2018-10-16 09:55:43

Sam_Tupy wrote:

of course, nothing is stopping him from posting on this topic. of course he can defend himself. It's a large hole to dig yourself out of, but of course he has the right to try.

TJT1234 wrote:

It's about 2:30 AM in England right now. You can't claim that he's avoiding the situation until at least later today—be reasonable.

Dark informed the moderation team that he was going to be away for a few days, and he may not be back yet.  It would not be fair for people to read-into his silence when he may not even know about any of this yet.  It's hard to just have me say "be patient"... but that's probably a good plan.

- Aprone
Please try out my games and programs:
Aprone's software

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2018-10-16 10:01:18

Oh yeah, another interesting discussion.
I am not that much involved with the forums, at least not recently.
Why Ironcross was banned? I always saw him as an intelligent person, and a person you could potentially learn from.
Now about Dark.
I want to say that my only interaction with this guy was when he gave me a warning because I said "Go to hell!" to a spammer.
Yeah, this warning was OK and reasonable but now to the final point.
I am an admin of the similar community, and yeah, community sometimes does not agree with what we, as a moderation staff are doing, but the reason they still believe in our decisions is that we're open on what and why is done.
If the rumors are true, and Dark really destroyed Valter's reputation , he should boom away from there as fast as a russian rocket.

Raduvay se, raduvay
Raduvay se domaki ne
Kolko liste po gorach
Tolko zdrave na taz kyshcha

2018-10-16 11:46:22

I agree with what's written in the blog post to a large extend. But the thing is that it's getting a really bad view from this topic, because everyone that seams to be in agreement is someone that have or have had problems with Dark in the past.
Personally, I've never talked with Dark (except for forum posts on here), so I don't know anything about him really.
What this case needs for it to be taken more serious, is for those unnamed sources to come forward. Until then, the blog poster is essentially hiding important information as to why and how, just like he's accusing Dark did on some occasions.
- NicklasMCHD

I'm me. Just me. No one else. Only meeee!

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2018-10-16 12:41:34

i don't know dark myself, only seen him in the forum, and  you know i don't hate him because i've only received a few warnings here. but, if the post in BSG blog is correct, which, i think is completely correct, and no one decides to anything about dark, i know i'm not important on this forum and no one gives a shit about me and my posts,  but, if nothing is done to dark if the post at bsg is correct, i'll not be active on this forum and i'll not post here anymore.  though  if the post isn't true, will continue to post here neutral

you can't run from the darkness. we are everywhere.

2018-10-16 13:07:17 (edited by jack 2018-10-16 13:07:42)

If you remember from the post as well as early on this topic, you will see that he had a good reason for not naming the people he interviewed. This happens in the mainstream media all the time, if someone wishes to remain nameless unless coming forward themselves, you respect that wish, plain and simple. Even more especially if you haven't had beef with them in the past, and he's clearly stated that's not the case and his post is purely based on his findings. If you're suggesting he blew things out of proportion or what have you, might I remind you that moderators have chimed in.

Aprone wrote:

It seems that this is a place I should at least post Something, so that it doesn't feel like the mod team is avoiding it, but at the same time I don't know what to say so that I won't end up putting my foot in my mouth and making things worse.


Arqmeister wrote:

Perhaps we could be more lenient, and let flame wars rage on, or be too strict and ban people for cursing too much. We can't always make everyone happy, and it's pretty apparent that something should be done to address the concerns of the majority who have posted in this topic. What that solution is, i personally am not sure at this time.

He does have a point, forum moderation in general is a hard tightrope to walk on. And I'll bet this is unusual for all the mods, after all I can't remember seeing anyone connect all the dots precisely such is what was done in the blog post. Usually people question bans in a topic about bans, and of course there's some heated discussion going on while the dust settles. Usually something directly provoked the discussion, in most cases a ban. However, Smoke wasn't directly provoked into doing this on the forum, his research and interaction with moderators and users he interviewed is what led to this.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2018-10-16 13:18:56

Before I'm starting this post off, I'm pointing out that I have no issues with any moderator or any person on here, but that still doesn't take away the fact that.....
- starting from the bottom, banning someone because a friend makes up a story for what ever reason, even if the other was maybe even a little towing the line or such, is just wrong. I'm not saying no one should have friends, but moderating in a true sense, means you have to be able to put yourself above friendship and treat facts and info as they are. Unsure, ask others or what not. Encouraging someone to post the topic isn't bad, as a friend you sort of should, but as soon as you know that it contains false information, you should close it or even delete it.
- Closing topics just because of disagreement seems to me like disallowing someone to be herd, and that's just not doable for a forum where freedom of speech should rule.
- Fairness of bans and warnings: i wonder if some sort of score could be implemented that could be added to your profile so that every time you get a moderation warning or some such, the score lowers until it's at 0 and thus a ban. It would make it a lot more transparent for the public to see how far or close one is from being banned, rather then only being told "it was due to past activities" and leaving everyone to wonder where to even look for them.
- Rules: i'm surprised there's a second set of rules, if not for the blog post, i would be among those who didn't even know the FAQ section had a secondary set of rules.

Staying or leaving: that's up to dark I'd say, and thanks to Aprone for pointing out Dark is taking a short break. That at least, takes out the suspicion that could rise out of staying silent. Personally, I'd vote for dark to remain moderator, just no longer the main one for now, mainly because of the Walter debacle and rule adding to warrant bans, and for solo snap decisions of serious consequence.

<- criticview
   akilor ->

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2018-10-16 13:43:02

I know that he has a good reason for not naming them. My problem is that that's very Hypocritical. The blog author (in some of the instances) is acusing Dark of closing topics and taking sides because of private cept information and then later on the blog author is basing (to some extend) his claims on his own private cept information (but also public information).
That's maybe done a lot in mainstream media, but this isn't mainstream media. This is a blog post, about the current problems with the moderation of a small forum.
- NicklasMCHD

I'm me. Just me. No one else. Only meeee!

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2018-10-16 13:54:20

@Nicklasmchd Fair enough, I see where you're coming from but I would look at intent. If, according to his blog post, private sent independent evidence was ignored in making a decision, vs mentioning private information on his blog simply so that people he doesn't need to name remain anonymous. That's my view at least.

I'm the only adventure at c: master hahahaha I have unlocked just about everything!

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2018-10-16 15:41:23

Hell, yeah. I never, never! expected this to happen. I never thought of this, but now i see. smoke-J, thank you for such clarifying blog post.

flawless victory!

2018-10-16 16:27:08

I have no personal involvement with Dark myself, either on the forums or off. Never even been warned. But having said that... if everything in this blog post is true which I have no reason to think it's not, as the quotes and all that jazz seem to be completely accurate I'm of the belief that he should probably step down as a moderator. However, he does have the right to defend himself.

"I used to be an adventurer like you, then I took an arrow in the knee."
guards, skyrim

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2018-10-16 16:29:52

Personally, I agree with the few people that have said so in this topic. I have read the post and I have also witnessed things like the walter situation, but until dark responds to this topic and I get to hear his side of the stories, I'm not going to try and form an educated opinion because until this happens, my opinions will just be byussed towards smoke and bsg.

Bar, bar, bar...
Bar is my name and to go bar is my aim...
Sometimes I'll go "Bad bar",
But in the end its always bar, ahem beer, ahem bar! beer bar!

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2018-10-16 17:33:04

*MODERATION EDIT* To prevent confusion, there was originally a post #63 written by assault_freak, which he deleted. *END OF MODERATION EDIT*

I'm gonna have to strongly disagree. It looks like he spent quite a bit of time with interviews, connections, editing, etc. In my eyes that gives him every right to receive a couple bucks and visits in return. This is a common marketing practice, if your opposed to it that's fine, but stop reading blog posts and 75% of the internet. He's not begging for output, if you have a problem don't click the donate or share button. Still, this in no way invalidates anything expressed their

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2018-10-16 17:46:57

@63, oh, this was very adult. What else does he have to go off of other than text, hmm? Some kind of mind-link to everyone involved? I think not. And Cartertem is right -- what he said below the link is quite popular. Its done in youtube videos, its done in marketing... its done everywhere.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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2018-10-16 17:58:47 (edited by ross 2018-10-16 17:59:39)

Just would like to mention that there is a huge blind community on Reddit, as well as an audio games community on Redit that I've been trying to get more people to join.

Link to the blind community: https://www.reddit.com/r/blind

Link to the audio games community: https://www.reddit.com/r/audiogames

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2018-10-16 18:18:05 (edited by assault_freak 2018-10-16 18:20:19)

The above post has been deleted.. and I appologize for sounding harsh. I didn't mean to say that invalidated anything he said... and I am well aware that the self plug is marketting done everywhere. I just find it oddly contrasting to the matter o the blog post... and as for what else he has to go off of other than internet text? Nothing. But I fail to see any productivity in the post other than confirming what is already widely known... and this is why I stay out of any of the topics similar in nature to the ones linked in that blog post. The whole  thing all boils down to a giant flaming mess of he saids and she saids. It was hardly objective, as you will see al the conclusions are extrapolated from personal interpretations of the text, and the final verdict is and conclusion is drawn by one person who. All power to Smoke J for coming up with the data and information... because that clearly took time, effort, and dedication. But to treat this as anything more than a personal rant, well... that's just my view, anyway. I stand firmly in the middle with this issue, and I won't make any judgements based on this post alone because there is another side to every story. And if Dark chooses not to defend himself, then, well... the chips will fall where they do.


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2018-10-16 18:32:34

I've tossed in a short moderation edit to the New post 63, to prevent confusion that was likely going to arise from the old one being deleted.

- Aprone
Please try out my games and programs:
Aprone's software

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2018-10-16 18:37:46

I would like to throw my hat in to the proverbial ring as a fellow moderator as well. Keep in mind, I am not against Dark, I have also had the chance to meet him in person, once. But I do wish to put some points here about what I've experienced, and then below that, I would like to actually try to explain my own stance as a moderator and how I approach it.
I also hope that Dark will not close this topic, I think this discussion is very important. There's also no flame war here it's been very civil so far.
Firstly, I was the one who managed to convince Dark to, basically, futureproof the database for any Steam game that might become fully accessible, and I did this by adding it to the Choice of Games entry at least for now. It's not abot adding stuff like Mortal Kombat it's about adding Steam games that can be fully played from start to finish with accessible menus and all. The discussion was around 10 posts long, and took me going quite in-depth explaining things until he was convinced. Even Sendermen had to get involved, and it was him that came up with the final decision, based on the fact that I explained about audiogames.net's original vision, but also allowing the slightly newer, more accessible vision to take effect.
Secondly, I haven't really responded to the Ironcross situation on the mod list, but I was the one who mentioned about contacting Ironcross in private, because I remember him saying he had a dark sense of humour. I now am wondering if I should have been the one to actually take that initiative instead and actually contact him myself. Unfortunately, I was away, several hours from my home with no access to a proper keyboard to type, for an event at the time when the messages ended up getting sent to him and the mod list. While I can't guarantee being able to do much better, I do wonder if I might have been able to make some slightly different points to Dark.
I now wish to put some info here on how I approach moderating. I wasn't going to, but it might shed some light.
The first thing is I've not issued any full on member bans, only spambots. I've done a few warnings though. Part of this is actually because I have not been told how the "expiry date" of the ban field works. I don't know if it's uK or US date format, I don't know if it requires dashes or slashes or anything about that section. I feel like, with this lack of information, I can't do my job properly. I want to learn about this, not because I am about to start to use it like nuts, but in case the situation arrises, the very same reason I am learning martial arts in my offline life, it's made me less of an aggressive person and someone who does not want to take any action unless absolutely necessary.
Which leads me to another point.
Clones vs cracks. I think part of this is because we're moderators, not coders. I will put something here.
When Desafio Mortal returned, I started a discussion on the mod list as a heads up that a topic had been started, before any drama kicked off. Do you know what happened? Absolutely no moderator, at all, got back to me. I was effectively left to fend for myself for the topic.
Then, once the flame wars started, I then started a second discussion. Dark was the main one who got back to me, and so it went back and fourth. Yet, I sort of felt like the only one watching the topic, and I felt like it was the only thing I could do, and here's why:
Proof. I had none that it was stolen code. Yes it used similar sounds. But what was worse, was I couldn't even test the game myself. It would not load. So, I literally had no way of even trying to evaluate the situation fully, I wanted to test it out myself and then perhaps help come to a decision.
The only quote unquote proof I was getting was from someone who had previously been warned, possibly even banned. For some reason, it felt like more of a red flag, I could not trust this person. Needless to say I was write. Next thing you know, that person then admits to typing a command to clear the game/clone's server. This absolutely made me realize that I was right in my instincts. If you are going to prove that a game or piece of software is wrong, it is my belief to do this in a constructive way, let people have their fun until such proof is gained, yet the way this was gained was to effectively either restart, or possibly crash, a game.
As things started to pile up, I genuinely did not know what to do. Here I was, caught between something I could not even try out myself, someone who had done some sort of command that did who knows what to that game's server, and that person being the only one giving me proof, and the rest of the community asking to simply close a topic. Furthermore, we had no thoughts from the original developer of the project that was being cloned, funny that. So I sent my thoughts to the mod list. simply saying that I wasn't sure what to do. It was Dark who made the final decision, closing the topic.
I wish to lay out my own thoughts bare bones here.
I'm not a coder, perhaps this might invalidate my point. But we're moderators, not coders, surely.
Many games use similar sound assets. If we started to ban a game just because it used the same sounds then where will it end.
What happens if we start banning games for being too similar, what sort of reputation will we gain? What if a developer who developed a clone, comes back within a couple of years with a completely new project, accept, they don't want to post it to the audiogames forum because all we did was close their topics when they tried to bring some sort of new game onto the scene, however good or bad. Surely, it should be the community who can decide what is a good or bad game.
The problem is we now are still of the belief that Desafio Mortale used code that shouldn't really have got out in the first place. The problem with that, and, say, Zombie Arena, the clear difference is that Zombie Arena is an open sourced project. I do not feel like we should close topics just because a game is similar because this time, that code has been distributed for the reason to let people use it.
Now, it is different to cracks. Regarding the cracking topics, I wonder if someone should only be banned in those if they actually distribute cracks. I also wonder if asking for cracks should be grounds for a banning or not, I wonder if that's harsh after all they might be a new person. But also, cracks are more logical than a game that may or may not have stolen code or sounds. It's more clear cut a sort of yes or no situation and is fairly easy to determine.
Lastly, Audio description: I still do not know how to feel. I will say this though: if governments and agencies are starting to ramp down on piracy, then perhaps we might need to take a stand, and here's why.
If a particularly strict company finds us, they might ask us to take down the entire site, not just the topics or offending links. That will put a gigantic history at risk. I am talking over a decades worth of blind community discussions. So, I will put it like this:
If it's between taking a link to a movie for some short enjoyment time, or keeping the entire history of the audiogames website, keeping it as a place that can be used, then, I know exactly what option I'd take: the second one: I'd rather preserve our forum and allow it to exist. I've had a long time to think about this, and I am thinking it might be the best way to go. We may have to remove audio described content. The only thing is, what about the harder to find stuff? Well, will that truly matter if if we end up being taken down? I might not necessarily like it, and in fact I've thought about ways we might or might not be able to get around it, but now I don't know if it's worth the risk.
I hope this gives some people some thoughts on how I personally approach things. Also hailing from the UK like Dark, I take slightly different approaches, but I do wonder if I'm maybe too soft sometimes. Yet, I've always felt like this forum needs freedom of speech to rule, and I don't think we should be ruled by an iron fist. I, also, do not think that Dark is a full on iron fist either, although lately he has closed topics and I do wonder if he was too hasty in those decisions. I will, once again, say I do not have anything against dark. I also do *not* want to overthrow him really, although I do wonder what will happen. I certainly do *not* believe he should leave the forum because I do find his contributions quite valuable and sometimes fairly amusing.

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2018-10-16 18:50:35

well i have had no dealings with dark 1 way or the other. having been someone who has done jury service i feel it's only fair to hold off of the firing squad until dark comes back and lays his cards on the table. he has the right to do so.
as for the whole stw afair i really cannot say. i certainly remember it who doesn't but equally i'm not 100% sure on it either way. i don't feel qualified to comment. it is true that any log/text file can be edited so 1 or even both sides for all i know are guilty of that. like i say i don't know so no am not pointing a finger.
the only thing i do not like is the withholding of names. if you feel your information is accurate and you stand by what you say then you should really be putting your name to it. regardless of how well the post was put together and regardless of smoke j's respecting the wishes of people who wish to remain nameless if people are not willing to put their name to a comment then i automatically put a question mark on it because i then have to wonder about it's validity. smoke j may well believe the evidence provided because he knows who these people are but we don't. in a way it's sort of the same thing. so therefore i would erge said persons to come forward and put their name to what they have said. because they are waying in on a situation with impunity which is wrong.
everybody on this thread has automatically put their names to their comments and opinions because we have too as we cannot comment without logging in. even so me personally i would still put my name to my own comment. so really i don't see why there should be people who are allowed to be anonymous. not in a situation as serious as this is becoming.

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2018-10-16 18:57:03 (edited by rashad 2018-10-16 18:58:32)

Right, I wasn’t going to post but because it seems most of you only care about the drama and not about fixing this, but it looks like we’re just going to end up with more shallow “hey look let me agree with my friends” posts, so here goes. This is long, deal with it. Of course as soon as I'm done writing a bunch of posts get deleted which just goes to show, but anyhow.
Firstly, to get some stuff out of the way, I’m not a frequent poster, but I am a lurker. I’ve watched these topics unfold over the years, so it’s not the first time that I see the majority of these posts. I don’t know anyone off the forum personally in any way, and have likely never had a private conversation with any of you at any point to my knowledge. Same for people who post on BSG.
I’m only posting in an attempt to provide actual solutions for people to think about, instead of just pointing fingers at people who aren’t my friends because I think my friends are being threatened (this is the impression I get from several people from both sides of this issue).
Regarding the BSG post itself, it does raise some valid points. My personal opinion is that it focuses too much on trying to portray Dark as an evil dictator, when really all it seems to me is that he’s not very good at moderating conversations because he lets his personal feelings leak into his moderation responses. The most damning section of the post, the bit about Walter, suffers from the same problem that it accuses Dark of being guilty of, and that is showing its anonymous sources. You can’t call someone out for not revealing their anonymous sources by using an anonymous source, come on guys. Either that moderator will want to speak publicly, or just don’t try making the argument. Admittedly, if what it does say is true, it does paint a rather different picture. In this case, where no “official” rules were technically broken, for a single moderator to ban a member without presenting any evidence to any other moderator is worrying. And yet, we can’t prove or disprove any of it unless anonymous moderator decides to step up (please do, save everyone the grief of having to watch 700 posts of drama about this).
Even if nothing said in the BSG post is true, and some of it clearly is because the posts are right there for everyone to see, it’s clear we have a trust problem here. So, let’s try and fix it peacefully. While I realise in the end this comes down to Richard and Sanderman’s choices, what needs to be kept in mind is that this is a community. If there is no trust in this community, people will stop coming to this community, and everything else will become rather errelivant.
Let’s start with the easiest fix. Consolidate the FAQ and rules section of the site. They’re basically the same anyways, but for the sake of making the community have more trust, copy paste the explanations of each rule found in the FAQ to the rule page. and for the love of maple syrup, have a last edited date on that page. For added trust, record every single edit, whether it’s a typo fix or a larger change, and inform the community of it (I have a feeling some members here will already be keeping copies of the rules page and FAQ post to compare periodically after what BSG is accusing). Speaking of that, it does strike me as strange that Dark can add things (for example the site ranks from the contest just last year) to the FAQ without the last edited date changing at the top, because this doesn’t happen with any other post, so seems like it’s a deliberate thing. However, because the FAQ only really contains clarifications of the main site rules, it seems like a bit of a stretch to say that Dark was just making up rules on the fly whenever it suited him (does anyone see a ban anyone who disagrees with the head mod rule in there? I don’t). I would like an explanation of the last edited date, though, for clarification’s sake.
Next, create a set number of warnings, and a set period of temporary bans. It is shocking to me that this isn’t a thing.
Each rule should state the severity of warning that goes along with it. There should be a statement somewhere about how the length of a ban is determined, rather than leaving it up to how Dark is feeling on a particular day.
Personally, I’m of the opinion that not all mod warnings are equal, therefore I’d advocate for something like a point system, publicly viewable in a person’s profile by anyone, for the sake of trust.
I provide this idea only so that people have something to talk about here other than drama, so do with it what you will. I have no experience moderating, so have no idea how doable it is, but I’m sure someone can come up with something better if we start a conversation about this.
The following numbers are made up as an example.
A new member to the forum gets 5 points, or strikes, or whatever you want to call them, hereon referred to as points.
If this person does something that breaks a rule, they lose 1 or 2 points, depending on the severity of he rule breaking. With each subsequent breaking of the same rule, they lose an additional point.
Say, for example, bob got a warning for distributing cracks. He has never distributed cracks before, and one might be able to argue that he is new on the forum or something and so doesn’t know the rule. Bob still gets a warning, losing only a single point.
Joe, on the other hand, creates the equivalent of the silver dollar topic currently sitting in the general game discussion room. Because on top of breaking the rules, Joe shows flagrant disrespect for them, Joe loses 2 points.
A little while later, Bob posts again with cracks. One might still be able to argue that he’s not perfectly clear on the rule, there might be a language barrier problem, so Bob would only get a warning for a single point, plus one for a repeated breaking of the same rule.
If he were to do it again, the base punishment of 1 or 2 would be determined separately, with the points for the repeated offense, which would increase by one each time, being tacked on later.
I personally like this because it gives the power of punishing certain rules more harshly than others.
And finally, whether or not Dark should resign, in my eyes, depends completely on that last section of the article being verified or not. As it stands currently, I don’t particularly feel strongly about it one way or the other, although will admit that he probably shouldn’t be given as much free rain to make his decisions without consulting anyone in future either way (examples of him letting his own opinions color his moderation posts are everywhere honestly). You know what, this post’s already stupidly long, what’s a couple hundred words. Let’s look more in depth at BSG’s examples of this.
Again, I really get the impression that Dark didn’t do anything out of Mallis or because he was on a power trip in most cases save the steam topic, which he apologised for, and the Walter ban, see above. Overall, it just comes off as bad moderating, allowing his personal feelings to color his moderation responses. This is especially obvious in the posts where he called members young children. It also seems to be the case with the recent banning of Ironcross. While I’m of the opinion that that temp ban was long overdue, I have to agree with the majority here that says that he didn’t even say anything that counted as a personal attack (In this one specific case). That particular reaction was likely elicited by the drastic difference in political views between Dark and Ironcross, as one can see if one reads the thread Dark was leaning towards being on the other side of the debate. All Ironcross did was tell the OP to stop with the single argument that was getting him nowhere and either move on or try a different argument. While he did swear, that’s not against the forum rules nor was it swearing directed at the OP. Now, if someone says something you strongly disagree with, it becomes easy to see things that aren’t there, like reading a personal attack into a simple expression of frustration, and it would seem that this is what happened. Does this make Dark a bad person? No! Does it make him a bad moderator? I personally would think so, although that really comes down to what kind of views we’d like to see protected on this forum.
I’ve just looked at the word count on this, so if you’ve read this far thanks for reading my ramblings. Either way I’m going to stop now before I hit the 2000-word mark.

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2018-10-16 19:08:39 (edited by flackers 2018-10-17 13:48:00)

All I'd say about that last part is that it does seem like that guy was pretty hard-done-to, and the girl was inventing crap to make him look bad, and Dark should have realised it. All that stuff about having a friend that committed suicide over it was pretty disgraceful, and she needs to have a good hard look at herself. I think she took advantage of Dark's trust. She had it in for this guy for whatever reason, but she couldn't do anything to damage him, but she knew a man who could. This is purely a cerebral environment and women need no guys flexing their cyber muscles on their behalf, and this was no damsel in distress. It looks more like a woman scorned.

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2018-10-16 19:28:53 (edited by CAE_Jones 2018-10-16 19:34:15)

My ideal policy toward relatively minor infractions (the most common, and most involved in this discussion), would be something like: 3 warnings, 1 day ban, 3 days, 7 days, 7 days, 14 days, 14 days, 30 days, 30 days, 90 days, 1 year. Anyone who comes back after getting to that point, would get a couple 1-7 day grace periods, in case they forgot the point during the year of exile, and if that doesn't stick, permanent ban.
This works only if the person in question is providing enough value to make it worth that much leniency, or if they're living a stereotype that generally passes with time, and can be expected to get better eventually. Realistically, someone who comes back and gets banned again will probably do so quickly enough that moderators would nigh  unanimously vote to skip some steps after a while. OTOH, if someone is exceptionally awful, or clearly acting in bad faith (wait, is that just a synonym for "being a jerk"?), they'd probably get the big bans much sooner. This is easier somewhere like Reddit, where comment history in other subreddits can give an idea of how likely they are to reoffend, so in practice, this would be a mistake beyond the trolliest of trolls, and the jackest of asses.

TLDR: Proposing a bigger mod-action gradient, so that the minimum ban period can be much shorter. The longer the ban, the more supported the ban should be by the team. This would let the mods do more about the drama topics and flame-warriors, as well as the occasional mistake, without the deal being so big.
[Edit] Or what was suggested in 70. That's more concrete.

Some of my games
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2018-10-16 20:03:31

You know what? I'm gonna leap in here and say my thoughts.

I do think there's merit to the blog post and it seems well researched and put together, it's not some baseless claims with promises of oh I researched this. It does seem very well put together like I said.

@Aaron (the mod): WHen I was a mod on other sites I was always given this bit of advice: THe best mods are the ones who never have to be a mod, who can just be themselves on whatever site. I'd also argue that being a good mod, at least from what I've always been told, is not coming off as too harsh, and not coming off as inefective. That being said......I'd also argue yo, mods are people too with their inherent biases, flaws, et cetera.....and no, not everyone is cut out to be a mod. And also, not everyone who is a mod is ideally suited to be a mod. Does that mean scrap all the mods and get new ones?

Nah. It means figure out who isn't suited to being a mod, be it a head mod or the newest guy on the team, and......well.....get rid of them from the mod team. If it means stripping them of mod powers, bam, so be it if it helps the overall community.....it's a win win.

On the subject of rules in the FAQ I do feel hthat has to go. THe FAQ is never ever ever on any site, a place for rules. One easy way to stop any possible abuse is to lock moderators out of editing the FAQ and make it so only admins can edit it, so if Joe Blow was a mod and wanted to, let's say, ban Alice then edit the FAQ to make up what Alice did, he wouldn't be able to do so, it'd require an admin to do that. Now yes, that opens up the issue of admins doing the same thing but idealy you trust your site admins completely and already got site admins here, move the editing the site specific stuff out of the mod hands to remove any and all possibility of mods adding rules after a fact, a point that was broughnt up in the BSG post.

Something I wanted to bring up is the flip flop attitude of Dark. On the one hand he says oh, this guy has been banned because of his prior post history, then on another topic he tellss a user to forget what somebody else said in another topic. So which is it, either every single post in every topic matters or none. You can't again have two or three sets of rules for users depending on who they are honestly. I'd argue also, and I'm speaking this from experience on other, much bigger sites...that mods should never be able to veto things. Let's say Alice, Bob and Charlie are mods. Alice wants to ban John Doe, BOb and Charlie are against it, but Alice does it anyhow. If anything, Bob and Charlie should be able to go in and undo that ban, or give a warning, or whatever the procedurre is on that site. Mods being able to veto other mods simply is a bad, bad idea in practise and theory. I get why it happens.....but, I disagree entirely it, and that's coming from somebody who has been a mod on bigger sites and seen full on mod fights in mod only forums.

Alright I mentioned the whole rules thing. It needs to be simple, get rid of the FAQ and have clear, easy to understand rules with no gray area. F.ex: Cracking of audiogames is punished. Cracking of other software or distributing copyrighted material is also subject to the same punishment. Not this oh we favor games but we let books/movies/etc slide. All it takes is one overzealous copyright holder to get alerted and decide to go after the site or hosting provider and the site gets into hot water. It's basically like going down to a market and selling legit Windows CDs but bootleg music and movies recorded on your phone from the back of the theater, passing them off as legit. It's still illegal, just as illegal as passing around cracks for....well...anything. Or, putting it another way: Would anyone care to deal with an angry rights holder who came calling if their movies/music/etc were shared on the forum, because...the current policy wouldn't go anywhere except get the forum fined majorly.

Point is. Rules need a rewrite. Unsuitable mods ned to be found out and removed from mod positions.

Ah yeah one last thing:
This whole 'civil discourse thing is, frankly, a lot of crap, because any time you get people discussing things people are gonna have disagreements, arguments, etc. You can't reasonably expect everyone to be civil constantly especially when people are discussing things they are passionate about.

If in doubt, chocolate and coffee. Enough said.

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2018-10-16 20:25:43 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-16 20:31:12)

Honestly I think a lot of this mess comes down to dark in particular taking a lot of initiative and getting in over his head. I wonder what would happen to these forums if he were gone for 6 months without replacement. It would be interesting either way. From what I have briefly heard, Dark was pretty much the one who took care of the messes when they started. I sympathize since this is a difficult forum to moderate.

I could not be bothered to try and sift through everything and figure out whether Dark or the other moderation staff performed actions which were unjust. That's just not something I can do, not with a level head anyway, and I don't know how anyone possibly could at this point. There's too much room for difference in interpretations and values and he-said and she-said and dispersion of information and reactions to said information and all the rest. I commend Smoke Jay for trying and presenting objective evidence from actual posts of this forum, but at this point I think we've reached a point of diminishing returns.

As human beings, personal feelings taint our objectivity very quickly. We are creatures of subjectivity after all, and it is very hard to switch off the subjectivity switch. The moderators are people, just like all of us are. People who are doing this in their spare time. People who are no doubt having their sanity severely tested as of late due to multiple contributing factors. People who have accepted the position of moderator not by objective consideration for the quality of their judgments, but by personal recommendations by others, which don't really mean much especially when stuff like this happens. In other words, all mods are doing what they feel will make this community best, and yes that is a personal thing.

Did the team, or dark specifically, make unjust mistakes that should not go unforgiven? I am not out to make that call. I am just trying to encourage us to try to understand each other a little more before we start using terms like "power trip" and "doesn't care about" and other such things.

Personally I would get the admins involved, if for nothing else than to suggest administrative changes that would help moderators do their jobs better. I would request the major do and don't rules of the forum be moved off the FAQ and into the main rules. Lay it out clear, remove as much conversational q/a format as possible. I would also ask an official system be established for warnings and bans, and that a major consensus needs to happen by the moderators concerning major offenses like bans and other harsh punishment, though I have no clue how that could really be done, and I suspect and hope that the mods at least try to come to consensus much of the time anyway.

Finally I would request the mod staff be given concise instructions on the functions a moderator can perform. at present it sounds like everyone's just running free, not only with interpretations of rules and their enforcement, but the actual technical enforcement of the rules themselves. A short manual for mods is all that would be needed I think. Similar to the BB Code help. It isn't long but explains what things do and gives examples where applicable.

If all of these things could happen, I think these shenanigans could be prevented. I hope, anyway. I think this forums rules can be stricter, without the iron fist. Conversely I think we can all cool off a little before posting and try to speak fairly before posting things that may set fires alight. If we all can stick together a little more and talk things out, try to understand each other, just be nice decent individuals, this would be a much better place. No matter how you spin it, the respect, or lack thereof shown on this forum can be simply appalling.

Clearly the system needs adjustment in some form or another. At the end of the day, there was a big misunderstanding somewhere, that has no doubt resulted from many misunderstandings. WE can't simply disperse to other like-minded forums, so for those who want to stay here and see it through this, let's pick ourselves up, throw away as much of our bad baggage as possible and try to fix it. Let's come together and make it so that we all can agree on a better, more robust, more transparent way to run this place. WE can do it!

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2018-10-16 20:30:45

I agree with 73 here. Being an administrator of a community myself, and having some experience in this area, I've learned many things, including that:
- moderators should not have any power to override another moderator, whether they're a head moderator or not.
- The same point applies to administrators or any other position of authority.
- Any position of authority should have checks and balances to ensure that that position of authority is difficult if not outright impossible to abuse. If you can't moderate someones behavior manually, then make the forum self-governing such that a moderators actions need to be approved by another moderator and vice versa, or a moderators action of a tempban or permaban need to be a unanimous approval vote, no questions asked.
- If a moderator has a conflict of interest (that is, a situation in which a person or organization is involved in multiple interests, financial or otherwise, and serving one interest could involve working against another, typically relating to situations in which the personal interest of an individual or organization might adversely affect a duty owed to make decisions for the benefit of a third party) or is under the principal-agent problem (which occurs when one person or entity (the "agent") is able to make decisions and/or take actions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the "principal"), etc., that moderator should not be allowed to moderate on that particular situation (or even, not be allowed to moderate on any situation) until that situation is resolved and there is neither a conflict of interest or principal-agent problem.
Those are the most important rules I've learned with administration and moderation: a moderator should be allowed to make particular decisions (i.e. giving warnings) but any action that is considered "major" (i.e. banning or reporting to authorities) should require either a quorum of administrators or moderators (or any other position of authority) or should require a unanimous vote. Favoritism should be permanently "illegal" under the rules of moderation (if any) and any moderator caught showing favoritism towards one person or group either should be removed from the moderator panel or warned not to do it again.
About the rules: when you do consolidate all the rules in one place, be very specific on what is allowed and what isn't. Do not leave any ambiguities anywhere. If you do leave ambiguities laying around someone is bound to use them against you. And for the love of god, get rid of that rule on civility and 'no personal attacks' and friends. None of those rules are actually enforceable.

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!]: 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out ?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."    — Charles Babbage.

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2018-10-16 20:35:15 (edited by musicalman 2018-10-16 20:37:01)

Ethin wrote:

Moderators should not have any power to override another moderator, whether they're a head moderator or not.
- The same point applies to administrators or any other position of authority.
- Any position of authority should have checks and balances to ensure that that position of authority is difficult if not outright impossible to abuse. If you can't moderate someones behavior manually, then make the forum self-governing such that a moderators actions need to be approved by another moderator and vice versa, or a moderators action of a tempban or permaban need to be a unanimous approval vote, no questions asked.

Yep, this is exactly what I meant to say but was to befuddled to come up with it with this clarity. Such a system I think would come a long way on these forums if the mods could come together and make such a system efficient. Only issue is that questionable material pops up on these forums all the time, and some mods are not online that often. For a checks and balances system to work the mods need to regularly attend to things and that seems like it would be quite a task here. But what would I know? I have never been an admin and I know I wouldn't be a good one lol

Make more of less, that way you won't make less of more!
If you like what you're reading, please give a thumbs-up.

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