Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

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Tapwave
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Tapwave »

I think it'd be worthy to purge a few inactive mods and maybe propose potential new moderators. Though it'd be wise to ask them first if they'd be up for it.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by ZzZombo »

Reading the Statement from A to Z I got the idea that the former moderator team wasn't above administering punishments for (perceived) infractions against themselves. This doesn't sit well with me, no moderator should do that, generally other moderators should step in and hand them out in such a case because of the inherent bias in judgement.

There is also another thing that pissed me off to no end that some users had some sort of protected status due to past services rendered or other things done so that the team wouldn't do as much as talk to the other party even though both were at fault for escalating but only you get the blunt end of the banhammer. I get I'm not a role model but as far as you want users to behave correctly you have to judge them all fairly and equally. Veterans and such may get some leeway but not to the point of getting some form of immunity from moderators.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Brohnesorge »

So I don't think a rotating mod team is necessary. Most of the problem children, so to say, have already been removed, and a more complete and standardized...uhh...selecting process would be better. I simply don't think that the community right now is big nor active enough to support rotating mods (maybe it is on Discord, I wouldn't know), plus its not something I've ever seen done successfully before. I also think making sure mods aren't abusing their position is much more important than constantly bringing in new faces.

That said, I do think mods going forward should have a minimum community presence. One of the corners of the Candice issue, for example, was they had no presence before becoming a mod.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Marrub »

Brohnesorge wrote: Tue Apr 25, 2023 11:51 am So I don't think a rotating mod team is necessary. Most of the problem children, so to say, have already been removed, and a more complete and standardized...uhh...selecting process would be better. I simply don't think that the community right now is big nor active enough to support rotating mods (maybe it is on Discord, I wouldn't know), plus its not something I've ever seen done successfully before. I also think making sure mods aren't abusing their position is much more important than constantly bringing in new faces.

That said, I do think mods going forward should have a minimum community presence. One of the corners of the Candice issue, for example, was they had no presence before becoming a mod.
Seconded. The mod team did stagnate for a while, but that in itself was never an issue to me. Community involvement was less and less of a natural consequence of the forum and more of a goal desperately grasped for; even now this is a problem just due to the slow medium shift to instant messaging. The things that humanized this space and made it feel safe to me were well eroded with time. I don't want to go into every individual case, but one thing that sticks in my mind is the war on spam that's occurred over these past few years; the kind of mindset of "fixing problems" that leads to decisions like locking out half the forum's users, going for every solution with maximum efficacy, no less without consulting the people it will effect. The ideas that wrack in my mind here tend to be to the tune of, "do more* polls, get active people involved with moderation regardless of pedigree," and even "do less moderation."

* Not suggesting this for everything. This is inherently a case-by-case thing. Bans shouldn't really need polls, for instance.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Megablast »

So the community is in a bit of a weird spot and understandably so after what happened.. Trust seems to be at an all time low, however the administration just ate a point blank BFG blast and I do believe something good can rise from the ashes.

Some of the things I personally think could be done to restore trust and enthusiasm in the site below:

Oversight

Transparency.
It's nice for the general users not to be completely in the dark on everything. Hall of Unpleasantries is kind of decent for this as you can sort get a general history of moderation actions.
The Fun Police discord is exactly the opposite of this, and I find cross banning people across sites/communities disgusting as it just turns into a dog-pile echo-chamber.
I'm not really sure what else can be done here outside of more open discussion in general when people want to know what is going on internally. If there is no official dialog and any effort to ask about a situation is silenced or blown off people are rightfully going to be angry in any heated situation.

Jury, Judge and Executioner.
One person filling all of these roles should be avoided on anything more than a spam bot or someone blatantly trolling the forum. If anyone from the mod team feels like a poor decision was made they should be freely able to discuss it even if an admin stepped in. We're dealing with text here.. Which can be interpreted in MANY tones or lights especially if you have never talked to the human behind the keyboard. Point being a second or third opinion is never bad on deciphering a forum post if there is a shade of doubt. Always assuming the worst interpretation is the mark of poor judgement and bad moderation imo.

Higher profile bannings or maybe even warnings in some cases (Longstanding member of the community, modder, developer) it should never fall on one person if the decision isn't clear. These are the sorts of people that are needed to keep the forum alive so it should be treated with some respect.

Review Past Sins.
Personally I feel like past permanent bans (at the very least of prominent members of the DOOM community.. The damage is probably done for just random new members that got axed, no way to contact them.) should be reviewed and possibly overturned. Humans make mistakes.. We learn and grow. I'm sure most of us can look back at some really silly or dumb stuff we've said and we haven't even had the internet our entire lives. If everyone held the exact same beliefs and values the world would be a boring shithole, and the same thing goes for this forum. At the end of the day we're all just enjoying a great video game, as long as we can be civil to each other and share a common interest this isn't really rocket science.

I honestly have no idea who is banned here or why, so this point might not be valid... However if it is, I think it'd be a very good step in restoring trust if people were nuked for anything undeserving of a perma. The DOOM community as a whole is very fractured, and even just inside of ZDOOM there seems to be a lot of rifts and old grudges.

Community Building
I'm really not sure who this responsibility should fall to but it should ideally be everyone's goal on the staff to make this forum the place to go for anything ZDOOM.
Let's go over some reasons new people or returning people have to come to the forums (in no particular order)

1. To find info about mods or download them.
As someone who used to stream primarily DOOM on Twitch a couple years ago, this was very important to me. Anytime I played anything G/ZDOOM I would look for a thread for the project to both read myself and link it on my bot for viewers to check out or download. People coming here to find info on mods is one of the biggest drivers of traffic and some emphasis should be placed on keeping mod/wad developers around and happy with the general state of things.

2. To look at the changelogs for new versions of the engines and such.
Not much to say here, it works.

3. Feature requests or bug reports.
This is handled quite well, and is generally just up to if the devs like or feel strongly enough about a suggestion to devote time to it. I've personally requested some changes and they made it into the engine making a massive difference in my QoL.

4. Coming to ask questions or post tutorial content.
This is something a forum generally has over discord and the like. If someone comes here to ask a mapping/coding/scripting question the answer is just here forever for people to read. I myself have solved a lot of mapping/scripting issues by opening up old forum threads.

5. Looking for a general community to hang out in for ZDOOM.
Big one but this kinda comes naturally from all the other points being strong. As long as the natural flow of new faces isn't getting perma banned a the drop of a hat there should be some growth.
It has already been stated in this thread but reaching for the hammer before other means on something minor just should not happen, bad moderation can and will destroy a community.

Another point here is just HOW bad the on-boarding process is for the forum, to even make this post I had to message Caligari for my account to be reactivated which alone will drive some people away from ever signing back in. Don't even get me started on the passwords, I've worked at companies with sensitive info that had more lax requirements. This stuff is absolutely stifling community growth to some degree as I feel like every time I come back to this forum there's some hurdle I'm hopping over to sign in or get a post up.. And I feel like most of the casual crowd who just randomly remembers this place exists and tries to sign in on a whim will just not bother and forget about it again.
I've already voiced the concerns about the user on-boarding privately to Cali, just thought it could use a mention here too.

Closing Thoughts
Admins or mods shouldn't really be seen as some scary group operating in the shadows out to get you, they should just be part of the community and also happen to help with running it. In all honesty it's a very hard job to do correctly without bias, but not impossible. Sometimes it's a little too easy to let power get to your head and make a poor decision that slowly waters the seeds of distrust.

Anyway the above is just some thoughts from running many communities over the years ranging from Warcraft III, Starcraft 2, WoW, Twitch Channel, Discord, project teams and some business related teams. I really do hope this place continues to exist and thrive as it's a great museum of ZDOOM content and even though I didn't post much, I've done my fair share of reading here over the years while learning how to use ACS/DECORATE/ZSCRIPT among other mapping related things.

This post was pretty hastily type when I got home from work but I hope there is some value in there for someone, hope you all are having a good day.
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Kinsie
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Kinsie »

Marrub wrote: Tue Apr 25, 2023 8:24 pm I don't want to go into every individual case, but one thing that sticks in my mind is the war on spam that's occurred over these past few years; the kind of mindset of "fixing problems" that leads to decisions like locking out half the forum's users, going for every solution with maximum efficacy, no less without consulting the people it will effect.
Agreed. There has been a somewhat bizarre fixation on finding invasive technical solutions to social problems, and the results have frankly had far more collateral damage in terms of driving users away, discouraging them from even registering etc. than the problems they were trying to solve.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Professor Hastig »

Megablast wrote: Tue Apr 25, 2023 8:42 pm Jury, Judge and Executioner.
One person filling all of these roles should be avoided on anything more than a spam bot or someone blatantly trolling the forum. If anyone from the mod team feels like a poor decision was made they should be freely able to discuss it even if an admin stepped in. We're dealing with text here.. Which can be interpreted in MANY tones or lights especially if you have never talked to the human behind the keyboard. Point being a second or third opinion is never bad on deciphering a forum post if there is a shade of doubt. Always assuming the worst interpretation is the mark of poor judgement and bad moderation imo.
Let me mildly disagree on this. If a forum post is worded in a way that necessitates discussion of its intent it is already a clear sign that there's something wrong with how it is worded.
In clear English: No matter what it says, if may genuinely be considered very offensive by some people. In my opinion, if a post gets there it's definitely grounds for moderation already. Not a ban, not always an official board warning, but definitely a slap on the wrist to be more careful next time.

Some people may not realize this, but what bothers me about most forums is that mods don't dare to stop in when people start using aggressive and hostile language for making a valid point. Once such a tone sets in the discussion can become very unpleasant and it doesn't really matter where someone stands on the subject matter being discussed. This latest fallout was a textbook example. While I sympathised with most posters' feelings, the language on display often crossed this line and only increased hostilities.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Megablast »

Professor Hastig wrote: Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:07 am Let me mildly disagree on this. If a forum post is worded in a way that necessitates discussion of its intent it is already a clear sign that there's something wrong with how it is worded.
In clear English: No matter what it says, if may genuinely be considered very offensive by some people. In my opinion, if a post gets there it's definitely grounds for moderation already. Not a ban, not always an official board warning, but definitely a slap on the wrist to be more careful next time.
Honestly don't think we disagree much here, my main problem is jumping straight to ban in such situations. I personally lean towards lighter moderation but everything is case by case and everyone has a different scale of punishment. Mostly just want the mod team to communicate a bit with each other before nuking someone from orbit if the decision isn't super clear cut.
Professor Hastig wrote: Wed Apr 26, 2023 12:07 am Some people may not realize this, but what bothers me about most forums is that mods don't dare to stop in when people start using aggressive and hostile language for making a valid point. Once such a tone sets in the discussion can become very unpleasant and it doesn't really matter where someone stands on the subject matter being discussed. This latest fallout was a textbook example. While I sympathised with most posters' feelings, the language on display often crossed this line and only increased hostilities.
I understand what you're saying and in general agree that everyone should strive to be polite... Sometimes there are very legitimate reasons to be angry or somewhat aggressive. If moderators treat everyone as children no one will speak freely and people start bottling up all their grievances until they either leave or have some kind of outburst.

Another thing to consider is non-native English speakers sometimes unintentionally come off as aggressive or rude, I've made mistakes with moderation in the past in situations such as this.

That being said sure, there are times where people are just out of line and need to be told to calm down.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by yum13241 »

Another thing to consider is non-native English speakers sometimes unintentionally come off as aggressive or rude, I've made mistakes with moderation in the past in situations such as this.
The admins can try to guess. They know what country you live in.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Professor Hastig »

Megablast wrote: Thu Apr 27, 2023 5:13 pm I understand what you're saying and in general agree that everyone should strive to be polite... Sometimes there are very legitimate reasons to be angry or somewhat aggressive. If moderators treat everyone as children no one will speak freely and people start bottling up all their grievances until they either leave or have some kind of outburst.

Another thing to consider is non-native English speakers sometimes unintentionally come off as aggressive or rude, I've made mistakes with moderation in the past in situations such as this.
These are surely valid concerns, but even so, I think that overstepping a boundary is easy to spot.
As an example, I have seen it countless times that some people quickly jump to conclusions and accuse others of preceived wrongdoing where the only wrongdoing is not reading the post and digesting its content before responding to it - or worse, intentionally misreading it.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by yum13241 »

As an example, I have seen it countless times that some people quickly jump to conclusions and accuse others of perceived (fixed spelling error) wrongdoing where the only wrongdoing is not reading the post and digesting its content before responding to it - or worse, intentionally misreading it.
Emphasis is mine.
If the 2nd bolded part means"speedreading" then yes, I agree.
If it means "drawing conclusions based on what you read (past form)" then that's literally how debate works. If you draw a wrong conclusion, the person who wrote the post will tell you that's not what they meant. See a certain user who we've discussed to death.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Professor Hastig »

That part would be fine if people didn't stick to their incorrect conclusions with other taking the side of the person they favor. Then they gang up and put the one who was misunderstood into a corner until they land a knock out punch.
This is actually not how civilized discussions work, this is how politicians treat their opponents.
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by yum13241 »

if people didn't stick to their incorrect conclusions with other taking the side of the person they favor. Then they gang up and put the one who was misunderstood into a corner until they land a knock out punch.
Twitter in a nutshell...
This is actually not how civilized discussions work, this is how politicians treat their opponents.
And by extension, any arrogant person. Not to mention that I know some people who've pulled Rachael's in real life. (you know what I mean by "pulling a Rachael")
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Professor Hastig »

Social media as a whole in a nutshell...
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Re: Spring Cleaning 2023: Moderation

Post by Redneckerz »

yum13241 wrote: Fri Apr 28, 2023 5:01 am And by extension, any arrogant person. Not to mention that I know some people who've pulled Rachael's in real life. (you know what I mean by "pulling a Rachael")
Certain could do without the literal namecalling, which isn't unbecoming from your end.

This isn't even defending Rachael's behavior, just the mere fact that you attempt to make this a synonym for certain behavior feels unnecessary at best and straight up bullying at worst.

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