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Offline Halfpast_Yellow

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Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« on: June 26, 2013, 10:14:53 AM »
Something I've noticed since browsing and posting here since the new Eldar Codex dropped (which bought be back into 40k and thus back to the forum) is the over-moderation of various boards.

While enthusiasm is to be commended, it's hardly attractive to attaining and retaining members, good quality or bad, by having every second to third thread that is created be whisked off to a various sub-board, and various green-text replies or amendments or links everywhere telling members how to be good little 40kOnline citizens.

It doesn't seem like the place has really gone forwards in regards to community or perhaps even trod water on the same spot, and maybe that's a problem.

So this feedback isn't misunderstood, I'm not in the main talking about copyright moderation (which to be fair, is also a bit over the top) but what is falling outside of that.


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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2013, 10:55:38 AM »
Please provide exact examples of what you feel is over-moderation?  You're not really giving us much to go on by giving vague examples.
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Offline Arquarian

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2013, 12:01:57 PM »
The fact that this type of thread crops up so often should be evidence enough.

It is accepted that the boards are clean, uncluttered and otherwise well maintained but you get the feeling that general chat is not encouraged.  Conversations naturally go off topic and to an extent this should be monitored and steered back on track but I think Halfpast is right indicating that, at times, this policing is more stringent than maybe it needs to be.

I have found in the past that if you stray even a little off topic then you get your wrist slapped.

Generally speaking if you're embroiled in a conversation it is naturally going to meander.  Also if the thread has over 30 even on topic posts a guy coming in to the convo is unlikely going to read all 30 previous threads this is when we see, more than occasionally,  the same points made over and over again. Enter the mods who then remind that the point has been made previously yadda, yadda, yadda, and what are we really doing but making more work for ourselves.

I love this forum that's why I've spent over 28 days of my life on here since 2002 but its getting a little bit harder and harder to love considering the ease and fluidity of other forums out there.

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2013, 01:27:56 PM »
With regard to whisking threads off to other sub-boards (as you put it), that's sort of the point. You'd expect to see, say, an army list thread in its proper place, rather than sitting where it's not meant to be if there is a specific place for that thing to go. It just helps keep the place tidy and that's generally what people expect.

The copyright moderation... well, we have been contacted by GW Legal in the past about copyright, and we don't really want that to happen again. Beyond copyright, however (and speaking only for myself), I don't find I need to do that much actual moderating at the moment, because I don't see much that needs moderating -- I think my most recent green-tag thing was fixing someone's formatting, and the green was just so that I could tell the guy what I did. Otherwise, he might've seen "Last Edited By Koval At Whatever Time It Was", and felt rather aggrieved that I'd edited his post without saying what I'd done.

If you can cite some specific examples, possibly here if relevant, then of course that would be useful and allow globals and Rasmus to answer your concerns, because that's then something concrete for them to work with.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2013, 01:35:44 PM by Autarch Koval'andril »

Offline Rasmus

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2013, 02:21:59 PM »
The most current tarnish on the appeal of this forum at this time is the frequent lag and hangups on the old hardware.
We see these concerns about over-moderation pop up from time to time, but the few that have been reported in the thread so kindly linked by Koval have mostly been misunderstandings or "venge-reports".
If you have examples please do provide them. I would love to investigate.

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Offline Halfpast_Yellow

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2013, 12:48:56 AM »
I didn't want to call out specific moderations or behaviour as it's not vengeance driven or anything petty like that, and I wouldn't want to focus down on particular examples and miss the big picture. I'm not even sure I'd expect anything to be changed at all. It's more communicating just the feel I've had from being back to 40k in general after spending time on other boards for other pursuits.

I'm mainly only reading Eldar General and Eldar Strategies and tactics. It feels hard to post in Eldar General, if you look at the first two pages I'd consider that amount of 'MOVED' to be a pretty bad eyesore. Do threads about Eldar specific topics like Wraithbone colour and Warp Spider Phoenix Lords really have to be shifted out?

I think Arquarian probably put across a general feeling more eloquently. If I had to try and find an example, perhaps the Guardian vs Dire Avengers discussion Guardians vs Dire avengers: discussion
After a page of back and forth play experiences and a lot having been hashed out, we can't expand the discussion to Jetbikes as well (similar cost/troops slot/weaponry) because off the specific thread title topic. So thread dies because all that's been said under that limited scope has been said pretty quickly. Why not just let it go?

For stat discussion in the same original post, I've only studied a few years of UK style law over my life so practically have no indepth understanding, but surely fair use or common discussion wouldn't prohibit saying things like Dire Avengers DON'T have 3+ saves? Seems a little over the top. By all means prohibit wholesale statline and printed rule reproductions and over the topness. There would have to be some sort of happy medium, given 40K Online would be the most 'heavily edited for stats' discussion forum for 40k on the web when compared to other active sites that seem to have more leeway?

Offline Rasmus

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2013, 04:50:04 AM »
I didn't want to call out specific moderations or behaviour as it's not vengeance driven or anything petty like that, and I wouldn't want to focus down on particular examples and miss the big picture. I'm not even sure I'd expect anything to be changed at all.

Then I cannot help you, sadly. Moderation is not something that just happens, it is an implementation of policy, and a judgement call. When this goes awry then we have to check

1) The policy, which is pretty much what it needs to be to stay out of GW's legal firingline.
2) Misapplied judgement.

To do the latter I need specific examples, because vague feelings or "well I feel that" does not help me nail down where judgement is lapsing, how it can be addressed or how it can be improved.

Sorry.

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Offline Lachdonin

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2013, 06:55:19 AM »
Now, before i go into this, i'd like to point out that i am personally a big fan of the moderation here. I've been on numerous forums with less strict rules (or a total lack of any, it seems) and it's infuriating to try to pick useful information out of a thread that has A; no quality control or B; has spent 10 pages talking about Angenlina Jolie's breasts when the thread is about whether or not TES Mer are Elves... Alot of forums with have a heavy stream of posts, have a heavy stream of absolute crap, and i think it's the rules, and the watchful eye of the Mods here, which keeps the septic system from being clogged, so to speak.

I also don't have a problem with things getting moved, because... Well... There are clear distinctions laid out, and people should be using them. You don't drive in the wrong lane simply because there are less cars there, i don't think we should let up and have people post Background related questions in general boards simply because the Background board has less traffic. There are some situations where someone doesn't know where something belongs (such as the colour of Wraithbone, it could reasonable be General, Background or even Painting) but by and large i agree with where things get moved to, and why they are moved in the first place.

I think Arquarian probably put across a general feeling more eloquently. If I had to try and find an example, perhaps the Guardian vs Dire Avengers discussion Guardians vs Dire avengers: discussion
After a page of back and forth play experiences and a lot having been hashed out, we can't expand the discussion to Jetbikes as well (similar cost/troops slot/weaponry) because off the specific thread title topic. So thread dies because all that's been said under that limited scope has been said pretty quickly. Why not just let it go?

That said, i think there is something to this. There is very little room for discussions evolving under the current model. In the above example, bringing in considerations of other Troop choices seems, to me anyway, totally natural, despite the content of the initial post. A little more tolerance for topic drift may be in order, provided it centers around the same general theme. A discussion between Guardians and Dire Avengers moving to include Storm Squad, Jetbikes and Rangers is fine, wandering off to include Death Company in the discussion is not.
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Offline Arquarian

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2013, 09:58:51 AM »
For me, Lachdonin has hit the nail on the head. 

A forum should encourage discussion and debate. I don't think anyone is arguing that there has to be rules and guidelines (despite my fondness of Angelina's boobs :) ) these are of course necessary but perhaps a review of the impact on the community regarding the policy and enforcement is having.  Don’t get me wrong I do not want this site shut down by GW’s assault lawyers but there is a marked difference between this site and others in what people get away with. 


Having to constantly second guess what the mods will say / do to my post or thread creates, in my mind, a big brother attitude.  Have I stuck to the topic, have I repeated what has been said before. And coming up with preposterous sentences such as “well, Eldar can increase their toughness to that of Space Marine standards…” instead of just saying ‘T4’. I really can’t see GW legal beating down the door for this type of comment especially as comments such as this are freely available on a plethora of other sites.


There is also a false sense of authority compounded by the number of posts a person has.  I’ve seen it myself.   Since I crossed into ‘Senior Member’ status people treat me with more respect than they did previously.  This is a falsehood and promotes a sort of clique which is counter to the site appearing inclusive  (don’t get me started on penguins, in-jokes, cryptic custom titles and other shenanigans us mere mortals are not privy to) some sites have a ‘cool’ or ‘kudos’ button that affords a person a level of respect on the merit of content of a specific post.  This would go far to steer us towards a more beneficial,  Argument of Authority state from the more prevalent argument from authority.  Weather this is implementable is another matter of course.


Many “noobs” to the site who have possibly been collecting and modelling for years and years are treated as “noobs” to the game and therefore rage quit the site quite often.  These guys, as do all members, would benefit the site.   Some people are hot to temper and say the wrong thing but are then dealt with, in some cases, harshly and are on a slippery slope towards the door.


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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2013, 11:19:36 AM »
There is also a false sense of authority compounded by the number of posts a person has.  I’ve seen it myself.   Since I crossed into ‘Senior Member’ status people treat me with more respect than they did previously.  This is a falsehood and promotes a sort of clique which is counter to the site appearing inclusive  (don’t get me started on penguins, in-jokes, cryptic custom titles and other shenanigans us mere mortals are not privy to) some sites have a ‘cool’ or ‘kudos’ button that affords a person a level of respect on the merit of content of a specific post.  This would go far to steer us towards a more beneficial,  Argument of Authority state from the more prevalent argument from authority.  Weather this is implementable is another matter of course.

Karma is the SMF equivalent, but like the others you refer to, it's a terrible system.  It's easily abused, and turns into nothing more than a popularity contest, and handing out +/- scores based on whether you like the person.  Users also don't know why they receive positive or negative karma, and most fora I'm a member of have disabled the system, owing to the abuse it generates.  It also dissuades people from posting, as it just gives them a button to click instead of making a constructive contribution.

I'd also like to quash the idea that experienced members are treated any differently from a moderation perspective.  I've yet to see preferential treatment from any Staff member in handling moderation cases.  In fact, it could be argued that a higher standard is expected of senior members in terms of following the forum rules, since they've been around for a long time, are meant to set a positive example for new forum members, and are aware of what the forum rules are.  There are no Easter eggs in the forum rules, apart from some minor changes, they've remained broadly the same for many years.


« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 11:20:51 AM by Irisado »
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Offline Arquarian

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2013, 11:13:47 AM »

Since you quoted me, Irasado you'll see from your own post that no mention was made of moderators treating more prolific posts differently in matters of moderation.


I do agree that a higher standard should be expected of 'senior' members and from my own experience I think this is mostly what happens.


The Karma thing may not be a solution but are we thinking along these inovative lines?  At present popularity and defference seem to simply revolve around the number of posts someone has rather than the merit of their contriburion. All I'm saying is that maybe this can be addressed?


This is not a mod-bashing thread but I get the feeling that is what it is being interpreted as. Last thing that should come about is a them and us attitude between the staff and the users. That should be avioded at all costs.


I think the spirit of the message is that its becoming harder to love this site. 




Rasmus points out the lag and hang up, I have been suffering from a formatting bug (yes I did raise this, maybe I should do so again). these are just little things that stop this great site being greater. There's the issue of mederation brought up by Halfpast, thread progression mentioned by Lachdonin...


These aren't unsurmountable issues I think all we're asking is that they are considered.


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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2013, 12:42:37 PM »
Since you quoted me, Irasado you'll see from your own post that no mention was made of moderators treating more prolific posts differently in matters of moderation.

What I meant by that is that less experienced forum members (not you) have, in the past, felt that senior members of the forum have been treated more leniently by the Staff, and I just wanted to make it clear that I have not seen this happening.

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The Karma thing may not be a solution but are we thinking along these inovative lines?  At present popularity and defference seem to simply revolve around the number of posts someone has rather than the merit of their contriburion. All I'm saying is that maybe this can be addressed?

Elitist behaviour towards less experienced forum members has been cracked down on in the past, so if you think that there are specific examples of this going on, I'm sure that Rasmus would also investigate these if you provide him with these specific examples.

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This is not a mod-bashing thread but I get the feeling that is what it is being interpreted as. Last thing that should come about is a them and us attitude between the staff and the users. That should be avioded at all costs.


Issues regarding forum activity have been raised by various Staff in the Staff board often over the last few years, so these concerns are being listened to.
« Last Edit: July 3, 2013, 09:33:18 AM by Irisado »
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Offline Arquarian

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #12 on: July 3, 2013, 08:00:57 AM »
In that case we look forward to some positive steps taken by the staff and and mods.


I'd like to stress that if I can be of help at all, please let me know.


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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #13 on: July 4, 2013, 12:45:49 PM »
Are the boards over-moderated?

As far as I can tell they seem to be at the same high standard and level that they've always have, or rather I should say the same high standard as they've been since I discovered and joined the site.  Are there more thread moves currently then say last month?  Possibly, but that's not the fault of the moderators.  Are more threads getting redacted or changed then last month?  Again it is a possibility, but everything I've seen that has gotten changed by a mod was due to either copyrighted stuff was posted, unreadable grammar/spelling/everything in caps, or because someone made a double post instead of a modify.  As for the preponderance of 'thread moved' stubbs, yeah they do kinda clog a front page from time to time, but it's better that they exist rather than not, and it's also not that hard to move past the front page should the need arise (although that probably isn't too necessary as the ever popular Eldar board still has posts whose last input was the first of last month)

Are there people out there that are ignoring proper nettiquite and site rules?  Yes, that's why there are moderators.  Are there more offenders then say last month?  Again there is a possibility of it, but I lack the variables or the desire to try and rate it.  Nevertheless I'd wager that the boards aren't being over-moderated, if for no other reason then I've never seen a mod go crazy and change someone's complete post, or move something to the completely 'why the heck is it there' level (such as putting an Eldar army list into the painting forum because there was mention of paint in the post... I really hope that never happened I'm just creating an example out of thin air).  Also I've never seen anyone make a brief offtopic comment and get it mod-ed out.  But when it's say a paragraph or more on something completely offtopic showing no remorse or even the attempt to integrate it into the topic at hand, or worse an entire post of nothing that's contributing to the topic at hand, that's when you need a mod to wrist slap or even split the posts.  And even then it's something I've only seen rarely.  Just because I didn't see something doesn't mean it doesn't exist, but if you too closely follow that logic, Mothman and the Jersey Devil must exist because I didn't see them.

The last thing I'll say is that if you've ever sent a message or had an in forum discussion with a mod, they're generally all dedicated to making the site the best it can be.  I'd like to say all, but I try and avoid absolutes, especially when I'm sure there's mods I've never seen/heard of because I don't read every section of the forum.  Nevertheless it's quite clear to me that the mods are doing their jobs to the best of their ability as a public service to us all.  More than just that, they are incredibly open to input, perfectly evidenced by this thread, and are all open to investigating their own practices to ensure that they can maintain a high standard of performance.  If they didn't care, they probably could have deleted this subject.

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Offline Shad

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #14 on: January 1, 2014, 03:30:55 AM »
From visiting some self-moderating (to extent, as is, moderators there ban only for spamming and some illegal things like promoting piracy) websites regularly, I have learned that letting people be completely honest with each other, swear and vent out does not actually turn forums into chaotic abyss general folk believe it would. Indeed, I have found more long and interesting discussions at places like that than anywhere else.

So, while I enjoy a piece of academical, sterile information from 40konline from time to time, from my point of view it's moderatorship is absolutely terrible and moderators are all contaminated with what is called, where I come from, a "janitor syndrome". They run around with their green markers trying to make everything as children-friendly as possible, which leads to confusion, dead topics, doesn't promote any establishment of relationship between visitors and make people resort to passive-agressive behavior. Moderators extended their job from making website up and running to creating their own tea party about warhammer with hats and monocles.

I'd rather get an ugly "warning" stamp on my avatar, personal message or be banned outright than have my post edited, because it feels like my own speech is being censored in real time, which feels awful. My writing in the internet is, simply, what I am, and if somebody doesn't like what I am, either tell me or shove your moderatorship tools up' yours.

Let people themselves decide if they are offended by some person's post or not, that's what "report" button is supposed to be used for. People will moderate discussions themselves to an extent, and moderators could get out more often instead of spending their lives to click on buttons and remove "harmful" content.
« Last Edit: January 1, 2014, 03:37:55 AM by Shad »

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #15 on: January 1, 2014, 03:41:33 AM »
Let people themselves decide if they are offended by some person's post or not, that's what "report" button is supposed to be used for. People will moderate discussions themselves to an extent, and moderators could get out more often instead of spending their lives to click on buttons and remove "harmful" content.

Does not work with kids though - and then there are ugly mails from parents to deal with. I am guessing the sites you are talking about does not have or indeed does not want people of all ages around to enjoy them, but this site does. As such, there are some things we have to do make is a pleasant experience for all intended readers.

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Offline Shad

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #16 on: January 1, 2014, 03:55:35 AM »
I don't remember age problems occur to me (uh, people just don't really share their age unless they want to), but from how I see it, a spammer is a spammer and he should be banned regardless of his age, his parents ignored or, well, told the truth. I have been a moderator in chats and forums myself, and I had to deal with teenagers (age ~13 or so), and I don't remember that being such a problem that some iron curtain for everybody had to be installed. Sure it was a headache to deal with them sometimes, but - part of the job.

What, you care for some illusionary "prestige"? What is even can be gained from that? Money to make things run? Little cute medal for your website being most "friendly"? Cause I'm not following.
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« Last Edit: January 1, 2014, 03:59:10 AM by Shad »

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #17 on: January 1, 2014, 06:11:40 AM »
From visiting some self-moderating (to extent, as is, moderators there ban only for spamming and some illegal things like promoting piracy) websites regularly, I have learned that letting people be completely honest with each other, swear and vent out does not actually turn forums into chaotic abyss general folk believe it would. Indeed, I have found more long and interesting discussions at places like that than anywhere else.

I have found completely the opposite.  Unmoderated forums and websites are full of people posting objectionable comments which become very personal and cause a lot of upset and escalating flame wars.  Constructive discussion is non-existent, and spam is rife.  That's not what I would like to see here.

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So, while I enjoy a piece of academical, sterile information from 40konline from time to time, from my point of view it's moderatorship is absolutely terrible and moderators are all contaminated with what is called, where I come from, a "janitor syndrome". They run around with their green markers trying to make everything as children-friendly as possible, which leads to confusion, dead topics, doesn't promote any establishment of relationship between visitors and make people resort to passive-agressive behavior. Moderators extended their job from making website up and running to creating their own tea party about warhammer with hats and monocles.

The job of moderators is nothing to do with keeping the website up and running.  That's the role of adminstrators and other technical wizards.  The job of moderators is to make sure that the forum rules are respected by all the forum members, so that everyone has a pleasant environment in which to post.  The rules are clearly listed here, and all moderators are required to enforce them.  Far from not being clear, the fact that we have such a comprehensive list makes is crystal clear what is not permitted here, leaving very little room for confusion.

If you are confused about something, you're welcome to ask for clarification.  What is the cause of your confusion?

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I'd rather get an ugly "warning" stamp on my avatar, personal message or be banned outright than have my post edited, because it feels like my own speech is being censored in real time, which feels awful. My writing in the internet is, simply, what I am, and if somebody doesn't like what I am, either tell me or shove your moderatorship tools up' yours.

On a private forum, there is no such thing as free speech per se.  The owner of the forum decides what can and cannot be said on a private forum, so nobody here has the right to say anything that they like except the owner himself.

Quote
Let people themselves decide if they are offended by some person's post or not, that's what "report" button is supposed to be used for. People will moderate discussions themselves to an extent, and moderators could get out more often instead of spending their lives to click on buttons and remove "harmful" content.

Your post was edited following the receipt of a report about its content.

Finally, if you feel that your post was moderated incorrectly, I refer you to this.
« Last Edit: January 1, 2014, 06:12:47 AM by Irisado »
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Offline Shad

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #18 on: January 1, 2014, 09:10:24 AM »
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I have found completely the opposite.  Unmoderated forums and websites are full of people posting objectionable comments which become very personal and cause a lot of upset and escalating flame wars.  Constructive discussion is non-existent, and spam is rife.
The heat is in the nature of a debate. You take it out, you often kill the debate. I am not promoting complete anarchy, if people start discussing something like politics on a hobby forum, they are asking for apprehension. But if you just make them stay inside their sandboxes, the heat usually just vents out by itself. An example of a self-governant communities - RPG Codex, an extremely heated website about roleplaying games with peculiar reputation. Sure it has a lot of things which you would take for spam or flame wars, but it also miraculously produced some of the best articles on it's topic and was praised for that even by other, more strict websites. There are intelligent people there, game designers, even game developers from big companies visit it. Why? Because, by the words of one of them - "I come here to actually learn what people think about my games". Historically it was created in the first place by people who got sick of moderators enforcing their way of posting too much to begin with.

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The job of moderators is nothing to do with keeping the website up and running.
What I meant was a general job of a moderator: moving sudden topic about weather into general discussion, rooting out advertising plants (bots) and banning particularly insane individuals who don't understand the rules at all. I would call it creating "workable" environment, instead of a "pleasant" one.

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What is the cause of your confusion?
Was it sarcasm, famous British politeness or am I so completely incomprehensible? If it's the last, i would rest my cause and go read through a dictionary or something.

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On a private forum, there is no such thing as free speech per se.
So, by your definition, every forum is private because it has a holder, so there is never a forum which is made to actually be a "forum" - a place of free discussion and exchanging ideas. Seems like a sad concept to me.

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Your post was edited following the receipt of a report about its content.
It's not about some post, I've spent what, 6 years here stalking and reading and sometimes posting here? I know of your moderating style. When I've seen this topic, however, it struck me that it could use another colorful opinion "from the outside", so here you have it. The question was - is over-moderation kills forum appeal? And my reply is - yes it does, and I think a more balanced approach to moderatorship would do this website some good.

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Re: Over-moderation killing forum appeal?
« Reply #19 on: January 1, 2014, 09:32:49 AM »
I don't remember age problems occur to me (uh, people just don't really share their age unless they want to), but from how I see it, a spammer is a spammer and he should be banned regardless of his age, his parents ignored or, well, told the truth. I have been a moderator in chats and forums myself, and I had to deal with teenagers (age ~13 or so), and I don't remember that being such a problem that some iron curtain for everybody had to be installed. Sure it was a headache to deal with them sometimes, but - part of the job.

While interesting that is not what I was talking about. What I was talking about was the mail from parents to me about all the foul thing that our site "subjected my poor innocent Timmy when he was reading about his toy soldiers! For shame!" Yeah, those kinds. And those happen, especially when you are working on a site about a toy-based tabletop game with "cool space-alien robot-soldiers". By keeping the forum "clean" we limit the risk of anyone getting annoyed at the tone or attitude and are able to actually enjoy the contents, and while that puts some weight on the shoulders of all members to restrain from whatever silly first-thought responses might pop up, and actually consider before posting, I believe that it is worth it.

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