CHOICE membership

Encouraging meaningful discussions - what are your thoughts?

Both of these exist. The guidelines are called the FAQ. The civilian moderators are to be found among the high volume posters with several badges but I don’t have a list.


Terms of Service can be found at
They are also influenced by the points in the FAQs

There are Community participants that are given what is termed Elder status which allows them to moderate topics. In answer to @syncretic’s post about not having a list there is a list of staff and moderators at There are many flags made over the course of a week, some are human generated, some are system generated. Some topics don’t even make it to be seen publically, they are vetted before they are seen by general forum users.

Because CHOICE wants to allow reasonable debate (that may even offend some users) often items that are flagged for moderation are carefully considered before removal or editing action is taken. This is to ensure we are not too heavy handed nor that we ignore real concern. Posts may be edited to remove “offensive” content immediately, however posts or topics may be hidden from public view so that CHOICE staff can deal with particularly sensitive or difficult issues. If a topic is unlisted (taken out of the public view) because of content or direction it is taking, a person who posted to that topic may still see what has been posted by topic participants but please be assured it is being dealt with.

Users are encouraged to Flag content that they think is outside of reasonable bounds, please do so if you see something that may breach the rules. Moderators don’t always catch the content before another user comes across it.

If someone needs to use the flagging option on a post it can be found at the bottom of the post by clicking the 3 dots and then selecting the flag looking icon. If you feel that you want to add more comment about why you are flagging the post choose the “Something Else” option as that gives you a comment panel to discuss your reasons, most times as moderators this is the option we choose so that other moderators and CHOICE staff can add discussion to the decision making. It allows often a more balanced, nuanced approach to what happens with the flagged post. When it is a very obvious issue we do use the other flag reason choices.


I’ve noted @grahroll and @syncretic feedback.

My experiences on this site of using the flags, contacting Choice staff and on occasion other community members have all had positive outcomes.

Not everything we offer up and share is accurate or bullet proof. Some are purely seeking alternate points of view. It seems easy to wander, and most often one amongst us knows what to do to redirect the thread, or split it off.

It’s a fine line between calling something out for what it is, and politely asking for a reset. I’ve seen far worse, which is also your sentiment on other sites. And without mentioning individuals there is often a wayward one amongst us, overly excited, frustrating or just plain mischievous. I try (not always am I virtuous) to step away when unsure and leave it to to others decide what next.


My main thought is the process could be streamlined by:

  • Investigating a way to make the rules more prominent
  • Making the rules clear on what will be deleted or constitute time outs/bans

Having things very clear simplifies moderation and encourages users to avoid skirting the line


A very fuzzy line.

I’d consider two of the three most recent posts are not about the effects of climate change on Australian Consumers, or consumers directly but arguing mostly that climate change is real. The report on Norway is observational and anecdotal in many ways. There may be hard data, but it has been simply left to one side. The proposition that climate activists in Australia may be under personal threat is a long bow to draw from OS stories that appear to martyr climate activists. Not really about the effects of climate change on Australian consumers.

The third might be seen to be encouraging support for a particular political action is partisan. Perhaps too much so unless Choice as an organisation supports this particular initiative as a consumer based action. Zali Steggalls private members Bill is news, most of us are already aware of. Posting a link in support is questionable. It is a challenge to a great many Choice members views of impartiality.

I don’t necessarily disagree with the action being taken by Zali. It just seems contradictory if Choice is seen to be supporting that action over any other at this point in time. I’d rather see a considered critique of the policies of each parties policies vs consumer outcomes. But that would be a different discussion?

ClimateActNow appears to be sponsored by the Member for Warringah, although not clear from the lead into the link. It’s an ad calling for direct support from the Member. Not news!

And no offence intended to @Drop_Bear, it’s all very interesting content.


That’s why I linked to the bill. Critique away, @mark_m!

Not in this topic.

The request to support that bill in particular is far from the topic.

Simply, I don’t believe Choice should be supporting one political position over another.

The matter of which policies are best or should be supported, if that is where we need to go seems to deserve a separate topic. Politely I’ll stick to that point rather doggedly in this item. I can’t move content to a new topic.

Posting a link to the proposed legislation is a minor point compared to the lead in to the post. It is how I feel and by my standards moves the discussion to debating whether the government is doing its job, or the opposition or the Greens or Zali Steggall. Which is the better of the choices. Not news. Political opinion as I see it.


Is that what they do? I thought it was to stop an endless series of mindless provocations that get us nowhere. The Conversation has come to the same position: that refusing to give voice to time wasters who have nothing new to say does not stifle thought it is the time wasters who do that. The time wasters have been given their chances so many times if their message had any content it has been heard by now. There is no discernable content only talking points.

I confess to failing sometimes to ignore provocation, we all have weaknesses.


Also, there are many posts in this thread which are not directly about climate change and the consumer. Maybe to be consistent, maybe Choice should vet each post and moderate those that don’t.


Clearly, our perspectives differ. The Bill is climate change news. The outcome will affect consumers. The same goes for policies (or the lack thereof). And yes, Choice has political roles to play.


I have moved the discussion in the Climate Change News section on what is news, what should CHOICE be supporting and linked discussion to this thread which is in part to discuss what CHOICE should allow or not.


There are often fuzzy lines in topics. Some topics diverge and then come back, some posts offer advice/support/info that links to something in a post above it that while not part of the original topic adds an “answer”. Often this comes back on track and the topic moves on. In some cases it generates enough “noise” that it is moved to a new topic or merged into a topic more suited to the posts made.

As for the post regarding the Bill, it doesn’t say sign it, a person can follow the link/links and decide for themselves whether what they have read pushes/nudges them to take action or not.

Is it news? For lots of posts in all topics there will be a mix of those who already knew and others who didn’t know. So for some it is, and for some not.

Your, others & my post there about whether the @Drop_Bear’s post was news or not are a divergence from the topic, it generally gets some leeway to being left in the topic but if a user is ever concerned with the divergence then using a Flag is encouraged. This Flag is then considered and if needed the post is dealt with. If we instead debate the merits of whether it should be in the topic or not in that very topic we, those of us responding to the merits, are diluting the topic ourselves.

Certainly if you think that a post has got it wrong about what is being debated in the topic it is healthy to use a post to respond with evidence (personal, science) and not let it stand uncontested. Shonky pseudo science is not acceptable and should be Flagged.


Agree it is worthy of further discussion. The following topic has been created to consider that point. In particular in relationship to Climate Activism.


Often we call things political positions like we are inferring that it is party politics alone, ie the position is purely a political one and not a consumer issue. Having a stance on a thing while it may hold political interest can also be one that has great impacts on consumers, if not directly now certainly they will be into the future.

Sometimes the only way to get change is to get political. To get legislation enacted that changes the way we do things, Sugar Taxes, Tobacco smoking, Gambling advertising, Alcohol advertising among many where there are political interests involved often require supporting one stance over another. Lobbying is political, it may be that only one side is lobbied in other cases it may be a select few or indeed the whole list of political parties.

Perhaps it may be better thought of that CHOICE while politically involved does so only to better get Consumer outcomes and as such they might be considered to be apolitical, having no preference for a particular party but certainly having a preference for an particular outcome.

In the realm of Climate Change (CC) and how it is seen, the results of CC have direct effects on consumers, often this is lost because some people see the discussion purely as a division between what one party/group politically believe and what another group/party believe. Science however has a extremely large non partisan view of what is happening and what is needed, they need politicians to get over their party lines and make the changes needed at the legislative level to bring about the outcomes we need. This requires that we as consumers support a good stance or political move eg petitions, if we don’t know about it how do we support it or decide whether it is worth our support.

The reference to CC is just an example of one area where some see it as purely political, there are others eg Gun Control, Immigration, Bush fires.


There are many posts in the Climate Change Consumer thread which could be classed as solely political in nature. These often have little or no text about relevance to the consumer and often point to an article which either supports or undermines a particular political view.

With a thread like this one and others which can easily become or be seen as political in nature, it possibly should be expected of the poster that commentary is provided to why the particular post is relevant to the thread topic…rather than posting a link and hoping that others can deduce its relevance, if any (which often isn’t the case).

My earlier comment made is specifically about these sort of posts which don’t substantiate any links to impacts on the consumer.

If Choice takes the view that any link or post indirectly links to consumer issues (including those outlined above), then this would set a precedence for political or opinion based non-consumer posts in any thread. I am not sure if this is a direction for the community to take.

Edit: It may also make it more difficult to moderate/remove such posts in the future as the author of such posts may challenge the decision to moderate/removed a post.


Not every post in every topic is on topic for the matter, some are branches in reply to other points in a post. If they start to develop a life of their own then if often leads to moving them to a relevant thread/topic or creating a new topic that suits the material. I am not completely against some deviation as long as it has merit and I think CHOICE itself tolerates/accepts some linked deviation from the main topic.

A move such as I am talking about was moving those posts from the CC News thread to this topic which is more about what was being discussed.

Sometimes a link is pretty self explanatory and yes I agree that often most need a comment to link them properly. This has been commented on before in other parts of this site as well, so is not an isolated concern to that News forum.


I don’t disagree.
Nor do I disagree with having that discussion.

While wisdom sometimes needs time, one way forward I saw as appropriate, and not to detract from more general discussion

It was proposed to continue the opportunity to discuss as it deserves the direction of the proposed legislation from Zali Steggall, as well as putting the consumer outcomes in context to the known positions of others in parliament.

In general previously Choice has taken a particular view on consumer issues, and following discussion campaigns for relevant consumer outcomes have resulted.

Actions on climate change are no different. The direction of changes to global climate and factors driving the change have been well documented. The solutions though are subject to much disagreement and discussion (informed or otherwise).

I also agree that in being part of a discussion we all have a responsibility to ensure the content has a context. Simply reposting from other sources without an explanation of the content, relevance and purpose adds less to the discussion while leaving the posters motivations open to different interpretations.

The motivation behind a sequence of consecutive posts without provision of breathing space between for feedback and critique remains known only to the poster. This occurs in numerous topics from time to time. Enthusiasm, obsession, redirection, domination, etc. Discourse I thought provided warnings against some forms of response.


I gave as much commentary as I thought necessary.

There was, in fact, quite some time between each post. That’s why I didn’t simply edit the first one.

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This thread is now being exploited, less to promote meaningful discussion than to discourage (some) discussions. Has the time come to put an end to the topic?

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Part of ‘Encouraging Meaningful Discussions’ is deciding what constitutes a meaningful discussion. Where do we draw the line at what is too off topic or not appropriate? This is where I think establishing clearer moderation guidelines might help


Perhaps out of context, I wonder how often I forget the importance of that point.

How do best encourage others to contribute alternate points of view?

And how do we learn to accept those points of view even when we disagree with them?

Is the difficulty for many of us that we continue to be analytical and apply a standard Choice test based on observation and scientific endeavour,
Where for many the core question is the classic “what colours does it come in”?
IE there is more to assessing needs than simply applying pure science, including which tea tastes best.

Helen Wellings often asked that question and others for,good reason. What is important in a product for some of us has nothing to do with the innovation behind the product. It needs to appeal to what others value most. Perhaps that is why Helen used to put certain questions, to better understand how the product might meet the needs of all.