Help.com allows visitors to assist each other with problems
The help.com website is supposed to be about giving & receiving (in other words: exchanging) help.
It seems to be 100% supported by sponsored links which are placed automatically and targeted to match the keywords contained in the problem solving discussion / comments written by the participants.
- 150 Chestnut Street
A concerned parent who has been trying to engage with those responsible for the moderation of the website posted the following appeal to the users of help.com yesterday (edited and linked to sections of the FAQ / user policy for brevity). The request addressed to the users was immediately deleted and the vast majority of users of the site never had a chance to even read the document. The identity of the author is known, but in order to protect the author from harm, personal details will not be posted here. Other reliable sources have indicated that the witch hunt being undertaken against this concerned parent is not necessarily simply due to the attacking moderator, but is perhaps being directed from the moderator's superiors. It is unclear whether this is in fact the case and it is also unknown whether these superiors are staff or employee's of the help.com team at CNET, CBS or any subdivision of CBS (e.g. CBSi / CBS Interactive).
If help.com users care about the future of help.com, then they should read this
My account has been repeatedly deleted by a help.com moderator.
There are 2 relevant sections of the FAQ page to consider:
What is bad behavior on Help.com? FAQ Section #6
Help.com Moderators FAQ Section #24
Note that the FAQ clearly states that the “Help.com staff has the final word on what is and is not bad behavior” and that “moderators are not CNET Networks employees and do not necessarily represent our views”.
In other words, the buck doesn’t stop at a moderator.
Documentation that the moderator in question has not only deleted my account for no reason, but the moderator has even violated the “bad behavior” rules themselves has been stored on external data storage and has also been printed out on paper — therefore, whether or not it is deleted from help.com servers is insignificant. The documents clearly show that the moderator is immature, untrained and as inciting youth to subscribe to immoral behavior and/or questionable points of view.
There is little question that this moderator has no leg to stand on. I am not only concerned on my own account, but also on account of my own children and also on account of innumerable children and adults who use help.com worldwide. I even sympathize with the staff of help.com and the management and owners of the site, even though they seem to presently remain aloof. I expect that if such wanton behavior persists, that sooner or later help.com will have to deal with lawsuits concerning their negligence to appropriately moderate a website where teenagers commonly seek help. A volunteer moderator who displays such wanton, amoral and perhaps even immoral behavior as is supported by the documentation ought not to be overseeing teenagers who are asking questions about a wide variety of topics spanning from homework help to depression and suicide.
I would like to give the users a chance to get involved. Please post your questions and concerns in the reply to this post.
Thank you for your help!
New information concerning the poor condition of the community moderation at help.com is becoming available. The problems are apparently larger and more extensive than was initially understood. Some teenagers and youth who are suffering from depression, various addiction problems, etc. and turning to the site in seek of help are not getting the help they need. Allegedly, there are even some cases of suicide that have been linked to the site. We are reviewing the data available and will post an update in the coming days. The situation appears to be somewhat alarming. Please "stay tuned" for updates (in order to subscribe to updates, simply click the "watch this page" checkbox).
The poor management issues at the website have gotten worse. More updates about the questionable moderation practices are available @ http://fail.blog.com/2009/11/23/another-epic-fail-in-poor-website-management-site-moderation + http://fail.blog.com/2009/09/23/cbs-viacom-website-moderator-i%e2%80%99m-not-going-to-close-this-post-if-you-feel-insulted-leave
Newest Update: Apparently, "arguing" is now also a reason for closing posts. (see http://help.com/post/127082-my-name-is-jason-and-i-am-100-sold#reply-3391401 and/or http://help.com/post/127444-helpcoms-policy-on-religion )
As noted below ( http://www.aboutus.org/Help.com#2008.2F01.2F02 ), the discussion in mid-December (which had been closed by the site admins), has apparently been deleted. An archived copy is still available at http://asinine.ws/clearing-the-air.html . I have tried to post the text here, but the discussion is quite long and it is difficult to include it here (because help.com uses rather intricate formatting code).
Now a new discussion has been started which is related to the censorship issue (primarily focusing on "moderation" (even though that is combined with the issue of "subscription", the primary focus [IMHO] is on moderation).
To see the updated version (including all further edits), please visit http://help.com/post/123552-helpcom (note, however, that this text copy includes some comments which have in the meantime been deleted -- again: due to "moderation" [aka "censorship"]):
Here we go again
The aforementioned discussion thread (see http://www.aboutus.org/Help.com#2007.2F12.2F18 below) has been deleted. An archived transcript of the discussion is still available at http://asinine.ws/clearing-the-air.html
After another day of discussions, the following rule/guideline has been clarified:
What is prohibited is simply whatever the mods and admins feel should be prohibited.
There is a great amount of community participation on the help.com website, but unfortunately the help.com site is run be people who seem to be quite intolerant and do not allow free speech.
The help.com website crashes quite often and the help.com site management seems to be understaffed.
All in all, the help.com site (and in particular the help.com website) would have enormous potential, if only the help.com site were run by more competent people.
I have now been allowed to post again -- please follow the story at: http://help.com/post/118482-clearing-the-air
oops! -- that didn't last very long!!
OK, unblocked again -- keeping fingers crossed...
- Alexa: Help.com
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