Dreamstorm

Discussion about forum moderation

113 posts in this topic

On 2/22/2018 at 5:31 PM, Chaos said:

I know some people think I'm trying to defend Calderis and RShara when I've called them out for them being abrasive multiple times before historically. 

I want to believe you about this, and I partially do.  I've twice brought to your attention posts that Calderis made in response to mine.  The first time, you took action, said you spoke to him and he agreed the post was offensive, and took down the offending post.  The second time, you ignored me.  Maybe that was an anomaly.  I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt. [Edit: I found out after this original post that action was taken on the second report just not communicated to me.]

But I am finding it hard to believe the moderator treatment has been the same as it has been for less "favored" posters.  I cannot know the answer to this, but have either of them been moderated (required moderator approval of posts prior to posting)?  You admit they are repeat offenders.  It would make sense that a repeat offender would be moderated at times, especially as I know others have been moderated for singular offenses.  Given the extreme frequency of their posts, and the often slow speed at which I know others' moderated posts have been approved, I am doubtful this has been the case.  I apologize if this is an incorrect assumption; maybe they have both been on moderated status a lot.  

What I do know is that you publicly chastise posters for bad behavior.  This thread is an example, as it contains multiple posts of you chastising IronBars.  This is not a bad tactic; public shaming is highly effective.  However, I have never seen Calderis of RShara publicly chastised prior to the rather vague statement above.  So even if I can take your word for that you are consistently responding to concerns about their posts and treating them the same as others behind closed doors, publicly the treatment is noticeably different.

It's no secret that the moderators of this forum have a consistent bias, in general not liking criticism of the book and specifically having strong opinions on certain topics, as these views have been aired very publicly.  From what I have seen, it is the posters whose opinions run contrary to the collective "moderator opinion" who are the ones publicly chastised.  For instance, a moderator once brought in a friend as an "attack dog" to the shipping thread (the poster stated they were there to provide snarky comments), the moderator's friend got extremely heated and was reported.  The moderator team on some level must have agreed on the offensiveness of the post, as it was deleted and then reinstated with revisions.  No public chastisement was given.  This is not an anomaly; it's been quite clear that biased treatment is to be expected.

I disagree with almost every one a IronBars opinions.  (I can't think of any I agree with actually?)  But, I certainly understand and sympathize with his frustration over dealing with elitist, condescending posters and a moderating staff that appears to be blatantly biased.  I give IronBars a lot of credit for sticking with their opinions on this thread.  I wouldn't have been able to do it.  I essentially stopped posting on threads other than the shipping thread in order to avoid interacting with many of the frequent posters here, who I saw were condescending of others and who treated me the same in my limited interactions with them.  I had no faith the moderators here would respond to my reports even if I made them, let alone treat my concerns fairly.

This forum is of course a private enterprise.  You can censor certain views all you want.  You have zero obligation to act in a manner that is not arbitrary and capricious.  It is disappointing as someone who truly loves the author's work (and even more disappointing that this an official fan site, and thus carries with it the implication of being endorsed by the author), but people like myself and IronBars can choose not to participate, take our offending views elsewhere.  And in the end, that may be the whole point.

Edited by Dreamstorm
Added new information learned after OP about second reporting situation.
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1 hour ago, Dreamstorm said:

I had no faith the moderators here would respond to my reports even if I made them, let alone treat my concerns fairly.

I'm sorry to hear that  you feel that way. I personally don't really attend book discussion forums as I don't really care about theories etc. I also don't care if someone likes the books or not. I'm here for the community (and to make a cool project - Arcanum). That's why this whole mess is a new thing to me. That's also why I would really like you to know, that all moderators are informed when someone reports something, not only the ones you have bad experience interacting with. Almost every report (excluding obvious spamming reports) is discussed among a group of staffers, before any action is taken. 

If you find a post that you find offensive or unacceptable in any way, please do report it. The staff team is made up of different people and I assure you, we won't ignore anyone if they feel offended/insulted/attacked, even by the most prominent members of the community. But to get the attention of "unbiased" staff members, you should really report things.

 

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2 hours ago, Dreamstorm said:

You can censor certain views all you want.

Can you or anyone else explain the censorship complaint? I've been struggling to understand why some people think their opinions are being censored.

Nobody tried to bury IronBars' opinions so far as I can see. This whole conversation began simply because Chaos took offense at him using the term "fanboy" in a negative way. Nothing was covered or hidden. None of the actual content of his argument was disputed. It was just a simple "hey, please don't say it like that." Sounds like you're saying you'd prefer such comments to be made in private?

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So it is good to know that this concern is being considered properly and I am very grateful to you @Mestiv for moving this post.

I would like to say I agree with @Dreamstorm's post almost entirely, and whilst the criticisms may not reflect the actual nature of things they do show how the system can be perceived, particularly if you feel like you are member of those with "fringe" theories and beliefs. Perception is important when it comes to discipline.

59 minutes ago, Mestiv said:

If you find a post that you find offensive or unacceptable in any way, please do report it. The staff team is made up of different people and I assure you, we won't ignore anyone if they feel offended/insulted/attacked, even by the most prominent members of the community. But to get the attention of "unbiased" staff members, you should really report things.

 

So I agree, but I do have a question. When a post is dismissive in a way that could be perceived as aggressive (passive-aggressive?) should that be reported? I ask because in my opinion, much of the problem here, and elsewhere is when people feel dismissed by "older" members and then lash out in anger - indeed, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what happened in the thread this was originally posted in. If not, it has certainly happened elsewhere. That doesn't excuse lashing out, but frankly, the dismissive comments whilst often as hurtful as insults (neglect is as harmful as abuse after all) do not get moderated the way abuse does. If there isn't a direct insult it just gets left. 

I think that is a problem. Additionally, how do we deal with it? I mean, someone might sound dismissive without meaning to - it is easier than to insult without meaning to. They might get reported even though it was just that they were on their phone, got interrupted mid post and posted without thinking it through completely. Its a reasonable scenario to imagine as I am sure many of us have done just that!

On top of that, the liking system adds additional factors here. For example, a dismissive post that states "mainstream" opinions will often get a lot of likes because the majority of readers will hold the same opinion,. It doesn't matter whether they agree with the dismissal or not, it validates that person and also undermines the person they were originally commenting to because it simply proves how many members of the community disagree with them, as well as reinforces the idea of being dismissed by the community as a whole. This is worsened even further when a popular post is then flagged. Honestly, other than for stroking our own egos, what does the liking system even add

3 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

Can you or anyone else explain the censorship complaint? I've been struggling to understand why some people think their opinions are being censored.

 

Well I know I've certainly decided not to post in certain threads because there is just no point - my opinions will just be dismissed as irrelevant. It's more insidious than cencorship - it is self-censorship because the majority will drown you out and dismiss you so why bother posting in the first place? On top of that, defence of your opinions tends to get you shouted at by mods (although usually because defence tends to get heated - and people do need to watch how they behave so mod input is usually necessary).... but you don't need to defend those opinions if you hold the majority view, only if you have minority ideas.

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10 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

I ask because in my opinion, much of the problem here, and elsewhere is when people feel dismissed by "older" members and then lash out in anger - indeed, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what happened in the thread this was originally posted in. If not, it has certainly happened elsewhere. That doesn't excuse lashing out, but frankly, the dismissive comments whilst often as hurtful as insults (neglect is as harmful as abuse after all) do not get moderated the way abuse does. If there isn't a direct insult it just gets left. 

I think that is a problem. Additionally, how do we deal with it? I mean, someone might sound dismissive without meaning to - it is easier than to insult without meaning to. They might get reported even though it was just that they were on their phone, got interrupted mid post and posted without thinking it through completely. Its a reasonable scenario to imagine as I am sure many of us have done just that!

We deal with it, by asking the person that was dismissive to apologize. Honest apologies are a cure to many problems. Most older members will recognize that they were wrong or offended someone. Especially if their faults are pointed out by a mod or someone else than the person that feels offended.

Now what happens if a new member gets offended/dismissed and lashes out? A mod gets busy dealing with them, because their reaction is far more jarring than the dismissive post that caused it.

Also, remember that we're all just human. Most staff members recognize and know the old-timers. We know that they aren't bad people and even if they say something questionable, they don't have bad intentions. It really helps when you (the newer community members) help us notice that something is wrong.

11 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

On top of that, the liking system adds additional factors here. For example, a dismissive post that states "mainstream" opinions will often get a lot of likes because the majority of readers will hold the same opinion,. It doesn't matter whether they agree with the dismissal or not, it validates that person and also undermines the person they were originally commenting to because it simply proves how many members of the community disagree with them, as well as reinforces the idea of being dismissed by the community as a whole. This is worsened even further when a popular post is then flagged. Honestly, other than for stroking our own egos, what does the liking system even add

The reputation system was added for fun. Many sharders enjoy getting new ranks etc. Negative repuration was disabled because it caused poisonous situations when someone got downvoted. Now I see that positive votes can also cause harm. It's a good thing that there are serious plans to replace upvotes with reaction a'la facebook. Those seem more neutral.

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2 hours ago, Dreamstorm said:

For instance, a moderator once brought in a friend as an "attack dog" to the shipping thread (the poster stated they were there to provide snarky comments), the moderator's friend got extremely heated and was reported.  The moderator team on some level must have agreed on the offensiveness of the post, as it was deleted and then reinstated with revisions.  No public chastisement was given.  This is not an anomaly; it's been quite clear that biased treatment is to be expected.

Hey Dream, as the moderator in question, I'd like to give a little more insight into what happened there. I assume you're talking about Kogiopsis' brief foray into the Adolin-Shallan-Kaladin thread? Your retelling of events is fairly accurate, but I'd like to explain a bit of what happened behind the scenes. Yes, Kogi's a close personal friend of mine, has been for years.

She's long disliked some of the culture of discussions on 17S and, for the most part, avoids them. She has an aggressive personality, and it tends to come out strongly when she is engaged in a heated discussion, and she knows that a lot of times, that kind of argument is against the rules on 17S. The mix of 17S conversations making her blood pressure rise combined with the fact that she hits too hard when she's annoyed means that she stays away for the most part.

I didn't summon her as an attack dog or ask her to contribute. Frankly, I was downright shocked to see that she'd logged in here. We've got group chats on skype with other Cosmere fandom members, and some of us are on 17S and had been talking about our discussions in ASK, so she knew about the thread. But I certainly wasn't expecting her to go weigh in with her take on the matter.

She went too far, got carried away and her tone strayed into a territory that broke the rules. The moderation staff discussed it, agreed that the tone was too far, the post was hidden. I talked to her privately about it, and she said she had a pretty good idea of where she'd crossed the line and so, after editing the offending part out, the post was reinstated. 

Now, I think you have a point about public chastisement in a way. There wasn't a call-out for Kogi in the thread for that event, but I think that has more to do with the fact that it was an issue that could be handled and fixed privately. And it's not just personal friends of staff who get that treatment. There's plenty of times where staff send private messages to members to try to fix posts or steer a conversation away if it looks like it's getting toxic. It doesn't always have to do with bias or relationship. Sometimes the person isn't too far out of line and just needs a staff nudge. Sometimes a public condemnation would throw an otherwise productive topic off-course and we don't want to interrupt for a staff announcement.

Public moderation has its place too though. In some cases, it can be good for other members to see what kind of behavior is out of line so that they can not make the same mistakes in the future. A lot of times, conflicts in threads aren't the fault of one single person, but rather a group of people getting heated and taking things too far, in which case, it's easier to just sit them all down right there in the thread and ask them to cool off. It depends on the situation, again.

In Kogi's case, I knew why she'd gone too far and I knew, as her friend, that she'd fix it when asked without throwing a fit. And yes, that is a benefit of being friends with someone, that you know them and it's easier to deal with stuff like that because you've got a previous relationship. I can't hit up RandomUser096 on Skype and say "hey buddy, I think you know where that went wrong, but I know you'll fix it because we're cool" sort of thing.

Most of the users here are strangers here, and that means I can't just saunter into their PMs here and know for certain they'll be reasonable. There's plenty of members who blow up and try to make things worse when a moderator steps in. There's some who will shout that you're being jerks to them specifically, peppered with swear words, and throw tantrums. But there's plenty of people who apologize and are fine. Sometimes it's a misunderstanding, and the person didn't realize how their post really came across. But when you don't know the person, it's a grab bag which one it's going to be. And odds are, when the person has already gone too far and broken the rules, there's a higher chance that they're going to be the furiously angry former type than the reasonable and apologetic latter type.

Maybe we, as staff, didn't handle that situation in the best way. Maybe we did. We did our best at the time to be fair about it. I'm sure there's other situations we could have handled better too, just as there's situations that were handled smoothly enough that other users never even knew about them. The staff are human. We make mistakes and we have biases on moderation things just as we have regular opinions on book things. We do try hard not to let those biases affect our moderation, but I'm sure it happens sometimes anyway, despite our intentions otherwise. 

I think I speak for the staff when we say that we don't want the moderation team to be some dangerous, shadowy cabal that might swoop down out of nowhere and execute you in broad daylight, or send assassins in the night to murder you if you don't fall in line with our nefarious agenda. We're just fans, like you guys, who joined this site because we love Brandon's books and love talking about them with other fans. We've just got... a little more say in sorting things out when things start to go wrong.

I think maybe a thread like this is a good thing. I think it could be productive to talk about how moderation works on the site and maybe we as staff members can learn how to improve some things too. Like I said, we're not perfect. But we're trying our best. Maybe, after talking it all through, we can get even better.

Edited by FeatherWriter
Phrasing change.
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There's more than just moderation issues here too. We also tend to avoid confrontation and try and use the mods as intermediaries. 

I mean... @Chaos is the only person I know of who has ever spoken to me about the content of my posts. And on the occasions that that's happened, I wasn't aware that it was because of a report. No poster that I'm aware of has ever told me publicly or privately that one of my posts was out of line. I've either come to that conclusion myself, and added an edit to clarify, on rarer occasions realized I should have just shut up and chose to use the "hide post feature." Or on a few occasions, I've been dealt with by Chaos personally. Theres never been a step between self-moderation and Mod intervention, and frankly I think that's part of the issue. 

I know that I can be fairly abrasive at times, and it is by no means intentional. My self-moderation is much more strict than it used to be after a couple of incidents that I have been involved in that in retrospect were completely my fault. You learn from things and try to do better. 

If something I say offends, feel free to send me a message. I guarantee it's not intentional. 

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17 minutes ago, Calderis said:

There's more than just moderation issues here too. We also tend to avoid confrontation and try and use the mods as intermediaries. 

I mean... @Chaos is the only person I know of who has ever spoken to me about the content of my posts. And on the occasions that that's happened, I wasn't aware that it was because of a report. No poster that I'm aware of has ever told me publicly or privately that one of my posts was out of line. I've either come to that conclusion myself, and added an edit to clarify, on rarer occasions realized I should have just shut up and chose to use the "hide post feature." Or on a few occasions, I've been dealt with by Chaos personally. Theres never been a step between self-moderation and Mod intervention, and frankly I think that's part of the issue. 

I know that I can be fairly abrasive at times, and it is by no means intentional. My self-moderation is much more strict than it used to be after a couple of incidents that I have been involved in that in retrospect were completely my fault. You learn from things and try to do better. 

If something I say offends, feel free to send me a message. I guarantee it's not intentional. 

I think some of it comes back to that grab-bag of reactions idea. There's nothing wrong with members talking out their disagreements themselves in private, but I don't think very many do. A random user who disagrees with you might be worried that you'd blow up at them if they tried to say something privately. Conflict resolution's hard and scary. I understand why a lot of people prefer to just ping staff with a report and let a moderator deal with it. It's a little easier for us to talk to people because we've got some authority and well... mucking through the unfun parts of conflict resolution is part of our job. We have to deal with it, but members have the choice of whether they want to handle it themselves or take it up the chain of command.

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12 minutes ago, Mestiv said:

Most staff members recognize and know the old-timers. We know that they aren't bad people and even if they say something questionable, they don't have bad intentions. It really helps when you (the newer community members) help us notice that something is wrong.

And this shows bias. You are giving the benefit of the doubt to the names you know but given your comments, it seems less likely that you will be equally forgiving to newer members because you haven't established that they also are likely not trying to give offence. So then we see newer members get public warnings because they go past the line, but older members may get PMs because they probably skirted it or at least because they are given the benefit of the doubt are perceived to have skirted it.

This whole idea that as a newer member you feel comfortable reporting someone "older", especially if you have seen them defended elsewhere in the forum. How often does that actually happen? Probably not that often - new members post less, lurk more and likely try to avoid rocking the boat until they understand the lay of the land (pls forgive mixed metaphors!) 

21 minutes ago, FeatherWriter said:

She's long disliked some of the culture of discussions on 17S and, for the most part, avoids them. She likes to get aggressive with people that she thinks are being idiots and shut them down hard, and she knows that a lot of times, that kind of argument is against the rules on 17S. The mix of 17S conversations making her blood pressure rise combined with the fact that she hits too hard when she's annoyed means that she stays away for the most part.

I didn't summon her as an attack dog or ask her to contribute. Frankly, I was downright shocked to see that she'd logged in here. We've got group chats on skype with other Cosmere fandom members, and some of us are on 17S and had been talking about our discussions in ASK, so she knew about the thread. But I certainly wasn't expecting her to go weigh in with her take on the matter.

She went too far, got carried away and her tone strayed into a territory that broke the rules. The moderation staff discussed it, agreed that the tone was too far, the post was hidden. I talked to her privately about it, and she said she had a pretty good idea of where she'd crossed the line and so, after editing the offending part out, the post was reinstated. 

I wasn't present for this event so I don't have first hand experience of it, but simply from your own words this seems very flawed. A member came into a thread and proceeded to break the rules. Was she put on moderation? Was she banned? We have no idea that any real discipline was carried out and she wasn't publically shamed like a new member would have been in the same circumstance. And why did this happen? According to you it is because she is your friend. You just had a chat.

How is this ok?

This proves that there is bias again. Indeed, it is even worse than I thought! Why wasn't a post made by a moderator at least acknowledging this - can it not be seen that this has the effect of making people feel like as long as you know the mods, you're golden?

8 minutes ago, Calderis said:

There's more than just moderation issues here too. We also tend to avoid confrontation and try and use the mods as intermediaries. 

So the problem here is that most people avoid confrontation in all walks of life. Confronting someone is hard, especially when you look at someone's reputation and see it is something like yours - "God of Colour" which suggests your posts are well liked by the community as a whole. I agree with you that we need more openness between each other but I genuinely don't see how it would work for most people - most of us see criticism and get defensive which then locks us up to improving things (storms, I know I do!). Indeed I can think of several examples where such discussion was attempted but then ignored by the original poster. I applaud you for accepting blame for some events in the past ( I don't know what they are, but it is big of you to accept responsibility).

 

Personally I think public shaming is not useful - it causes defensiveness which then prevents a change in behaviour. A PM with an explanation about why the post is a problem is going to be more effective with more people (you can even have C+Ped sections in to make them quick to write!). Additionally, having dedicated mods for each sub forum or even each thread (mods that can only post as mods, and not with personal opinions) will also help because then the rules will be applied more consistently within a specific thread/sub forum rather than the way they are at the moment where sometimes someone steps in publicly and other times something seems to happen offscreen which is presumably from a different moderator and the problem resolves with less fanfare. It doesn't matter if the rules aren't consistent between threads, as long as they are consistent within them - you'd get used to the rules in the threads you tend to use. Currently mods post personal opinions as moderators. This makes it appear to be an "approved" opinion. It can sway opinion massively - authority is a huge factor when it comes to holding opinions, even in something so unimportant as opinions on a work of fiction - indeed if authority can make people "torture" people (they believed they were, but it was just a lab test) then it can definitely make people rethink their ideas and start conforming to the mainstream with a book.

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This took forever to write. Sorry if some of these things have already been addressed by others. :)

2 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

When a post is dismissive in a way that could be perceived as aggressive (passive-aggressive?) should that be reported?

Absolutely. I mean, I'm not saying we will agree with you, but no way to know unless someone raises a hand. If you think something isn't okay we want to know about it.

We're certainly not going to remove somebody's post just because they disagree with you, whether they do so with a baseless, fluffy argument or a strong, logical argument. We do put more concern towards personal attacks. Generally dismissive people become a problem when it's stifling discussion. If somebody is interfering with a conversation and making people feel unwelcome then we want to know about it, so that we can determine if they're crossing a line. That's my opinion anyways. I can't speak for every moderator.

18 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Honestly, other than for stroking our own egos, what does the liking system even add

Just be glad we removed the negative rep. :D Reputation is incredibly valuable in certain contexts... But yeah, it can be frustrating in topics that are both subjective and controversial. Those are rare though, I think. There's been some talk of removing the system, but I'm not sure what the state of that discussion is. Maybe Chaos can say more.

I've made posts before that I thought deserved more votes than they got. At the end of the day, I think you've got to tell yourself its okay. Just internet points. Nothing wrong with having a minority opinion and thus getting less votes. Heck, in some ways those are more valuable.

35 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

I've certainly decided not to post in certain threads because there is just no point - my opinions will just be dismissed as irrelevant.

But there's a distinction there. This sounds like you feel censored just by the general community. I'm specifically asking about the statement that moderators are doing the censoring. Maybe the implication is just that we're subtly censoring via the community, by encouraging/discouraging certain opinions? We certainly have our own individual opinions. Sometimes those may line up. I don't think we ever abuse moderation powers to encourage those opinions, though we can certainly talk about it if people think we do.

I definitely don't think it's our job to protect minority opinions from the general community. We're not okay with personal attacks or harassment, and we want discussion to be open. But otherwise we're not going to like... limit the number of popular opinions that can be shared per minority opinion? I'm not even sure what to do with that idea.

It's okay to share something controversial, knowing it won't be popular. You should do so because you think someone else might like to read your thoughts, and realize that maybe nobody will. You should absolutely never feel the need to respond to someone in a heated way. If you're angry, it's probably time to take a step back. Maybe return later. Maybe not. If you ever feel like the only way to make your point is with anger, sarcasm, or any kind of aggression then I would want to know about it.

As far as I know, we haven't removed or discouraged any posts simply because they are minority opinions (that we don't agree with).

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Hello, I don't have unlimited time today, but I'd like to respond to a few matters.

First, as Josh said in the ASK closure thread, we are not here to silence opinions. There have been good things in the ASK closure thread. There have been good things in the Underwhelming topic. We did not take closing ASK lightly, because obviously we knew people would feel like we are trying to silence them. We tried to head this off in Josh's post, but we didn't go far enough in reassurances, and for that, I'm sorry. 

I spent most of yesterday with Josh writing PMs to many people who reached out to him. I'm very grateful for both the positive and negative feedback that we received (some, obviously, quite negative). I'd like to posit to people generally our plan on how we could make character discussion better, leads to less conflict, and hopefully leads to better discourse. You see, we think it's a serious problem that character discussion tended to only be in that thread. That's actually a big part of the problem: ASK felt like the only thread where people could discuss character relationships. This made it so a lot of new members interested in that kind of conversation went there, and people, at times, got very heated in there. That turned out to be a problem.

So we feel the core issue is that a megathread with a lot of heated people from all sides is not the most conducive for good discussion. We're thinking the solution to this is that we actually need more character discussion threads. I'm thinking smaller scale, more specific threads like "Disappointed in lack of Shallan and Kaladin development in OB," "Adolin is bad for Shallan's personas," and things like that. What others should be made? I ultimately think that will lead to a lot more variety in character discussion of all types. 

There are some concerns that people feel like character discussion is intruding on "real" topics. For example, people very passionate about hardcore theorizing disliking shipping discussion. I think we will need to make a topic from the staff that basically says, "Let's talk about character discussion. If you don't like it, go into another topic. You'll be okay. If you find some opinions there bad, we strongly encourage you to not engage and instead get a cup of tea. If people are heated, we'll ask them to leave from those threads." Maybe we need a tag prefix for "characters" for such topics as well so people know what that thread is and can just avoid it.

To be honest, I expected there to be ASK related threads after we closed it, but I see that people felt unwelcome by that, thinking we are banning character discussion. That is ridiculous, and definitely not what we want. I am hoping this will help. 

There's kind of a difficult line, though, as things have developed to be very tribal. I'd really like there to not be two separate threads "Oh there's the Shalladin area" and "Oh here's the Shadolin area." That would be bad. 

Realize this is the most contentious book the forum has seen, and we can do better as a community to let people who have opinions they don't agree with feel valued. It's a growing process.

Next up, let's talk about reputation. Historically reputation has been considered very fun by the community and they like the titles that are there. But I suppose when things get heated and tribal, seeing a number on a post you don't agree with having, say, 10 upvotes might just lead you to say, "wow so many agreed with that? That's sad" and then you just leave. We thought removing downvotes would improve discourse, but maybe we do need to remove the whole system. 

I will say, I have very limited time this weekend, so I may not get a chance to write a big post, but know your voices are being heard here, all. 

EDIT:

This whole idea that as a newer member you feel comfortable reporting someone "older", especially if you have seen them defended elsewhere in the forum. How often does that actually happen? Probably not that often - new members post less, lurk more and likely try to avoid rocking the boat until they understand the lay of the land (pls forgive mixed metaphors!) 

lot more than you'd expect. Some long time members we've had very extensive, heated disciplinary PMs about. 

Edited by Chaos
Editing in an additional quote
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4 hours ago, Dreamstorm said:

I want to believe you about this, and I partially do.  I've twice brought to your attention posts that Calderis made in response to mine.  The first time, you took action, said you spoke to him and he agreed the post was offensive, and took down the offending post.  The second time, you ignored me.  Maybe that was an anomaly.  I would like to give you the benefit of the doubt.

But I am finding it hard to believe the moderator treatment has been the same as it has been for less "favored" posters.  I cannot know the answer to this, but have either of them been moderated (required moderator approval of posts prior to posting)?  You admit they are repeat offenders.  It would make sense that a repeat offender would be moderated at times, especially as I know others have been moderated for singular offenses.  Given the extreme frequency of their posts, and the often slow speed at which I know others' moderated posts have been approved, I am doubtful this has been the case.  I apologize if this is an incorrect assumption; maybe they have both been on moderated status a lot.  

What I do know is that you publicly chastise posters for bad behavior.  This thread is an example, as it contains multiple posts of you chastising IronBars.  This is not a bad tactic; public shaming is highly effective.  However, I have never seen Calderis of RShara publicly chastised prior to the rather vague statement above.  So even if I can take your word for that you are consistently responding to concerns about their posts and treating them the same as others behind closed doors, publicly the treatment is noticeably different.

Okay I am very puzzled here why I am being singled out.  In the thread in question, I repeatedly said that all opinions are valid, and that I understood where the poster was coming from, and reminded everyone to stay civil.  Where, exactly, in that entire thread, or even recently at all, was I rude or abrasive?  The only time I got the slightest bit annoyed was when I started getting accused of these things that I didn't do.  When it was clear that my opinion was never going to match his, I stepped away from the thread, as we're supposed to do.

 

I mean, the beef that IronBars was having with me was that I wasn't debating with him about my opinions.  I was stating them, saying his were fair, and bowing out.

So seriously, what the crap?

Edited by RShara
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4 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

And this shows bias. You are giving the benefit of the doubt to the names you know but given your comments, it seems less likely that you will be equally forgiving to newer members because you haven't established that they also are likely not trying to give offence.

Yes, it does show bias. As I said, we are all just human. We have limited time at our disposal and sometimes just deal with what is in our subjective view, the most urgent problem.

However, I cannot agree that new members don't get benefit of the doubt. Whenever I catch a report to handle with anyone being not nice to someone else I go to PMs with them. And so far, it always worked. True, I'm not online when most of the Shard activity is happening, so I don't get to handle that many reports, but still. 

7 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Additionally, having dedicated mods for each sub forum or even each thread (mods that can only post as mods, and not with personal opinions) will also help

I don't think that would work. Mods generally hang around parts of the forum they enjoy as users. If they were "forced" to patrol sections that are not interesting for them or were forbidden from normal interactions with others, they would be less effective.

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57 minutes ago, FeatherWriter said:

Most of the users here are strangers here, and that means I can't just saunter into their PMs here and know for certain they'll be reasonable. There's plenty of members who blow up and try to make things worse when a moderator steps in.

One of my biggest personal worries is that this would be me.  I try my best to follow the rule of silence in absence of something nice or constructive to say.  But when that fails, and it has in the past - I often find myself immediately hitting the edit button after posting to try to fix what I can see as potentially inflammatory phrasing.  Often that results from posting without proof reading myself.  Were I to post something, and have a Mod PM me to say I crossed a line and need to apologize, and rephrase, I'd like to believe I'd respond reasonably.  My fear is that I wouldn't, and I'd explode at a PM just trying to do their unpaid, volunteer job.  Reality is likely somewhere in the middle where I'd need to walk away for a few hours before fixing the mess I made.

 

All that to say, I don't envy the Mods their task.  And I'd hope that if I ever cross the line, they'd come to me first in private to say not cool, and try to fix it.  If I turn out to be one of those that doesn't not respond well to quiet wrist taps and attempts at resolution, by all means, be public about saying you tried to resolve things in private and I was recalcitrant.  

 

But that is not to say there is no bias.  It's been admitted to and pointed out enough on this thread, I don't need to re-litigate it. 

 

As for reaction from Mods to old hands versus new blood, I often feel I fall into a middle category - I'm not new.  But I'm not as prolific or visible as some of the others out there.  So I often keep silent for fear of reprimand, both with old and new posters. 

 

So I don't have good answers.  I'm both heartened and disappointed to learn our Mods are only human.  if that makes sense.  Heartened that they admit they don't always get it right.  Disappointed that they don't always gt it right.  But having this topic where we can discuss with the mods has the potential to really help us all interact better.  As long as the thread doesn't descend into "Hey ModX, remember that time I got heated with Poster Y, and you gave me crap, but not the other?"

10 minutes ago, Chaos said:

If you find some opinions there bad, we strongly encourage you to not engage and instead get a cup of tea.

Last thought, this idea from Chaos has saved me a number of times.  Extra points for tea instead of coffee.

 

Thanks for discussing with us.

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14 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

I've made posts before that I thought deserved more votes than they got. At the end of the day, I think you've got to tell yourself its okay. Just internet points. Nothing wrong with having a minority opinion and thus getting less votes. Heck, in some ways those are more valuable

Ha actually this is kind of the opposite of what i meant - I don't personally care about my own votes - I know I've written posts that I could have written better etc. But if I see a "popular" post by someone else it might make me think more about that post - particularly if I view them as having attacked me. This is the issue - it is the implicit community agreement that I should be attacked that is the issue. This is obviously then worsened if the poster is not disciplined by a moderator - obviously in dismissive posts I can see why the line can be hard to discern as to whether mod intervention is necessary, but it will hardly lead me to feel I can go to the mods for support. 

People give upvotes for different reasons. Personally, I always try to upvote well sourced comments with well reasoned arguments, even if I don't agree with them, however many people will simply upvote because they agree with the premise of the post. We don't know why people are getting votes and when you feel under threat, those liked posts can make it feel like everyone is piling on you.

14 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

We do put more concern towards personal attacks. Generally dismissive people become a problem when it's stifling discussion.

Unless you are the only person being dismissive in a large thread, dismissing people is always going to stifle discussion. You've lost a voice that could have been valuable but you've suppressed them by making them feel like their contribution is pointless. 

15 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

But there's a distinction there. This sounds like you feel censored just by the general community. I'm specifically asking about the statement that moderators are doing the censoring. Maybe the implication is just that we're subtly censoring via the community, by encouraging/discouraging certain opinions? We certainly have our own individual opinions. Sometimes those may line up. I don't think we ever abuse moderation powers to encourage those opinions, though we can certainly talk about it if people think we do.

Sorry, but every time a moderator posts their personal opinion it is an abuse of power. This is because there is an imbalance of power. Mods should not be allowed to post their opinions unless they have no mod rights in the threads they want to participate in. I don't remember this being a problem in other fora I've participated in - it is usually possible to segregate which areas mods can effect change and which they can participate in. Its a trade off - power for freedom.

On top of that, it doesn't feel subtle, it feels like those who are well known to mods get treated differently to those of us who aren't. The longer you have been here, the more likely you are to a) know the mods, at least within the site, and B ) have shaped the "mainstream" view. 

21 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

It's okay to share something controversial, knowing it won't be popular. You should do so because you think someone else might like to read your thoughts

This should go without saying. The fact that it doesn't should worry you. The fact is that people are self censoring because they don't trust the community to be open for genuine debate and don't trust the mods to make sure their posts get fair shake. A well written, well sourced post should get proper debate with well sourced replies. The fact is that often people just turn round and say "well I don't agree" and don't engage properly. Asking for reasonable debate is ignored so people get mad and then when the mods get involved it feels like it is the opinion that is the problem, not the anger. It reinforces the idea that mainstream ideas are supported (because they don't have these problems) and fringe ideas are not. 

I'm not saying this is a deliberate action by the mod team - indeed I expect it is the complete opposite of it. I am sure you are all doing your best, it is the nature of fora like this to have moderation issues occasionally. It was an inevitability when we got a more contentious book to discuss.

31 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

I definitely don't think it's our job to protect minority opinions from the general community.

It, however, is your job to protect people from feeling like they aren't welcome. If you feel like your opinions aren't welcome, why should you as an individual feel welcome? I mean, it isn't like we are advocating dangerous ideas or politics etc, it's a book.  So in a way, a bit like a government, you should protect minorities simply because  they don't have the power of the masses. 

30 minutes ago, Chaos said:

So we feel the core issue is that a megathread with a lot of heated people from all sides is not the most conducive for good discussion. We're thinking the solution to this is that we actually need more character discussion threads. I'm thinking smaller scale, more specific threads like "Disappointed in lack of Shallan and Kaladin development in OB," "Adolin is bad for Shallan's personas," and things like that. What others should be made? I ultimately think that will lead to a lot more variety in character discussion of all types.

I feel you may have had the right idea but honestly, it probably could have been handled better. I am back because the thread got closed after all ;) I do agree that a sub forum specifically for character discussion is a good idea, but why is a mega-thread a problem? stick it in there with the others and encourage people to have basic level discussions there as well as gain a sense of community of shippers but also encourage people to have deeper more specific discussions in separate threads within the same board. I can tell you that most of us would have rather had multiple threads within which we could participate but honestly, there were a few threads that got opened up in the main board but they got pounced on and people stopped contributing. In theory a separate board would help prevent that - if you don't like shipping, don't go there.

 

35 minutes ago, Chaos said:

lot more than you'd expect. Some long time members we've had very extensive, heated disciplinary PMs about. 

As a percentage of all new members? Because when I've modded before it is still a much smaller proportion than the complaints made by established members. Granted this is a much bigger undertaking than I've modded before. 

 

25 minutes ago, Mestiv said:

However, I cannot agree that new members don't get benefit of the doubt. Whenever I catch a report to handle with anyone being not nice to someone else I go to PMs with them

That isn't quite what I said, but it doesn't matter. This comment shows how differently mods can handle the same problems - you go with private PMs, others go with public shaming. Shouldn't there be a protocol in place as to how to handle things to make handling as uniform across the mods as possible? I don't know but IMO a public post about a user should only be made after deliberation has been made, and even then only in rare circumstances, rather than an initial handling matter. If a thread is getting heated, a temporary closure of the thread (with a quick note to say it is essentially a timeout, no naming/shaming) to give the mod time to contact anyone they feel is involved  as well as time for everyone to cool down seems reasonable - but multiple posts in public where the user being disciplined can react badly just seems likely to go bad. It often polarises the thread further and can make the mod look really bad and biased. 

 

33 minutes ago, Mestiv said:

I don't think that would work. Mods generally hang around parts of the forum they enjoy as users. If they were "forced" to patrol sections that are not interesting for them or were forbidden from normal interactions with others, they would be less effective.

*Shrugs* you know the team better than I do. I've seen it work just fine elsewhere. It is more work to set up though and needs a big mod team to ensure good coverage. It was just a suggestion.

 

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Bias note: I'm old blood, top-50 posters all-time. However, it's been ages since I did something that wasn't related to the role-playing subforum.

2 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Sorry, but every time a moderator posts their personal opinion it is an abuse of power. This is because there is an imbalance of power. Mods should not be allowed to post their opinions unless they have no mod rights in the threads they want to participate in. I don't remember this being a problem in other fora I've participated in - it is usually possible to segregate which areas mods can effect change and which they can participate in. Its a trade off - power for freedom.

On top of that, it doesn't feel subtle, it feels like those who are well known to mods get treated differently to those of us who aren't. The longer you have been here, the more likely you are to a) know the mods, at least within the site, and B ) have shaped the "mainstream" view. 

Most moderators here that I know were chosen because they post frequently in their subforums, likely because they are going to be the most familiar with the discussion and most likely to stay active.

As old blood I know the mods (ish? I've seen a lot of their posts), but I definitely haven't shaped the mainstream view.

5 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

As a percentage of all new members? Because when I've modded before it is still a much smaller proportion than the complaints made by established members. Granted this is a much bigger undertaking than I've modded before. 

Most older users that I've seen in disciplinary processes only needed to be reminded once. The older players are less likely to be reported, because the most divisive have been reported before, and more likely to report, because they feel more confident distinguishing between what's allowed and not. I'm not a big reporter; as far as I remember I've only ever made one complaint other than reporting spambots.

8 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

It, however, is your job to protect people from feeling like they aren't welcome. If you feel like your opinions aren't welcome, why should you as an individual feel welcome? I mean, it isn't like we are advocating dangerous ideas or politics etc, it's a book.  So in a way, a bit like a government, you should protect minorities simply because  they don't have the power of the masses. 

The mod team has to walk a line between allowing free speech and supporting minority opinions. I'm a conservative in that I believe in mod intervention only when a user is purposefully being rude, but I can see a case for more aggressive mod intervention.

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56 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Unless you are the only person being dismissive in a large thread, dismissing people is always going to stifle discussion. You've lost a voice that could have been valuable but you've suppressed them by making them feel like their contribution is pointless. 

Maybe we're just talking on two different wavelengths. I'm not sure we agree on what "dismissive" means. If I post a theory about how Bob is going to become an Allomancer and 5 people respond that they disagree (with good reasons or dumb ones)... That's okay for them to say. They're dismissing my theory for one reason or another. That's okay.

If someone says, "That theory is dumb. You should just leave." THAT is not okay.

56 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

Sorry, but every time a moderator posts their personal opinion it is an abuse of power.

Huh... I think that's something that we're just going to fundamentally disagree on. Would be curious if others feel that way. We are part of the community, and I don't think many people would expect us to just give that up.

 

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58 minutes ago, PhineasGage said:

In theory a separate board would help prevent that - if you don't like shipping, don't go there.

This sentiment in itself bothers me. 

I don't like shipping personally. I love character discussion and motivations. 

Not all character discussion is shipping.

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I'm baffled that a situation like this has even can even exist on these forums. At the end of the day, this is a fan discussion. This isn't a matter of life and death. I think a heavy dose of not taking yourself or your opinions about fiction too seriously would help these discussions a whole lot. That doesn't mean an end to extremely long-winded analysis-style posts or whatnot (I happen to love those) but it does mean the ability to take a step back and see the situation in a microcosm. "Okay, we disagree about a piece of fiction. Isn't it a bit silly how annoyed I am getting over someone's amateur theory?"

As far as moderators posting in threads, I think this might be more a problem of the current infastructure we have in place on these forums rather than any personal fault of the moderators. @PhineasGage has a point despite the hyperbole: a moderator is an authority on the forums, he's got an easily visible name with color coding, and weighing in on the moderator account will of course have more weight than a normal user weighing in. In a sense you could say being that guy / gal is even a part of moderator's job :P . But there is nothing one can do about that unfortunately, at least not without a change in practices. The solution (one solution at least) would be to have separate moderator accounts & user accounts for the moderators, preferably alongside a multi-login system built into this forum setup to make it easier to manage. As it stands I doubt that is easily done, or whether this issue even warrants such a change, I don't feel qualified to comment on that either. It does seem like this is not so much a problem of personalities clashing, as it is a problem of the current reporting system & moderating practises being too limited to handle the challenges of an increased userbase. Or maybe that is one part of the problem, anyway. 

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As someone on here who is primarily interested in character development and discussion, I have to say that closing the ASK thread down came as rather a shock. I wasn't extremely attentive to the thread, so I can't say with confidence that I really know what went on. I do know that whenever the ship came up in the general forum (outside the ASK thread), I felt that I had to walk on eggshells with how I talked or else I risked an explosion of antagonistic comments, not just from those that opposed my view, but from people who hated the discussion period. I personally told several new posters to go to that thread so that the Shard could be a place where the people who didn't want to see the discussion, didn't have to, in order to promote peace within the forum and keep the contentious and controversial shipping conversation moderately contained.

I know that before OB's release, the forum was littered with threads that had devolved from their intent into a shipping war, and I'm not a supporter of that. I thought that was kind of the point of having a mega-thread in the first place. I understand that that ultimately failed in design, but in response to your thoughts, Chaos

1 hour ago, Chaos said:

So we feel the core issue is that a megathread with a lot of heated people from all sides is not the most conducive for good discussion. We're thinking the solution to this is that we actually need more character discussion threads. I'm thinking smaller scale, more specific threads like "Disappointed in lack of Shallan and Kaladin development in OB," "Adolin is bad for Shallan's personas," and things like that. What others should be made? I ultimately think that will lead to a lot more variety in character discussion of all types.

The question I have here, is how would this stop what happened before from happening again? Regardless of intent in what's been going on, how do we ensure that people, like myself, feel that they can discuss things like characters and relationships? I mean, I like the 17S. I like the crazy crackpot theories that other people come up with. But characters are what I love most. I just started a forum post in OB about Shallan's development as a character. But even in my original post, I felt that I was required to state that any shipping discussion in my analysis would be approached from as neutral a ground as I could make it.

Perhaps there should be a forum dedicated to just character discussion, with a subforum of relationship discussion? Kind of like there is with Cosmere Theories?

1 hour ago, PhineasGage said:
1 hour ago, Jofwu said:

I definitely don't think it's our job to protect minority opinions from the general community.

It, however, is your job to protect people from feeling like they aren't welcome. If you feel like your opinions aren't welcome, why should you as an individual feel welcome? I mean, it isn't like we are advocating dangerous ideas or politics etc, it's a book.  So in a way, a bit like a government, you should protect minorities simply because  they don't have the power of the masses. 

Also, I agree with both points here. I don't think it's your guys' job to protect minority opinions, but I do also think that comments directly targeting a subgroup of forum posters, like those that are explicitly antagonistic toward the Shalladin group, are examples of something that moderators should look out for. To quote Elenion:

52 minutes ago, Elenion said:

The mod team has to walk a line between allowing free speech and supporting minority opinions. I'm a conservative in that I believe in mod intervention only when a user is purposefully being rude, but I can see a case for more aggressive mod intervention.

I believe the problem stems from the fact that the minority opinions (shipping, character discussion, etc.) don't feel supported.

43 minutes ago, Jofwu said:

Huh... I think that's something that we're just going to fundamentally disagree on. Would be curious if others feel that way.

For me, it's not that I think moderators shouldn't have an opinion. But I, and I'm sure many others as well, feel that when a moderator gets on and begins to actively attack an argument, that arguing back in response is going to get them modded or banned. I had a debate with Greywatch in the "Adolin Breaking" thread where I genuinely was afraid I was going to get modded. It's one of the only times I've even talked to them, and it was over the definition of what "Mary Sue" meant. It's one thing to try to debate with someone who has a lot of reputation, I'll get to that in a minute, but when you disagree with someone with that "Moderator" tag, it feels a bit like you can't argue, or you risk being modded. Especially when they're strongly opinionated or very vocal about their stance.

My personal thoughts on the matter are simply that if you're acting as a moderator, you should stay out of the forum discussion. Maybe use a different account when you're doing moderator business, versus when you're engaging in discussion as a civilian. Or maybe have your responses a different font or color, so that when people see you coming down on someone publicly, they know you're doing it as a moderator, and not to argue as a poster. I don't really know what the solution is, but as a civilian member of the boards, I get nervous whenever I see that moderator tag openly disagreeing with me. I have no such compunctions when I see maxal or FifthofDaybreak arguing with me, and I've had some fun discussions with both of them where we didn't see the same side.

As far as reputation goes, I actually like it. It's nice to see when my posts get a lot of likes. I put a lot of thought into them, and seeing my rank/reputation go up is extremely validating. It doesn't always happen, but every time it does, I tell my wife "Hey, guess what? I ranked up again!" or something to the effect. She probably thinks I'm a bit crazy for getting so excited about that, but for me, an entire removal of the system would be discouraging. Rewards work--they show people not just what is popular, but also what is well-done, and I like to think that the majority of my reputation has been earned from how well-thought out and cohesive my posts are.

I hope that makes sense. I'm not trying to be contentious, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to voice my thoughts on the matter.

EDIT:

2 minutes ago, Vissy said:

That doesn't mean an end to extremely long-winded analysis-style posts or whatnot (I happen to love those)

Uh...good. Because that's like 90% of my posts.

Edited by Alderant
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3 minutes ago, Alderant said:

As someone on here who is primarily interested in character development and discussion, I have to say that closing the ASK thread down came as rather a shock. I wasn't extremely attentive to the thread, so I can't say with confidence that I really know what went on. I do know that whenever the ship came up in the general forum (outside the ASK thread), I felt that I had to walk on eggshells with how I talked or else I risked an explosion of antagonistic comments, not just from those that opposed my view, but from people who hated the discussion period. I personally told several new posters to go to that thread so that the Shard could be a place where the people who didn't want to see the discussion, didn't have to, in order to promote peace within the forum and keep the contentious and controversial shipping conversation moderately contained.

I know that before OB's release, the forum was littered with threads that had devolved from their intent into a shipping war, and I'm not a supporter of that. I thought that was kind of the point of having a mega-thread in the first place. I understand that that ultimately failed in design, but in response to your thoughts, Chaos

The question I have here, is how would this stop what happened before from happening again? Regardless of intent in what's been going on, how do we ensure that people, like myself, feel that they can discuss things like characters and relationships? I mean, I like the 17S. I like the crazy crackpot theories that other people come up with. But characters are what I love most. I just started a forum post in OB about Shallan's development as a character. But even in my original post, I felt that I was required to state that any shipping discussion in my analysis would be approached from as neutral a ground as I could make it.

Perhaps there should be a forum dedicated to just character discussion, with a subforum of relationship discussion? Kind of like there is with Cosmere Theories?

Also, I agree with both points here. I don't think it's your guys' job to protect minority opinions, but I do also think that comments directly targeting a subgroup of forum posters, like those that are explicitly antagonistic toward the Shalladin group, are examples of something that moderators should look out for. To quote Elenion:

I believe the problem stems from the fact that the minority opinions (shipping, character discussion, etc.) don't feel supported.

For me, it's not that I think moderators shouldn't have an opinion. But I, and I'm sure many others as well, feel that when a moderator gets on and begins to actively attack an argument, that arguing back in response is going to get them modded or banned. I had a debate with Greywatch in the "Adolin Breaking" thread where I genuinely was afraid I was going to get modded. It's one of the only times I've even talked to them, and it was over the definition of what "Mary Sue" meant. It's one thing to try to debate with someone who has a lot of reputation, I'll get to that in a minute, but when you disagree with someone with that "Moderator" tag, it feels a bit like you can't argue, or you risk being modded. Especially when they're strongly opinionated or very vocal about their stance.

My personal thoughts on the matter are simply that if you're acting as a moderator, you should stay out of the forum discussion. Maybe use a different account when you're doing moderator business, versus when you're engaging in discussion as a civilian. Or maybe have your responses a different font or color, so that when people see you coming down on someone publicly, they know you're doing it as a moderator, and not to argue as a poster. I don't really know what the solution is, but as a civilian member of the boards, I get nervous whenever I see that moderator tag openly disagreeing with me. I have no such compunctions when I see maxal or FifthofDaybreak arguing with me, and I've had some fun discussions with both of them where we didn't see the same side.

As far as reputation goes, I actually like it. It's nice to see when my posts get a lot of likes. I put a lot of thought into them, and seeing my rank/reputation go up is extremely validating. It doesn't always happen, but every time it does, I tell my wife "Hey, guess what? I ranked up again!" or something to the effect. She probably thinks I'm a bit crazy for getting so excited about that, but for me, an entire removal of the system would be discouraging. Rewards work--they show people not just what is popular, but also what is well-done, and I like to think that the majority of my reputation has been earned from how well-thought out and cohesive my posts are.

I hope that makes sense. I'm not trying to be contentious, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to voice my thoughts on the matter.

EDIT:

Uh...good. Because that's like 90% of my posts.

I love all of your posts! Including this one. Basically agreed on all points.

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Weighing in on the shipping issue real quick, even though I have absolutely no power to influence any decision :)  I don't particularly care for shipping, but honestly, it's not that hard for me to scroll past a post where someone mentions it, and keep going.  As long as it's on topic and doesn't throw off the thread, it's fine.

 

Also, on tone:  I very rarely intend to offend anyone.  I'm very passionate and very fact oriented.  If I ever offend you or you think I'm getting carried away, please, just say so.  I don't take offense unless it's intentional or horribly unfair, so saying, "Hey R'Shara, I think you're being kinda rude here" is fine.  I'll 99% of the time say, "I'm sorry, I didn't intend to be rude.  Let me try phrasing it better."

Edited by RShara
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39 minutes ago, RShara said:

honestly, it's not that hard for me to scroll past a post

This.  Even out of context, this.  There are a couple of subjects that I simply don't open, because I have zero interest in discussing.  There are posts that appear in threads I am interested in that hold no relevance (In, and only in, my opinion) to the part of the discussion I am interested in, or participating in, and I can scroll past them.  If I find myself scrolling past most of the thread, I drop it.  And finally, there are some posters who I actively avoid, for a plethora of reasons, some valid, and some petty.  It is so much easier to scroll past a post that frustrates or insults or angers me than to carefully craft a response that is within the rules.  And it is faster than shooting off a quick response that fuels the fire too.

 

Do I always succeed? No.  I responded heatedly to IronBars when I felt insulted in the Underwhelming Thread.  I Responded heatedly a number of months ago in that other thread that flirted with toxicity, Suggestions or something, by a new poster.  But I try to maintain the paradoxical heated-but-civil approach.  And I also remembered I could choose not to be part of the argument.

 

Did that with Underwhelming until I saw the Mods getting involved, then I went back to see what was happening and if it would affect me.  

 

We can all be rude. We can all be abrasive.  And we can all choose not to respond, though that admittedly does become more difficult if we are being called out by name.  

 

I have been on the blunter end of both @Calderis, @RShara and a few others with some of my early theories.  The straightforwardly showed me my error with WOBS.  It was blunt, and I thanked them for it.  Other times I've had some really good feedback and discussion with the Ancients of the boards.  It varies topic to topic.  

 

But at the end of the day, this is a place where we have the freedom to express our opinions.  And have the freedom to respond to, or ignore, the opinions of others.  As long as we all stay civil, that is fantastic.  If we need the Mods to remind us that we are civil humans with a fondness for the same subsection of fictional literature so we should all try to get along, well then its a good thing we have mods.  If they are biased because they to are humans with a fondness for the same subsection of fictional literature, or imperfect because the best, professional mods are unavailable for a theorycrafting fansite, or uninterested in moding fans, we have to help them be better while they help us be better posters.  It is give and take.  So I'm happy we have a Calculus prof, a whatever @Jofwu and @FeatherWriter are/do and all the others.  The fact that we can have this discussion is proof that we all care to make it better, and that the voices of non mods and non-arcanists can and will be heard.

 

Except @Mestiv.  That signature that spies on me is creepy and I don't like it.  I'm certain you are a great human, and your responses to my posts, when they occur, are fun and insightful.  But you scare me with that signature. (Joke with no intent to offend, apologies if offense is perceived or taken)

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3 hours ago, Mestiv said:

If you find a post that you find offensive or unacceptable in any way, please do report it. The staff team is made up of different people and I assure you, we won't ignore anyone if they feel offended/insulted/attacked, even by the most prominent members of the community. But to get the attention of "unbiased" staff members, you should really report things.

I will freely admit I have never reported a single post, and that is not because I didn't want to.  The two items I flagged for Chaos were by PM; the first arose naturally from a discussion we were having, and the second I brought up when it arose later as it pertained to that same discussion.  I definitely understand how things can slip through the cracks when it's funneled through one person, even if unintentional.  That being said, why didn't I report any posts officially?  One of the comments in the first post I flagged called shipping discussions a "toxic rep generator", which I think is so far over the line of being offensive that it's not even close.  When I mentioned it to Chaos, I want to say it was a week later, and he had the post immediately taken down.  But more to the point, no one reported it at the time.  And it's not because it wasn't offensive - like I said, that's pretty blatantly offensive - but IMO because the poster who said the comment was a well-established posters with thousands of posts to their name.  It's very, very hard as a newer poster to report things like that.  And it's even more difficult when the offensiveness skates the line and you risk being labeled as someone who is overly sensitive or being difficult, which will in turn have the moderator staff be less likely to take future reports seriously.  That's actually why I thought my second flag didn't warrant a response; that it was deemed to be a silly thing to flag, not worthy of even being addressed.  (I now know this was wrong, but that was my thought process at the time.)  So yes, you can report, but sometimes that's a hard thing to do, especially when you feel like you have a target on your back for being part of a group who has opinions contrary to all the moderators who have publicly shared their opinions, about a topic which is constantly being maligned for the fact it is even discussed.

2 hours ago, Jofwu said:

Can you or anyone else explain the censorship complaint? I've been struggling to understand why some people think their opinions are being censored.

To explain what I meant, censorship can be effectuated in overt ways, like shutting down threads on a certain topic, or more covert, like having higher behavioral expectations for those whose views differ from the majority.  Until recently, I felt it was more of the latter.  (And as has since been explained, the more overt censorship was not intended to be censorship.  Though I do wish the fact that staff wanted to facilitate discussion, just in another manner, would have been more obvious in the ASK thread locking post.)

2 hours ago, Mestiv said:

The reputation system was added for fun. Many sharders enjoy getting new ranks etc. Negative repuration was disabled because it caused poisonous situations when someone got downvoted. Now I see that positive votes can also cause harm. It's a good thing that there are serious plans to replace upvotes with reaction a'la facebook. Those seem more neutral.

I don't have much of an opinion here, and I actually find post count to be a bigger indicator as it's sitting right there next to the person's name when they post.  I don't even know the hierarchy of the reputation levels besides in very broad strokes, honestly.  That being said, I think reactions could be fun.

2 hours ago, FeatherWriter said:

In Kogi's case, I knew why she'd gone too far and I knew, as her friend, that she'd fix it when asked without throwing a fit. And yes, that is a benefit of being friends with someone, that you know them and it's easier to deal with stuff like that because you've got a previous relationship. I can't hit up RandomUser096 on Skype and say "hey buddy, I think you know where that went wrong, but I know you'll fix it because we're cool" sort of thing.

Yes, you can contact RandomUse096; it's called sending them a PM.  I don't get this argument at all.  You have a way to privately address any member of the 17th Shard through PM.  Yes, they may respond poorly (your next point), but that seems to be a hazard of moderation.  If someone responds poorly, then you can take other steps.  There isn't actual risk in this situation, it's not like deciding to go to your friend's house to discuss a situation versus going to a stranger's house; you have total authority to moderate a user, ban a user, delete their posts, modify their posts.  Shouldn't the exact way you dealt with your friend be the way you deal with all posters?

2 hours ago, FeatherWriter said:

We make mistakes and we have biases on moderation things just as we have regular opinions on book things. We do try hard not to let those biases affect our moderation, but I'm sure it happens sometimes anyway, despite our intentions otherwise. 

These are nice words, but they came after a discussion on how you treated your friend, intentionally, in a more favorable manner than you would have another poster.  If you know you have a bias, then in your role as moderator, I don't know why you wouldn't over-correct for it.  You know someone is a friend or a well-established poster, maybe then you should be more likely to call them out for bad behavior, not less likely.  This isn't a situation where bias could help protect you from harm (an argument used in respect to profiling), so it's an easy situation where moderators can actually work to create an impression in the community that they will reprimand even friends/well-established posters if they cross the line, instead of handling it behind closed doors, or giving them the benefit of the doubt that they "didn't mean it that way."

2 hours ago, Calderis said:

No poster that I'm aware of has ever told me publicly or privately that one of my posts was out of line. I've either come to that conclusion myself, and added an edit to clarify, on rarer occasions realized I should have just shut up and chose to use the "hide post feature." Or on a few occasions, I've been dealt with by Chaos personally. Theres never been a step between self-moderation and Mod intervention, and frankly I think that's part of the issue. 

I know that I can be fairly abrasive at times, and it is by no means intentional. My self-moderation is much more strict than it used to be after a couple of incidents that I have been involved in that in retrospect were completely my fault. You learn from things and try to do better. 

If something I say offends, feel free to send me a message. I guarantee it's not intentional. 

I'm sorry, but if I came to you to say you've been offensive, why would I expect anything different than the way I've been treated (and seen others been treated) on the public forums?  If anything, I expect gloves to come off behind closed doors.  But, you're right that I assumed it was intentional, and so I avoided topics where I thought you might immediately jump all over me and stayed in my (now condemned) sandbox.  I apologize that assumption was incorrect, but can you honestly say you respect my opinions and don't consider me "just a silly shipper"?

2 hours ago, Jofwu said:

I definitely don't think it's our job to protect minority opinions from the general community. We're not okay with personal attacks or harassment, and we want discussion to be open. But otherwise we're not going to like... limit the number of popular opinions that can be shared per minority opinion? I'm not even sure what to do with that idea.

It's not about volume, but about tone.  I feel it happens more when something in unsupported, than when it is unpopular.  The poster gets jumped on and told very dismissively how many ways they are wrong.  I don't think it's bad to point out the way that an idea falls apart under closer scrutiny (of course), but it's negative when the tone of this is in such a way to discourage floating ideas.  The other thing I see is "why are we discussing this again" type replies, or "why are you even considering this" when someone doesn't have a way to refute a new poster's ideas.

2 hours ago, Chaos said:

I'd like to posit to people generally our plan on how we could make character discussion better, leads to less conflict, and hopefully leads to better discourse. You see, we think it's a serious problem that character discussion tended to only be in that thread. That's actually a big part of the problem: ASK felt like the only thread where people could discuss character relationships. This made it so a lot of new members interested in that kind of conversation went there, and people, at times, got very heated in there. That turned out to be a problem.

You touch on this later in your post, but the main reason ASK became the only place to discuss shipping is because posters got upset when it was discussed anywhere else.  I like the idea of a character sub-forum.  I also like the idea of strong moderator rules regarding the fact a negative opinion about a character is not a personal attack.  That seems to be the big thing the incites conflict when it comes to character discussion.

2 hours ago, RShara said:

Okay I am very puzzled here why I am being singled out.

Well, you were part of the overarching discussion I responded to, and more specifically were named in the quoted section from the original post.  As a more general matter, while I've never had a direct interaction with you, there does seem to be a you and Calderis tag-teaming thing going on when new posters or less "serious" posters start a new thread.  That's not to say your thoughts aren't important (and I'm guessing this isn't intentional), but it does seem to create the impression of more hard-core posters piling on someone new/less favored.

1 hour ago, Elenion said:

Most moderators here that I know were chosen because they post frequently in their subforums, likely because they are going to be the most familiar with the discussion and most likely to stay active.

IMO, that's only a problem when it seems the moderators are all of one opinion, especially about controversial topics.  (This is obviously the case with the whole ASK controversy.  The mods did a podcast about their position and stated they did not know anyone with the opposing position to represent that viewpoint on the podcast.)  So, if this is the case, and the one topic which is generating the most moderator need is also a topic where all the chosen mods have a very publicly stated bias, maybe that's a reason to do a little rejiggering and bring in someone else, if only to lessen the public appearance of that bias in action.

1 hour ago, Elenion said:

The older players are less likely to be reported, because the most divisive have been reported before, and more likely to report, because they feel more confident distinguishing between what's allowed and not.

I'd like to throw in here that older users also learn how to have the same effect with a less blatantly offensive post through means of passive-aggression and condescension.  Those tactics can be just as effective in discouraging opposing viewpoints, but they are much harder to monitor, especially when used by friends/established posters who are getting the benefit of the doubt as to their intent...  And I get back to my first point, that as a newer poster, it is very hard to report someone established who isn't being blatantly offensive, even if their posts consistently make you feel like crem.

1 hour ago, Jofwu said:
2 hours ago, PhineasGage said:

Sorry, but every time a moderator posts their personal opinion it is an abuse of power.

Huh... I think that's something that we're just going to fundamentally disagree on. Would be curious if others feel that way.

My two cents, posts from a moderator carry more weight than posts from a normal user.  It's like when a company executive makes a statement; you're going to listen more to that than you are to a random employee.

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17 minutes ago, Dreamstorm said:

Well, you were part of the overarching discussion I responded to, and more specifically were named in the quoted section from the original post.  As a more general matter, while I've never had a direct interaction with you, there does seem to be a you and Calderis tag-teaming thing going on when new posters or less "serious" posters start a new thread.  That's not to say your thoughts aren't important (and I'm guessing this isn't intentional), but it does seem to create the impression of more hard-core posters piling on someone new/less favored.

There's a degree of irony here.  The complaint from the poster in the original thread was that I was stating invalid opinions because I wasn't backing them up.  In other words, I was actually not arguing with him, and he found that annoying. The reason I wasn't arguing with him?  Because I disagreed quite a bit, and if I started, I knew I was going to come off badly.  Seriously.  Irony.  A lot of it.

I'm sorry if there's a tag-team impression going on.  Calderis and I happen to be active at approximately the same hours, and I have the tab open on my computer fairly often, so I can see and respond to things quickly.  I promise it's just coincidence and timing.  I think we must be in or in adjoining time zones or something.

Also, as I said, I'm very fact oriented.  And in my mind, the best way to help a newbie is to expose him to facts.  Perhaps I'm wrong.  I mean, if you notice, I'm one of the first to answer any questions in the Q&A, and I try to be as thorough as I can be.  That's my method of making someone feel welcome.  I mean, that's how *I* would feel welcomed...

Edited by RShara
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