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Yellow Card - Red Card

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Yellow Card - Red Card


Postby AsleepInYorkshire » February 22nd, 2021, 10:52 pm

I don't know how many of you work in the construction industry. I do. Most large companies have a yellow/red card system which relates to health and safety. Before I explain it much further I'm sure most will get the general idea which is a yellow card is a small misdemeanour and a red card means you're off.

Id like, if I may to quote an example please. About 5 years ago I was working for a Tier 1 Main Contractor. Every now and again all those responsible for any kind of company purchasing would receive a company email listing those who had been given red or yellow health and safety cards. The one occasion that I found embarrassingly amusing was a red card given to an operative who (and I quote) had, under the influence of drugs and alcohol, climbed up a site tower crane and hurled offensive abuse at those below him whilst also spitting on them. I know I shouldn't have seen any humour in that at all.

I wonder is it worth having a little system for our moderators which adopts a similar approach?

For example could they issue a "Yellow Card" - Please refrain from political comments or the thread will be closed.
"Red Card" - Thread closed as one yellow card already issued?

I know it sounds trite and trivial but it does work. Red and Yellow cards could be benchmarked on the "rules board"?


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Re: Yellow Card - Red Card


Postby Gengulphus » February 23rd, 2021, 10:30 am

A "Yellow Card - Red Card" system might work if applied to posters. Not saying it would work, nor that I think it would be a good idea even if it would work (I'm very uncertain about whether it would be a good idea or not) - but it might work.

But applying a "Yellow Card - Red Card" system to threads basically says "If you provoke trouble on this thread, you might end up shutting down this thread." to every poster on the thread. The vast majority would see that as a warning - but for anyone who actively wants to shut down a discussion, it's an opportunity! Subtly needle away at a known sore point and doubtless some people will respond, then others will respond to them and you've got an argument going - and as it's a sore point, it's pretty likely to be a more-heat-than-light argument that gets a yellow card. Repeat, and the red card follows and the thread is locked - mission accomplished! And if you do the needling subtly enough, you might well largely escape the blame, with those who respond hot-headedly getting most of it...

Basically, I regard thread-locking as a pretty awful way of solving problems involving discussions that go sour. It punishes the innocent at least as much as the guilty, and in some cases may even reward the guilty by giving them what they want. Its main merit is that it deals with the problem quite quickly and uses comparatively little moderator time - but it doesn't solve the underlying problem, which is that of getting the participants in such discussions to engage in civil discussion. Indeed, it could even end up exacerbating that underlying problem, because no matter when you lock the thread, at least some of the participants will end up feeling unfairly prevented from replying to the points made to them, and those who have endeavoured to discuss the subject civilly may well start to wonder what the point is of doing so when the thread gets locked anyway... And the subject will probably come up again in another thread, with a similar outcome, and then again and again and again...

Also, when a thread is locked in order to cut down the moderator time required to deal with it, posts which breach site rules are likely to get left on the site and that can be seen as confirmation that the breaches are minor and don't really matter, when the reality is that the question of how major they are hasn't really been addressed.

Not saying that thread-locking has no good uses, by the way. It's good for protecting site announcements from being obfuscated, and it's good for giving moderators a temporary breathing space to clean up a thread gone wrong and allow it to resume after issuing appropriate warnings. But it's not at all good for actually steering discussions in civil directions: for that, you need to apply the stick and the carrot appropriately, not just apply the stick to everyone!


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Re: Yellow Card - Red Card


Postby redsturgeon » February 23rd, 2021, 12:04 pm

I would tend to agree with the points made by Gengulphus above.

Regarding thread locking, I will do it when a thread has become so far out of kilter that it would take a lot of time to sort. I sometimes use it, as suggested, as a temporary measure to allow the sorting to take place, other times I will lock a thread permanently but I'd always be open to any sensible request to reopen a thread that was seen as of value once offending messages had been dealt with.

Deleting messages is relatively quick and they are usually soft deleted so can always be retrieved if necessary.

What is more time consuming is trying to split out off topic post onto a new thread, sometimes it is necessary but it is a bit of a chore as a moderator.


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