MOD ABUSE OTHER SOCIAL SITES

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This is why I hate the internet and social media sites like reddit, n4g and Wikipedia. They are such a pain in the ass to submit to, even when you’re following the guidelines. And it has nothing to do with whether the site is user friendly or not; it’s because these companies give way too much power to a select few users called moderators.

I was doing my usual social bookmarking of recently published articles from my website. In particular a piece about a Masquerade Ball held at the San Japan anime convention.

Because the event is anime related (it took place at an anime convention and more than a few of the people in the video are dressed in cosplay) and was Legend of Zelda themed, I submitted it to Animeshinbun rather than n4g (which is owned by the same company as AnimeShinBun.com, HavaMEDIA), because, in my experience, n4g’s crowd tends to be extremely anti-anime and even more anti-cosplay.

My belief is the article would do better on Anime Shin Bun than n4g, and anyone who knows anything about these websites would agree with that assessment.

However, as sometimes occurs with these sites, some mod named lavalamp 1138 flagged it for “not being anime related” and told me to go post it on n4g.

I protested the flagging and so did several other users using the “Disagree” option, but lavalamp1138 manually set the submission to “Fail” when it looked like his report was going to be automatically over-ruled by all the Disagreements against his report by the user base.

Not one to give up easily, I decided to resubmit the submission but lavalamp1138 instantly appeared to reject the submission again.

Because I am so freakin tired of this crap constantly occurring, I decided to fight back.

I messaged lavalamp1138 with a declaration that I was reporting him, as well as PMing every other mod I could find on the site about what he did. Then I sent a ticket in the admins of the website as well.

My brief conversation with mod lavalamp1138

I would show you a screenshot of the original submission and report filed by lavalamp1138 but in response to my threat, he used his mod powers to transform my failed submission back into Pending status in order to delete his original action against the submission (turning it to Pendingdeleted his original report and that he manually made it Failed), after I told him flat out I was filing reports against him.

My brief conversation with mod l The altered post. Notice his report has been deleted, but the last change before was Failed. 
Rather than let the community decide, he manually blocked the submission until I raised hell.
avalamp1138

I view this change of status to my article as only as an attempt to hide the evidence of what he was doing and most likely has been doing to many other user submissions. My belief is that he would manually set an article to Failed that belongs on the site so that his own submissions have less competition from high quality articles like mine which could be very popular with the users.

And that is why I’ve made this article; if he is doing it to others, it needs to be brought to light so his mod powers are revoked. Who knows how many other people he has been screwing over? Hell, who knows how many other mods are doing the same thing he is doing?

It would NOT be the first time volunteer mods at social book mark sites have abused their positions to get better exposure for their own promoted work. Such has been reported on by other news sources, and here are a few examples,

Why Reddit needs just enough anarchy (dailydot.com)Reddit mod banned for selling his influence (dailydot.com)Gaming sites game Reddit, get caught (cnet.com)
Realize I don’t have any proof that Lavalamp1138 is a marketer, but it’s the only answer that makes any degree of sense to me. His actions are completely out of character for what a mod at Anime Shin Bun should be doing with his powers if his goals are in line with those of the site he works for.

I mean, one look at Lavalamp1138’s own submission feed shows he posts about many videogames which have nothing to do with anime. And as I pointed out in our conversation, The Legend of Zelda has way more manga books based on it than The World Ends With You does.

But it shouldn’t even matter because the article I submitted took place at an anime convention and Anime Shin Bun is for anything about Japanese anime AND videogames. And Zelda is one of the most well known Japanese videogame franchises, right up there with Mario and Sonic.

Final Fantasy is so anime, right??

And for the record, I did try submitting the article to n4g, where it received no votes and one troll comment,

10 degree rating on n4g. As expected, n4g’s crowd hated it cause it was cosplay.

By contrast, in the same amount of time the story has a 90 degree rating on Anime Shin Bun,

Now you might think this is nothing to get worked up over, but you’d be wrong. For an upstart website like Weekly Texas Jump which has no money for advertising, social bookmarking sites like Anime Shin Bun are vital for news to reach their intended audiences. Within a few hours of something hitting the front page of Anime Shin Bun, it can receive thousands of views.

This is a very big deal, because information sharing is now community driven. Users being barred from sharing information because it might be more popular than someone else’s submission is a huge issue, and it’s something I’ve been repeatedly experiencing from volunteer mods — for example, a few months back I was banned from GiantBomb by a mod who deleted a several long threads where users were talking about one of my videos, and from GoNintendo’s forums for daring to put a link in my signature that went to my Youtube channel.

And it’s not like I submitted a beta key giveaway or something; this is a quality article and video which can demonstrate why Weekly Texas Jump is a good source of information related to anime and anime conventions in the Texas area.

Also unlike reddit, Anime Shin Bun encourages web masters to submit content from our websites,

“Submitting your stories to a newsboiler site can be a great way to promote your site and to gain new readers.”

I’m really quite fed up with the lack-luster attitude many social bookmarking sites have when it comes to how much authority they give a select number of users who are chosen not for real-life credentials but because they are active on the website.

It’s basically like saying, “Hey you there Mr. Marketer. Would you like to be able to block other people’s submissions from our website so you can get to the top easier?”

The people who submit the most content to social book-marketing sites are marketers. Don’t think it’s not true, because it is. Every action anyone takes has a motive and the simplest motive for submitting hundreds of entries to a site like Anime Shin Bun is because you’re trying to market something for someone.

And I believe too many of these social bookmarking websites allow people to become mods because they prefer volunteers to do most of the community management tasks (so they don’t have to pay them salaries) without ever questioning why a regular user would want to become a mod.

For many mods, their “volunteering” allows them the opportunity to deny others the ability to promote on a website while ensuring they and their company are able to. This abuse of their positions has been reported on by many other websites.

So here is what I propose. If you’ve stumbled upon this article because you’ve also had trouble with moderators on sites owned by HavaMEDIA, here’s the contact form on their website. Send some complaints about their moderators, along with a link to this article.

Maybe if enough people complain they will make some changes to get rid of the volunteer mods and hire real employees who’ve had background checks and can ensure they won’t use their mod tools to block rival news companies from posting to the service.

UPDATE: As of September 1st, 2012 the article is now public, but not before it entered Failed status one more time. Because the article ended up at the very bottom of the Pending feed nobody saw it. Fortunately one of the mods manually approved it, archaic, who is apparently the site community manager.

Though it finally went live, it is rather absurd it took over a week for this submission to to go live, all because of what lavalamp did. The silliness of the situation was even commented on by another user,

I’m not privy to what occurred between the mods but I hope lavalamp1138 was told to never do something like this again. But that’s probably too hopeful.

What I do know is that the article has a 160 degree rating on Anime Shin Bun a day after going live,

…and on n4g it has a 20 degree rating even after 5 days on the site.

In the end I was correct to put it on Anime Shin Bun. This is where the submission belonged.

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