New Code of Conduct

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Zeconte:

@n0e: One question I had is, would users intentionally calling someone by a slightly altered name or a different name entirely in a patronizing way on a consistent basis be considered passive aggressive? For instance, I've noticed a number of users who are rather hostile towards IceForce (whom I quoted above) refer to him as "IceForge" instead on multiple occasions. I've also noticed recently a certain user refer to another user by a different name in each post, such as "Mr. Hopkins" "Don Corleone" and "Adam Orth". It just seems like an incredibly immature way to insult someone without blatantly insulting them.

It's a bit petty if they did that intentionally, but honestly not something so heinous that we need to police it. If they want to act like little kids, let them. It only puts a spotlight on their credibility with what they say about a topic.

Policing it would only remove the evidence for others to see what kind of a person that is.

In my opinion, over-modding has ruined what were once vibrant forums. That that for what you will.

Zeconte:
For instance, I've noticed a number of users who are rather hostile towards IceForce (whom I quoted above) refer to him as "IceForge" instead on multiple occasions.

During my first few replies to IceForce i misread his name and thought it was IceForge. i think these users you refer to may just be making same mistake and not intending to insult him.

In return, i get called Strazdaz or Stardas quite often as people misread my name or w/e happens in their minds. For example last time Charcharo quoted me he refered to me as Strazdaz even though im sure he knows my proper name given that we interact with him constantly. I really dont take that as any form of insult though.

Strazdas:

Zeconte:
For instance, I've noticed a number of users who are rather hostile towards IceForce (whom I quoted above) refer to him as "IceForge" instead on multiple occasions.

During my first few replies to IceForce i misread his name and thought it was IceForge. i think these users you refer to may just be making same mistake and not intending to insult him.

This brings back memories of an old piece about this same problem, The Bead Store:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WB3rFT_dKE

Beads for wearing! Not bread for eating!

DoPo:

DoPo:

MarsAtlas:
What is the ettiquette when it comes to spoilers?

I'm also interested in this.

I've also have another question:

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.

Still interested in these.

Anybody?

[1] which reminded me to ask

If you feel the information will reveal something that others may not want revealed (the plot to a movie or game, for example) then use a spoiler.

Try and be respectful for others. If your thread is discussing a topic that would reveal major spoilers, then just add the word "Spoiler" or some variation in the topic so those who read it will understand.

I never actually thought this required elaboration.

n0e:
I never actually thought this required elaboration.

I am aware of what the general internet etiquette goes, but the question was in terms of an official site policy. The problem is that it never was nor is it still covered by the rules and the enforcement of spoilers on this site has always neither here nor there in terms of an official stance. There have been various points in time where a thread about a recent game/movie that doesn't mention spoilers in the title nor in the OP gets posted, yet only few posts in somebody would blurt out spoiler worthy information. This typically would have few other users call them out and ask for a spoiler tag but very rarely is there anything mod action done. The most common case for a mod action is if a thread has outright spoilers in its titles and posters have already complained yet the OP hasn't edited it (due to refusal or simply not being around).

Coming from GameFAQs that's really different - the spoiler rules there have been in place for over a decade and have been religiously upheld. Well, slightly looser in recent years, however, the rules are still there - and they are simple - either put a note in the title saying "SPOILERS" in which case you're free to post unmarked ones, or if posting in a thread that doesn't explicitly mention it would contain spoilers, you have to use the forum markup. Heck, back in the day when literally the only markup available was bold and italics, the rules for posting spoilers required you to clearly write a line that says "SPOILERS below" then leave plenty of vertical whitespace, write your piece, then leave more vertical whitespace and write another line that said "end of spoilers", thus having a makeshift markup, even though the technical side wasn't there to make it easier for the users. And people rolled with it.

There are spoiler tags readily available nowadays and yet on this forum the only semi-official required usage for them is to hide large images or other content - it's never really been requested users to apply them to actual spoilers. Not in a formal manner, at least.

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

I always figured it was simple, Don't Be Jerk.

Then again the only point I disagreed with is still there on the new version, not that this makes a difference this is the first time I've logged in months.

(I realise saying that could make me sound like a jerk but I mostly watch ZP and the ex-escapists on youtube these days.)

n0e:
Example; Jews, when it comes to debates and discussions are considered a race of people when, in fact, it's a religious preference.

I am, frankly, astonished that this thread hit nine pages without anybody correcting you about this.

Jews are both a religious group and a race of people.

There exists a genetically distinct population of individuals who share common inherited traits and characteristics that are characterized as ethnically being Jewish. There even exist several distinct sub-populations, like the Ashkenazi, the Sephardic, and the Lemba. But you can be ethnically Jewish and not follow the Jewish religion. Of course, you can also be a follower of the Jewish religion without being ethnically Jewish as well. There is a pretty big overlap between people who are ethnically Jewish and people who are religiously Jewish, but the two populations are absolutely not identical. People who malign "the Jews" tend, more often than not, to be maligning the racial group rather than the religious one.

Sorry if this has already been mentioned, but I was curious on the ban jumping rule:
Does having a secondary account qualify for breaking this rule?
And would posting with the other account while one user name is warned but not in the yellow qualify for breaking this rule?
Mainly ask because I have an old account, forgot I had it when making this account but since it's join date is back in 2008 I thought it'd be a shame to delete it.
Just wanted to err on the side of caution.
The account is St0ckp4rts btw:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/profiles/view/St0ckP4rts

Shouldn't do, you're not using it to jump a ban, which is the main thing.

It's unlikely that anyone will bother to check for inactive secondary accounts unless your behaviour is notable in some other way, but I've added a note to your account about it.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/663.936048-NEW-RULE-Hasty-generalisation#23568854

Hm. Why? What's the supposed harm being done with hasty generalizations that isn't the result of people with unreasonably thin skins taking offense in the name of an indistinct group? This is a lot less like moderation and "Don't be a dick" and a lot more along the lines of cracking down on tone and manners. You have to know that you don't have a mannered crowd right?

I just feel like this is putting a sign up saying, "No shirt, No Shoes, (hastily scrawled) No Smile, No Service"

Hasty generalizations are something that, to be blunt, are not that uncommon on and offline. Unless we're going to start writing footnoted novellas, this is just going to be a way to rapidly ban some people you don't like.

NXNW:
-Snip-

I think the post itself answers your questions quite nicely, personally.

FileTrekker:

NXNW:
-Snip-

I think the post itself answers your questions quite nicely, personally.

Oook. I hope you know what you're getting yourselves into.

Still waiting for an answer about off-topic discussions...

NXNW:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/663.936048-NEW-RULE-Hasty-generalisation#23568854

Hm. Why? What's the supposed harm being done with hasty generalizations that isn't the result of people with unreasonably thin skins taking offense in the name of an indistinct group? This is a lot less like moderation and "Don't be a dick" and a lot more along the lines of cracking down on tone and manners. You have to know that you don't have a mannered crowd right?

I just feel like this is putting a sign up saying, "No shirt, No Shoes, (hastily scrawled) No Smile, No Service"

Hasty generalizations are something that, to be blunt, are not that uncommon on and offline. Unless we're going to start writing footnoted novellas, this is just going to be a way to rapidly ban some people you don't like.

I could do that anyway. 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. It's not a particularly worthwhile thing to do, but considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...

Yes, technically speaking it might take a bit longer chronologically to get a few infractions against someone that will auto-ban them. It would probably be more difficult to go straight in one move to banning someone (because unfortunately the infraction system is set up, whether or not anyone likes it that way - mod or member - to be used as a means of keeping track of and communicating concerns to users.) But it would unquestionably be less bother to me to do so. 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.

There's nothing that rule's going to give me in terms of discretionary power that's not more bother to wield. Things that are functionally isomorphic to this at an extreme already exist - they're just not consistently applied.

Part of the reasoning for the rule, part of the reason that when I've talked to people about it they suggested it might be worth trying, was largely that concern. That one side - and both sides seem to believe that to be the other side - got to keep snipping at people and they had to walk on eggshells because of imbalanced modding considerations of what was or wasn't insulting. (Honestly that's going to come down to individual differences in the mods that see the things, there is such a thing as shopping around for an opinion that's going to support getting someone banned, - which I don't exactly approve of.)

My hope is that the rule clarifies things that already exist and consequently results in more consistent behaviour and moderation.

Now maybe you're right and it doesn't work out. Manners exist because of the interaction of a person with their environment - including the other people in it. That means you're rarely going to know before you change an environmental variable and see the effect on the system quite what the effect is.

If it doesn't work out, we can always fold it back into the more general ruleset - but if it does we may find out that people aren't actually that ill-mannered and just behave as they do because their environment has been... strategically unstable.

Nemmerle:

NXNW:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/663.936048-NEW-RULE-Hasty-generalisation#23568854

Hm. Why? What's the supposed harm being done with hasty generalizations that isn't the result of people with unreasonably thin skins taking offense in the name of an indistinct group? This is a lot less like moderation and "Don't be a dick" and a lot more along the lines of cracking down on tone and manners. You have to know that you don't have a mannered crowd right?

I just feel like this is putting a sign up saying, "No shirt, No Shoes, (hastily scrawled) No Smile, No Service"

Hasty generalizations are something that, to be blunt, are not that uncommon on and offline. Unless we're going to start writing footnoted novellas, this is just going to be a way to rapidly ban some people you don't like.

I could do that anyway. 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. It's not a particularly worthwhile thing to do, but considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...

Yes, technically speaking it might take a bit longer chronologically to get a few infractions against someone that will auto-ban them. It would probably be more difficult to go straight in one move to banning someone (because unfortunately the infraction system is set up, whether or not anyone likes it that way - mod or member - to be used as a means of keeping track of and communicating concerns to users.) But it would unquestionably be less bother to me to do so. 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.

There's nothing that rule's going to give me in terms of discretionary power that's not more bother to wield. Things that are functionally isomorphic to this at an extreme already exist - they're just not consistently applied.

Part of the reasoning for the rule, part of the reason that when I've talked to people about it they suggested it might be worth trying, was largely that concern. That one side - and both sides seem to believe that to be the other side - got to keep snipping at people and they had to walk on eggshells because of imbalanced modding considerations of what was or wasn't insulting. (Honestly that's going to come down to individual differences in the mods that see the things, there is such a thing as shopping around for an opinion that's going to support getting someone banned, - which I don't exactly approve of.)

My hope is that the rule clarifies things that already exist and consequently results in more consistent behaviour and moderation.

Now maybe you're right and it doesn't work out. Manners exist because of the interaction of a person with their environment - including the other people in it. That means you're rarely going to know before you change an environmental variable and see the effect on the system quite what the effect is.

If it doesn't work out, we can always fold it back into the more general ruleset - but if it does we may find out that people aren't actually that ill-mannered and just behave as they do because their environment has been... strategically unstable.

I assume that banning people under flimsy pretenses is preferable to banning people because you feel like it. Having moderated a site before (admin actually) I'm familiar with just how often you end up having to justify your every action. The more dire the action, the more you get harassed for it, no matter what. Having a rule to point to makes your life a lot easier. I accept your explanation however, this is more along the lines of herding chickens and thinking it can work. I'm always willing to accept that people make mistakes over people being malicious.

Why do some people who break the rules only get a "Mod Voice" verbal warning, but others don't? More specifically, with regards to myself, (as has been the case for almost a year now), a moderator always seems to swing the warning-hammer first and ask questions later. And yet I see other people posting things FAR worse than me, and they only get a telling off in the thread with no consequences to their health meter.

I have to ask; why the inconsistent approach?

Nemmerle:
My hope is that the rule clarifies things that already exist and consequently results in more consistent behaviour and moderation.

Is the rule going to be applied consistently, though? Is the rule going to 'protect' both sides of the discussion, or just one?

IceForce:

Nemmerle:
My hope is that the rule clarifies things that already exist and consequently results in more consistent behaviour and moderation.

Is the rule going to be applied consistently, though? Is the rule going to 'protect' both sides of the discussion, or just one?

I do believe that you're being asked to trust in good intentions, on the basis that they've earned it by being new.

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. It's not a particularly worthwhile thing to do, but considering some of the concerns around here I take it as essentially general knowledge that this is a pattern that works...

That's exactly what I've experienced first-hand for the best part of a year. Thankfully, the appeals system helps curtail this type of thing in most cases.
Although, I still feel there should be more penalties and consequences for the moderator who engages in the sort of behavior you've described here. Because as far as I can tell at my end, nothing happens when a moderator starts unfairly targeting a specific user in the manner you've described.

Worse still, users aren't even allowed to know which moderator is doing it.

NXNW:
I do believe that you're being asked to trust in good intentions, on the basis that they've earned it by being new.

Well, 'trust' is something that gets earned over time, not something that gets granted automatically to the 'new' (which I assume is the point you're facetiously making).

But you do bring up an interesting point that I will springboard off of.

I assume it hasn't escaped the notice of people that the new moderator appointments have all been from off-site, rather than from the existing userbase.
On the face of it, it may seem like people who are unfamiliar with this community and website would make poor choices for moderators, but it's worth noting that sourcing moderators from the existing user pool presents some problems in itself. A long-time Escapist user with tens of thousands of posts is going to already have preconceived biases, they're already going to have an extensive friends list, and they're going to have (even subconsciously) users whom they like and dislike.
So, sometimes a fresh and unbiased perspective from off-site is exactly what a forum needs.

Okay, so a few questions that I asked earlier never got answered so I figured I might try to ask again.

1. Its stated that art depicting nudity is acceptable as long as its not pornographic or excessive in nature. Is the same true for actual depictions of nudity? It can be relevant in a lot of potential topics, like abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, eating disorders, genital mutilation, and sexual abuse, just to name a few off the top of my head.

2. The previous CoC stated that all discussion of paedophilia would not be tolerated because it was discussing illegal "activity". The current CoC states "advocacy". I bring this up because discussions about this sort of subject matter would crop up often - famous person caught with child pornography, something is in the news about loli or shota (and for the record, there have been news room stories about it) or just somebody wanting to discuss the ethics of dealing with sexual attraction toward minors. It always crops up a few times a year. Hell, the winner of Best Picture last year was about a uncovering a real world mass conspiracy to cover up ongoing child rape and abuse. Its gonna crop up at least a few times every year. Its obviously something people are passionate about, to a point that I can recognize that its playing with fire to allow such discussions I just think its worth asking.

3. To expand a bit upon the last one, while discussions of paedophilia were disallowed explicitly others weren't mentioned but were implicitly disallowed. Things like the recent trend of states legalizing marijuana for medicinial and even recreational usage. This is a current trend that people are probably going to want to discuss, especially with a drug war engulfing Mexico. There's also stuff like discussion of piracy, which is especially relevant on a gaming forum. The previous CoC was really wishy washy and stuff was sidestepped a few times. I'd like to think that context wins out but it didn't previously so I just wanted to make sure that as long as nobody was advocating illicit activity that it could still be discussed as its relevant to current events.

rgrekejin:
*snip*

For what its worth I knew but thought it'd be a derail to mention that.

IceForce:
Why do some people who break the rules only get a "Mod Voice" verbal warning, but others don't? More specifically, with regards to myself, (as has been the case for almost a year now), a moderator always seems to swing the warning-hammer first and ask questions later. And yet I see other people posting things FAR worse than me, and they only get a telling off in the thread with no consequences to their health meter.

I have to ask; why the inconsistent approach?

Each situation is different.

Some people may not realise what they're doing is wrong, have been provoked into a situation, or can be talked down from a bad position. I'm a firm believer that telling people where they're going wrong in a thread, or sending them a Private Message, both options I've been choosing to exercise when I can, both puts a face on the moderator and is more likely to get a positive outcome then just slapping a warning on someone.

I'd prefer to give people a chance to reform rather than banning someone for something relatively minor in the first instance, but if someone keeps performing the same 'mistakes', it will happen.

That being said if you're just blatantly going in for an inflammatory attack, trying to rile people up with a post or derailing a thread, etc, completely out of nowhere, then I and I am sure any other moderators will have no problem issuing an infraction right away, because one would like to think that people should know better.

TL;DR, I want to try and help people improve and avoid moderator intervention where possible, but if you throw a blatantly rule-breaking post in from out of nowhere, don't be shocked if you get a warning or worse.

MarsAtlas:
Okay, so a few questions that I asked earlier never got answered so I figured I might try to ask again.

So sorry, I thought someone had answered these!

I'll do my best for you now;

MarsAtlas:
1. Its stated that art depicting nudity is acceptable as long as its not pornographic or excessive in nature. Is the same true for actual depictions of nudity? It can be relevant in a lot of potential topics, like abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and infections, eating disorders, genital mutilation, and sexual abuse, just to name a few off the top of my head.

Photographic depictions of full frontal nudity, or genitals, even in the context of relevant topics, are pushing it really, especially if we want to maintain a PG-13 standard. Documentaries and educational materials aimed at this level would normally choose to use drawings or diagrams over photographs, so that would be ok.

Photographs or shocking images of genital mutilation or sexual abuse would be a massive no-no, even in that context.

MarsAtlas:
2. The previous CoC stated that all discussion of paedophilia would not be tolerated because it was discussing illegal "activity". The current CoC states "advocacy". I bring this up because discussions about this sort of subject matter would crop up often - famous person caught with child pornography, something is in the news about loli or shota (and for the record, there have been news room stories about it) or just somebody wanting to discuss the ethics of dealing with sexual attraction toward minors. It always crops up a few times a year. Hell, the winner of Best Picture last year was about a uncovering a real world mass conspiracy to cover up ongoing child rape and abuse. Its gonna crop up at least a few times every year. Its obviously something people are passionate about, to a point that I can recognize that its playing with fire to allow such discussions I just think its worth asking.

I will double check with n0e, but I see no problem at all in discussing thing such as;

- Celebrities / figures who have been accused or found guilty of peadophillia
- A debate about the biological / sociological aspects of it.

etc. etc.

What will obviously get someone banned quite quickly, however, is someone advocating for child abuse or sharing ways to obtain child pornography, etc. - but I hope to God nobody here would be daft enough to do such a thing.

MarsAtlas:
3. To expand a bit upon the last one, while discussions of paedophilia were disallowed explicitly others weren't mentioned but were implicitly disallowed. Things like the recent trend of states legalizing marijuana for medicinial and even recreational usage. This is a current trend that people are probably going to want to discuss, especially with a drug war engulfing Mexico. There's also stuff like discussion of piracy, which is especially relevant on a gaming forum. The previous CoC was really wishy washy and stuff was sidestepped a few times. I'd like to think that context wins out but it didn't previously so I just wanted to make sure that as long as nobody was advocating illicit activity that it could still be discussed as its relevant to current events.

I would say the same thing;

- Discussion about the rights and wrongs of legalising marijuana - Fine.
- Posting 'I'm so fucking stoned right now, here's my dealer's phone number' - Not so fine.

I would hope people would be sensible enough to be able to debate a topic like this without admitting to breaking any laws or telling others how to break those laws, basically.

But debating these things I would say is fine. We can't ignore some of the more unfortunate aspects of society and ban them from debate altogether, but if things get out of hand then that may change again, but hopefully people are able to understand the difference between a healthy debate and crossing the line.

NXNW:

I assume that banning people under flimsy pretenses is preferable to banning people because you feel like it. Having moderated a site before (admin actually) I'm familiar with just how often you end up having to justify your every action. The more dire the action, the more you get harassed for it, no matter what. Having a rule to point to makes your life a lot easier. I accept your explanation however, this is more along the lines of herding chickens and thinking it can work. I'm always willing to accept that people make mistakes over people being malicious.

One of the big limitations of an infraction system is that it runs into death by a thousand cuts. Something doesn't have to be serious enough to ban someone over, it just has to be serious enough to impose an infraction over and the system automatically imposes a ban once someone's reached a certain point. Indeed, once the user has reached a certain point it doesn't look like you can impose an infraction without banning someone - it may be possible, I haven't drilled down into the tools a great distance - that's the least that the system will let you do.

You wouldn't be justifying banning someone, you'd be justifying that one thing they'd said was bad enough to attract an infraction.

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of it. If you're talking to someone about their behaviour, they don't need something explained eight times in a relatively short space of time before it becomes apparent they're not playing ball. If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

IceForce:
Is the rule going to be applied consistently, though? Is the rule going to 'protect' both sides of the discussion, or just one?

Consistently? Of course not. There are a whole bunch of problems with consistency, and there's an effectively unsolvable one regardless of the context of the rule in that there'll be things that get seen and things that don't get seen. Equally? Hmmm, I shall be as interested to see how that works out as you are - which brings us to the broader issue of why people get treated differently:

IceForce:
Why do some people who break the rules only get a "Mod Voice" verbal warning, but others don't? More specifically, with regards to myself, (as has been the case for almost a year now), a moderator always seems to swing the warning-hammer first and ask questions later. And yet I see other people posting things FAR worse than me, and they only get a telling off in the thread with no consequences to their health meter.

I have to ask; why the inconsistent approach?

Prefacing this with the statement that I'm not going to comment on specific cases that I'm not involved with beyond general comments:

As far as I'm aware, no-one other than me gets much use out of Mod Voice at the moment. It's a workaround I use because the forum tools don't suit the style of moderation I find effective - it still makes interactions a matter of record that can be linked to other records for auditing purposes, but it avoids immediately poking someone with something sharp.

More generally, consistency is a matter of tooling and procedures that allow and encourage certain styles of communication and the appropriate auditing of those interactions. If the system is set up whereby to communicate with a user, and have a record generated of that, you impose an infraction - and that's what things are set up for right in the user interface... Is it really that surprising if someone does so? It will seem the natural way to do things. There's certainly the implication there that it's the desired way to do things - after all, that's what the system was built around. It's an embodied procedure, more or less.

Heck, even for myself, the first interaction I had with a user on here I sent them a PM but I also used the infraction system because there didn't seem to be another way of generating a record of the interaction. Hence the mod voice thing, since I definitely got the impression from that interaction that it came off as a lot more aggressive than I'd desired my actions to be at the time.

Couple that with the fact that mods are people, and people all see things differently, and what would otherwise be minor differences in approach that would easily be talked out between mods in the background can instead snowball into something that from outside the loop are hard to understand or predict.


The high-level take-away from all this is something to the effect of:

Look guys, we're already working in an imperfect system with imperfect tools that encourage relatively high local variances in the responses to your actions dependant upon the perspective of the person interacting with you at the time. That variance triggers, presumably undesirable to you, interactions when it goes over some fuzzily defined critical value. If you're interested in people being treated equally, then it makes sense - assuming that you view things in the manner given above - to lower that critical value and inform people of its location.

That won't be enforced in every instance, because people aren't gods. Though the balance of interactions with respect to ideological camps should work out more equally when averaged out, assuming our assumptions in this regard are correct.

Will it work out that way? Well, if we don't try we'll never know. If it doesn't, then we'll need to work out what was flawed in our assumptions.

Nemmerle:
If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

Agreed. Which is why I have to question the wisdom of having the moderation system fully anonymous the way it currently is.
Because it means that mods can effectively hide behind a shield of anonymity, and as your said, not be held accountable for their actions.

And we've already seen an example of that happen. As I'm sure you're aware, there was a case of a moderator (now ex-moderator) who abused his powers. And the reason why he was able to get away with it for so long was specifically because he was able to hide behind a shield of anonymity.

I'm active on a couple of other forum sites too, and if the moderators there were able to anonymously issue infractions and bans to people without ever revealing themselves or showing their faces, the users there would fucking riot.

Anyway, I'm glad there's now someone here with some level of power, who agrees that the current system is inherently flawed and that the status quo needs changing to some degree.

SolidState:

Nemmerle:
If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

Agreed. Which is why I have to question the wisdom of having the moderation system fully anonymous the way it currently is.
Because it means that mods can effectively hide behind a shield of anonymity, and as your said, not be held accountable for their actions.

As Nem says, I don't think anyone is going to disagree that the current tools in place need revamping, but the problem is re-coding them / technical, and so it will take time to get a more effective system in place.

In the mean time we will make do and mend and try our best with what we've got.

FileTrekker:

SolidState:
Agreed. Which is why I have to question the wisdom of having the moderation system fully anonymous the way it currently is.
Because it means that mods can effectively hide behind a shield of anonymity, and as your said, not be held accountable for their actions.

As Nem says, I don't think anyone is going to disagree that the current tools in place need revamping, but the problem is re-coding them / technical, and so it will take time to get a more effective system in place.

In the mean time we will make do and mend and try our best with what we've got.

Fair enough.

I don't want to come across as too critical, but I do feel that the current system is too open to abuse, (and certain previous events have confirmed this to be the case).

Nemmerle:

NXNW:

I assume that banning people under flimsy pretenses is preferable to banning people because you feel like it. Having moderated a site before (admin actually) I'm familiar with just how often you end up having to justify your every action. The more dire the action, the more you get harassed for it, no matter what. Having a rule to point to makes your life a lot easier. I accept your explanation however, this is more along the lines of herding chickens and thinking it can work. I'm always willing to accept that people make mistakes over people being malicious.

One of the big limitations of an infraction system is that it runs into death by a thousand cuts. Something doesn't have to be serious enough to ban someone over, it just has to be serious enough to impose an infraction over and the system automatically imposes a ban once someone's reached a certain point. Indeed, once the user has reached a certain point it doesn't look like you can impose an infraction without banning someone - it may be possible, I haven't drilled down into the tools a great distance - that's the least that the system will let you do.

You wouldn't be justifying banning someone, you'd be justifying that one thing they'd said was bad enough to attract an infraction.

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of it. If you're talking to someone about their behaviour, they don't need something explained eight times in a relatively short space of time before it becomes apparent they're not playing ball. If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

That's all well and good, but the real issue to me is this:

FileTrekker:

SolidState:

Nemmerle:
If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

Agreed. Which is why I have to question the wisdom of having the moderation system fully anonymous the way it currently is.
Because it means that mods can effectively hide behind a shield of anonymity, and as your said, not be held accountable for their actions.

As Nem says, I don't think anyone is going to disagree that the current tools in place need revamping, but the problem is re-coding them / technical, and so it will take time to get a more effective system in place.

In the mean time we will make do and mend and try our best with what we've got.

If all of you were saying these things, along with, "And until we can solve the technical issues, we're switching off the health bars and moderating according to the proven rules of 'X' website", then you might be getting cheers instead of jeers. As it is, you're just sort of saying, "Oh dear, this is a bad situation isn't it?" The only moves that I see being made are ones that, generally speaking, add more rules or more restrictions, or more freedom for moderators to used this admittedly broken system. If the key problem is that the system is broken from the ground up, how does switching around the wording of the regulations do anything?

Honestly, it seems like you guys are working off the cuff, when you need a coherent plan. You can't reassure people on one hand that you have their best interests at heart, and in the next breath point out that you do things the way you do purely out of technical limitations.

Nemmerle:

One of the big limitations of an infraction system is that it runs into death by a thousand cuts. Something doesn't have to be serious enough to ban someone over, it just has to be serious enough to impose an infraction over and the system automatically imposes a ban once someone's reached a certain point. Indeed, once the user has reached a certain point it doesn't look like you can impose an infraction without banning someone - it may be possible, I haven't drilled down into the tools a great distance - that's the least that the system will let you do.

You wouldn't be justifying banning someone, you'd be justifying that one thing they'd said was bad enough to attract an infraction.

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of it. If you're talking to someone about their behaviour, they don't need something explained eight times in a relatively short space of time before it becomes apparent they're not playing ball. If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

I'm glad to see these things are now being given serious thought. I've argued for a long time that the gamification of the disciplinary system has somewhat predictably led to it being extensively gamed, in what I like to call "Forum Team Death Match" because it's most effectively played in teams. Possibly to the point it's become the dominant paradigm for some subsections of these forums. And once the game becomes the norm, it gets really hard for people to keep out of it, no matter what their original intentions in getting involved in whatever controversies supposedly occasioned it. Discussion in good faith itself becomes something out of place, hopelessly naive or suspect.

Having said that, I sure know how to pick at the flaws of a given system, but it's not like I have some definitive fix in mind. The system in place does have its own virtues that I can certainly appreciate, having seen moderation teams at other, inferior sites who just unceremoniously disappear comments that don't appeal to them for some reason down the memory hole, with no accountability or even notice. Having a procedure in place is a major step up from such arbitrariness, but may be subverted to more vicious ends by manipulation.

Oh well, I have been trying to come up with a more substantive contribution to this line of deliberation here for a while now, but it doesn't seem to be happening at the moment. So with that, I guess I'm done for the moment. Like I said, it's just nice to see people actually wrestling with the beast that is the theory and praxis of moderation.

Nemmerle:
One of the big limitations of an infraction system is that it runs into death by a thousand cuts. Something doesn't have to be serious enough to ban someone over, it just has to be serious enough to impose an infraction over and the system automatically imposes a ban once someone's reached a certain point. Indeed, once the user has reached a certain point it doesn't look like you can impose an infraction without banning someone - it may be possible, I haven't drilled down into the tools a great distance - that's the least that the system will let you do.

You wouldn't be justifying banning someone, you'd be justifying that one thing they'd said was bad enough to attract an infraction.

Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of it. If you're talking to someone about their behaviour, they don't need something explained eight times in a relatively short space of time before it becomes apparent they're not playing ball. If you're not talking to them, then it's all too easy for them to attract the critical value of infractions over a year or two, which individually aren't worth more than a talking to and a reminder not to do the thing.

Moderating only works, in the sense of improving behaviours rather than in the sense of banning people, if you can get some sort of accountability and communication going on between users and staff. If that's not possible, you may as well forget it and go home.

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.

So, is there or is there not going to be an official ruling on off-topic for definite?

I've been asking for a week now...

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?

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.

[1] which reminded me to ask

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.

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