Frank Castle

Community Discussion - Moderation

11 posts in this topic

Community, 

A little over a year ago this community had toxic relationship between members and moderators. It took us quite a bit to reach out to the community and develop a strategy that actually worked and eased some tension in that relationship. As the time passed we lost some of those old moderators, fresh eyes have rolled in and we have also gained and lost long time forum members and participation. 

I'm the kind of guy that believes that times change and people do too. When you mash together so many people from all over the world with different backgrounds, views, and stances.. some things that are restricted might seem taboo to others and things that are allowed may shock others as well. Which is why I come to you today, representing the moderation staff, asking you what we can do better?

I want to grow this community the correct way. Just like we did over a year ago, by taking positive feedback from the community and work with yall instead of against. 

 

Please check out this thread:

 

This is what we did back in 2016. We still operate on this structure...for the most part, but I'm cracking the whip on this. 

Please provide feedback, whether good or bad. I want to see what the problems are and correct them. Obvious poop posts are gonna be ignored. Please follow the rules and make this constructive. 

 

Help us shape the community for y'all! 

(Mods hold warns/moderation for this thread)

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Lose anonymity so you cop shit for unpopular and/or flat-out wrong decisions. Even when your mod team all agrees that something is bad or against the rules, you are still the mod team and have a power that none of the rest of us have - actions without consequence. 

Get rid of the "mod call-out" rule, since that just creates a superiority complex for the mods. See point 1. 

It's my opinion that threads shouldn't be locked for any reason, only act on individual posters rather than the topic. If the conversation evolves to include other facets regarding game or debate, then allow the conversation to continue without public warnings. Naturally branching topics shouldn't be shut down because only talking about a single issue can get challenging without other aspects being included in the discussion that may result in a cause or have a relationship with the original topic. Or any other topic brought up the thread for that matter. 

In essence, just tone it down.

I'd also like to see a distinction created between outright sexism/racism being banned and satirical threads like ones Roz often creates. For that matter, criticisms of demographics shouldn't be flagged under racism or sexism either, since they are legitimate points regarding differences between peoples and groups. 

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Tag whoever is not the reporter of an incident so that they know they have a reason to check a thread. When I first went into this forum for a specific issue I was surprised to find five issues that had been reported about me, all with positive results for me, but it would still be extremely useful and appreciated if it could be required as part of submitting a report, or, if not that, included in the message somewhere prominently so IPB handles notification.

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5 hours ago, Gabranth said:

Lose anonymity so you cop shit for unpopular and/or flat-out wrong decisions. Even when your mod team all agrees that something is bad or against the rules, you are still the mod team and have a power that none of the rest of us have - actions without consequence. 

Get rid of the "mod call-out" rule, since that just creates a superiority complex for the mods. See point 1. 

It's my opinion that threads shouldn't be locked for any reason, only act on individual posters rather than the topic. If the conversation evolves to include other facets regarding game or debate, then allow the conversation to continue without public warnings. Naturally branching topics shouldn't be shut down because only talking about a single issue can get challenging without other aspects being included in the discussion that may result in a cause or have a relationship with the original topic. Or any other topic brought up the thread for that matter. 

In essence, just tone it down.

I'd also like to see a distinction created between outright sexism/racism being banned and satirical threads like ones Roz often creates. For that matter, criticisms of demographics shouldn't be flagged under racism or sexism either, since they are legitimate points regarding differences between peoples and groups. 

I'd been largely hands-off on moderation and leaving it to the mods recently, and I apologize for that. I'm here to offer more oversight and help moderating again.

We will not be removing the anonymous identities of mods. The reasoning is that it is very difficult to do an impartial job when the results of your moderation action can directly affect you in-game. I.E., someone doesn't like that you gave them a warning, you now your nation is under attack. That inhibits the ability to effectively moderate, and it discourages people from wanting to volunteer and help moderate in the first place.

The "mod call-out" rule is there to prevent "witch-hunts." It's very easy to criticize the mods without recognizing the important and good work they do keeping the forums a fun and friendly environment for everyone. If you have a problem with a moderator, send me a direct message and we can discuss it. That's always been my policy and I've overturned moderator decisions before.

1 hour ago, ComradeMilton said:

Tag whoever is not the reporter of an incident so that they know they have a reason to check a thread. When I first went into this forum for a specific issue I was surprised to find five issues that had been reported about me, all with positive results for me, but it would still be extremely useful and appreciated if it could be required as part of submitting a report, or, if not that, included in the message somewhere prominently so IPB handles notification.

We did discuss this privately and I think everyone is on board with the idea. I'll see that we make this an official part of our policy.

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@ComradeMilton @Gabranth

Thank you for your input. 

Although, I wouldn't mind removing anonimity - because of the way I personally play and my in-game activity this is just something Alex wants to keep and this has always been that controversial debate. 

 

I have personally been a bit busy in rl. had a few business things pop up that left me traveling. Upon my return I noticed a few things that really need some fixing. The way new moderators handle themselves within threads, call outs, and rule breaks while enforcing a rule break. I have done this moderation here for a bit, even before my current name, and I have been directing them or guiding them on the way business should be handled on our end, but I wanted to make it a bit more visible - hence this post. Mistakes are made, but should be learned from and fixed quickly. 

 

Moderation and the community should be separate, but they should mesh and engage productively with each other when needed. That's what I'm trying to get back to. 

 

Don't be afraid to provide feedback. Communicate with us and we will work to bring this community back where it belongs. 

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Actually moderate, actually moderate consistently, actually follow your own rules, actually get rid of repeat offenders.

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7 minutes ago, durmij said:

Actually moderate, actually moderate consistently, actually follow your own rules, actually get rid of repeat offenders.

I agree with this. There is a disconnect it seems when it comes to someone stacking up warn points and then they just get away with it towards the end as warn points basically go away after a bit. So, they can refresh and start again. I'll look into our point system and see if there is something we can tweak that can cut that gap out. 

As far as consistency. That is something I'm personally working on with the moderators so everyone delivers the same consistent moderation for all forums and all community members regardless of personal in-game bias. 

 

Thanks @durmij for your input. 

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One of the key issues is the rules themselves.

They are far too open for interpretation and are rarely ever applied evenly because of this, but rather at the discretion of the moderator/s. This means a community member can read a rule, think hes not breaking said rule, break it based on the subjective standard of the moderator or moderation team, and be warned for doing so.

If you define the rules more clearly, than even if people don't agree with said rules, they know they are breaking them and have no defense against punishment for doing so. 

Quote

 

Flaming, Baiting, Trolling, Racism, Sexism, and Name Calling

  • Flaming - posts targeted at a player in an effort to anger, hurt, insult, harass, or provoke.
  • Baiting - coercing a player into breaking the rules.
  • Trolling - deliberately provocative posting with the aim of inciting an angry response.
  • Name Calling - abusive or insulting language referring to a person or group. *Prohibited everywhere except role play forums, and only in role play forums where it is being used within reason with no intent to flame, bait, troll, insult, or hurt.*
  • Racism and Sexism - having or showing the belief that a particular race or gender is superior to another.

 

 

According to the Flaming, Trolling and Name Calling rules, 70% of the posts on this forum would be considered against the rules.

Unless its actual harassment (which you still have to define) it should not be against the rules.

Then you have the Racism and Sexism rules, which are completely open to interpretation, especially if you pay attention to politics and see the wild degree by which people define those terms. It also doesn't even mention homophobia, so I could technically go around disparaging gay people without any justifiable punishment if the moderators were actually true to enforcing the forums rules.

You should clearly define what you mean by sexism and racism (and homophobia) rather than leaving the definition as vague as it is. The rules should be a clear instruction manual for the moderators to read and enforce, 

 

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Topic Hijacking

Derailing a thread, or inducing topics that are not related to the original subject.

 

Another rule that is too open. Obviously some kid coming along and posting about the weather in a thread about X alliance declaring war on Y alliance is derailing the thread, but there are plenty of times when a thread naturally moves in a direction separate from the OP. Especially in the alliance affairs and general debate sections.

Also the correct way to respond to this should really be to warn the person and delete the derailing posts rather than lock the entire thread. 

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Aiding Rule Violators and Ban Evaders

Having knowledge of a rule violation or ban evasion and not reporting it to the game staff.

I'm not even sure how you can feasibly enforce this one.

Quote

Nazism, Terrorism, and Other Hate Groups

It is against the rules to promote hateful ideologies such as Nazism, Terrorism, Racism, and others not listed here. We will allow references to, historical discussions of, and satirical usage that does not violate other forum rules.

This is probably the worst rule of all. For starters, what is considered a hate group is in many cases heavily subjective\, various sources will rule differently based on their own political ideology and in some cases pure political narrative pushing. Secondly, if you aren't going to list specific hate groups you can't really expect people to know which ones you consider to be hate groups etc. At which point it becomes at the moderators discretion and that isn't a good thing.

 

Quote

 

Signatures and Avatars and Profiles

  • Avatars - must be in good taste. Any image that would not be allowed in a post will not be allowed as an avatar. Excessive flashing colors are not allowed. Using a moderator's avatar is not allowed.
  • Signatures - one image per signature which may not exceed the maximum size of 650 pixels wide by 175 pixels tall. You may have no more than 5 lines of text. Font size may not exceed size 14. Each quote-tag, image and empty line count as a line.
  • Profiles - No content should be posted in your profile that would otherwise be prohibited anywhere else in the forums.
  • Anything considered overly sexual, which would be loosely defined as "less than swimsuit area covered" will not be allowed in any image including avatar or signature. Those who fail to read and abide by these rules will have their avatars/signatures removed and receive a warning.

 

Good taste is subjective. Realistically this should just include the stuff reference under "inappropriate imagery".

As for the sexual rule, this one has been historically enforced unevenly. I had a picture of a chicks butt as a my avatar for like 6 months back in 2016-2017 and it wasn't an issue, then recently Durmstrang made a DOE with some ladies without about the same lever of clothing (swimsuit area covered) and it became an issue.

I think the mods messed up on that one and didn't read their own rules on the subject.

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Questionable Actions and Content

The guidelines above may not cover every situation. Should we encounter something that we deem harmful to the community, we reserve the right to take action against it.

This should be removed or at the very least only apply to @Alex

The entire crux of the issue is you give the moderators way too much discretion over ruling on things, and this is a blank check to rule anyway they want.

 

The rest of the rules are mostly fine, since they are clear and you can obviously know when you are breaking them. I tend to agree with @Gabranth that the no call out rule is a bad one. I understand that the proper course of action is supposed to be to contact @Alex but as hes admitted already his oversight isn't 100% on point and he can't always be reached. Moderators should have accountability. 

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10 minutes ago, Sketchy said:

Acknowledged

Sketchy,

Thank you for you feedback. I can personally tell you that as a moderator there is often that gray area of discretion that is exercised. Alot of times, when dealing with select reports, it comes to the point where we really can't determine a ruling because what you said, it's too vague. I do agree that rules listed should be more defined so that we don't run into that gray area as often as we have and are. 

Discretion is used on alot of things though and let me point out, most reports are discussed amongst the moderator team. As you could probably guess we do get reports that are post-argument phase. Where there is a discussion and someone doesn't like what the other person says and then boom, report. Then we have to figure out, you know, what exact rule was broken and then try and fit it within the vague descriptions of rule breaks listed. So, I definitely see the issue there. I think what led us to this error is the failure to grow with the community interior as well as the rapidly growing social world we live in. 

I'll personally check through the rules and hold a discussion with Alex and other moderators on what we can change to make them less vague and more defined as we move forward. 

In the meantime, I would gladly take any revised rules from you guys to use in those discussions, I just ask that you shoot them to my inbox here on the forums so we don't weigh down this thread with paragraphs of rule revisions. I'll also go further; once we get a discussion going and have solutions to share, I'll make a post with those changes so the community can also weigh in and be sure we are correct in those measures. I think that is only fair. 

One last note on discretion, albeit the vaguensss, I use and I ask other moderators to use certain discretion when it comes to handling reports. When it comes down to another member just trying to use moderators as a tool to one-up the other, I ask them to read the room, see what happened and what led to the report. Most times, the one reporting an incident has also committed the same rule break a few posts back, but it goes unnoticed. That has to change as well. 

 

Thanks again for your feedback, send any rule suggestions to my inbox and again I apologise for improper spelling and grammar - my phone autocorrect has been acting pretty nuts lately. 

Thanks. :)

 

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I'm more worried about Forum Mod activity. I've spoke to Alex about this before. But it seems some Forum Mods like to disappear off the face of the earth. It'd be good to see you guys more often. 

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8 hours ago, Featherine said:

I'm more worried about Forum Mod activity. I've spoke to Alex about this before. But it seems some Forum Mods like to disappear off the face of the earth. It'd be good to see you guys more often. 

I can say for the first time in a while we have an active group of moderators. There was a time when there was just 1-2 working to keep up with the flow. We have boosted our own communication as well by creating a private discord to communicate quicker on events and discuss report outcomes. 

 

Thank you for your feedback. 

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