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  1.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #1
    [Logic is Erratic] Taw's Avatar
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    Forum Concerns - Community Meeting

    Hello everyone,

    First and foremost, let me start this by saying, that most of this is from my own perspective, and may not represent other staff members or the site as a whole. I am posting my own thoughts and stance on matters to give some insight.

    Lately there has been a few concerns with the forums in regards to its moderation, rule enforcement, and so forth. This post is to invite anyone to voice their concerns regarding how we currently handle issues on the forums, and what rules we have in place.

    To give some history and insight on this from my own perspective, in the past we tried to be extremely lenient and let people get away with a lot of things, this spiralled out of control and ended up not working out at all, causing a lot of complaints from users, and a lot of work for the staff to go through and clean up many, many threads due to flaming and fighting that drove many of them off topic.

    So we switched our rules a bit, and we tried it a new way. We enforced a lot more rules, and more heavily on users, even for first time offenders. Topics were closed quickly, or had moderators speak up to give warnings at the first hint of trouble. The majority of the forumsí users didnít like this at all, and we almost ended up killing the forums entirely by driving everyone away.

    In the end, we tried two extremes, and both did not work out at all.

    The current state of things is more lenient, although our moderation is slightly heavy handed compared to last time we were more lenient with the forums. We donít let people walk the line, occasionally stepping a toe over to test the limits of forum moderation. We act on these cases when we see them instead of letting people try to get away with as much as possible.

    However, we have received complaints and reports from various people regarding moderation action or lack thereof. A few of these issues include:

    • Infractions given with no warnings - these are typically done in the case of blatant rule-breaking, typically the rules that are more serious (1, 2 and 3)
    • Advertising rules seem to be a bit confusing for people. We donít typically infract users for these since most of the time itís the wrong subforum or a simple misunderstanding; commercial products (like soft drinks, cleaning supplies, viagra, etc) would be removed for spam without second thought.
    • Lack of action taken: By this, I mean that someone sends in a report, and we do not act on it for various reasons, which can come off as if weíre ignoring reports.

    Personally, I feel that the purpose of a forum is to promote discussion and diversity in peopleís opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and who they are as an individual. I do not believe in restricting discussion because the subject matter may be sensitive to some individuals (blatant discrimination, disrespect towards other users and hate speech, however, is not tolerated). Both sides should have an equal opportunity to have their input; we should not be restricting entire stances or ideologies because some people do not agree with them.

    Discussion and criticism should be allowed for all subjects; however we draw the line when these become potshots or insults. I donít believe a topic should ever be shut down or restricted due to someone feeling uncomfortable with someoneís opinions or thoughts on the matter. Ideas and beliefs should be challenged and debated - it promotes discussion and can teach others something new, or give a new perspective to look at, that may havenít even been thought about in the first place.

    There seems to also be a bit of confusion in regards to our rules. Some people report a post because they take offense to it or disagree with the posterís viewpoints or argument. This isnít what the function is for. Please do not report a post because you do not personally agree with someone. If someone does not share your views or beliefs, that does not mean they are against you, or are attacking you personally.

    The purpose of this post was to ask the community here for their thoughts and opinions on how we are currently moderating the forums, and if they feel rules need to be adjusted or changed.

    Additionally, at this time we are looking for feedback for the following potential changes we may be implementing soon on the forums:

    • Megathreads may be possibly locked/archived (with a potential option to be remade) if they are continuously causing problems within the community
    • Threads with a past history of issues may be placed under a heavy moderation status - this means posts will be deleted without warning if they are breaking any rules or attempting to bait people into arguments. Offenders will not be given warnings, it will be infractions. These threads will be marked in the title to indicate this.
    • Rant threads will no longer be allowed due to the negativity and constant issues they seem to create amongst members

    I urge everyone to post their thoughts and concerns and what they feel we need to improve. If youíd like to air your concerns more privately, please donít hesitate to send me a PM to me or another one of our staff members.

    Thank you,

    Taw

  2. #2
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taw View Post
    ...
    • Rant threads will no longer be allowed due to the negativity and constant issues they seem to create amongst members

    ...
    Can you elaborate on what you mean with this item?

  3.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #3
    [Logic is Erratic] Taw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onnes View Post
    Can you elaborate on what you mean with this item?
    Essentially, any thread that is for the sole purpose of negatively criticizing a subject and nothing more.

    Examples would include a few of the threads we've had in the past regarding some of the other art websites and their actions. These tend to be extremely negative, with the overwhelming majority of posts (85%+) bashing them. "Does Anybody Else Hate X?" would be a generic example.

    Personal venting (especially against other users) would also be included. If people have issues with others, we don't want it dragged across the forums for everyone to grab some popcorn and see.

    "What Grinds Your Gears?" could fall under this because it is a thread for things that annoy you, but it does have a lot of discussion that does occur, with people relating to an issue and how they've gotten around it, or why they feel differently. Discussion is a good thing, however, there has been several issues in the past that have cropped up that stemmed from that thread too. It's pretty iffy right now where that megathread lies.

    Regardless, this rule would only likely to be used for overwhelmingly negative threads, or ones that are for the sole purpose of trash talking something. Special cases, I guess would be the best way to describe it.

    Edit:

    Also want to straight up clarify, this doesn't mean that we'll shut down a thread just because a huge portion of people hate something and are posting their opinions on it. If there is actual discussion going on, it'd be fine. We just want to promote discussion mostly, not bashing/insulting things.
    Last edited by Taw; 08-07-2015 at 10:10 PM.

  4. #4
    ~Kupo~ Moogle's Avatar
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    Mmm, I honestly haven't noticed much that has been getting out of hand on the forums as of late (from my view, everything has been quite peaceful actually!), of course I take it that a majority of what you're stating is behind the scenes/reports from other users over the course of a few months? Back and forth opinions may clash but I don't see that as something really serious, rather it can be very entertaining for both parties.

    Regarding the Grind my Gears thread, it'd be a shame if that ever got closed.. I feel it'd just create more posts in the General Discussion topic were that to ever happen (saw your edit as well, just saying :3).

    Quote Originally Posted by Taw View Post
    Personally, I feel that the purpose of a forum is to promote discussion and diversity in people’s opinions, beliefs, thoughts, and who they are as an individual. I do not believe in restricting discussion because the subject matter may be sensitive to some individuals (blatant discrimination, disrespect towards other users and hate speech, however, is not tolerated). Both sides should have an equal opportunity to have their input; we should not be restricting entire stances or ideologies because some people do not agree with them.

    Discussion and criticism should be allowed for all subjects; however we draw the line when these become potshots or insults. I don’t believe a topic should ever be shut down or restricted due to someone feeling uncomfortable with someone’s opinions or thoughts on the matter. Ideas and beliefs should be challenged and debated - it promotes discussion and can teach others something new, or give a new perspective to look at, that may haven’t even been thought about in the first place.
    Yepyep, agreed very much.

  5. #5
    That's me! Hewge's Avatar

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    I think things are pretty fine as they are right now

  6. #6
    Solifugid Onnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taw View Post
    Essentially, any thread that is for the sole purpose of negatively criticizing a subject and nothing more.

    Examples would include a few of the threads we've had in the past regarding some of the other art websites and their actions. These tend to be extremely negative, with the overwhelming majority of posts (85%+) bashing them. "Does Anybody Else Hate X?" would be a generic example.

    Personal venting (especially against other users) would also be included. If people have issues with others, we don't want it dragged across the forums for everyone to grab some popcorn and see.[\QUOTE]

    "What Grinds Your Gears?" could fall under this because it is a thread for things that annoy you, but it does have a lot of discussion that does occur, with people relating to an issue and how they've gotten around it, or why they feel differently. Discussion is a good thing, however, there has been several issues in the past that have cropped up that stemmed from that thread too. It's pretty iffy right now where that megathread lies.

    Regardless, this rule would only likely to be used for overwhelmingly negative threads, or ones that are for the sole purpose of trash talking something. Special cases, I guess would be the best way to describe it.

    Edit:

    Also want to straight up clarify, this doesn't mean that we'll shut down a thread just because a huge portion of people hate something and are posting their opinions on it. If there is actual discussion going on, it'd be fine. We just want to promote discussion mostly, not bashing/insulting things.
    Prohibiting negative topics focusing on other users (who are not public figures) seems to be a fairly cut-and-dried issue. But a more general ban on rants seems harder to actually define so that users know what is and is not acceptable. Quite a large fraction of written content on the internet could be fairly described as a rant; you need some clear definition of what separates the acceptable and unacceptable.

    Let me turn away from this one item and speak more generally on this post. I think the most pernicious thing about strict moderation is that it tends to reflect the established user base, and that those regular users know how to abuse it to their advantage. I've seen this phenomenon in action across a number of forums, and it inevitably ends up silencing less popular users and minority opinions. While the alternative may involve many bad posts filled with people writing bad things, it's preferable to the possible regime where those who disagree with bad posts are chased off or banned. Hence, I tend to favor fairly restrained moderation, especially with regards to bans and suspensions of individual users.

  7. #7
    Resident Khajiit Ibuuyk's Avatar


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    This sounds promising, since that means I won't get banned and/or receive an infraction whenever I type something. Then again, the forums are pretty much dead nowadays so there's nothing to post about.

  8. #8
    I dont think I've ever been modded here. If I have I don't remember. The following paragraph isn't a reflection on this site. It's an observation of the over 30 years I've been an active member on online forums. Believe it or not. I've seen it all.

    Mods are a necessary evil. At all times a two edges sword. The best advice I can give is NEVER mod without explanation. This means NEVER. If you delete a post or change it let the poster know why. Give them the opportunity to repost in a better light. If you lock a thread leave an explanation that doesn't sound like a police warrant. If you delete a thread make a thread stating why. Without explanation any action is a hard slap in the face. Even if the poster knows what was posted was way off base. Every action taken. No matter the size. Any and everything needs an explanation. A friendly explanation. If possible leave the explanation open ended. In other words, not ending in a reminder of or a threat of action. It's the difference between "we see you" or "we see you and we have a big stick." There really is no fine line between good and bad moderation. Good mod practices leaves members feeling butt hurt but still welcome.

    General ranting threads give members a safe place to let of steam. Friends rant at times. A general ranting thread is the time and place to do just that. Two great rules for a ranting thread.
    No bullying. No individual person shall every be ranted against.
    No disagreeing. If you feel the posted rant is offensive, silly or childish don't post a reply. Remember, your next rant might be offensive, childish and silly so someone else.

    General mega threads are a problem. In general a general thread is generally a bad idea. In one week you could have to potential of 20 new threads lost in one general thread. Every one of the twenty potential threads are only commented on those who follow the general thread. So instead of having even five new threads you have one never ending general goblin.

    My personal thoughts on one subject mega threads. 10.000+ pages of everything ever said about this subject in one place. No need to look anywhere else.

  9.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #9
    feline fine Noxid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cause the Rat View Post
    General mega threads are a problem. In general a general thread is generally a bad idea. In one week you could have to potential of 20 new threads lost in one general thread. Every one of the twenty potential threads are only commented on those who follow the general thread. So instead of having even five new threads you have one never ending general goblin.

    My personal thoughts on one subject mega threads. 10.000+ pages of everything ever said about this subject in one place. No need to look anywhere else.
    ^ this

    I don't even read general threads because what's the point of a thread without a topic of discussion, if I wanted to banter mindlessly I'd use the IRC. And when the only active thread is "GENERAL DISCUISSION" then it makes the whole forum seem less active.
    so I don't like it.

    also regarding cause's other point, I mod a different small forum where our M.O. is to have a "warnings/bans" thread where we announce major staff actions. It serves as a notification to the users and kind of an archive of why people got the hammer. In practice, though, we just put bans there and usually warnings get edited onto the post they received an infraction for like
    [USER WAS WARNED FOR THIS POST: POOR CONDUCT]
    it works there because it's a small community and everyone is up in each other's business anyway so it's easier just to tell them. Plus, for the warnings on post it lets *other* users see what behaviour would not be allowed. I dunno if it would be a good idea here but I thought I'd mention it.

  10. #10
    Senior DrunkCat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taw View Post
    • Megathreads may be possibly locked/archived (with a potential option to be remade) if they are continuously causing problems within the community
    They are currently the biggest problem in terms of stymieing discussion. It's already been mentioned but I feel I have to emphasis: they are essentially black-holes of discussion. Instead of having threads of specifics topics to evolve on their own, we have essentially one thread that sucks everything up and leads to at most cursory discussion for maybe a few pages. This is terrible. I'm not saying mega threads are an absolute evil though, if the forum was a lot slower or had a very small population it would make more sense since there wouldn't be enough to keep singular topics afloat. But we have a very healthy and diverse community currently which I feel we're squandering on mega threads.
    "To tell us that every species of thing is endowed with an occult specific quality by which it acts and produces manifest effects, is to tell us nothing; but to derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterwards to tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those manifest principles, would be a very great step." -Issac Newton, Optics
    "You are what you do not do." - Relax

 

 

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