Rogue moderator is hiding posts in contravention of LA Indymedia's own rules

 
There is at least one moderator at the Los Angeles Independent Media Center who is hiding posts and commentaries in violation of the site's own rules. This brings serious discredit on LA Indymedia and, if allowed to continue, could be very damaging to Indymedia's credibility. Indymedia needs to take action to control this loose cannon and the following recommendation should help.

As shown at  http://la.indymedia.org/news/hidden.php?id=167190#167903, your Los Angeles Independent Media Center has a moderator who is hiding comments in contravention of the site's own rules as shown here. This brings serious discredit on LA Indymedia and you need to deal with this individual.

Per  http://la.indymedia.org/process/openpub.php

While we try to avoid hiding posts as much as possible, the following types of items will merit close scrutiny and may be hidden:

* "Spam" posting; i.e., posts deliberately designed to disrupt the newswire and its basic ability to function. These are posts that are deemed to be devoid of content or analysis and appear to be published with the sole purpose of disruption.
* Posts the author has requested hidden.
* Posts that are obviously incorrect or misleading. This includes attempts to spread misinformation or to impersonate another individual.
* Posts that contain generalized and negative assertions about any race, nation, creed, class, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc.
* Posts that advocate the mass physical elimination of a specific race, nation, creed, class, ethnic group, sexual orientation, etc, or that link to websites that advocate the same.
* Posts that treat the newswire as a personal "bulletin board" with non-political content directed at one or another newswire participants.
* Unreadable formats (i.e. photos posted as text).
* Posts titled "test".
* Duplicate posts (including duplicate photographs).
* Advertising of products or for-profit services.
* Pornography, excepting sexually explicit satire.

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As shown by  http://la.indymedia.org/news/hidden.php?id=167190#167903, a moderator who is apparently a "loose cannon" has seen fit to compromise LA Indymedia's reputation in the Internet community by hiding posts that obviously meet none of the above criteria. It is clear that one or two individuals are using their authority arbitrarily and capriciously. If they cannot be identified by the Indymedia collective, they cannot even be held accountable by Indymedia and this is a serious danger.

Since this kind of action can rapidly destroy LA Indymedia's credibility with its own readership, LA Indymedia should adopt the following policy.

"Rule of law" requires that persons in positions of authority show specifically how behavior or conduct violates a rule before penalizing the behavior. Authority figures who are unwilling or unable to tie the conduct they are questioning to a specific rule lack the maturity, character, and judgment to hold positions of authority. It is quite evident that there is at least one moderator here who falls into this category but the following policy would fix the problem.

When a moderator hides a post or comment, he/she must identify himself (an actual name is not required but a unique identity that LA Indymedia's collective can tie to a specific individual should be) and state the reason for hiding the post. To hide the comment, the moderator must (1) identify himself , (2) cite the rule that was broken and (3) show how the offending comment violated that rule.

As an example, suppose I'm Moderator 6 (my unique identifier to the Indymedia community). Someone posts an advertisement for Viagra in the middle of a discussion on animal rights. I change the post's status to "hidden" and insert a box with the following information.

"The preceding post's status was changed to 'hidden' by Moderator 6 because it violated the rule against posting, 'Advertising of products or for-profit services.' The post advertised a Web site for Viagra."

In other words, I have:
(1) Identified myself and taken responsibility for my action
(2) Identified the rule that was violated
(3) Made a short but clear connection between the hidden posting and the rule.

On the other hand, suppose I'm a moderator and I simply find a statement like, "As usual, A.N.S.W.E.R. ignores the suicide bomb attacks, the qassam rocket fire over the international border into pre-1967 Israel at innocent civilians, and the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier" disagreeable. I cannot make a clear connection between this post and the rules stated above but I hide the post anyway. Since I still have to identify myself as Moderator 6, Indymedia readers file a complaint against me and the collective places me on probation or suspends my moderating privileges because I have shown that I lack the maturity and judgment to handle authority.

Adoption of this policy would go a long way toward preserving LA Indymedia's credibility in the Internet community. I do not think that even your regular readers will find a site trustworthy in which one or two rogue moderators feel free to use their authority to simply censor material with which they disagree as opposed to spam, illegal physical threats, disruption, and behavior that the Internet community generally regards as abusive.

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