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Author Topic: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation  (Read 2548 times)

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Offline Wyddr

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The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« on: September 12, 2014, 09:23:57 AM »
Check out this article first.

In brief, the idea of vigorous moderation can (and often does) improve engagement. Now, perhaps this isn't exactly pertinent to this site, as it is a discussion forum and not a place where comments are made on articles, but I do feel there is relevance.

What is interesting is how many people who have visited this site in the past have apparently left for the (pardon me) cesspools of trolling and spam that comprise many other 40K sites. I come here because of the moderators, not in spite of them. I don't particularly want to engage in juvenile exchanges with flaming pricks.

Now, the argument can be easily advanced that the lack of traffic on this board (and it has dropped off a lot lately, we all know) is not so much due to the moderation done so much as a collection of other factors. I find it interesting, though, that the above article demonstrates how the kind of moderation this site has enjoyed for years is often conducive to a better experience for all, and yet such an experience seems to be against what a significant portion of 40K posters are after.

This begs the question: is the troll quotient in the 40K posting population unusually high?


Offline Grand Master Lomandalis

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2014, 04:42:36 PM »
I'd say the population is fairly level with every other area of the internet, barring religion and politics (those trolls deserve a special place in hell IMO).

For me, I view Warhammer posters as I do the kids I teach in cadets.  There are inevitably going to be two different kinds that you encounter in your journeys.  The first kind is the ideal sort.  They have received a certain measure of discipline (or in our case, moderation) in their time and when they encounter a type of discipline that is a little more strict than they are used to, they understand why it is in place and are easily able to adapt to not cause any issues.

The second type are the complete opposite.  They have received no discipline / moderation and have come to believe that because they have never "done anything wrong", when someone slaps their hand for stepping out of line, it is not their fault but the fault of the person that is enforcing the established rules.  They tend to be completely unwilling to adapt and will push the boundaries and fight against rules that have been in place for many years because they think they are unfair, ignoring the fact that people have lived by and followed those rules as long as they have been in place.

With my cadets, usually within the first few months I can tell you which of the newer cadets fall into which category, and the result always turns out the same.  The cadets / posters who fall into the first category tend to stick it out and prosper in the more strict environment, where as those in the second category will quit the strict environment and go to a place where they can continue with their lives how they always have.  For the cadets, who are usually 12 - 14 year old kids, that means they will retreat to the internet and play on XBL, where they can be the "squeeker" that uses a vocabulary that will make a sailor blush.  For forum posters, it means they will retreat to those cesspools that lack proper moderation.

The problem really comes when you run into a situation like ours.  When you compare us to the general norm of warhammer forums, we are an oddity.  The vast majority of forums don't moderate on any level that would even come close to a loose definition of "Strict".  Being the odd man out in that we do have rules that we enforce, we are the ones that are considered to over moderate the forums, even if the actions we take are justified in accordance with our rules.  If websites like Warseer or Dakka were to step up and enforce their rules properly, even going so far as to increasing the level of activity of their moderators by 50%, I can almost guarantee you they would start receiving the same complaints that we did about how they are abusing their power and over moderating their forums.

Unfortunately, a vast majority of the warhammer population, since the game is marketed to kids, does fall into the second category I mentioned above.  There really isn't a way to get people to change except for waiting for them to grow up and get some maturity.  The only issue I see with that, is that the world we live in doesn't encourage maturity at all and appears to reward those who do what ever they want.
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Offline Wyldhunt

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2014, 10:18:33 PM »
Lots of trolls in the 40k population?  Of course not! Trolls are only in Fantasy.

Offline Spectral Arbor

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2014, 01:17:28 AM »
"We're sooooo right. Everyone else is lazy, and foolish, and weak. We're soooo amazing."

*Echo Continues*

The hallmark of most failed civilizations is an inability to adapt to changing circumstances. 40k Online has one rule that sets it above nearly any other fan-site. Copyright material is a no-go, and it's enforced. That's a law, and laws exist to protect people and property. After that, a lot of essentially academic rules are applied to posts, and most hobby enthusiasts aren't scholars. Most are day-to-day folks, and the rules of scholardom feel... archaic. Unnecessary. Restrictive.

Don't get me wrong, restraints are fun in the right circumstances, with like minded person/s. But not so much in 40k time.

Add to that, that 40k is a social outlet for many, and the academic rules pretty much forbid any kind of "for the giggles" posting. The site doesn't flounder for lack of interest, or overzealous moderation. It flounders on tone. Something that can't be ruled upon, but is felt by anyone that comes by.

This site's tone doesn't appeal to a widespread audience. Once upon a time, the site could enforce an academic tone, and people would adapt for lack of alternatives. This is no longer the case. 40k Online's unique attribute is that it holds itself to a "higher standard" that not everyone cares for, since that "higher standard" isn't what most people would define as fun, social, enjoyable interactions. It's good if you want to gain a clinical understanding of the hobby, but not so much if you want to drop in and have a bit of fun.

While the Dwarves of WHFB are fictional, their plight is analogous to that of 40k Online's. Tried and tested rules no longer serve to benefit them, and instead doom them to a gradual decline to darkness. The hordes of greenskinned "trolls" [since anyone that disagrees is a troll] are overwhelming the once impregnable fortresses, by taking their ideas elsewhere.

Vigorous moderation isn't the problem. The crushing weight of needing to constantly perform as a quaint scholar, tripping over rules that don't exist in "real" conversation is a big part of the problem. Forcing that tone drives people away. Not because they're undisciplined, or trolls, or jerks, or whatever manner of name you wish to call people that are looking to have some lighter fun, but because if someone keeps telling you,

"You're a bad boy, because you don't sit still in your chair and hold your pencil in your right hand, while your left hand is turned at a 45 degree angle to hold your paper."

You're going to get turned off. Adapt by changing the tone, increase traffic. Or slowly fade to black, keep patting yourselves on the back. "The rest of the world is crazy, we're the only sane ones left!"

PS: OOooOooOo... I'm a ghost that still enjoys the content... this haunting has ended.

Offline Irisado

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2014, 05:39:44 AM »
I think that a lot of the problem is also due to the desire for instant replies.  Patience seems to be increasingly lacking, particularly online, as people are not willing to wait.  They want instant one line responses and dialogue, and this is one reason why blogs, Facebook, and Twitter attract more of the younger generation who used to come through to post on forums.  Note my use of the plural there, it's important.  I am on the team which produces the very forum software which 40K Online (and other forums use), and forum use and activity across the internet has fallen sharply during the last couple of years.  This is not, therefore, a 40K Online specific problem.

I think that it's also worth saying something about the state of the game, age, and real life.  I've seen more people stop participating here because they don't play the game any more, or have too many real life commitments to play it any more.  This is what often happens the older you become, and 40K Online's main contributors for many years have been the same people, but as they have dropped out, mainly for the reasons that I've indicated, so activity has fallen because the younger generation who would have come through to replace them prefer to use Facebook and Twitter.  When I think back to when I started here in 2008 on the Eldar boards, and the people I used to work with reviewing army lists and producing articles it always gives me quite a shock, because I'm the last person still standing from that group, and I don't play the game any more either.  It's a sobering thought, but there's nothing to be done about it.  It's not possible to force people to keep playing 40K.

In essence, therefore, it doesn't matter what the rules are.  If people aren't playing, don't have content to draw them in if they are playing, are too busy with real life, so prefer to post one liner Facebook style comments, or have moved on to other hobbies, then they're not going to come here or to any other forum.

I find myself in complete agreement with the article about comments.  Unmoderated comments are just awful.  You need only look to You Tube for examples of this.  The way in which people attack each other or troll on there is just horrible, and on forums which are poorly moderated, you end up with a similar situation too.  There is a reason why I ended up doing most of my 40K related posting here.  The content was a massive factor, of course, but it was also because the sort of lazy, sloppy, and down right rude posting accepted elsewhere wasn't acceptable here.  If, and that's a big if, the majority wants the sort of comments which You Tube provides, then I think that this says more about the mindset of people than it does about moderated forums.

Finally, if comments were the answer to anything, then you would think that when the option to use comments on forum members' profiles was enabled a couple of years back, there would have been an upsurge in activity.  They have barely been used.  A comments system, as the author of the article suggests, is not the key as to whether a site attracts people.  Content is the major driving force.
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Offline Grizzlykin

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2014, 01:36:16 PM »
Well hello there i can't say much regarding the old topic as i did not took the time to read it, but just reading the answer in here, i can probably say a few things regarding my own experience.

I'm not an hold members of the forum neither am I of the 40k game in intself. So regarding how it was in the past there is not much i can say. But for know i love this forum. First things first. I ws drived to this forum by google, i was seeking some help in order to get back into the game. The forum seemed fournish and active (on the eldar board at least), so i just created an account and set myself into the place. As I had used few other forum before i knew the basic rules of forum life wich helped me getting myself in without too many trouble. I found (yet again i can only speak about the eldars side as i do not play anithing else even if i read i can't answers and don't follow much), good people willing to help and as said wildhunt i ended up in the position of a cadet. By the way let me say i am 21 so i don't consider me old but even if am more or less willing to be an idiot i tend to try to be mature (as much as possible even if i concider my self more a big impatient kid than an adult). So tye position of the cadet is either you seek answer and then you are willing to be respectfull of the people that teach you something because if you don't they will stop, or, you become a perfect annoyance that concider people at his disposal to answer him and then throw them away, wich ultimately makes you toxic. I try to fit in the first category as experience is not something you can get without someone to show you there's.

Regarding the heavy moderation (if you can call that as it is justified since if there is rules it's not to be broken)... you could say i'm somekind of old men regarding this, i don't like much things going wild and for this i love the forum. I got myself moderated a few times and i am glad it happened as i could learn from mistake i could not see by myself or just to tired to noticed i was doing some. So ty the moderator to keep the forum clean like this :).

I have to say i tend to get bored of things pretty fast and with this i used to always stay for a very brief time in a forums. And now i found a place where i can discuss anithing and learn at the same time and for me that is gold compare to most things :) So i have seen myself speaking about this forum a lot to other people and i tend to sell the merit of a place where trolls don't belong or tend be of the kind type that everyone likes :)
So please stay like this :D
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Offline Killing Time

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Re: The Argument for Vigorous Moderation
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2014, 03:33:28 AM »
There were always relatively few trolls on this forum.
It was one of things that attracted many of the old guard here, and why we stayed for such a long time. Part of the reason for it was the tight moderation, and part of the reason was that the quality of discussion was high enough to attract a higher quality of regular poster. We had our problem members, for sure, but they were a relatively minor distraction.
However, one of the things that makes a cohesive community is allowing the community to behave in a manner that it naturally finds comfortable. Somewhere along the line, the higher ups of 40kOnline lost the ability to differentiate between occasions that needed light touch moderation and when it needed heavy handed regulation.

For me, I view Warhammer posters as I do the kids I teach in cadets...

And this is why.
Certain moderators^^ grew to believe that any poster not conforming to their narrow world view was a problem child who needed to be dealt with, rather than a real life human possibly with a wife and kids and job and 30 years of gaming experience, who might actually have something useful to contribute.
The limited leeway that was allowed certain veteran members who had earned a slightly elevated standing in the community through years of constructive contribution was stripped away in a short space of time. The resultant fallout killed off what was left of a community that was already losing traffic to other sites and social media, and stripped the site of the majority of its remaining veteran members in a single bad tempered exodus.
Some of us tried to hang around, but once the site lost its critical mass it became an exercise in watching tumbleweed.


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