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Community Guidelines discussion thread


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#1 khh

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 14:43

At the initiative and with the cooperation of RTG the moderators have created guidelines for this community. It is not a big change as we've mostly just written down what was implicit until now. However the moderators do intend to take a slightly harder stance against obviously unwanted, questionable or problematic posts and threads, and the guidelines will allow us to take action more swiftly without having to confer between ourselves. We believe the vast majority of the community will easily be able to stay within the guidelines without having to make any changes.

Questions about the interpretation of the guidelines and other related queries and comments can be posted below.


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#2 Carla

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 19:06

*crickets*  Doesn't sound like you are getting any disagreement on the guidelines, at least here at the onset.  I love this community!


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#3 Edreamer Jamil

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 19:48

objection.png

 

Ok not really, I just couldn't help myself :P

Very well worded and reasonable guidelines (imho) and so far as all my recollections, totally consistent with previous mod statements and actions.


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#4 agirlnamedbob

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 20:10

Thanks guys. 

 

There was a fair bit of careful debate and deliberation on this, so I'm glad you guys feel that way. 

 

We weren't necessarily expecting a lot of push back, we just wanted people to be able to have a conversation about this if they wanted to without cluttering up the guidelines post itself. 


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#5 Vainamoinen

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 23:24

I'll chip in with a bit of ethics sparring, but possibly not too soon. :)
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#6 Ikon

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 00:07

I'm not sure what experience you mods have with other forums, but I would like to mention something I ran into while moderating various forums: that is, guidelines are great, but be aware that there will almost certainly be people who will take the guidelines as a challenge and will post things that push the envelope.

 

When one or more mods call them on it they will respond with, "There's nothing about it in the guidelines" or some other nonsense. They will try to argue that, if the guidelines don't specifically say something is not OK, then it's fair game. It's garbage of course, but they're basically just looking for ways to stir the pot.

 

Look, you may/probably have all figured this out already, but I wanted to give you a heads-up, just in case you haven't.


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#7 Carla

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 00:20

Ikon, I suspect that this sentence is there for that specific reason: "RTG and moderators will have discretion in enforcing these guidelines, including calling out bad behaviour that's not specifically listed. Moderators have final say."  Given that sentence, it kinda invalidates all such arguments.  They may still try, but really they don't have a leg to stand on.


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#8 agirlnamedbob

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 00:29

Yeah. Thanks for the heads up Ikon, but we definitely did spend a fair bit of time discussing exactly that. :) And that's a large part of why this place has been open as long as it has without guidelines like this. But it was decided that at this juncture, they're needed. 

 

There are a few carefully phrased points, as well as what Carla quoted above (or, what I like to call "the rule zero clause") for that reason. 

 

However, we're still aware that  some people won't care or may still take that as a challenge. 

 

Frankly, these aren't for those people. These mostly serve the purpose of codifying what most of us already knew. It's a subtle heads up that we may be cracking down a bit on certain behaviors. It should hopefully give forum members more confidence in calling out or reporting bad behavior, if they so choose. And it's to help us as moderators be more confident about certain things. 

 

That's...all probably way more than I needed to say on the subject, but there you go. 


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#9 loranna238

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 04:17

At the initiative and with the cooperation of RTG the moderators have created guidelines for this community. It is not a big change as we've mostly just written down what was implicit until now. However the moderators do intend to take a slightly harder stance against obviously unwanted, questionable or problematic posts and threads, and the guidelines will allow us to take action more swiftly without having to confer between ourselves. We believe the vast majority of the community will easily be able to stay within the guidelines without having to make any changes.

Questions about the interpretation of the guidelines and other related queries and comments can be posted below.

 

Request:  No one tell reddit. ;p


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#10 Ikon

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 23:38

Ikon, I suspect that this sentence is there for that specific reason: "RTG and moderators will have discretion in enforcing these guidelines, including calling out bad behaviour that's not specifically listed. Moderators have final say."  Given that sentence, it kinda invalidates all such arguments.  They may still try, but really they don't have a leg to stand on.

 

Understood, but all forum guidelines that I know about contain this caveat - it's the standard catch-phrase everyone uses.

 

The caveat doesn't matter to these people. Rather than invalidate arguments from them, it only encourages them all the more. They start sending personal messages to moderators, trying to bait them into long-winded argument sessions. The more reasonable you try to be with them, the more they persist. They really want to push & push, with the goal of getting themselves banned, so they can then email the site owners and gripe about how unfairly they've been treated. Often, they will go onto other forum sites and post long diatribes about how "this site" is run by tyrants and facists. Their end goal is to create havoc, to sow discord. My personal suspicion is that many of them are hard core sociopaths.

 

I know personally of 1 case where a guy I moderated a forum with started receiving personal threats from 1 of these people (no, it wasn't me). He cross-posted to me some of the PM 'discussions' he had with this poster, asking if I had any ideas of how to handle it. I helped him track down the guy's IP and my fellow mod contacted the police in his area. I'm not sure what all happened but I gather the threats did stop.

 

Anyway, enough doom & gloom. I'm glad the mods here are already aware of it, have discussed it, and have created the guidelines with it in mind. At least there won't be any surprises.


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#11 Tina

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 09:22

At least RTG are also on board with all of this, and I'm pretty sure they'd agree with us rather than any person trying to get themselves banned. We have also been instructed that we "don't have to justify", so if anyone complains, I'd probably try to explain once or twice, but then take a "deal with it" stance. Or something.

 

For me, personally, the main outcome of the discussions is that I now know more about how RTG feels, and feel more confident that I'd deal with things the way they want me to. Also with things that may not be clear cut to pin under one of the points in the guidelines.


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#12 Vainamoinen

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 11:16

The word 'catchphrase' has 'catch' in it for a reason. :)
 
Although the guidelines are kept wonderfully lean, that is of course the gist of it: Act like a decent person and whether you in fact are is the moderators' call to make; and that's the only way it will work out. End of forum guidelines.
To think that I wanted to write up an entire Introduction to Sensibly Criticising Narrative Media for the Walking Dead forums...but let's not get into that. 
 
These short rules will probably work out just fine, because the community is really not used to transgressions. I remember just about two total that in my opinion required moderator action (you will probably have more that I didn't get to see, but I hope not more than a handful). Precise rules would only have been required after a heap of similar transgressions, and setting up paragraphs after paragraphs of rules all because those individual problems were repeatedly, systemically experienced on the forum, that can break a moderator's heart (in spoiler tags below: my "hard and fast" catch all guideline draft for Telltale forum rules, 2012. Please do gasp). :mellow:
 
The catch-allest of terms in there is of course the "trolling". Which is simply undefined and thrown around far too liberally. The accusation of trolling alone has probably killed off far more honest discussions than clear cut trollery has actually taken place. This woefully fine line between just stubbornly insisting on a possibly even good point and the actual attempt to instigate a shouting match with community or creator by passive aggressively pushing their buttons, this line is exceedingly difficult to perceive.
 
No rules ever catch 'the trolls'. Not the dumb and not the intelligent trolls, not the relentless accusers and not the "just asking questions" people. Which is why I'd rather have the term stricken from that list.
 
On the whole however, don't look on the necessity for forum rules with too much sadness. They're here now, they don't say anything that wasn't known before, they will be forgotten if transgressions remain as seldom as before. :D
 
 
 

Spoiler


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#13 agirlnamedbob

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 14:12

Yeah. Just to echo a few of the above points. If you've never had a problem, then these rules really shouldn't matter much to you, beyond just putting words on what has been implicit. As khh said in the OP. RTG is on board with this. Ragnar had input on everything. We now have a bit firmer of a grasp on what he and the team want from us as mods and hope for from the community. 

 

So honestly, these rules might be more for the mods than for anyone else. None of us felt comfortable taking certain actions without having this discussion and pinning down some details to make absolutely sure we were all on the same page. Clearly we all have different communication styles and will respond to things a bit differently, but on the whole we need to be in agreement where the biggest lines should be drawn. 

 

As for trolls. Yeah. V pretty much hits the nail on the head there. I can see the argument for having it stricken from the list. It was put there for a reason, but it is something that we can discuss.

 

In the mean time, if I can make a gentle request, it would be to not throw that term around willy-nilly, despite it being in the rules. It's bizarre that the internet has a term that can simultaneously describe someone who Rick Rolls some friends to get a laugh and someone who threatens people or spreads harmful rhetoric "just for fun." And it can be SO hard to tell if someone is just trying to get a rise out of people. If you think that's what's going on, alerting a mod is probably better than calling someone out for it.

 

This is a hard one. There isn't always a clear cut "right way" to deal with some of these situations. If people think it would be helpful, we can look into pulling together some resources about that sort of thing. I think we were just kind of hoping that wouldn't be necessary. 

 

Bottom line, though is that this community is for all of us. So what do you think would help keep it an amazing place? What do all of you want?

 

We can't promise that we'll be able to implement any and all requests, but they're still welcome. 


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#14 Ikon

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 00:52

I'm glad for the moderators that they have some guidelines that make them more comfortable doing the job. Even more, I'm glad to hear that RTG is backing them up. This is critical IMHO.

 

Of the several forums I've moderated over the years, only 1 had owners who didn't back up their moderators the way I feel is proper. I quit that site.

 

The owners of the other forums respected their mods, realized they couldn't run the site without them, were very grateful that people were willing to put in so much effort without compensation. In fact, they backed up the mods even when they got it a bit wrong (were perhaps a bit overly zealous in banning a troublemaker; after all, everyone, including moderators, make mistakes). Like this forum, they were places where people felt comfortable, where people were tolerant and respectful.

 

So, congrats mods. I'm all in favour of anything that makes your job easier, even enjoyable. :)


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#15 ct2651

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Posted 11 August 2015 - 21:26

I haven't saw that before, and it's a great idea, keep up the good work team.


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#16 Crowboy

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 19:23

Below is an incomplete list of things that are NOT in line with our values

  • Hate speech
  • Racism, sexism, intolerance towards other people’s sexuality or gender identity
  • Personal attacks
  • Grossly inconsiderate behaviour
  • Trolling
  • Spamming

So if I were extensively explain why I hate you personally while eating a can of spammed beef, will that count for violating?  :P

 

Seriously now, those are good rules. Just remember:

5D978647-81DA-453F-B9C4-7EAE9F5985FD.jpg



#17 Skizzo

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 13:31

Seriously now, those are good rules. Just remember:

5D978647-81DA-453F-B9C4-7EAE9F5985FD.jpg

 

And spandex suits, apparently. ;)


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#18 toremygg

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 14:10

And spandex suits, apparently. ;)

Great idea for a mod group photo!


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#19 Crowboy

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 18:28

Great idea for a mod group photo!

That should be part of the guideline



#20 ct2651

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 19:05

That should be part of the guideline

 

Even if I don't like Spiderman that much, I approuve entirely to your post.


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