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Thread: Third party editing of posts...

  1. #1
    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    Post Third party editing of posts...

    OK, we all understand that Administrators and Moderators can and do edit and modify individual posts made by posters here on the forums. Heck even the vB CensorBot gets in to the act and pre-edits certain words he's been told to watch out for, such as ****, ***, and ****.

    Different sites have different takes on what the admins and mods can and can't do with editing posts.

    Since editing a personal post can totally change the character, meaning, and intent of a post, and since the post still retains the imprimatur of the original poster, showing that what it says is what they said, I am very, very strict in what editing I will allow my moderators to do on my sites.

    I would rather see posts simply (soft) deleted rather than change what a person has said under their name.

    In those few instances where editing of individual posts is acceptable (to me on my sites), the software is optioned to automatically show that a third party has edited the post, who it was, and when.

    This is to remove any possibility of a mod editing a post secretly to say something that the original poster - the person with their name on the post - did NOT intend.

    This marking by the software is automatic and cannot be skipped. It happens.

    Because what we as individuals say in public and put our names to is ours, may I strongly request that you reconsider your current stance that allows stealth modification and editing?

    Please change the one option in the vB software to ensure that when something is edited by a third party the post is clearly marked as such.

    I have never (to my best knowledge) had one of my posts here changed by any third party, but if one of my posts was to be changed, and there was no indication of who changed it, I would be incredibly annoyed that someone made it appear that I had said something I did not say.

    That is MY name on my posts, and I take personal responsibility and ownership of their content.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Tom Losh
    Admin elsewhere...
    Last edited by Tomas; 12-01-2010 at 02:59 AM. Reason: typo
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    Regular Member sultan62's Avatar
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    Well said. I agree.

    I saw some discussion of something like this in the Wisconsin forum, which I check occasionally but only lurk. I haven't personally seen anything happen like this, but it would certainly pose a problem if it happened.
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    It seems that an effort is made to make mod edits to posts clear by using bolding and stating the type of offensive material being removed. However, you are right. This is being done at the discretion of the person modifying the post. The mod has the power to stealthily modify a post. Even if it has never happened, the possibility that it would allows for unscrupulous surreptitious action by a mod.

    Tomas is right. The software should be configured to automatically insert the "edited by" line in all posts getting a mod edit. Of course, that means moderators will no longer be secret.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Tomas is right. The software should be configured to automatically insert the "edited by" line in all posts getting a mod edit. Of course, that means moderators will no longer be secret.
    I agree but it wouldn't mean that moderators couldn't remain secret. You can make it say "edited by OCDO staff" or some such and have that same tag line for every edit.

    Personally I use a modified PHPBB (everybody has a forum now days....LOL) but I believe this software is greatly customizable as well.
    Last edited by Brass Magnet; 12-01-2010 at 01:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brass Magnet View Post
    I agree but it wouldn't mean that moderators couldn't remain secret. You can make it say "edited by OCDO staff" or some such and have that same tag line for every edit.

    Personally I use a modified PHPBB (everybody has a forum now days....LOL) but I believe this software is greatly customizable as well.
    I am not familiar enough with this software to know if that is configurable. On the message boards I am familiar with, when the edited line is inserted, the account name is included.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I am not familiar enough with this software to know if that is configurable. On the message boards I am familiar with, when the edited line is inserted, the account name is included.
    Yes, that would be the default.

    Even if it's not a "normal" option; a quick edit of the forums code and you've got what you need and it would be a pretty easy edit. Also, with the popular forum software out there; VB and PHPBB, If you can't do it yourself, someone else already has.
    Last edited by Brass Magnet; 12-01-2010 at 02:11 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brass Magnet View Post
    Yes, that would be the default.

    Even if it's not a "normal" option; a quick edit of the forums code and you've got what you need and it would be a pretty easy edit. Also, with the popular forum software out there; VB and PHPBB, If you can't do it yourself, someone else already has.
    True, but if they delve into the code, whatever protection one expects his words to have from anonymous third party edits goes out the window. It is the protection of a standard system, with a finite number of configurable elements, that provides reasonable certainty that what the forum displays is reality.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    True, but if they delve into the code, whatever protection one expects his words to have from anonymous third party edits goes out the window. It is the protection of a standard system, with a finite number of configurable elements, that provides reasonable certainty that what the forum displays is reality.
    It would only be the forum owner who could possibly change the code (or an experienced hacker) You'd have to have FTP access to this server, or at least know the FTP username and password. Saying that your protection goes out the window doesn't make sense. Almost every website/forum has some custom code. I think your point is moot because the owner can do what he wishes anyway. Unless I'm missing something?
    Last edited by Brass Magnet; 12-01-2010 at 02:31 PM.
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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Tomas

    As I explained in my PM to you, this whole thing started because Administrator edited a post of mine to remove a phrase. There's a checkbox in the editing section for him that says "Show Edit by" or something similar. It was unchecked by mistake.

    Forum Moderators, when they change things, have trails left behind, as you saw with my edits. Administrator, however, as forum owner, has more vBullletin software capability, and has the ability to check that box or not.

    Does that explain what happened?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Peterson View Post
    As I explained in my PM to you, this whole thing started because Administrator edited a post of mine to remove a phrase. There's a checkbox in the editing section for him that says "Show Edit by" or something similar. It was unchecked by mistake.

    Forum Moderators, when they change things, have trails left behind, as you saw with my edits. Administrator, however, as forum owner, has more vBullletin software capability, and has the ability to check that box or not.

    Does that explain what happened?
    If such is the case, it can be easily corrected by re-editing the post, making sure the box is checked. An edited-by line will be inserted.

    There should never, ever be an anonymous third-party edit. Ever. Not once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    If such is the case, it can be easily corrected by re-editing the post, making sure the box is checked. An edited-by line will be inserted.

    There should never, ever be an anonymous third-party edit. Ever. Not once.
    That is an unrealistic expectation. Unless you speak about a forum that you personally own and administer for your very own self.
    Last edited by wrightme; 12-02-2010 at 12:33 PM.
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    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    If such is the case, it can be easily corrected by re-editing the post, making sure the box is checked. An edited-by line will be inserted.

    There should never, ever be an anonymous third-party edit. Ever. Not once.
    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    That is an unrealistic expectation. Unless you speak about a forum that you personally own and administer for your very own self.
    It's not really an unrealistic expectation in any forum with integrity.

    If my name is on a post it should reflect my thoughts, I should be able to stand behind it, and others should be able to depend on it being mine.

    Anonymous or invisible edits disrupt that confidence.

    This software has an option, an easy SINGLE option, that can prevent that on a blanket basis.

    It is not an unreasonable expectation.

    (I manage a number of sites using the same software. On none of them do I allow anyone, including myself, to surreptitiously edit other people's words. If a third party edit is done, that fact WILL be publicly visible, no exceptions.)

    I feel strongly about not allowing a third party to change people's words without having visibility of the action or taking responsibility for the action. I think it is very basic to the openness and honesty of any forum.

    "It's the principle of the thing."
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    That is an unrealistic expectation. Unless you speak about a forum that you personally own and administer for your very own self.
    It was a statement of principle. I recognize that not everyone has the same principles. The point of this post was to awaken, I hope, this principle in the owners. I fully recognize that this is 100% their choice.

    If they disagree with me on this principle, I will be disappointed, but will stay. Their principles are so in tune with mine that a handful of differences won't drive me away. There is no percentage in aligning oneself only with those who agree in toto.

    On edit: Tomas, yes, it is the principle. Strange how we both hit on that word.
    Last edited by eye95; 12-02-2010 at 02:37 PM.

  14. #14
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    If such is the case, it can be easily corrected by re-editing the post, making sure the box is checked. An edited-by line will be inserted.

    There should never, ever be an anonymous third-party edit. Ever. Not once.
    Considering I was the only one subject to that kind of editing mistake, I think I was the one who had a right to complain. I'm not complaining about it. If you continually insist on it, PM Administrator yourself and ask that he do it.

    Quote Originally Posted by wrightme View Post
    That is an unrealistic expectation. Unless you speak about a forum that you personally own and administer for your very own self.
    Agreed. Every posting that has been edited (rather than just moderated out of view), with the exception of John's editing of my post on the Wisconsin forum that is at issue, either has a edit tag or has red colored mark saying "OCDO Moderator Team". Every edit leaves a fingerprint trial that John can track, so if for some reason it did actually happen where nothing was left behind, you can PM Administrator and ask him to investigate who edited so it can be restored back and he can discipline/remove the moderator responsible.

    As for this comment:

    It's not really an unrealistic expectation in any forum with integrity.
    I think expecting something, or in the case of another poster, demanding something be done, is a quick way of someone on the other end of that expectation or demand to dig in their heels out of their own principle. Considering the posting here flowed purely from that edit, as well as a now banned person contacting you off-line (I received a PM from you about J.Gleason) and basically screaming to the top of his lungs about supposedly "libeling" him and threatening to sue me (in a similar fashion to a robber threatening to sue the victim for calling him a robber or a violent criminal before he's convicted of a crime or after his charges is dismissed), you face the problem of this post being the fruit of J.Gleason's poisonous tree, at least if I was the owner of the forum, which I am not.

    As the victim of the specific "anon edit", I'm not particularly complaining. This isn't a governmental site, nor is it a Sarbanes-Oxley regulated company. If you're already questioning the integrity of the forum and publicly posting a suggestion rather than addressing it directly via PM to Administrator (John), then it seems to me that nothing he can do to reassure people questioning it's integrity will actually hold and work. Someone will always complain, someone will always scream conspiracy, and someone will always threaten another poster with a lawsuit when they exercise their first amendment right to criticize a persons criminal action.

    Edit: I'm not speaking for Administrator here or for the forum, but as the only person who was got anon edited at issue and doing forum administration work in other forums besides OCDO, it needs to be pointed out that running forums on purely "principle" and doing what was suggested gives rise to numerous problems and issues that may occur, and unnecessarily hamstrings forum administration work due to continual arguments of "You promised this", "You stated that", and so on. PM Administrator or ask him to post here for an official OCDO position, which may be different from my own.
    Last edited by Gray Peterson; 12-02-2010 at 02:46 PM.

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    Neither Tomas nor I are expecting (or demanding) anything of another poster. We are lobbying for the administration of the site to adopt a principle, one founded in openness and honesty.

    Furthermore, if one learns that he made a mistake, whenever or however he finds out, he fixes it if he can. No one is demanding that. It is just the principled thing to do.
    Last edited by eye95; 12-02-2010 at 02:43 PM.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    Neither Tomas nor I are expecting (or demanding) anything of another poster. We are lobbying for the administration of the site to adopt a principle, one founded in openness and honesty.
    See my own edit, which makes it clear that I'm speaking in personal capacity due to my experience in other forums. I suggest that you PM Administrator and ask him directly or ask him to post here to respond to your suggestion.

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    Regular Member Tomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Peterson View Post
    Every posting that has been edited (rather than just moderated out of view), with the exception of John's editing of my post on the Wisconsin forum that is at issue, either has a edit tag or has red colored mark saying "OCDO Moderator Team".
    Gray, could you provide a link to one of the posts with a red tag. I haven't seen one of those yet.

    Thanks!
    Tom

    ETA: Even easier, just edit this post to leave such a mark.
    Public Mods such as myself have the choice to put the red tag in or not because our edits are known. The non-public mods do not. If they figured out some way to get around that, you can PM Administrator to let them know about the anon edit and action will be taken. Gray -OCDO Moderator Team
    Last edited by Gray Peterson; 12-02-2010 at 03:22 PM. Reason: ETA suggestion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Peterson View Post
    See my own edit, which makes it clear that I'm speaking in personal capacity due to my experience in other forums. I suggest that you PM Administrator and ask him directly or ask him to post here to respond to your suggestion.
    My posts are my request. I have zero doubt that he is fully aware of this thread. He can respond or not. The request is out there.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomas View Post
    Gray, could you provide a link to one of the posts with a red tag. I haven't seen one of those yet.

    Thanks!
    Tom
    They're several pages back in the Wisconsin forum, I'll have to dig into it later this evening to find them.

    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    My posts are my request. I have zero doubt that he is fully aware of this thread. He can respond or not. The request is out there.
    He isn't as omniscient as you think he is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Peterson View Post
    He isn't as omniscient as you think he is.
    Silly and meaningless comment. He does not have to be omniscient to be aware of a thread in a forum near the top of the index that is rarely posted to. Try not to make it seem as though I said something I did not. That tends to draw snark in reply to your snark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gray Peterson View Post
    I think expecting something, or in the case of another poster, demanding something be done, is a quick way of someone on the other end of that expectation or demand to dig in their heels out of their own principle. Considering the posting here flowed purely from that edit, as well as a now banned person contacting you off-line (I received a PM from you about J.Gleason) and basically screaming to the top of his lungs about supposedly "libeling" him and threatening to sue me (in a similar fashion to a robber threatening to sue the victim for calling him a robber or a violent criminal before he's convicted of a crime or after his charges is dismissed), you face the problem of this post being the fruit of J.Gleason's poisonous tree, at least if I was the owner of the forum, which I am not.

    As the victim of the specific "anon edit", I'm not particularly complaining. This isn't a governmental site, nor is it a Sarbanes-Oxley regulated company. If you're already questioning the integrity of the forum and publicly posting a suggestion rather than addressing it directly via PM to Administrator (John), then it seems to me that nothing he can do to reassure people questioning it's integrity will actually hold and work. Someone will always complain, someone will always scream conspiracy, and someone will always threaten another poster with a lawsuit when they exercise their first amendment right to criticize a persons criminal action.

    Edit: I'm not speaking for Administrator here or for the forum, but as the only person who was got anon edited at issue and doing forum administration work in other forums besides OCDO, it needs to be pointed out that running forums on purely "principle" and doing what was suggested gives rise to numerous problems and issues that may occur, and unnecessarily hamstrings forum administration work due to continual arguments of "You promised this", "You stated that", and so on. PM Administrator or ask him to post here for an official OCDO position, which may be different from my own.

    Why should you complain. The anon edit was of a possible personal attack you made. You basically stated that in your humble opinion Gleason was a felon. You now once again portray him as a criminal. This once again reinforces my original question(which was deleted without trace), are the mods the only ones who are allowed to make personal attacks?

    You compare Gleason(whom I don't even know) to a violent criminal who has not been convicted or had the charges dismissed. Guess what in this country that means they're NOT a criminal. Regardless of what the "victim" thinks. This uproar (at least for me) is not about Gleason's banning, it's about how when a moderator made a comment that could have been taken as a personal attack it was edited to remove it with no tag as if the comment was never made.

    To add insult to injury you continue to compare someone to criminal when they haven't even been accused, and no other mods call you on it. We can't call it a blue wall of silence since your fellow mods are secret. I guess I'll just have to call it the white wall of silence.

  22. #22
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    The previous posting contained a personal attack, but here is what he had issue with:

    "(in a similar fashion to a robber threatening to sue the victim for calling him a robber or a violent criminal before he's convicted of a crime or after his charges is dismissed)"

    I stand by what I said. The person who was banned, to me, clearly engaged in acts against me personally and against WCI as a third party in a manner that clearly violated Wisconsin law and is punishable in Wisconsin as a Class H Felony. Are you saying that the personal attack rule applies to making statements about someone committing a criminal acts using this forum as a conduit? Besides, "that's the way it is in this country, innocent until proven guilty", only applies to the government. OJ Simpson could not sue the Brown's and Goldman's for calling him a murderer of their children. 1st amendment is pretty powerfully protective of opinion, especially of crime victims, even in cases where a private individual is asking a court to engage in post-hoc restraint. Administrator, of course, will make the final call as to whether or not my postings are allowed on that subject.

    Administrator made a decision to delete the reference, though not due to it being a personal attack. What is the "benefit" I get from it being deleted without reference?
    Last edited by Gray Peterson; 12-02-2010 at 05:25 PM.

  23. #23
    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    As this has become a bash fest towards me personally and the moderator team...

    I'm closing the thread and moderating it out of view, but I've sent a PM to John so that he may review the thread and remove specific references and make his own statement.
    Last edited by Gray Peterson; 12-02-2010 at 05:34 PM.

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    Administrator John Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    My posts are my request. I have zero doubt that he is fully aware of this thread. He can respond or not. The request is out there.
    Don't make that assumption ever. I am in the middle of law school exams and largely only get to look at reported posts.


    John

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    Administrator John Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavageOne View Post
    This uproar (at least for me) is not about Gleason's banning, it's about how when a moderator made a comment that could have been taken as a personal attack it was edited to remove it with no tag as if the comment was never made.
    I was the one who edited Gray's posting and didn't take the time to make the ubiquitous EDITED BY COMMENT that I usually place in a post when I remove personal attacks. It was my fault and one I subsequently corrected.

    Tomas is absolutely correct in his initial post that any edits should reflect if they have been edited.

    As for this thread becoming a bash fest over the forum, please feel free to discuss any shortcomings as you see fit. We will try to improve the forum based upon your feedback. Consequently, the thread has been reopened and all moderated posts have been unmoderated. Just don't make this an attack on the mods ... I am the one who makes policy here. Throw your punches in my direction.


    John

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