because it feeds the division of the board and people can't help but notice the double standards being applied.
I'll go one further on you: I think Bean is a terrible mod and should have been removed years ago, and fgalkin should have been instantly fired for his role in the DataPacRat debacle. The both of them have a raging case of "Big Fish in a Little Pond Syndrome" and have repeatedly abused their powers, and it's gotten to the point that I'm a hair's-breadth from just walking off SDN entirely.

Frankly, you want to know who was most responsible for the animosity between Testing and the staff? It was Bean. It started with him repeatedly trying to get Testing oppressed (with a different reason each time), and then, when he didn't get his way on that, posting a big, butthurt "Don't expect help in Testing!" announcement in Testing. You're dead right in your assessment of him: he's a total crybaby when he doesn't get his way and he pretty much holds everyone who disagrees with him in total contempt. And since he's a shitty debater and a worse liar, he resorts to using his mod powers and his behind-the-scenes influence to get back at them.
Edi wrote:In a word, they're loose cannons. It also seems to me as if there are not enough levelheaded mods to balance them out, since most of those have a lot of other things to do and have less time to spend on the board, so putting out the fires while striving to maintain a semblance of unity among the staff is more fucking trouble than it's worth. It was a bad day for the board when you resigned, my friend, but I'm not blaming you. In Bean's case what makes the loose cannon bit worse is that he gets some background support from several members of the Mess, most of who are regarded as being in good standing and serious people. And for some reason Coyote and a few of the others just don't seem to see his mistakes or turn a blind eye on them.

I would like to hear your opinions on this in depth, because I'm starting to get to the point where if I see any more shit coming from the moderator side, I'm going straight to Mike with this and asking his opinion. If I get tossed as a mod, fine, but some cleaning house is long overdue.

Edi
Bean and fgalkin both need the shit slapped out of them. They're undermining the entire staff with their antics.
I don't really feel too good about essentially sticking a knife into fellow moderators, but when their bullshit causes problems and I have to try and clean it up and maintain some coherent staff unity in face of the ordinary board denizens they provoked, fuck that. Especially when there are other aspects to this that you probably have not been aware of.

Please consider my opinion as a current moderator and RedImperator's as a former moderator (a top-notch one at that too), before doing anything as radical as shutting down the Senate. In their place, I'd probably be circling the wagons to stick it to Bean and fgalkin too, since most people there are anything but blind to the double standard that is going on, even if it is not your intention that there be one.

Best regards,
Edi
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Coyote » 2009-11-03 11:02am

So, the situation brought up in the Stark thread isn't really about defending Stark on his own merits, it's more about waiting for a Waterloo to crucify Bean and fgalkin on?

Interesting.
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Lagmonster » 2009-11-03 11:07am

Motive be damned and fucked straight to hell; we should only be concerned with arguing whether the accusation itself is justified based on Bean's past actions, or it isn't.

One thing that I want to ask is, is it kosher to repeat things that are said in the mod forum (traditionally hidden from members' eyes) here in the Senate as evidence for or against?
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Darth Wong » 2009-11-03 11:09am

I think that was a PM, which also begs the question of whether Red would be OK with publicly repeating it.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Tiriol » 2009-11-03 11:16am

How much influence can the Senate have on moderator activity? The predecent has been set that we can recommend for someone to be elevated to the mod status, so I presume we could, theoretically, recommend for a moderator to lose his or her place or at least give him or her some sort of reprimand, but I'm not certain.

To the topic at hand, though... I can' personally comment much on it, since by the time I logged in during the Testing and HoC fiasco it had all been done already and a public statement had already been issued. It appears that it did indeed go backwards - namely, first was the purging and only afterwards it was announced. This is indeed in a bad form, especially if and when there was gloating involved (in effect, trolling). While I personally like Mr Bean, I also can't condone such conduct, especially if it makes it harder for other moderators to do their work, no matter the motives involved.

Not to drag the Stark expulsion thread into this, but I truly hope that people who oppose Stark's expulsion don't do it because they personally hate/loathe fgalkin and Mr Bean. While the two cases do overlap somewhat, they should still be considered separate.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by RedImperator » 2009-11-03 11:21am

I've made my case in the Stark thread, but I'll repeat it here: Testing got nuked, the HoC was closed, and Stark is on the verge of getting expelled from the Senate primarily because of "board drama", and yet the two biggest instigators of drama the day Testing got nuked were Bean and fgalkin. They knew full well that blowing up Testing was going to make people angry no matter what--anyone could have seen that. Rather than handle the situation professionally, they deliberately told nobody what was going on despite multiple people asking (in the Senate, no less, never mind what was happening in the HoC), and in Bean's case, he actually made up some bullshit about the Senate "failing to act" on Testing rather than just say "Mike wanted Testing nuked, so we nuked it". In fact, going back over that thread, it's hard to not suspect Bean was deliberately trolling just to provoke users into talking themselves into bans or Senate expulsions.

There's no doubt in my mind that if some mod--any mod--had posted an announcement in Testing to the effect of "Mike gave us carte blanche to nuke Testing; say goodbye, suckers!", the overwhelming majority of the drama would have been reduced to "Well, I don't like it, but Mike's board, Mike's rules". Instead, Bean and fgalkin used their positions to troll (something, incidentally, mods are no longer allowed to do even on April Fools', by Mike's direct order), touched off a gigantic drama storm for their own amusement, and then gloated about it afterward. They made a clusterfuck of a delicate situation for their own amusement. There were other mods who knew what was going on, too, but so far as I can tell, Bean and fgalkin were the senior supermods online that day, and I can't really blame the other mods for not saying anything if those two decided this was going to be some kind of secret super fun prank.

This is the kind of behavior we get from two of the most senior and active mods, and then people act shocked! shocked! that others were bitching about the mods in Testing. And this is just one incident. The DataPacRat debacle was the most egregious abuse of moderator power I've ever seen on this board, and while Bean wasn't involved in that, fgalkin was, and that incident did far more damage to the staff's authority and reputation than all the sniping Stark could have done in a million years.
Coyote wrote:So, the situation brought up in the Stark thread isn't really about defending Stark on his own merits, it's more about waiting for a Waterloo to crucify Bean and fgalkin on?

Interesting.
Hilariously, Edi is on record agreeing Stark should be expelled from the Senate. Anyway, no, people were and are defending Stark because they don't think he should be kicked out of the Senate. I brought this stuff up in that thread because it's central to understanding why he acted the way he did that day. Honestly, Bean has nobody to blame but himself. He tried to build a case around "Stark said he wants to leave the Senate, so let's make him leave", when he damn well knew or should have known the post he was quoting out of context was in direct response to his behavior that day.
Lagmonster wrote:Motive be damned and fucked straight to hell; we should only be concerned with arguing whether the accusation itself is justified based on Bean's past actions, or it isn't.

One thing that I want to ask is, is it kosher to repeat things that are said in the mod forum (traditionally hidden from members' eyes) here in the Senate as evidence for or against?
I don't know how people are supposed to discuss a mod's behavior without evidence from the mod forum. If the mod forum is sacrosanct and nothing inside can be repeated, then it's pointless to say that Senators can bring complaints against mods in the Senate. The mod forum is hidden so moderators can make their decisions in peace and discuss sensitive matters like board security. It's not a black hole where mods can do anything they want without ever facing consequences for it.

I do think that in cases where mod behavior is being discussed, Mike should give the go-ahead to post evidence from the mod forum, and what gets posted should be as narrowly focused as possible. But seeing as Mike said "Make a Senate thread, then" to Edi after Edi came to him with evidence from the mod forum, I think that counts--or could be taken, anyway--as tacit approval to make that evidence public.
Darth Wong wrote:I think that was a PM, which also begs the question of whether Red would be OK with publicly repeating it.
I gave him my explicit permission.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Lagmonster » 2009-11-03 11:28am

Tiriol wrote:How much influence can the Senate have on moderator activity? The predecent has been set that we can recommend for someone to be elevated to the mod status, so I presume we could, theoretically, recommend for a moderator to lose his or her place or at least give him or her some sort of reprimand, but I'm not certain.
Disciplinary measures, if they seem to be in order, would be up to Mike, but I can't see the man ignoring valid complaints or evidence.
Not to drag the Stark expulsion thread into this, but I truly hope that people who oppose Stark's expulsion don't do it because they personally hate/loathe fgalkin and Mr Bean. While the two cases do overlap somewhat, they should still be considered separate.
It's worth mentioning that, all admonitions against, that it's possible that some people may use their vote to forward personal or social agendas rather than based on a consideration of evidence. That's the bitch of democracy, and I can only hope that such people realize their inability to make reasoned decisions and either abstain from voting on sensitive issues, or reconsider their position carefully.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by fgalkin » 2009-11-03 12:00pm

Alright, I'll bite
RedImperator wrote:I've made my case in the Stark thread, but I'll repeat it here: Testing got nuked, the HoC was closed, and Stark is on the verge of getting expelled from the Senate primarily because of "board drama", and yet the two biggest instigators of drama the day Testing got nuked were Bean and fgalkin. They knew full well that blowing up Testing was going to make people angry no matter what--anyone could have seen that. Rather than handle the situation professionally, they deliberately told nobody what was going on despite multiple people asking (in the Senate, no less, never mind what was happening in the HoC), and in Bean's case, he actually made up some bullshit about the Senate "failing to act" on Testing rather than just say "Mike wanted Testing nuked, so we nuked it". In fact, going back over that thread, it's hard to not suspect Bean was deliberately trolling just to provoke users into talking themselves into bans or Senate expulsions.

There's no doubt in my mind that if some mod--any mod--had posted an announcement in Testing to the effect of "Mike gave us carte blanche to nuke Testing; say goodbye, suckers!", the overwhelming majority of the drama would have been reduced to "Well, I don't like it, but Mike's board, Mike's rules". Instead, Bean and fgalkin used their positions to troll (something, incidentally, mods are no longer allowed to do even on April Fools', by Mike's direct order), touched off a gigantic drama storm for their own amusement, and then gloated about it afterward. They made a clusterfuck of a delicate situation for their own amusement. There were other mods who knew what was going on, too, but so far as I can tell, Bean and fgalkin were the senior supermods online that day, and I can't really blame the other mods for not saying anything if those two decided this was going to be some kind of secret super fun prank.
Yes, we did not say anything at first, to see the people's reactions- and their reaction was clearly out of proportion to clearing what was essentially a disposable forum. Yes, I even instigated it.

However, when people (even certain Senators) contacted me in private, I have indicated that there is more to this than just me and Bean, and that an announcement is coming.

What Edi, Defender of Truth And Justice, neglected to mention is that some 2 hours later, I also posted this in the mod forum:
fgalkin wrote:
But I think we've let the fun go far enough. Someone own up to the change, or should I?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
After that, I went offline, logged back on, only to discover that nothing has been done. I immediately posted an announcement

So, what again was my fault in this? Yes, I and Bean were wrong in that we acted mysteriously and bragged about it (and we were not the senior mods online then)- that was, however, our only fault in this.

However, this raises the question of why we needed to announce something that have always been within our rights to do since the start.
This is the kind of behavior we get from two of the most senior and active mods, and then people act shocked! shocked! that others were bitching about the mods in Testing. And this is just one incident. The DataPacRat debacle was the most egregious abuse of moderator power I've ever seen on this board, and while Bean wasn't involved in that, fgalkin was, and that incident did far more damage to the staff's authority and reputation than all the sniping Stark could have done in a million years.
I would really like to see what you're accusing me of in the DataPacRat incident. Abuse of authority? In what way did I abuse it?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by RedImperator » 2009-11-03 12:12pm

fgalkin wrote:I would really like to see what you're accusing me of in the DataPacRat incident. Abuse of authority? In what way did I abuse it?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
I don't have a lot of time left to reply, so I'll get to everything else later, but right here:
How 'bout we play a game? You win, I'll PayPal you 30 USD. You lose, I ban you under PR3:
You threatened to ban a guy for "serious lies" when there were no such serious lies happening; nobody with any sense could have possibly believe DataPacRat was honestly claiming descent from Zeus, and even if he was, that would have made him such an obvious crank I can't imagine how anything he said about himself could be taken as a "serious lie". And at any rate, you don't have and never did have the authority to ban a guy for violating PR3. You abused your authority even if you weren't the one who pulled the trigger.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by fgalkin » 2009-11-03 12:25pm

RedImperator wrote:
fgalkin wrote:I would really like to see what you're accusing me of in the DataPacRat incident. Abuse of authority? In what way did I abuse it?

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin
I don't have a lot of time left to reply, so I'll get to everything else later, but right here:
How 'bout we play a game? You win, I'll PayPal you 30 USD. You lose, I ban you under PR3:
You threatened to ban a guy for "serious lies" when there were no such serious lies happening; nobody with any sense could have possibly believe DataPacRat was honestly claiming descent from Zeus, and even if he was, that would have made him such an obvious crank I can't imagine how anything he said about himself could be taken as a "serious lie". And at any rate, you don't have and never did have the authority to ban a guy for violating PR3. You abused your authority even if you weren't the one who pulled the trigger.
Firstly, it was in response to this
DataPacRat wrote: So how much cash do you owe me, now, and how do you want to transfer it - Lindens in Second Life, maybe?
Secondly, if you read the thread, you would notice that this was not the "lie" I was talking about.
I wrote:You can retract the claim that you know your family history past the end of the 19th century, and you'll be fine.

If you read on, you will note that I did not even discuss his claims to be descended from Zeus or Charlemagne or anything like that, and we spent the thread arguing about 19th century Canadian birth and marriage records.

Finally, he posted this:
DataPacRat wrote: If you want to ban me, feel free - I only have the right to free speech, I don't have the right to free speech on someone else's message board.
.
Technically, he could have been banned right after that. Instead, I, GR, and others, gave him time to back down. He refused to do so.

Have a very nice day.
-fgalkin

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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Lagmonster » 2009-11-03 12:46pm

While this thread is really about Bean, it's steadily navigating into fgalkin territory, so perhaps it should be split into two separate threads.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I was the one who actually split DataPacRat out of the Salvation War thread and HoS'd him in the first place. My justification was posted in the mod forum as such:
Lagmonster wrote:I've split out DataPacRat's material from the Salvation War thread to the HoS, for lack of a better home. I don't necessarily have anything against the guy besides being wierd, but I'm treating it as a pseudo-thread hijack instead.
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Re: [Discussion] Mr. Bean & Abuse of Moderator Position

Post by Coyote » 2009-11-03 12:55pm

I have to agree, not only is this moving into fgalkin-land but it also seems more like this has been a long-standing disagreement that rode into town on the back of the Stark horse, but is really about other things.
Something about Libertarianism always bothered me. Then one day, I realized what it was:
Libertarian philosophy can be boiled down to the phrase, "Work Will Make You Free."


In Libertarianism, there is no Government, so the Bosses are free to exploit the Workers.
In Communism, there is no Government, so the Workers are free to exploit the Bosses.
So in Libertarianism, man exploits man, but in Communism, its the other way around!

If all you want to do is have some harmless, mindless fun, go H3RE INST3ADZ0RZ!!
Grrr! Fight my Brute, you pansy!

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