Rules Update + Moderation Discussion

Jul 15, 2012 at 3:35 PM
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Time to get this done, now that I'm not entirely busy with other things on the site. For the time being, I'll let you all mention and discuss anything that you think needs to be added or made clearer, before I try to remember what I was intending to do :pignon2: I would also like to try and update the rules' format, to make it more reader-friendly and mention important things that aren't just the rules instead of adding to an ever-bloating numbered list. Updating IP Board to get some of the newer moderating functions is another possible improvement.

I'm also going to take this opportunity to see to it that another issue is resolved in a permanent manner: Backseat moderating/telling other uses what to do or not do. I can't even go one day without seeing some snide little remark at the moment and I'm getting very sick of it. Now, there can be a legitimate reason why this happens, which I'm willing to consider; that being that the general populace feels that the moderating staff aren't doing an adequate job on their own (much as I've done myself in the past (kind of)). If this is the case, I would like to hear it be said and why so, because it is very much preferable to the other possibility of "being an arsehat". Either way, it's going to be resolved. It would be easy for me to just sit back and wait for another drama pot to boil over, especially with this sort of behaviour constantly tying my hands, but that's not what I'm here for.

To be more specific, there are going to be provisions included in the update - which will be enforced - detailing what non-staff members shouldn't be trying to do. Nobody will be exempt from consideration, no matter how nice they are most of the time. Having said that, it doesn't have to be a big deal; most of this is probably simple misunderstanding, or at least, I don't want to believe that there's that much genuine animosity floating around. Again, I'll chisel out the fine details later, like tomorrow maybe.
 
Jul 15, 2012 at 4:37 PM
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This seems like a good idea. It'd be great if we were able to see infractions given to us, because I got banned before when I didn't even realize I'd been bad. Of course, we had this discussion a while ago, I'm just restating it.
And what would "backseat moderating" entail? Would it be as serious as giving someone an infraction for saying "don't double post or Noxid will eat you" or actually like, telling the staff what to do?
 
Jul 15, 2012 at 6:29 PM
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I'm okay with backseat moderation being a bannable offence because it shows that the person does not think that the moderation team is not doing their job (even though they are), and is highly disrespectful, etc etc etc

Also as for the "important things that aren't just the rules," I would enjoy some details about lurking because that is in my opinion the most important thing that any person should do before joining any forum.
 
Jul 15, 2012 at 6:57 PM
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So why don't we clear up exactly what backseat moderation is, because telling someone not to double post after they double post instead of waiting for the mods to rap their knuckles seems reasonable to me. Unless you mods want to nanny everyone who makes a stupid mistake, I think input from regular members on how to behave on our forums is useful for new members.
 
Jul 15, 2012 at 7:07 PM
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I've never been to a forum where admonishing new users to help teach them the rules before moderators got involved is disallowed. What advantage is there to making it an offense? It seems to me that you're just giving our moderators more useless work.
As long as the moderators would be giving the user a warning in the first place, why can't they be spared the trouble by another user? I personally believe it makes any human feel better to be advised by peers before superiors, I was always a little scared of all the admins on each forum I joined.

It encourages them to abide by rules on their own accord because other users appreciate it, as opposed to making them scared for what happens when the rules aren't followed because the moderators will take action.
 
Jul 15, 2012 at 11:38 PM
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I kinda agree, but telling people not to double post can be and has gotten ridiculous in the past. If I remember correctly, there was one instance where a new user was told not to double post by three or four different members after Noxid had already told the newbie not to double post and had merged the posts. If I were the new member there, I'd rather a simple admonishment from a mod than the repeated jeers of my peers. That, at least, should be penelizable if not bannable.

Another case in which minor back seat modding is bad is when the newer/less educated members get it into their head that it's what all the cool kids do. That's when things can go overboard and lead to situations like the one I mentioned above.
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 3:50 AM
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I'm okay with backseat moderation being a bannable offence because it shows that the person does not think that the moderation team is not doing their job (even though they are), and is highly disrespectful, etc etc etc
Erm, not quite what I meant ._. I was suggesting that if that were the case someone say so so that we know that there's something we actually need to improve.

So why don't we clear up exactly what backseat moderation is, because telling someone not to double post after they double post instead of waiting for the mods to rap their knuckles seems reasonable to me.
Why? Then there are two pointless posts lying around instead of one (in the case that the post doesn't say anything else). It's like responding to a necropost. This is what I'm talking about - is having to wait a few hours at most for a staff member to perform a 10-second post merge that's going to happen anyway inadequate?
Unless you mods want to nanny everyone who makes a stupid mistake, I think input from regular members on how to behave on our forums is useful for new members.
Admonishing every new user that slips up is not "useful input", and I am telling you this as one of the guys whose job it is to deem what qualifies as such.

I've never been to a forum where admonishing new users to help teach them the rules before moderators got involved is disallowed.
Your forum experience could be a lot better then broski
What advantage is there to making it an offense? It seems to me that you're just giving our moderators more useless work.
This forum doesn't get enough traffic to be too much work even if I had to do it all on my own. It's a luxury we can afford here.
As long as the moderators would be giving the user a warning in the first place, why can't they be spared the trouble by another user?
Because if you say anything that isn't correct, or are a prick about it, it creates twice as much work for me. I can't then properly fault them for their behaviour because they've been fed misinformation, and I have somebody else's poor behaviour to deal with as well. Even if it is correct, new users are under no obligation to do what other users tell them, and I'm under no obligation to make them do so (barring cases like somebody requesting in their own thread that an argument stop).

Having said that, it wouldn't really be a problem if they (you) always got it right, or more precisely, had been getting it right, which is why there is one. You haven't been, and if there is one thing that utterly goads me it is somebody professing to speak for someone else and then doing so falsely. I think it's fairer and easier for everyone to say "don't try to go behind the moderators' back, they can do their job on their own" than "you can tell other users what to do if you want, but don't ever be wrong or otherwise I will crush your balls over it". It's just one of those things that I feel very strongly about :toroko2:
I personally believe it makes any human feel better to be advised by peers before superiors, I was always a little scared of all the admins on each forum I joined.
It encourages them to abide by rules on their own accord because other users appreciate it, as opposed to making them scared for what happens when the rules aren't followed because the moderators will take action.
Admins can be intimidating (insofar as I could intimidate a dunnart), but If the staff are bad a site isn't worth bothering with period. In my case, upon entering a new community, I find it far more painful to have to deal with the same cadre of horridly possessive little toerags that in fact often have the least to offer their community in terms of creativity or personal input. This site has had serious issues with such users in the past, and I have to say that at the moment the staff are being an awful lot nicer to new users than you guys are.

Will get to specifics next, so again I'll invite anyone who has anything about the rules they'd like to suggest to do so, otherwise I'll be running solely off memory and searches of my own posts :droll:
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 4:23 AM
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If you don't want us toerags swamping new users with posts like "don't double post, faggot," make a rule against replying to a necrobump or a double post without contributing to the discussion, and also a rule against being a dick.

Oh, we have those rules? Good. And if someone is telling new members what to do and they are wrong or only projecting their opinion onto the rest of the forums, punish them for it. It's a luxury you can afford on forums as small as these.

To take a preventative step, in the new rules, inform the public that they will be punished for being dumbass vigilantes. I just don't think you need to outlaw helpfulness.
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 4:46 AM
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This is kinda stupid, but may I ask that the new rules be phrased as thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots? I think it would vastly improve my forum experience. For example, rule 3 would become "Thou shalt not post twice in a row in the same thread without an intervening poster unless possessing good reason and temporal distance".

Alsoish concerning rule 3, I'm pretty sure a lot of new members don't know what double-posting etcetera is, as I certainly didn't when I signed up. Perhaps we should be a wee bit more explicit about that (along the lines of what I said in my thou shalt). Regarding other rules, 8 and 12 are fairly implicit and probably don't need to be mentioned. Rule 7 might be better phrased as "Accept moderation decisions" or perhaps "Rebellion is only permitted over PM or VM", and 18 seems pretty specific to be in our top-most-important-commandments-ever (how many requests do you really get?). The last clause of rule 1 could be dropped, as swearing doesn't typically limit itself to specific sections, and the have-beaten-cavestory clause seems kinda silly for the numerous people who come here asking "wat do." Maybe we could add a Wat-Do sticky?

Hurrah for hyphenation.
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 6:38 AM
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Alright well you didn't really answer my question :/
But I'm assuming that you mean that saying "don't double post or noxid will eat you" should be punishable, which sort of makes sense.
I mean yes, if it's just a post saying that, then it's spam and should be treated as such. But I don't think the punishment should be for "backseat moderation". And if the post saying not to double post contains an @ontopic or something of the like that contributes to the discussion then I don't see why there'd be anything wrong with it.
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 10:18 AM
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Alright well you didn't really answer my question :/
Was getting to it

To take a preventative step, in the new rules, inform the public that they will be punished for being dumbass vigilantes. I just don't think you need to outlaw helpfulness.
So basically this:
"you can tell other users what to do if you want, but don't ever be wrong or otherwise bad grammar I will crush your balls over it"
The rules may already implicitly imply that such behaviour is discouraged, what I'm explaining ITT is that it's going to start being enforced more strictly, on a case-by-case basis. I'm putting myself out in the open now to make my position on this matter fully understood, to hopefully avoid it immediately becoming a day-by-day basis. Of course, each situation will still be properly weighted, so you won't get your head bitten off over a minor misspeak, but I think it would be less tiresome to just let some things slide instead of getting constantly corrected. Also why is it a bother for us to point out proper conduct but not for you? :toroko2:

Anyway, specific update notes, starting with backseat moderating:
Minor offence (only an issue if it happens repeatedly)
-Slight miscommunication, e.g. suggesting someone is doing the wrong thing when they aren't, explaining something poorly or inaccurately, etc., particularly outside of a thread
-Any other minor thingies
Moderate offence
-Wasted 'instructive' forum posts that only result in more hassle to clean up (e.g. responding to thread bumps/double posts/whathaveyou)
-Suggesting what moderators will do to a user/Speaking on behalf of them when they can do it themselves perfectly fine
Creepy obsessive bullshit that absolutely will not be tolerated
-Using "we" or other plurals in any capacity that makes the site staff or community as a whole look like arseholes
-Publicly trying to bully users into behaving the way you want them to
-Harassing/intimidating users over PM or VM, or even off-site, behind the moderators' backs

I think regular insults and things like arguing with or trying to undermine a moderator fit better in their own section. Also, I'm going to bring up the point that usually when somebody isn't a moderator it's for a reason - either because more aren't needed, or due to issues with temperament/maturity/seniority etc. So again I state that if there is no feeling that more is needed, this sort of thing isn't necessary or helpful.

Now, onto the other updates (i.e. what searching my own posts came up with that hasn't already been addressed):
-Something specific about post coherency
-Something specific about reserving the right to ban anybody under 13 (14?) or anybody who appears wholly incapable of communicating with other users normally
-Explanation of some of IP Board's oddities
-Some type of new, consistent infraction system (better to wait and see if we can update and get the improved modmin options before spending too much time on this, but it's going to get done because it's the most important part of all)
-Cleanups of most of the current rules, such as what Lace suggested
-I can't remember what happened regarding showing new members the rules when they register, but if it didn't get done I still think it's a good idea

I post too slowly
 
Jul 16, 2012 at 5:41 PM
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Quick question. Was this considered "bad" of me? I was trying to offer friendly advice and white knightsupport, but I used the word "we" a lot. Is this an example of backseat moderation or is this acceptable?
 
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Jul 16, 2012 at 6:54 PM
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So I understand where cultr is coming from, but DT is right. If a certain reply only consist of regular members admonishing someone for double/necro posting, then it is pretty much spam, and amounts to even more for the mods/admins to clean up.

Having seen arguments both for and against backseat moderation, I completely agree with Lace. Especially this part:
Another case in which minor back seat modding is bad is when the newer/less educated members get it into their head that it's what all the cool kids do. That's when things can go overboard and lead to situations like the one I mentioned above.
This is a huge problem. I'm not denying that a lot of new members lately have been rather immature upon joining, and have at times gone off double posting, necro bumping, making threads already in existence, and generally being an annoyance through bad spelling and grammar. But there's been some immaturity on the established users' part as well. They've been basically flaming almost every new member for making one or two mistakes before a mod or admin gets around to notifying said newbie. Then that novice feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in the community, and tries too hard to fit in, and gets the idea that he/she can redeem himself/herself by making fun of another member, and starts flaming an even newer member in an attempt to try to look cool and get accepted into the community. This is a vicious cycle that I've been seeing ever since I joined, and unless I am much mistaken, was going on even before I joined. And it really bogs down browsing these forums. I think eliminating backseat moderation will hopefully ease this a bit.

However, I'll also have to agree with Dunc here.
And if the post saying not to double post contains an @ontopic or something of the like that contributes to the discussion then I don't see why there'd be anything wrong with it.
I agree with this, as long as it does not take up a majority of the post, and is said nicely, I think it should be okay. I mean, did Carrotlord really do anything wrong here? I don't think so. There was an element of admonishment, but he also helped the person out, and was also nice about it.
 
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Jul 17, 2012 at 1:18 AM
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Quick question. Was this considered "bad" of me? I was trying to offer friendly advice and white knightsupport, but I used the word "we" a lot. Is this an example of backseat moderation or is this acceptable?
I have nothing wrong with trying to be nice

I mean, did Carrotlord really do anything wrong here? I don't think so. There was an element of admonishment, but he also helped the person out, and was also nice about it.
That is an example of Doing It Right, so it was also fine
 
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Jul 17, 2012 at 1:37 AM
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You still haven't said anything about what I said :/
I mean I understand what you're classifying as "backseat moderation" but you haven't said anything about the other point I had.
 
Jul 17, 2012 at 3:18 AM
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You still haven't said anything about what I said :/
I mean I understand what you're classifying as "backseat moderation" but you haven't said anything about the other point I had.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but based on what DT has said, I'm guessing the clearest way of phrasing the "no backseat moderating" rule is:

Don't make a post, VM, or PM for the sole purpose of pointing out another user's violation of the rules. You may point out another user's violation of the rules IF you do so politely AND you have something on-topic to say in addition to pointing out the rule violation.

Am I interpreting correctly, DT? If so, then the answers to Dunc's questions are:

Dunc said:
Would it be as serious as giving someone an infraction for saying "don't double post or Noxid will eat you"
If you didn't contribute anything to the discussion in that post, then yes, you could get an infraction.

Dunc said:
or actually like, telling the staff what to do?
Suggestions for what the staff should do should be directed to the staff member in question via PM or VM or posted in the forum suggestions forum.

At least, that's how I'd do it if it were up to me, and, based on what DT has said, that seems to be his intent as well.
 
Jul 17, 2012 at 6:35 AM
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Yes, that's how I understood it as well from what he'd said, I was talking about the other point I had brought up, which was:
And if the post saying not to double post contains an @ontopic or something of the like that contributes to the discussion then I don't see why there'd be anything wrong with it.
 
Jul 17, 2012 at 9:50 AM
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I covered that here in passing:
Then there are two pointless posts lying around instead of one (in the case that the post doesn't say anything else).
Keeping the discussion going if you're going to tell someone off is definitely better than posting just to say that, but it's still not good if you say the wrong thing
 
Jul 27, 2012 at 2:08 PM
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Alright, the infractions system has been re-implemented in roughly the same way it used to work, with a new option for backseat moderating. I've also slightly rebalanced it by changing the suspension limit to 6 points and adding 1 point to all of the original items (so now general poor behaviour gives 3, for example).

There is currently an issue with users already having warn points. I don't know if there's a way to reset them, or search for warned users to know who to reset, so for now I'm just blindly hoping nothing bad happens :awesomeface: Rest assured that if this is the case, your warn level will be reset (or set back to a reasonable level) upon any new infractions. The option to give a "warning" is also gone, but I've set it so that moderators can alter the number of points given for each infraction, meaning that they can be set to 0 to give an effective warning.

Rule update/rewrite still incoming.
 
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