New Code of Conduct

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Superbeast:

Drathnoxis:
For nearly 5 years users have been pointing out that the infraction system was broken, that the system was slanted against users who post more, that it was absurd for someone to be banned because of something like a low content post, that it was unrealistic to ask that people not slip up more than once every six months; and for nearly 5 years the response has been "If you can't figure out how to behave after being given 8 chances, we don't really want you as part of our community."(an actual quote from a previous editor in chief.)

It's sooooo good to be finally vindicated by the staff and mods! It's just too bad that, at this point, most users have either been banned or simply left the site.

This attitude bugs me - I admit that I am not a prolific poster, but I've been here for 8 years and never had a single warning or the like; most of my posting has been in the Religion and Politics section, a known hot-bed for attracting moderator wrath.

I agree with the precious Editor-in-Chief, if you can't learn the rules the previous 7 times you've attracted a warning then you're likely to never learn and will continue to break the rules indefinitely. Given the recent changes to the CoC (and not just this re-vamp, things like low content not being enforced for a good while now), I don't see how this complaint really has much merit. If you can't post without insulting users or advocating illegal activities (and adblock) then frankly after 7 warnings you shouldn't be a part of the community.

A year ago, I would've agreed with you. But not anymore.

It's exceedingly easy for a moderator to contrive 8 different things you've done wrong. (I speak from experience, EDIT: The rest of this removed, at staff request.)

Furthermore, the system is set up in such a way that the more infractions they stack on top of you, the harder and harder it is to get rid of the previous ones, (short of halting your posting altogether).

IceForce:
A year ago, I would've agreed with you. But not anymore.

It's exceedingly easy for a moderator to contrive 8 different things you've done wrong. I speak from experience, having been on the receiving end of a seemingly endless stream of incorrect infractions. (If it wasn't for the appeals system, I would've been banned 3 times over by now.)

Furthermore, the system is set up in such a way that the more infractions they stack on top of you, the harder and harder it is to get rid of the previous ones, (short of halting your posting altogether).

This seems to be an issue of personality, rather than an issue with the system itself. Surely the fact there is an appeals system that works undercuts your argument? The fact that, as you say, you are still here despite an apparent intentional effort to remove you? Also, I hope you were able to work with the staff to have whichever moderator(s) were persecuting you removed from the site for abuse of power?

Would having a system that doesn't have the health-bar really have prevented your issues? I am reasonably certain that it used to be that a mod could straight up suspend/ban someone without prior offences, or that any lower offences were purely detailed behind-the-scenes, before the health bar was brought in.

DoPo:

n0e:

However, my second question regarding off-topic (not the subforum) posting still stands: anything official?

What do you mean? Can you post off-topic responses in a thread?

DoPo:
Off-Topic discussions. Interestingly, one appeared right in this thread[1] and the policy on these has never really been clear, yet most other forums I've been on, off-topic tends to be where the "minor issue offences" are if not just a tad lower - comments at least tangentially connected to the topic are certainly allowed and even one, two, or several would be tolerated but excessive offtopic posting is punished.

So, no, not really "can you post off-topic" because I know you can. The rules are not, and have never, been clear on how much this is tolerated, though. Or more precisely, they've never really mentioned anything about off-topic discussions nor even touched upon them in any way. While I know that in general the etiquette is "keep it short if it crops up", I was wondering if there was going to be an official ruling about it.

There really can't be. It would fall under the Minor Issue Offenses of the Code of Conduct, as you've suggested. We (moderators and staff) may ask you to switch back to the main topic in case it's getting a bit out of hand, but, unless you're doing it for the sole purpose of switching the topic, and you do so consistently, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.

tl;dr - It's not that big of a deal and falls under moderator discretion of what would happen when it's noticed.

[1] which reminded me to ask

IceForce:

A year ago, I would've agreed with you. But not anymore.

It's exceedingly easy for a moderator to contrive 8 different things you've done wrong. (I speak from experience, having been on the receiving end of a seemingly endless stream of erroneous infractions. If it wasn't for the appeals system, I would've been banned 3 times over by now.)

Furthermore, the system is set up in such a way that the more infractions they stack on top of you, the harder and harder it is to get rid of the previous ones, (short of halting your posting altogether).

I'm not overly fond of the insinuation that a moderator or moderators have it in for you. You're making it sound as if the moderators just decide to lay infractions on you when they get bored or out of spite for whatever reason. Let me ask you this, why would they bother? I'm not trying to be rude. I'm simply saying we have better things to do on the forums than single out a user and give them a hard time. It doesn't really make sense.

It's easy to point the finger at those that have the tough job of keeping the peace around an internet forum and say they're oppressive and conspiracy this and that, but maybe you should ask yourself, "why does it keep happening to me?" I'm asking this quite honestly and without malice. The blame game from a few of the users here seems to try and say it's the moderators and their oppressive actions that are causing all of the issues. But no one, not one, seems to understand that maybe, just maybe, it could be what they said and it merited moderator action. Don't forget that other users to report posts.

So please, stop with the subtle blame game against the moderators and staff.

Thanks

n0e:
Thanks

Alright, fair do's. Apologies.

Superbeast:

Drathnoxis:
For nearly 5 years users have been pointing out that the infraction system was broken, that the system was slanted against users who post more, that it was absurd for someone to be banned because of something like a low content post, that it was unrealistic to ask that people not slip up more than once every six months; and for nearly 5 years the response has been "If you can't figure out how to behave after being given 8 chances, we don't really want you as part of our community."(an actual quote from a previous editor in chief.)

It's sooooo good to be finally vindicated by the staff and mods! It's just too bad that, at this point, most users have either been banned or simply left the site.

This attitude bugs me - I admit that I am not a prolific poster, but I've been here for 8 years and never had a single warning or the like; most of my posting has been in the Religion and Politics section, a known hot-bed for attracting moderator wrath.

I agree with the precious Editor-in-Chief, if you can't learn the rules the previous 7 times you've attracted a warning then you're likely to never learn and will continue to break the rules indefinitely. Given the recent changes to the CoC (and not just this re-vamp, things like low content not being enforced for a good while now), I don't see how this complaint really has much merit. If you can't post without insulting users or advocating illegal activities (and adblock) then frankly after 7 warnings you shouldn't be a part of the community.

That's a healthy attitude from a booming business, which I gather from the discussion here and closure of GT that this ain't. In the real world, where this is a business trying to make money and not a private club for a very few...

n0e:

It's easy to point the finger at those that have the tough job of keeping the peace around an internet forum and say they're oppressive and conspiracy this and that, but maybe you should ask yourself, "why does it keep happening to me?" I'm asking this quite honestly and without malice. The blame game from a few of the users here seems to try and say it's the moderators and their oppressive actions that are causing all of the issues. But no one, not one, seems to understand that maybe, just maybe, it could be what they said and it merited moderator action. Don't forget that other users to report posts.

In fairness, the moderators also don't seem to agree that the action merited moderator action, which is why there have been over a dozen overturned.

Silvanus:
In fairness, the moderators also don't seem to agree that the action merited moderator action, which is why there have been over a dozen overturned.

'Overturns' are handled by the staff, not the moderators. So it's more a case of the moderators believing a rule was infringed on, and the staff disagreeing with that assessment.

IceForce:

'Overturns' are handled by the staff, not the moderators. So it's more a case of the moderators believing a rule was infringed on, and the staff disagreeing with that assessment.

Fair enough.

Not my fault I don't have such an intimate knowledge of the procedure-- my record is squeaky clean, after all. You monster.

NXNW:

That's a healthy attitude from a booming business, which I gather from the discussion here and closure of GT that this ain't. In the real world, where this is a business trying to make money and not a private club for a very few...

I don't understand what you are getting at. Are you saying that it is bad for business to have rules enforced? If so, what is bad for business is letting disruptive people, who are going to be upsetting the people they are insulting (and thus accuing warnings) and possibly driving their victims from the website, remain and give a bad name to the brand. If not, could you explain what you meant?

n0e:

[...] You're making it sound as if the moderators just decide to lay infractions on you when they get bored or out of spite for whatever reason. Let me ask you this, why would they bother? I'm not trying to be rude. I'm simply saying we have better things to do on the forums than single out a user and give them a hard time. It doesn't really make sense.

I appreciate you may not want to talk about this, in which case I'll drop it or we can discuss via PM, but it is a bit odd to see you say this just a few posts after this:

Nemmerle:

If I wanted to ban people, I'd just say nothing when they misbehaved. I'd stack up the infractions against folks and count the bans. That is not a hard thing to do. [...] considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...
[...]
Five seconds to type 'Don't be an asshat', wait a couple of days and type it again. No real explanation about why someone's being taken to be an asshat, and I could do that essentially at will.

Now, Nemmerle was clearly talking hypothetically, said it wouldn't be worthwhile, and was discussing the flaws of the current system, but a new moderator has just explained in detail how easy it is for the system to be manipulated by a mod if they wanted to.

This is a great example of how the [/i]tone[/i] of inconsistency can come across from otherwise well-meaning posts, and highlights why some users feel there are severe issues of consistency in moderation. Naturally nothing moderation-wise has actually occurred but hopefully it shows why people may pick up feelings of bias or inconsistency even when there is none. One hopes that this redeveloped Code of Conduct and additional moderators from off-site will allay such fears among the user-base over time.

I noticed in a later post (#305) Nemmerle talked about not being a fan of the health-bar system, and I am intrigued and a little concerned about what thoughts the moderators/admins/techs have in regards to changing it as FileTrekker suggested in post #307. I was a member of this website before the health-bar was implemented and I feel the prior situation led to worse accusations of inconsistency and bias as (if I remember correctly) the length of punishments were left up to the discretion of each moderator. I know you folks end up in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation when it comes to all things moderation, but I personally really like the health-bar system as it gives a structure to the moderation with 4 warnings and then increasing length suspensions before a permanent ban, with appropriate appeals along the way.

Superbeast:

n0e:

[...] You're making it sound as if the moderators just decide to lay infractions on you when they get bored or out of spite for whatever reason. Let me ask you this, why would they bother? I'm not trying to be rude. I'm simply saying we have better things to do on the forums than single out a user and give them a hard time. It doesn't really make sense.

I appreciate you may not want to talk about this, in which case I'll drop it or we can discuss via PM, but it is a bit odd to see you say this just a few posts after this:

Nemmerle:

If I wanted to ban people, I'd just say nothing when they misbehaved. I'd stack up the infractions against folks and count the bans. That is not a hard thing to do. [...] considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...
[...]
Five seconds to type 'Don't be an asshat', wait a couple of days and type it again. No real explanation about why someone's being taken to be an asshat, and I could do that essentially at will.

Now, Nemmerle was clearly talking hypothetically, said it wouldn't be worthwhile, and was discussing the flaws of the current system, but a new moderator has just explained in detail how easy it is for the system to be manipulated by a mod if they wanted to.

Nem may be new here, but he's been a moderator for quite a long time. He was simply stating that, if he wanted to be a dick, he could. However, he's trying to show that moderators have the tools to do so, but not the lack of common sense to abuse them. Filetrekker and Nemmerle are two veteran moderators from the GameFront Forums. FileTrekker is actually one of the admins there. He's earned enough of my trust that I feel just fine with him having the same level of access I do. Nem is a supermod, which is about the same level as a moderator here.

This is a great example of how the tone of inconsistency can come across from otherwise well-meaning posts, and highlights why some users feel there are severe issues of consistency in moderation. Naturally nothing moderation-wise has actually occurred but hopefully it shows why people may pick up feelings of bias or inconsistency even when there is none. One hopes that this redeveloped Code of Conduct and additional moderators from off-site will allay such fears among the user-base over time.

I noticed in a later post (#305) Nemmerle talked about not being a fan of the health-bar system, and I am intrigued and a little concerned about what thoughts the moderators/admins/techs have in regards to changing it as FileTrekker suggested in post #307. I was a member of this website before the health-bar was implemented and I feel the prior situation led to worse accusations of inconsistency and bias as (if I remember correctly) the length of punishments were left up to the discretion of each moderator. I know you folks end up in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation when it comes to all things moderation, but I personally really like the health-bar system as it gives a structure to the moderation with 4 warnings and then increasing length suspensions before a permanent ban, with appropriate appeals along the way.

The inconsistency they're showing is simply a matter of personal opinion. FileTrekker sees the merit in the design that we use here, while Nemmerle feels a more hands-on approach is the way to go. Each moderator follows the Code of Conduct here despite any personal thoughts on it one way or another, they're simply stating their own personal thoughts on the matter.

Most of us use IRC to communicate to one another through while we're working on the site with our various responsibilities. While there, if we feel we need help with a thread/post/user we ask there and get advice from the others in the channel. The inconsistency will always happen to one level or another because not everyone is the same person. We're all humans and have differing values of what is and isn't worth taking action on. We do try to keep those inconsistencies down to a minimal level, but they do happen. We have an appeals system for this very reason to try and keep the actions as balanced as possible.

Superbeast:

NXNW:

That's a healthy attitude from a booming business, which I gather from the discussion here and closure of GT that this ain't. In the real world, where this is a business trying to make money and not a private club for a very few...

I don't understand what you are getting at. Are you saying that it is bad for business to have rules enforced? If so, what is bad for business is letting disruptive people, who are going to be upsetting the people they are insulting (and thus accuing warnings) and possibly driving their victims from the website, remain and give a bad name to the brand. If not, could you explain what you meant?

No, that straw man isn't what I meant, and no, I'm not going to retype it all. I think you probably did understand me, you just don't agree.

n0e:

Superbeast:

n0e:

[...] You're making it sound as if the moderators just decide to lay infractions on you when they get bored or out of spite for whatever reason. Let me ask you this, why would they bother? I'm not trying to be rude. I'm simply saying we have better things to do on the forums than single out a user and give them a hard time. It doesn't really make sense.

I appreciate you may not want to talk about this, in which case I'll drop it or we can discuss via PM, but it is a bit odd to see you say this just a few posts after this:

Nemmerle:

If I wanted to ban people, I'd just say nothing when they misbehaved. I'd stack up the infractions against folks and count the bans. That is not a hard thing to do. [...] considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...
[...]
Five seconds to type 'Don't be an asshat', wait a couple of days and type it again. No real explanation about why someone's being taken to be an asshat, and I could do that essentially at will.

Now, Nemmerle was clearly talking hypothetically, said it wouldn't be worthwhile, and was discussing the flaws of the current system, but a new moderator has just explained in detail how easy it is for the system to be manipulated by a mod if they wanted to.

Nem may be new here, but he's been a moderator for quite a long time. He was simply stating that, if he wanted to be a dick, he could. However, he's trying to show that moderators have the tools to do so, but not the lack of common sense to abuse them. Filetrekker and Nemmerle are two veteran moderators from the GameFront Forums. FileTrekker is actually one of the admins there. He's earned enough of my trust that I feel just fine with him having the same level of access I do. Nem is a supermod, which is about the same level as a moderator here.

This is a great example of how the tone of inconsistency can come across from otherwise well-meaning posts, and highlights why some users feel there are severe issues of consistency in moderation. Naturally nothing moderation-wise has actually occurred but hopefully it shows why people may pick up feelings of bias or inconsistency even when there is none. One hopes that this redeveloped Code of Conduct and additional moderators from off-site will allay such fears among the user-base over time.

I noticed in a later post (#305) Nemmerle talked about not being a fan of the health-bar system, and I am intrigued and a little concerned about what thoughts the moderators/admins/techs have in regards to changing it as FileTrekker suggested in post #307. I was a member of this website before the health-bar was implemented and I feel the prior situation led to worse accusations of inconsistency and bias as (if I remember correctly) the length of punishments were left up to the discretion of each moderator. I know you folks end up in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation when it comes to all things moderation, but I personally really like the health-bar system as it gives a structure to the moderation with 4 warnings and then increasing length suspensions before a permanent ban, with appropriate appeals along the way.

The inconsistency they're showing is simply a matter of personal opinion. FileTrekker sees the merit in the design that we use here, while Nemmerle feels a more hands-on approach is the way to go. Each moderator follows the Code of Conduct here despite any personal thoughts on it one way or another, they're simply stating their own personal thoughts on the matter.

Most of us use IRC to communicate to one another through while we're working on the site with our various responsibilities. While there, if we feel we need help with a thread/post/user we ask there and get advice from the others in the channel. The inconsistency will always happen to one level or another because not everyone is the same person. We're all humans and have differing values of what is and isn't worth taking action on. We do try to keep those inconsistencies down to a minimal level, but they do happen. We have an appeals system for this very reason to try and keep the actions as balanced as possible.

You said it, Nemmerle "Earned" your trust over time. Why do you expect the process to be any different for other people? Why should people who don't know you from Adam, trust you at all when we have it on good authority (from a person you trust) that we have no way to verify that trust should it be abused, in a system that admittedly needs to be redone, but isn't because of tech?

NXNW:

You said it, Nemmerle "Earned" your trust over time. Why do you expect the process to be any different for other people? Why should people who don't know you from Adam, trust you at all when we have it on good authority (from a person you trust) that we have no way to verify that trust should it be abused, in a system that admittedly needs to be redone, but isn't because of tech?

If you don't trust us, that's your business. Of course we want you to trust us, but we certainly cannot make you do it.

We're going to do our jobs as we feel they must be done that helps cultivate this community with perpetual growth and civilized discussion. Using our position to abuse our authority works against that doctrine. Base your trust on the actions of those that are currently here, not on those that are long gone. It's unfair to do so otherwise.

n0e:

NXNW:

You said it, Nemmerle "Earned" your trust over time. Why do you expect the process to be any different for other people? Why should people who don't know you from Adam, trust you at all when we have it on good authority (from a person you trust) that we have no way to verify that trust should it be abused, in a system that admittedly needs to be redone, but isn't because of tech?

If you don't trust us, that's your business. Of course we want you to trust us, but we certainly cannot make you do it.

It's literally your business, and I don't trust or mistrust you, I don't know you. I'm not sure why that's so hard to understand.

n0e:
We're going to do our jobs as we feel they must be done that helps cultivate this community with perpetual growth and civilized discussion. Using our position to abuse our authority works against that doctrine. Base your trust on the actions of those that are currently here, not on those that are long gone. It's unfair to do so otherwise.

Life isn't fair, didn't you know that? If you want to be trusted, you have to earn it, especially when you're filling the shoes of people who apparently didn't earn that trust. You're running an admittedly flawed (yet all too 'fatal') disciplinary system which you would have another way if not for technical limitations. You're replacing people who were apparently not considered trustworthy by people here. What did you expect?

If you want to make a new start, you need to do something new, not just say new things. I have to imagine that a reworded code of conduct and new faces doing the same things seems like more of the same, even if it isn't. The tone as it vacillates between extremely friendly and "Take it or leave it" could also use some work, just from the standpoint of pure professionalism.

NXNW:
If you want to make a new start, you need to do something new, not just say new things. I have to imagine that a reworded code of conduct and new faces doing the same things seems like more of the same, even if it isn't. The tone as it vacillates between extremely friendly and "Take it or leave it" could also use some work, just from the standpoint of pure professionalism.

But at the same time, there is a constant level of give-and-take that has to exist with any disciplinary system. You say there's no reason to trust, but you also seem to think there's no reason to have any courtesy about your criticisms either. Simply because trust doesn't appear in a vacuum doesn't mean it can't be extended, and yet here you are with a six day old account telling the community management (and his selected mods by proxy) that their work is inherently suspicious.

I mean, you're not wrong for having an opinion, but also consider that you're doing us wrong by assuming we're all innately guilty until proven not just innocent, but stalwart and trustworthy. You're setting us up to fail, and doing so without apology and without even having given us a chance.

I understand authority is inherently dangerous, but treating us like we're set mousetraps you're observing from afar does very little to give us a reason to feel like we can earn your trust. Instead, your hypothesis is that we're waiting to find a reason to abuse our authority, and the only confirmation you see is one that hopes to validate your fears. From our positions, we can only either excel beyond measure, or fail. That's a very crappy position to be in.

That said, I might implore you to consider how this looks from our end as well.

We have no reason to assume that you have any intention for either goodwill or ill-will on our works, but our limited frames of reference for you seem to imply that you'll have a bone to pick with moderation and our community practices. As little joy as I get out of being in the role of disciplinarian, I'm asking for this to be a subject that should be treated a little more civilly in the future.

You're fostering a hell of an environment for moderation, and it's making it difficult to feel like we can speak with you without feeling like we're at the wrong end of a firing squad. Tone the "you could use some work"-style commentary down, please. We're all persons behind the monitors, here, and it would be nice to be addressed in a way that doesn't make us or you feel like we have to prove ourselves to the other in order to get anywhere.

NewClassic:

NXNW:
If you want to make a new start, you need to do something new, not just say new things. I have to imagine that a reworded code of conduct and new faces doing the same things seems like more of the same, even if it isn't. The tone as it vacillates between extremely friendly and "Take it or leave it" could also use some work, just from the standpoint of pure professionalism.

But at the same time, there is a constant level of give-and-take that has to exist with any disciplinary system. You say there's no reason to trust, but you also seem to think there's no reason to have any courtesy about your criticisms either. Simply because trust doesn't appear in a vacuum doesn't mean it can't be extended, and yet here you are with a six day old account telling the community management (and his selected mods by proxy) that their work is inherently suspicious.

I mean, you're not wrong for having an opinion, but also consider that you're doing us wrong by assuming we're all innately guilty until proven not just innocent, but stalwart and trustworthy. You're setting us up to fail, and doing so without apology and without even having given us a chance.

I understand authority is inherently dangerous, but treating us like we're set mousetraps you're observing from afar does very little to give us a reason to feel like we can earn your trust. Instead, your hypothesis is that we're waiting to find a reason to abuse our authority, and the only confirmation you see is one that hopes to validate your fears. From our positions, we can only either excel beyond measure, or fail. That's a very crappy position to be in.

That said, I might implore you to consider how this looks from our end as well.

We have no reason to assume that you have any intention for either goodwill or ill-will on our works, but our limited frames of reference for you seem to imply that you'll have a bone to pick with moderation and our community practices. As little joy as I get out of being in the role of disciplinarian, I'm asking for this to be a subject that should be treated a little more civilly in the future.

You're fostering a hell of an environment for moderation, and it's making it difficult to feel like we can speak with you without feeling like we're at the wrong end of a firing squad. Tone the "you could use some work"-style commentary down, please. We're all persons behind the monitors, here, and it would be nice to be addressed in a way that doesn't make us or you feel like we have to prove ourselves to the other in order to get anywhere.

I agree that a more open and mutually understanding attitude would be good from everyone, and I don't see how question anyone's honesty is the start of anything good either. The part about the environment and feeling hunted, that seems more like how people here are feeling about moderation? After all, they're literally facing the "firing squad" of bans, if I've read these 10 pages right. You are just facing criticism, and I've seen that get shut down with a hard word. It's hard to feel a lot of sympathy when you have all of the power in the relationship, and your firing squad can only use hurtful words. Which you can then punish them for using.

I think rather than spending this much time telling people to act nicer, and "we have a plan", and maybe you should let people in on what your plans are. Give them something constructive to get into, or make them part of a process of fixing what's wrong. I think you're asking too much if you expect people to just trust, and not verify though.

n0e:
The inconsistency they're showing is simply a matter of personal opinion. FileTrekker sees the merit in the design that we use here, while Nemmerle feels a more hands-on approach is the way to go.

I've sent you a PM regarding this, about how these two different approaches put together on the same forum actually results in the moderation being more unfair for everyone.

Individually, they're fine. But put together, they're not.

NXNW:

No, that straw man isn't what I meant, and no, I'm not going to retype it all. I think you probably did understand me, you just don't agree.

If that is not what you meant then I genuinely don't understand what you are getting at. It was not a strawman, it is what I thought you meant. If you don't want to clarify/retype 2 lines of text that's fine, I'll go on being mystified and wondering where your hostility has come from.

n0e:
Nem may be new here, but he's been a moderator for quite a long time. He was simply stating that, if he wanted to be a dick, he could. However, he's trying to show that moderators have the tools to do so, but not the lack of common sense to abuse them. Filetrekker and Nemmerle are two veteran moderators from the GameFront Forums. FileTrekker is actually one of the admins there. He's earned enough of my trust that I feel just fine with him having the same level of access I do. Nem is a supermod, which is about the same level as a moderator here.

I know they're moderators from another forum that you are really familiar with, but the majority of users don't know them - to us, they are new moderators.

The inconsistency they're showing is simply a matter of personal opinion. FileTrekker sees the merit in the design that we use here, while Nemmerle feels a more hands-on approach is the way to go. Each moderator follows the Code of Conduct here despite any personal thoughts on it one way or another, they're simply stating their own personal thoughts on the matter.

Most of us use IRC to communicate to one another through while we're working on the site with our various responsibilities. While there, if we feel we need help with a thread/post/user we ask there and get advice from the others in the channel. The inconsistency will always happen to one level or another because not everyone is the same person. We're all humans and have differing values of what is and isn't worth taking action on. We do try to keep those inconsistencies down to a minimal level, but they do happen. We have an appeals system for this very reason to try and keep the actions as balanced as possible.

Yup, inconsistencies happen as you are all only human (one assumes - I still wonder about Kross, his bubblebreaker thread is inhumane). The issue comes from the fact that there have been several fractures in the Escapist community over the last few years and the moderation team has taken a lot of knocks from multiple perspectives as a result. As such, the appearance of inconsistencies is a bit of a hot issue. Taking an even longer view, the moderation has swung between hands-on and hands-off and back again over the years as both the mod team and the CoC has changed and seeing the same issues come up time and again is a bit frustrating for long-term users. Like I said, you're in a bit of a catch-22 and I hope things shake out for the better.

To finish, in my experience the health-bar system is like Churchill's view on democracy: "that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time".

If I may, I think probably the main reason why there appears to be trust issues from the users is that we've heard all this before. We've been told before to "trust the mods" and that they're "only human" and all the rest. But unfortunately we later learned that a moderator betrayed that trust and was subsequently removed from their position. (Ironically, this same moderator was one of the people who'd previously told us to "trust them").

So really, it's to be expected that users might naturally be weary and cautious, when they hear that same spiel again the next time around, due to having bad memories of what happened last time.

Superbeast:

I noticed in a later post (#305) Nemmerle talked about not being a fan of the health-bar system, and I am intrigued and a little concerned about what thoughts the moderators/admins/techs have in regards to changing it as FileTrekker suggested in post #307. I was a member of this website before the health-bar was implemented and I feel the prior situation led to worse accusations of inconsistency and bias as (if I remember correctly) the length of punishments were left up to the discretion of each moderator. I know you folks end up in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation when it comes to all things moderation, but I personally really like the health-bar system as it gives a structure to the moderation with 4 warnings and then increasing length suspensions before a permanent ban, with appropriate appeals along the way.

Ah, there are a number of ways to do that. I think that Filetrekker and I are mostly in agreement on changes to the CMS, at least I've not read anything of his that I disagree with. I'm not precisely sure where you're seeing the inconsistency :/

I certainly wouldn't want to just remove the health-bar system and put nothing in its place. You can't just turn things off and be like 'totes fixed now!' without any understanding of what they were there to manage. But... we've done this before, for a long time, without a health bar system. And the procedures and tools we had in place instead led to somewhere fair enough that people have come there to have sensitive discussions because we had a reputation for being fair.

Like one way of doing it goes something like:


A) Each reported post automatically generates its own thread in a sub- forum of the staff forums. Any future reports of that post go into that thread, and the reasons that users reported a post are posted as part of that thread by the system. We know that this is a good way of keeping track of what users think about posts, and what staff think about posts, by filtering user reports through into those threads and mandating that staff post in those threads when they respond to the reports. That provides both an open record of learning, since new staff can read through old reports and see old discussions, and an open invitation for feedback from more senior staff if something seems particularly egregious.

B) Implement a more comprehensive usernote system, such that people can take verbatim notes in much the same manner that you can make a post in a normal thread. One has those tied to each user account with general staff access - so that, for instance, I could post the details of a private message that I'd sent to a user for future reference by other moderators. That way, if someone is talked to about an issue, it can be more meaningfully followed up on by other mods.

C) Have some sort of tiered staff hierarchy. Once you have that sort of setup in place you can be quite happy, as a moderator, handing over the ability to ban people to n0e or Filetrekker or someone like that because you've got procedures and tools that if followed generate adequate documentation of attempts to talk to a user. I've moderated without that ability before and it's gone fine. I currently have that ability on other forums, having been around long enough and acted well enough to be trusted with it, but I don't think there's any pressing need for the first point of contact in a forum to have the ability to ban folks.

D) Have some guidelines for lengths of ban. Perhaps not strictly adhered to, but if someone wants to ask for a two week ban when the guideline is that the first ban is three days... well, there's gonna be questions asked... they'd have to justify it to someone other than themselves.


I'm not saying that's the only way to manage things without a health bar system, and I'm not saying it's what we're going to end up with. If I had to suggest something it would probably be analogous to that, but for the purposes of this post I'm purely saying that it's a way to do things that provides a level of fairness and accountability.

A health bar may also seem to provide a degree of safety, but I think I've covered how it can be exploited. There is no piece of software that you, I, or anyone else can write that will enforce decency short, I suspect, of a general purpose AI. There are certainly pieces of software that make it more or less natural to behave decently, but that's not quite the same thing.

I mean look, in a way I don't really care if you have a health bar; a set of green lights that tracks how many bans or whatever you've had. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference to my mind whether it's just generally known what the proportional penalties are or whether someone hangs a number and some coloured lights off it. That's... bunting, more or less. But if you're running everything through that system... including basic communication... with automatic penalties[1] whenever that system is used, and don't have too much built around that to actually manage how your procedures are going to work, that comes with certain forms of interaction that are going to be more natural to reach for than others.

That's why I'm not a fan of it as a system, if that makes sense to you? Sure have a rule that's four strikes and then you're banned, whatever. Have four coloured lights if you feel better about it. But if you do, then that's a place you start, you've got to build the stuff behind that as well.

[1] I don't think that just talking to a user, warning them about a post in a way that generates a record, should increment that counter - because that places a cost on communication and it goes against the idea that things can be talked out. And since communication is a two way thing that kinda needs not to come from 'system' too. Running everything via that isn't great....

Nemmerle:
-Snip-

I could be wrong about this, but I am fairly certain the automated health bar system was implemented at a time when this community had significantly more traffic. So much so that it was nearly impossible to give every individual case the attention it needed. This place has shrunk and mellowed out significantly since then, so if you think a more hands-on approach is feasible now I don't think anyone will fight you on it. That said, there are plenty of people around here that wouldn't even be satisfied if you guys had a straight-up forum complaint hotline (like the red Batman telephone, lol).

Fappy:
I don't think anyone will fight you on it.

The biggest problem I have is if we have a case where moderator(s) are not adhering to the healthbar system, while at the same time there are other mods who are adhering to it, it becomes a bit of a problem. As I said a few posts up, pick one option or pick the other, don't mix them together.
Because otherwise you end up with cases where a "Mod Voice" warning is given in lieu of an actual warning, and when enough of these "Mod Voice" warnings are given out, someone is insta-suspended consuming all 4 of their healthbar warnings in one go.

If the warning buffer on healthbars isn't being utilized, then get rid of it. Chop everyone's healthbars in half and discard the first half. Because otherwise some people are getting 8 chances, whilst others are only getting... what, 4? 5?
I thought the whole point of the healthbar system was to make it so everyone gets the same number of chances? If we have situations where a single infraction eats up half of someone's entire healthbar in one go, then this entire section of the COC needs to be reworded, because it's wrong:

NewClassic:
Simply because trust doesn't appear in a vacuum doesn't mean it can't be extended, and yet here you are with a six day old account telling the community management (and his selected mods by proxy) that their work is inherently suspicious.

The point you've mentioned there should probably be raising a few more eyebrows. Just saying.

Since Rule 0 relates to Mod Voice, and also states that "the moderates are always right", does that mean that Mod Voice cannot be appealed? Say someone using Mod Voice chimes in and tells people to knock it off. If people disagree, can they take their concerns anywhere? Obviously, it isn't allowed to debate that mod's decision right there in the topic, but is there any dispute process, as there is with infractions?

EDIT: Also, regarding Nemmerle's suggestions, there should be a way to send an explanation of why one is reporting a post. Sometimes I think the intent might not be self-evident, and heavily based on the context between posts.

At the very least, it might be able to help out a mod to narrow down these subtleties, especially now that we have rules against passive-aggressive behavior.

Typically, if you've been told to drop a topic, and think it's worth continuing, what you'd want to do would be to talk to the mod who suggested that first and say why you think the topic should continue. If you create a good argument for that, then the mod might - for instance - suggest that you start a thread specifically to discuss that issue - or they might make one for you with some ground rules that help to resolve some of the problems that the original had if it's something that can be managed that way.

If that doesn't work, then I'd suggest speaking to n0e or one of the other community managers explaining why you think that the issue should continue.

Just speaking from personal life experience, but I can't see the benefit in arguing too much with the people who run the forum you're on. Whatever you might win in the short run, you're losing in the long run. These are all people we want to get along with, and want to get along with us. If they put themselves out there publicly to say "Stop", then unless it was something truly unreasonable it's hard to imagine their bosses not having their back. They wouldn't actually be good bosses if they didn't.

NewClassic:

NXNW:
If you want to make a new start, you need to do something new, not just say new things. I have to imagine that a reworded code of conduct and new faces doing the same things seems like more of the same, even if it isn't. The tone as it vacillates between extremely friendly and "Take it or leave it" could also use some work, just from the standpoint of pure professionalism.

But at the same time, there is a constant level of give-and-take that has to exist with any disciplinary system. You say there's no reason to trust, but you also seem to think there's no reason to have any courtesy about your criticisms either. Simply because trust doesn't appear in a vacuum doesn't mean it can't be extended, and yet here you are with a six day old account telling the community management (and his selected mods by proxy) that their work is inherently suspicious.

And in a paragraph or two, you're going to claim that I'm fostering an environment in those six days I guess? That seems like a pretty extreme vacation of personal responsibility to me, while giving my limited posting more credit than your years here.

NewClassic:
I mean, you're not wrong for having an opinion, but also consider that you're doing us wrong by assuming we're all innately guilty until proven not just innocent, but stalwart and trustworthy. You're setting us up to fail, and doing so without apology and without even having given us a chance.

I understand authority is inherently dangerous, but treating us like we're set mousetraps you're observing from afar does very little to give us a reason to feel like we can earn your trust. Instead, your hypothesis is that we're waiting to find a reason to abuse our authority, and the only confirmation you see is one that hopes to validate your fears. From our positions, we can only either excel beyond measure, or fail. That's a very crappy position to be in.

That said, I might implore you to consider how this looks from our end as well.

We have no reason to assume that you have any intention for either goodwill or ill-will on our works, but our limited frames of reference for you seem to imply that you'll have a bone to pick with moderation and our community practices. As little joy as I get out of being in the role of disciplinarian, I'm asking for this to be a subject that should be treated a little more civilly in the future.

You're fostering a hell of an environment for moderation, and it's making it difficult to feel like we can speak with you without feeling like we're at the wrong end of a firing squad. Tone the "you could use some work"-style commentary down, please. We're all persons behind the monitors, here, and it would be nice to be addressed in a way that doesn't make us or you feel like we have to prove ourselves to the other in order to get anywhere.

As I said, the value of words is limited compared to actions, and I'm responding to the environment I've found here. I certainly didn't make it. If you think I'm going to have a nice conversation with you now that you've tried to pin that on me, you're wrong. All you've done in replying to me is turn my opinion from, "They're struggling, but trying, remains to be seen," to something a lot less charitable.

If you want to scold me any more though, why don't you PM me? That's the line, right?

Fappy:

Nemmerle:
-Snip-

I could be wrong about this, but I am fairly certain the automated health bar system was implemented at a time when this community had significantly more traffic. So much so that it was nearly impossible to give every individual case the attention it needed. This place has shrunk and mellowed out significantly since then, so if you think a more hands-on approach is feasible now I don't think anyone will fight you on it. That said, there are plenty of people around here that wouldn't even be satisfied if you guys had a straight-up forum complaint hotline (like the red Batman telephone, lol).

You're a MODERATOR now?

What YEAR is this!? How long was I asleep!?

BloatedGuppy:

Fappy:

Nemmerle:
-Snip-

I could be wrong about this, but I am fairly certain the automated health bar system was implemented at a time when this community had significantly more traffic. So much so that it was nearly impossible to give every individual case the attention it needed. This place has shrunk and mellowed out significantly since then, so if you think a more hands-on approach is feasible now I don't think anyone will fight you on it. That said, there are plenty of people around here that wouldn't even be satisfied if you guys had a straight-up forum complaint hotline (like the red Batman telephone, lol).

You're a MODERATOR now?

What YEAR is this!? How long was I asleep!?

We're only going to be in 2027 until tomorrow, dude. Stop asking questions and start buying sports almanacs!

Lacedaemonius:
I agree that a more open and mutually understanding attitude would be good from everyone, and I don't see how question anyone's honesty is the start of anything good either. The part about the environment and feeling hunted, that seems more like how people here are feeling about moderation? After all, they're literally facing the "firing squad" of bans, if I've read these 10 pages right. You are just facing criticism, and I've seen that get shut down with a hard word. It's hard to feel a lot of sympathy when you have all of the power in the relationship, and your firing squad can only use hurtful words. Which you can then punish them for using.

I'm not certain I understand how I'm questioning NXNW's honesty.

The whole point of that post was to acknowledge that we're all kind of operating blind here. Moderation has difficulty understanding the wants and desires of a highly critical new user because we have little information to go off of, and new users have only a thread full of disagreement as to what sort of tone moderation will ultimately take following a change in the Code of Conduct. There's a lot of uncertainty there, and I don't feel like pointing that out while also acknowledging the hostility around the discussion is accusing anyone of being dishonest.

That said, people are free to feel however they'd want, I don't think I'm amiss in asking that people do it in a way that doesn't make getting to the point of the discussion more difficult. If I have to check my emotions at the door in every conversation I have with people, then I'm sure as hell not going to feel like a member of the community anymore. And I certainly don't want to be disconnected from anyone when it's my job to make sure the connections this forum fosters aren't being abused.

NXNW:
And in a paragraph or two, you're going to claim that I'm fostering an environment in those six days I guess? That seems like a pretty extreme vacation of personal responsibility to me, while giving my limited posting more credit than your years here. ... As I said, the value of words is limited compared to actions, and I'm responding to the environment I've found here. I certainly didn't make it. If you think I'm going to have a nice conversation with you now that you've tried to pin that on me, you're wrong. All you've done in replying to me is turn my opinion from, "They're struggling, but trying, remains to be seen," to something a lot less charitable.

If you want to scold me any more though, why don't you PM me? That's the line, right?

You're correct to point out that the existing environment of hostility on the Escapist forums in regard to moderation, but an existing environment of hostility isn't grounds to continue to perpetuate it. Phrases like "seems like an extreme vacation of personal responsibility" and "all you've done ... is turn my opinion ... to something a lot less charitable" are not an acceptable tone to take in discussions on the Escapist forums.

If you feel the current standards and practices of the Escapist are in error, please use the Contact Page or in messaging to the community manager, n0e. However, this is a thread to discuss the Code of Conduct, not to air grievances with moderation. Further elaboration on the subject will result in moderator action.

NewClassic:

Lacedaemonius:
I agree that a more open and mutually understanding attitude would be good from everyone, and I don't see how question anyone's honesty is the start of anything good either. The part about the environment and feeling hunted, that seems more like how people here are feeling about moderation? After all, they're literally facing the "firing squad" of bans, if I've read these 10 pages right. You are just facing criticism, and I've seen that get shut down with a hard word. It's hard to feel a lot of sympathy when you have all of the power in the relationship, and your firing squad can only use hurtful words. Which you can then punish them for using.

I'm not certain I understand how I'm questioning NXNW's honesty.

Neither am I. You got it 180 degrees around.

Caramel Frappe:

I never got an appeal for the warning, and although I don't hold any grudges- I still wish to know if anyone could ever get in trouble for advising a user to not make jokes about serious topics like rape, genocide, and dark themes in general.

Yes. If the standard is 'ever', then you can totally get in trouble for that. If you claim to speak for the community or otherwise imply an authority or use voices that are not your own, that's the most obvious way to do it.

Drawing from your last post...

...Raping her? ..I think you personally went a little to far there. I don't mind jokes but personally that's pretty offensive.

For myself: It's not ideal but in the circumstances it's understandable and it's civil enough. I'd let that pass. The sort of thing that if someone reported it I'd probably decide no further action was warranted. Someone makes jokes about rape they've got to be aware that they run certain risks of people not finding it funny. That's on them.

Ya' know, there's gonna be some light ribbing on any forum, as long as it's kept to a reasonable level it's not really a problem unless it forms a trend.

Just as a friendly warning, you should be careful about what you say overall. The Escapist is a great Community and we don't need that here.

That's the bit you'd run most of the risk with in my books. It's acting as if you're an authority and claiming to represent others who you do not necessarily represent. If the mods do anything about it following up on that, then it puts them in a bad position as it seems partial towards particular users and viewpoints.

42616e20446f64676572:
Can someone help me? My background is animated craziness and all of the avatars are Justin Bieber? Is this hell?

You pushed the Red Button, sounds like. Shouldn'ta done that.

Put simply, it was a prank badge handed out some years back (for April Fools, I think?) that was popular enough to stick around. If you click the button, everything is Bieber for a time.

Pretty sure it wears off on its own after an amount of time, but I don't know how long, exactly. Never touched it, myself.

What the shit?
I can't even admit to having used drugs any more?
Also: I want my psychedelic spinning cow avatar back damn it!

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