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Does this website have "specific rules" for MODs to follow, or can they just make up their own set of rules as they feel like it?

I ask this because I have posted many answers and get different MODs telling me this and that... examples:

I post an answer with just links to the "relevant" tutorials so I can avoid "plagiarism." A MOD posts saying I need to post a relevant "tutorial"... ok...

I post a tutorial from a website and another MOD tells me that I need to post a link to the tutorial otherwise it can be seen as plagiarism... ok...

I post an answer with full tutorial and link to the source website where I got the tutorial, and a MOD tells me that I need to "blockquote" when I post stuff from other sources... OK...

And lastly, a MOD tells me that most of my answers are from other sources.... SO WHAT! If it has already been answered and I find the answer and re-post it here on this website... is that my fault that people don't know how to use the search engines to their advantage?

What the hell is going on with all the MODs on this website... it's like no matter what a low ranking user posts they feel the need to "bash" on them.

And I won't even get started on the "high ranked" users feeling that they need to comment on a users post saying that what they said does not help the OP solve their question... when in fact it CLEARLY does give the OP something else to check as they DID NOT try this or that way according to their question posted.

It's just getting ridiculous @Admin... your staff needs an overhaul or a good stern company meeting.

  • I'm the one who posted the comments and I'm not a moderator. However, we do have formatting there for a reason and having a visual indication that the content is quoted would be great. Also, our general rule-setting process goes through this very Meta site. We generally expect answers to contain at least some original content; one paragraph is fine, but having only content quoted from another source and a link is likely to be considered a problem. – bwDraco Feb 26 '16 at 0:53
  • I also posted comments and I'm not a mod either. You were asked to read How to reference material written by others. This link tells you to use blockquote so we can easily distinguish what are your words from the content you are quoting from other sources. Please follow that advice (which I notice you didn't follow in your latest answer How to prevent McAfee LiveSafe from installing uTorrent on my system?) – DavidPostill Feb 26 '16 at 1:01
  • You might not have recognized the difference between this site and a forum. On a forum, anything goes, you post whatever you want, and it's yours. This site is a knowledge base, with a defined Q&A structure and standards, and a form of peer review. Think of it a little more like Wikipedia. People contribute content, which gets refined through a collaborative effort. Users help each other in refining and perfecting posts, and challenging content. The goal is that when someone has a problem, they can easily find a solution here, and understand and trust it. As a contributor, expect feedback. – fixer1234 Feb 26 '16 at 7:36
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    "Mod" is short for "moderator", it's not an acronym. For emphasis, you can use Markdown formatting – Der Hochstapler Feb 26 '16 at 10:51
  • I am not a moderator either, I have made comments towards your content, primarily towards your responses towards people though. I have also noticed a quality problem with your content, might have said something in the past, I don't keep track though. – Ramhound Feb 26 '16 at 12:10
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    " your staff needs an overhaul or a good stern company meeting." - You might consider that your getting some much feedback because your content actually isn't meeting the community's quality expectations. So instead of saying the community needs an overhaul, perhaps you need to consider, taking the feedback you have been getting to heart. – Ramhound Feb 26 '16 at 12:15
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This site does have "specific rules" which the moderators follow, in the form of the Moderator Agreement. The site also has specific rules as well as general guidelines for all users (including but not limited to moderators) to follow, which are documented in the site help pages.

The help pages have a specific entry on how to reference material written by others, as well as general guidance on how to write a good answer. Between the two of those, your concerns about how to best refer to external material should be answered.

Links to external resources are encouraged, but please add context around the link so your fellow users will have some idea what it is and why it’s there. Always quote the most relevant part of an important link, in case the target site is unreachable or goes permanently offline.

When you find a useful resource that can help answer a question (from another site or in an answer on Super User) make sure you do all of the following:

 

  • Provide a link to the original page or answer
  • Quote only the relevant portion
  • Provide the name of the original author

Do not copy the complete text of external sources; instead, use their words and ideas to support your own. And always give proper credit to the author and site where you found the text, including a direct link to it.

In short, you should provide more than just a bare link, so that other people can understand the general idea of what the link provides, and so that the information is preserved should the link go dead. But you shouldn't just copy an entire article verbatim, or make it appear as if you wrote it yourself – hence the use of block quote formatting and attribution.

Please note this is general feedback based on your meta question; I haven't looked over any of the specific answers you posted.


It's just getting ridiculous @Admin... your staff needs an overhaul or a good stern company meeting.

Moderators are not staff. We are volunteers democratically elected by the community. The Stack Exchange staff are not typically involved with day-to-day moderation of the sites, as there are over 100 sites in the network. If you do need to contact the SE staff you can do so through the help center.

8

I'm a moderator, and I handled one of the flags that was made with one of your answers.

I'd initially chosen to try to edit the entirely unnecessary legal notice you'd stuck on the end of one of your answers - in this case there's no real guideline there. I used common sense, and the fact that this was essentially a signature.

@nhinkle has covered the relevant part of the rules, but I'd add, as human exception handlers, we're often required to make judgement calls, and interpret both explicit rules - as per the help, as well as the site equivalent of case laws - rules or interpretations of the rules that the community generally agrees on.

There's no real method to feedback to the flagee, outside leaving a comment - and I tend to reserve that for when its an uncommon case.

We come across a lot of folks who think copy-pasting an answer is fine. I'd suggest the following guidelines in future, its served me well.

The best answers are based on personal experience and facts. "This worked for me - you might face these pitfalls". I've often based answers off external sources, attributed, but added on. You're basically copy-pasting large blocks of external sites, and this may get problematic.

This isn't the end of the world - you can probably improve on answers. Add your own screenshots and insights. Wholesale copying of content from other sites though can be problematic. Don't do it, and don't be suprised if folk flag or delete it. At the VERY LEAST paraphrase.

I'm not even going into copyright and licencing, but as someone who stuck a disclaimer on an answer, you should give a good long think about it.

7

I post an answer with just links to the "relevant" tutorials so I can avoid "plagiarism." A MOD posts saying I need to post a relevant "tutorial"... ok...

Answers should contain enough information that the user shouldn't need to follow a link to continue fixing whatever problem they have. A link doesn't provide anything other than a potential fix offsite. If the link goes dead, the answer is lost.

I post a tutorial from a website and another MOD tells me that I need to post a link to the tutorial otherwise it can be seen as plagiarism... ok...

Taking answers from other sites without giving them due credit isn't a great way of saying thanks for the information they worked hard to provide to their users.

I post an answer with full tutorial and link to the source website where I got the tutorial, and a MOD tells me that I need to "blockquote" when I post stuff from other sources... OK...

This one is a bit odd. I've never heard of the "blockquote" rule before, but I generally agree with the sentiment that you should make it clear that you have copied and pasted information directly and attribute it accordingly. If you rewrite the answer and make it presentable, then you should only need to provide the source link as a way of attributing the original information.

And lastly, a MOD tells me that most of my answers are from other sources.... SO WHAT! If it has already been answered and I find the answer and re-post it here on this website... is that my fault that people don't know how to use the search engines to their advantage?

There's nothing wrong with finding answers on other sources. There are many high reputation users that do exactly the same. The difference is in the presentation. Creating your own style and spin on the way you relay information that has been gathered from other sources is a vital part of many academic situations. It also allows you as the answerer to verify the information is true and accurate.

If it seems like we were hard on you, it wasn't because we don't want you to contribute, but rather that we want to ensure that every question and answer on this site meets the high quality standards that we strive for. I can't answer for the mods, but everyone misses the mark on occasion. Maybe this one of those times?

5

I went through some of your posts and I think you're missing a couple critically important things about this site.

The vast majority of powerful users are not in fact moderators or admins or anything, just respected and established community members. Notice the (sometimes very large) numbers under their name - that's the reputation score. People over 50 can leave comments, and 50 isn't a terribly high bar if you've been around a while. Some people leave unnecessary comments, but I think much of the advice you received should be heeded. People over 3,000 can vote to close questions, and that's a very important moderative action in this kind of format, yet such users are not moderators; they are not appointed, elected, or managed. Real all-powerful elected moderators have diamonds after their name.

No Stack Exchange site is a forum. We don't accept comments or unfounded speculation as answers. We're also not really OK with the "creative" text formatting that can be found at most forums. This isn't just about answering people's questions, it's about creating an exceptionally high-quality resource, a treasure trove of pure, unadulterated knowledge. I suggest looking through some highly-voted answers by high-reputation users to see how they do it; compare the merits of their answers with those of posts written by less committed users.

For more information, see How to Answer, or browse around Meta to see the standards of the community.

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