Closing threads vs handing out points

Discussion in 'Web Feedback' started by PhilHibbs, Oct 31, 2013.

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  1. PhilHibbs

    PhilHibbs Forum Addict Trusted User

    Not sure if this is the right section for this, please point me in the right direction if it is not.

    It seems to me - just from what I've seen - that the first resort of a moderator is to close the thread that infractions are occurring in. Is that right, or am I only seeing that side of the equation? Personally, I'd rather see reprimands handed out to the specific people who are causing the problem (even if it's me - I'm not pretending to be a saint) rather than see everyone punished by a potentially useful and interesting thread being closed down. And the most interesting ones are the ones that are most likely to stray into controversy. For instance, I am interested in RedPower, and I still use it in my 1.4.7 worlds. I'm reluctant to talk about it, though, because I know what will happen. If only the specific offenders were punished, however, I would not have any such qualms. This is the classic "chilling effect", and results in a victory only for the trolls (although I accept that a lot of the "problem" posts are not from trolls, just from good-willed people with strong opinions).

    In one recent example, I had said something related to the subject that ended up in the thread being closed. I honestly don't think I was "part of the problem", but maybe I was, as everyone probably thinks that they are being reasonable. With the thread just being closed, I will never know what the community's judgement is. If there had been a post saying "Warnings have been issued, please get back on topic" then I would know that I was not considered to blame. I know it's a difficult line to draw though.

    I'm just after a bit more clarity in moderatior actions, really, but I know it's a tough job.
  2. Vauthil

    Vauthil New Member

    Okay, I'll bite on this one.

    At the moment there are, for all intents and purposes, three active moderators across all the forums. Tech Support and Mod Pack Bugs, FTB Chat and Mod Discussion, General Chatter and Forum Games, Server Promotions (and this entails not just moderation but also individual approval of every single listing made), all of it... watched by three people, one of whom only has access to half of that content. There are invariably going to have to be shortcuts taken with moderation by the simple fact that moderation bandwidth is severely limited. There's no way around having to take the quickest path to dealing with issues, because we simply don't have the time and energy to write dissertation posts to people diverting them back on topic.

    It's not that it's necessarily a hard job. It's a tedious and big job with .004% of the forum population doing it, and we all have limited amounts of time to do it in while the forum keeps moving 24/7/365 with or without us.

    The quickest path for certain topics, bluntly, is the lock. The forum doesn't need a 235th thread flipping out about whatever GregT's pushed this week to GregTech chock full of complaints by people who disable/don't play the mod anyway. The forum doesn't need Week 57 of EloraamWatch(tm) where everybody speculates on which enormous land mammal may or may not have eaten her. And the forum most certainly doesn't need yet another entitled brat starting a thread complaining that FTB isn't running <insert newest version of Minecraft> already or carrying <insert favorite mod> and then outright haranguing the team for not catering to their whims rather than working at the pace of reality (yes, they know it's slow going, they've already heard the feedback, thank you, now come back when you can phrase it in a manner that doesn't indicate you want to torch their houses). All of those thread types share the general issue in that even being on topic, they're flamebait or abusive, and they get locked the quickest because they're flawed from conception.

    Next up, you have threads that devolve into one of those states of flamewar/abuse. Let's be blunt: standing there going "now dears, stop being bad or I'll have to tutt-tutt some more at you" is feeble and doesn't work. A majority of posts that actually merit Warning points also are so down the rabbit hole on ignoring the forum rules that we are obliged to delete them outright when we issue the Warning. There's no making public notice on those, because those posts shouldn't be allowed to stand. Additionally, many forum members here have a distinct inability to ignore flamebait and charge in headfirst, whether it's because "someone is wrong on the Internet" or because they feel the post is attacking them and they won't take that sitting down. Once you have a couple people in that mentality in a thread and fixated, might as well call it a day.

    So, you want to less threads locked? Let me give you the simplest points on what everybody can do to see that happen:
    • Follow the rules. This should go without saying, but apparently it doesn't.
    • Don't take the bait. If somebody is being abusive, Report them, don't reply to them.
    • Learn how to agree to disagree. People are wrong on the Internet. Cope.
    If you want a quick hypothetical on how that changes the forum calculus, think on this situation: if, when I get a moment to log in and check the Reports, and I end up going to a thread to check on a Report and 50% or more of the replies after the Reported post are in response to the flamebait/abusive post, is it an effective use of my time to weed through all of those cleaning out quotes and tapping wrists going "Be Nice" and then coming back in twelve hours to do the same with the folks who didn't seem to get the memo and now are not only responding to the original flamebait, but to the numerous responses to the flamebait?

    Now take that same thread, but instead the flamebait/abusive post basically got ignored and talked around by everybody else in the thread and they continued on their way without feeding the troll. This is our magical world where people paid attention to the bullet points above, and so there's really only one offender in the bunch for me to deal with. Yay.

    The latter situation will get Warning and either a public notice on the post (those orange bars with a note) or a deletion of the offending post (if it's bad enough), while the former will get the lock, because I have 6 other Reports to deal with and my time allocated for a lunch break lasts yea long and playing King Solomon with each of the individual replies is time-consuming and invariably gets me nastygrams in my PM box, which are an additional hassle and waste of time.

    Lastly, speaking for myself, sometimes all you're going to get from me is a "Thread Locked" post when I lock a thread, because I'm attempting to exercise self-control myself (if I find myself re-writing the Thread Locked notice from scratch 3+ times, I just go "screw it, nothing nice to say, LOCK so I can get back to more productive uses of my time"). Yes, moderators can have impulse control issues some days too.
  3. Ashzification

    Ashzification New Member

    So you want a post at the end of the thread, prior to closing it, stating why it's being closed?


    I think we do need one of these. Only it needs to only contain posts containing what mammal it is, and why you think it's that mammal.
    un worry likes this.
  4. Flipz

    Flipz New Member

    Hear, hear.

    Vauthil hits the nail on the head. Another point I'll bring up, though: it takes time to respond to reports, find the posts that started it all, and hand out warnings to ALL the people who earned them. I've tried leaving the topic open a few times, with just a repeated Be Nice note, and then moved on to issuing individual warnings and post deletions. It invariably results in double the workload, because people will continue posting rule-breaking posts WHILE I'm busy dealing with the very posts they're responding to. It's a lot easier to just lock things down, and then IF it seems like the thread still has merit at that point (and most often, it doesn't anymore) unlock it later. That rarely happens, though, because by the time the topic has devolved into arguments and attacks, it's lost any semblance of respect and reason it might have previously contained--not to mention, just because we delete the hateful messages does not mean we've deleted the hateful spirit in those posters' hearts. It's generally safer to just keep the topic locked for a few days to let tempers calm--and lo and behold, when there's no argument to maintain, the topic rapidly loses relevance to most people anyway. ;)
    Vauthil likes this.
  5. Eyamaz

    Eyamaz New Member

    I seriously think it's time for a Mod Dev rank and section for devs to use. I'm fairly tired of threads started by a modder posting an update about their mod only to be shut down because people can't behave. This way, a mod author can have their own small section with privileges in that section to close, open, or lock their own threads so things like that don't happen.
    Droideka30, Pokefenn and un worry like this.
  6. Ashzification

    Ashzification New Member

    Like have Mod Discussion be for the devs? Or name it Developement or the like?
  7. Flipz

    Flipz New Member

    Well, we already have the Developer Diaries section, why not give the mod developers privileges to post there?
    Pokefenn likes this.
  8. Eyamaz

    Eyamaz New Member

    Mod Development or something similar. If a mod dev wanted a section then it would be:

    Mod Development -> Tinker's Construct

    Then only mDiyo, and FTB admins/moderators would have the ability to post any new threads or open it for the public to post new threads, etc.

    Basically a section just for approved mod devs with an esablished working mod.

    No, I would like it separate from ftb related stuff for devs like Myrathi that have their home thread here.

    Edit:stupid phone, someone merge my posts...
    Ashzification likes this.
  9. Captainnana

    Captainnana New Member

    Only problem with that is that we have to give them the rank which requires someone to organise validating they are who they say and then assigning the rank to them, which is fine but there needs to be a unified way of mod developers requesting this
    Eyamaz likes this.
  10. Ashzification

    Ashzification New Member

    I feel like that wouldn't be that hard. I mean, not easy, but not as hard as changing the forums around :p
  11. Eyamaz

    Eyamaz New Member

    It's still something we should look into. I'm sure most of us have minecraft forum accounts also. We can use that as a form of verification, or whatever form of verification we use for the Approved Dev tag in TS could work also.
    Like I said, I would prefer it to be a section for established mods so it doesn't get cluttered with WIPs that never leave that stage or become abandoned.
  12. Jinbobo

    Jinbobo New Member

    Just reply to a post in the Wiki Creation section I would happily give out warning points. Kappa
    Nerixel likes this.
  13. PhilHibbs

    PhilHibbs Forum Addict Trusted User

    OK, that's fine, thanks for taking the time to explain the situation. I don't really have a problem with it, if it's the only way to keep the place running with the resources available. I very much appreciate the tough job that you have to do.
    SpitefulFox likes this.
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