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  1. #1
    Junior FeyPhoenix's Avatar
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    Ratings and why they are pushing people away

    It's time for the ratings system to change for the better. I cannot tell you how many good people you are driving away with confusing and arbitrary ratings.

    I have seen several people get BANNED because of arbitrary decisions based on ratings of their images while others rate images the same way and are fine. This is not cool. When you make the decision to add a category to your ratings that is different from other sites, it is imperative that your ratings either remain consistent or have explicit guidelines.

    Honestly, I'd prefer at this point that the rating system just be changed to be like other sites so that it's not confusing and people don't have to worry about putting things in the wrong rating and getting banned.

    The site is, unfortunately, not large enough to be alienating its userbase with this, of all things. It's hard enough drawing people in when they are often discouraged by the lack of activity, but then you push people away with this.

    And considering I am writing this in an emotional state, I probably didn't even really bring up the points that I wanted to, but I am just feeling so defeated lately.

    Get your shit together

  2.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #2
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    Hi! I'd like to clarify a few things about our ratings system and why it is the way it is, then perhaps you could clarify a few things for me that I don't quite understand from what you've posted here.

    So here at Weasyl we use a four tiered rating system. General for the most tame, G rated submissions, Moderate for submissions that may contain strong language, mildly disturbing content, mildly sexual content, or mild drug use, Mature for nudity/defined genitals or nipples on postpubescent mammaries or very gory stuff, and Explicit for anything that's more than mildly sexually graphic. Our categories are split this way so it's easier for people to filter out large quantities of content they don't want to see. We also wanted to ensure that tasteful nudity was not being grouped together with pornographic content.

    Now, about bans. I have been on Weasyl staff for 3 years now, and in that time I have seen only one permanent ban go out for mis-rates. That person reached out to us, we worked out a solution, and we reversed that ban. So currently, to my knowledge, there is no one permanently banned on Weasyl solely because they mis-rated content. We allow two instances of mis-rates before we start handing out short suspensions. If a user continues to mis-rate after short suspensions, the suspensions get longer. To be absolutely clear: First mis-rate incident will get the user a note and correction and link to the rules, second gets them the same plus a warning, third is a 3 day suspension, fourth is a 7 day suspension, fifth is a 14 day suspension, and if they mis-rate a 6th time (all this within a 12 month period) that's when they would be permabanned. Most of the time, people mis-rate two or three submissions, staff goes in and corrects, notifies the user, we get a thank-you and never get reports on that user again. Occasionally a user gets a second instance, but rarely do we go past two incidents on one user. Suspensions based on mis-rating content are one of the rarest kinds of suspensions we hand out.

    I think (I could be wrong) but when you talk about us "adding a category different to other sites" you're talking about the Moderate rating. And I think I understand why we may seem inconsistent- for years, we had the Moderate category be the place for partial nudity, like bikinis and exposed buttocks and such. Many users were unhappy about this, so in June of 2015 we changed the Moderate and General categories to allow for partial nudity and exposed buttocks to be in General, and Moderate focuses on compositional focus on sexualized anatomy (if that wording is unclear, do please let us know so we can fix it). So there are a lot of submissions rated Moderate that are now considered fine for General. And there are a lot of submission that we would formerly re-rate to Moderate but now allow in General. Also keep in mind that we have a lot of submissions on the site and we can't catch everything on the front page right when it's uploaded (which is why it is important that users report violations). So it may seem like people are rating submissions a certain way and getting away with it, but in reality they are mis-rating and a) have not been reported yet or b) have been reported and staff has not yet corrected the issue.

    I can guarantee you we're not going to change our ratings system to match that of other sites. Weasyl is its own site with its own rules and ratings, and we intend to stay that way. If there is confusing wording in our rules as they are currently written, contact an admin or director on the mainsite and we will work on our rules to make them easier to understand.

    So to sum up my long post (sorry about that!): No one is currently permanently banned for mis-rates. It would take 6 separate, consecutive mis-rates within a 12 month period to get a permaban. Suspensions for mis-rates are rare; most users only mess up the ratings one or two times then tend to understand the rules well enough that we never touch their gallery again. We made a big change in our ratings about 7 months ago that may make us look inconsistent in rating submissions, but I assure you that staff goes from the same rules as users do when checking user content ratings. We're not changing our rules to be like other sites, but if anything is confusing as it is right now, contact us and let us know so we can fix it.

    Now, if you could please clarify a few things for me about your post, I'd greatly appreciate it. What exactly is it that is turning people away? Is it confusion because of the June 2015 ratings change, or something else? Is there anything in particular you can point to in our rules and say "This is very confusing, please fix it"?

    Thank you for reading, I apologize for the lengthy post but I wanted to answer your question thoroughly and clarify as much as possible.
    Last edited by Tiger; 01-31-2016 at 10:57 PM. Reason: typos

  3. #3
    Junior FeyPhoenix's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Sorry for the initial post being as it is. I regret that I am terrible at making a point when I get emotional...

    Anyhow, the specific example I had in mind may have been before the June 2015 changes, though I am not certain at this point since my judgment of time over the last few years has been questionable. The person in that instance was not perma-banned, but was miffed enough at a temporary ban that they swore off the site. The pictures in question were of female forms in normal bikinis and/or underwear marked as general, since it was not overly revealing nor showing detailed outlines of the body beneath. The person in question may not have been given a warning, as their farewell journal did not indicate as such, or if they did, it was a question of inconsistency in the judgment being brought to them. In the end, they felt that the targeting of them specifically when they could see others post similar content at the same rating neither get changed nor banned, AND the fact that some of their pictures with similar content were being targeted for change while others were not. Overall, they felt that the inconsistency of the rating and the fact that they got banned was reason enough to leave.

    I frequently visited their gallery when they were here and I can say with certainty that all of the images, based on the description you gave me and what is in the guidelines, were okay for general. There was no significant differences in the images that the rating was altered to base the decision on.


    In a separate instance, with regards to the mature and explicit rating, there was confusion and (possible) irritation with some images depicting bondage. None of the images in this instance were sexually explicit, but the artist was getting a notice on some of the images that they needed to be marked as such. The determining factor in this instance was the inclusion of a ball-gag, IIRC. The images that were still not sexually explicit but contained a gag were being changed to sexually explicit but the images containing similar without the gag were fine for mature.

    I believe the artist in this case was more worried about upsetting the status quo than anything ans started to mark the images "correctly" but this distinction to me and several others seemed to be a bit arbitrary. They had made a journal about it a while back, but I honestly don't remember which artist it was or if they still have the journal up, but I voiced my opinion on the matter saying that as long as nothing explicit was going on, these should not have to be marked as such. I believe this to be true for most "kinks" that fall in this rather "grey" area. It is my opinion, and based on the guidelines, accurate, that as long as nothing overtly sexual or explicit is happening, it belongs in the mature rating. People can enjoy (some) kinks without direct sexual situations.

    Someone also suggested that a separate category for mature - nudity and mature - gore be implemented so that people who enjoy nudity, but are averse to gore and blood can still find a happy medium.

    I mentioned to them the blacklisting tag feature, but they came back with an obvious and real issue that not everything is tagged consistently and there are many words that can be used for the same type of violent depiction. There is the tag editing feature, too, but this particular person became physically ill at the sight of these things and said it would be very hard or impossible for them. And the fact that many people are extremely against their submission tags being edited is also a reality. Though, for those particular instances, I would say it is warranted.

    I have no other specific examples beyond that aside from a few people stating that they didn't like the site because of a confusing ratings system. A few other things here and there, but overall, this was the thing that came to mind first.

    When I created this post I had just come back from the third journal that day saying that they were leaving (without specific reasons, for the most part) and had seen many more over the last month. I realize this is an inevitability, but if there is something I can do I am going to try.


    I really liked this site when I first got here, but I have been having a lot less faith in it recently, which is really tragic. As I am still a huge proponent of this site overall, I keep hoping that good things will happen and more people will be drawn in.

    On that note, I really love the SFW button (something I'd been wanting since the beginning) and the notifications of comments and faves on collected submissions. Those features are really great and I hope that we can see more positive functions and features in the near future.

  4.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #4
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    I know the case you are referring to, in regards to the General/Moderate confusion. The incidents happened in 2014, so well before the change that let users put partially nude characters into General. That case is part of what drove us to make the June 2015 changes. I can't tell you anything specific to that user because that would be a privacy breach. However, I can tell you that for certain offenses, warnings are handed out before suspensions. I have never seen a case where a user committed one of those offenses and was suspended without prior warning. Every staff action is time-stamped and documented word for word, with the option to leave extra notes if need be. If there ever was a case where an admin or director suspended a user who committed an offense that requires a warning beforehand without that warning being given, we would talk to that staff member directly to ensure it doesn't happen again.

    In short, we realize that our previous policy, putting partially nude characters into Moderate, was not the right approach. We have since re-worded our Ratings system in a way that allows characters in bikinis to be in the General category. If the user whose images were re-rated to Moderate before the June 2015 push wishes to go over our new guidelines or really any policy we have with a staff member directly, they are free to contact support@weasyl.com and we'd be glad to discuss concerns one-on-one.

    As far as the Mature/Explicit ratings with the ball-gag present in pictures, to my knowledge we have always rated images with ball-gags present as Explicit. This is because it is possible for a character to be tied up in a mildly sexual way (therefore allowing the image in Moderate or Mature) but once the ball-gag is added, we consider it to be sex paraphernalia thus it warrants an Explicit rating. We understand that pictures can have kinks and such without being sexually graphic, but we do put all sex toys and paraphernalia into Explicit because 1) we'd prefer minors not have access to that sort of content and 2) sex toys being present generally automatically crosses that threshold between "mildly sexual" or "implied sexual situations" that would be fine in Moderate or Mature. And I say they would be fine for both Moderate and Mature because both ratings are equivalent in their sexual situations category, but we've re-vamped our policy so that we don't up-rate images from Moderate to Mature for sexual situations.

    In regards to a separate category for gore, I don't foresee that happening. Having four ratings categories is still unfamiliar to some users and adding a fifth would probably be too much for people to handle (staff included). This is where, as you said, tags come into play. This is why we stress to our users that they tag their submissions appropriately, and why we allow users to add tags to submissions. We recently had a big discussion on our tag system, and we're still in the process of talking about how to make it the most effective it can be without users becoming frustrated with other people adding tags for them. I could go into a very long speech about the tag system, but I'll leave it here for now (but if you have any more comments or questions feel free to bring them up!).

    I understand people leave the site for their own personal reasons, but when users are upfront with us and contact us and tell us directly what the problem is, it really does help us improve the site. This second post of yours, for example, has given staff some new talking points about our ratings system that we had not considered before (so thank you!). We can't improve, however, if users don't tell us what needs to be fixed.

    I'm sorry you've lost faith in the site, but I really appreciate that you came to the forums and brought up specific problems to the staff so we can work these out. I can't guarantee changes on everything you've said, but we've already discussed several of the points you've made and I will be sure to bring them up in future staff meetings. I'm also glad you like the new features! The devs have more stuff up their sleeves, too. I don't have a timeline for when new features come out but there is stuff in the works.

    If anything I've said here is confusing or you think is problematic, please feel free to bring it up so we can address it. Thank you!
    Last edited by Tiger; 02-01-2016 at 08:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Swanda's Avatar
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    I think I've mentioned this somewhere before a long time ago, but I'll say it again;
    The Content Ratings page is a mess. They are easy to understand but information is All over the place.

    If you have a picture you think fits in a certain rating, but you're not entirely sure?
    Welp, reading only the guideline for that isn't gonna help you jack, since the info about "sexual paraphernalia" will only be found under Moderate despite it affecting both General and Mature as well, and "Any depictions of bodily waste must be rated as Explicit." is only written in a note below the Explicit guidelines despite it affecting all ratings except the Explicit.

    I believe that All information that affects a rating should be listed under that rating.
    Sure you'll have repeated info in some/most ratings, but it'll make it a lot more accessible for people who are quickly reading up on a specific rating in a moment of uncertainty.

  6.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #6
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swanda View Post
    I think I've mentioned this somewhere before a long time ago, but I'll say it again;
    The “Content Ratings” page is a mess. They are easy to understand but information is All over the place.

    If you have a picture you think fits in a certain rating, but you're not entirely sure?
    Welp, reading only the guideline for that isn't gonna help you jack, since the info about "sexual paraphernalia" will only be found under Moderate despite it affecting both General and Mature as well, and "Any depictions of bodily waste must be rated as Explicit." is only written in a note below the Explicit guidelines despite it affecting all ratings except the Explicit.

    I believe that All information that affects a rating should be listed under that rating.
    Sure you'll have repeated info in some/most ratings, but it'll make it a lot more accessible for people who are quickly reading up on a specific rating in a moment of uncertainty.
    If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting we add sentences such as "Bodily Waste goes in Explicit" to every category. To be honest, I don't see this as the most effective solution. We already get complaints that our rules are too long; adding lines about everything that applies to every category would make the Ratings Guidelines a lot lengthier and wordier to read, and most of the information would be very repetitive. In my opinion, it makes more sense to state it once in one category but state it very clearly. If you think our rules, as they are written, fail to do that, please point out where so we can fix that. Yes, it means users will have to read more than one category to figure out where to rate a certain submission, but in reality they should be familiar with the RG as a whole anyway, not just bits and pieces of it.

    There is an idea that has sprung forth from yours, though, and that is a minimum rating checklist. Having a checklist of common content and listing the minimum rating required for it. I can't guarantee it will be implemented, but it's a thought that's been put forward.

  7. #7
    Junior Sassafras's Avatar
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    This thread has been informative. So all BDSM-y/kinky pictures supposed to go in mature, even if there's no sex toys and it doesn't appear blatantly sexual? I clicked on some fanart of a character tied up in a box a while ago and couldn't figure out why it was rated Mature. That made me check the tags, which had bondage listed in them. It never would have occurred to me that the image was meant to be sexual/kinky, so I thought the artist was just being overly cautious on their rating.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    If I understand you correctly, you are suggesting we add sentences such as "Bodily Waste goes in Explicit" to every category. To be honest, I don't see this as the most effective solution. We already get complaints that our rules are too long.
    You don't have to add more lines to make it easier, just put the all the modifiers for things that should automatically be explicit regardless of the rating at the top of the rules instead of buried in the middle of them.
    Fish heads! Fish heads! Rolly polly fish heads! Fish heads! Fish heads! Eat them up! Yum!

  9.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #9
    Retired Staff Tiger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sassafras View Post
    This thread has been informative. So all BDSM-y/kinky pictures supposed to go in mature, even if there's no sex toys and it doesn't appear blatantly sexual? I clicked on some fanart of a character tied up in a box a while ago and couldn't figure out why it was rated Mature. That made me check the tags, which had bondage listed in them. It never would have occurred to me that the image was meant to be sexual/kinky, so I thought the artist was just being overly cautious on their rating.
    It would go in Moderate if the character was clothed/had non-detailed nudity; Mature if the character was nude. Moderate and Mature are equivalent in the Sexual Situations category. The only reason we'd bump something up from Moderate to Mature would be if there was nudity or defined genitals/nipples on postpubescent mammaries.

    Quote Originally Posted by lorenith View Post
    You don't have to add more lines to make it easier, just put the all the modifiers for things that should automatically be explicit regardless of the rating at the top of the rules instead of buried in the middle of them.
    Hmm, that is something we could do. I'll bring this up with the rest of staff and see if they think this would work. A few concerns of mine: 1) That people would skip the rest of the Ratings Guidelines and only rate submissions based on the modifiers up top, 2) the order and flow of the guidelines might get a little messy if we immediately start out with everything that should be Explicit then immediately afterwards start defining the General category. I think mentioning things in order from General to Explicit is a solid way of gong about it. Of course, then we're going the route that one of our staff members was concerned about, the route that implies our ratings go from "least intense" to "most intense" which is true, in a way, but the gore/guro factor kinda messes with that.

  10. #10
    Senior Swanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger View Post
    Hmm, that is something we could do. I'll bring this up with the rest of staff and see if they think this would work. A few concerns of mine: 1) That people would skip the rest of the Ratings Guidelines and only rate submissions based on the modifiers up top, 2) the order and flow of the guidelines might get a little messy if we immediately start out with everything that should be Explicit then immediately afterwards start defining the General category. I think mentioning things in order from General to Explicit is a solid way of gong about it. Of course, then we're going the route that one of our staff members was concerned about, the route that implies our ratings go from "least intense" to "most intense" which is true, in a way, but the gore/guro factor kinda messes with that.
    1) People are already kinda skipping things they don’t believe to affect them, so eh, same problem really.

    2) The “order and flow” of the guidelines is already a giant mess of;
    “Read more about this in moderate, Now go to below Explicit to read additional info, then back to Mature to finish understanding this rating” …Hope you got i all, if not here is a strike, yey!
    Also the things that should go in explicit are still rules that affect all the other ratings, so I’m not seeing how this is a problem. It’s a way bigger issue needing to read the explicit rules and notes below them to know that sex toys or dirty diapers Don’t belong in General, Moderate or Mature.

 

 

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