ID:622005
 

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Yesterday, 2:49?pm
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A.T.H.K

So far after trying to have a feature request added to revamp BYOND's guidelines for posting and have Moderators posts available to read for the general public, I have had my posts removed.

Again this only proves that BYOND needs guidelines

"MODNAME deleted your post 'BYOND Moderator Guidelines': Please do not repost a topic after a moderator has deleted it. [Link]"

What are your thoughts on the current state of BYOND's guidelines be is posting in a forum or how it is moderated?

I for one am disgusted by the actions taken on my posts.

A forum is for discussion and if we can't discuss anything why do we have a forum?

This would be post two of this as it was removed.

I recall someone posting noting that "it would be proof of the above if this was was removed" - or something to that effect.

They also noted that they would like to see the guidelines made public.

Once again if this is removed it just gives me one more reason to move away from BYOND and sadly would result in closing BYONDPanel once all servers have expired..
SuperAntx also noted that mods may remove any post they seem inappropriate.

While I think that is fair, does BYOND have a guild line or standards as to what is inappropriate? None that I could find.
Posting Guidelines

I found it below the "Save" and "Preview" buttons of the "Reply to post" area at the bottom after logging in.
I would suggest also linking it in a more obvious place, like near the top of the main forums page. I can understand why you had trouble finding it, since it isn't very noticeable.

I honestly didn't see your posts before they were removed, but maybe the mods saw them as personal attacks.
Really, the guidelines are for us, the posters, not the mods. We are the ones that follow the guidelines, and if we break them, then the mods can take action. At least that's the way I see it.

Please don't remove this topic. I think the visibility of the Posting Guidlines page is an issue that needs to be addressed.
I've said it many times that the staff's approach to moderating the forum is terrible. They're quick to delete posts so that nobody can see the supposedly inappropriate posts. As a result, nobody has any idea what is considered inappropriate because any example of bad behavior is deleted immediately. That's the reason they continue to have so many problems. If they weren't so heavy-handed it'd be a lot better for everyone. The only reason for not taking this approach is that they truly do love the power to delete posts.
Tom wrote:
When a post is deleted, the author should get an alert explaining the reason.

That's the probem. Only the author knows that the post was deleted and possibly why it was deleted. This doesn't help the rest of the community learn what behavior is considered unacceptable. To learn that boundary people have to cross it, and since they don't ever see any moderator actions taken against other users it's no wonder these people often feel like they're being singled out.

Deleting a post is about the most extreme action the moderators can take but it's often the first action taken. They've all gotten used to that being the standard action that it makes sense to them, but really it's the cause of most of the problems. It's especially worse since the last site update because the staff has to crack down on off topic posts since they now detract from the readability of the thread so much. With the tree-style display this wasn't the case. The staff has always had trouble viewing things from the user's point of view, this is just another example of that. The forum rules are clear to the staff and you expect they'd be clear to everyone else.

Deleting a post should be reserved for posts that are truly inappropriate (the absolute worst of the flame wars, porn, spam bots, etc.) or posts made after a public warning was given. Posts that are simply off topic shouldn't be deleted. They may contain useful information and a moderator should first publicly suggest that a seperate thread be started. Part of the problem is that the moderators lack options for dealing with posts they don't like. It was mentioned in the comments here that the ability to collapse/expand posts would solve a lot of these problems. Posts that are inappropriate or are too far off topic could be flagged as a moderator and shown collapsed by default. If you're worried about how the community looks to non-users you could only make these posts expandable to people who are logged in.

For my own sanity I googled "how to be a forum moderator". Here are some quotes from the first two hits (I guess I'm not crazy!):

From http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum103/336.htm
-Edit posts ONLY when 100% necessary. People do NOT like to have their things messed with.
-When you take an authoritative stance at someone, do NOT publicly ridicule them, but instead publicly express the act that is in violation. Then take the time to contact the member and explain the situation in a friendly tone. If the offense was critical then of course remove the person and posts.

From http://www.sitepoint.com/guide-life-parts-1-2/
The fact is that, as a moderator, you have a unique gift called leadership. This gift has given you the opportunity to work as a moderator on whatever board you?re part of. But leadership is simply a raw force ? an energy ? that drives us and influences others.
"Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence, seeing how you react. If you?re in control, they?re in control."

You can't show an entire community you're in control and influence their behavior by sending a private message to a single rule-breaker.
Whew, you go away for a week and everything gets rowdy all of a sudden! P:

A lot of it tends to be attitude related, in my experience, which is why usually, you'll get a bit of attitude back (from me, pretty much every other moderator interestingly conducts themselves in a more professional manner via messaging than I) if you are being particularly silly, as our prime intent is the maintenance of topic relevance and respect among posters. These are what we'd consider "common sense" matters.

One doesn't post in a developer discussion on topic X, going "Hey guys, an extensive discussion on Y unrelated matter" as that obviously should be it's own topic. One also doesn't go into a topic insulting another member, or deriding a moderator's action, mostly because it's 1. dis-respectful to that member / moderator's intellect and 2. pretty much off-topic, and not the place to be doing these things.

I'll roll over the list, and offer some extra rationale, as a few of them (maybe ... 1 or 2? We'll see) could use some, to which I'd agree.

***deleted your comment 'Re: Most complete Text MUD engine demo / open source engine?': Huge tangent. [Link]

There is a moderation issue here, and it works in two parts.

It was a tangent, the posts in question were a back and forth on the fact an old library didn't include dependencies very well, and whether that was the library provider's fault, the platform's fault, and discussion on who's responsibility it is etc. The topic they were in, was asking for recommendations on MUD engines, as the title suggests. Those are obviously not the same thing.

One issue I see, is before the site update, we used to be able to pull off tangent threads, and make them new topics. That's what I would've done in the old site. However in the new site, I have two options, I can edit the post, or delete the post. This is a technical fault, and it annoys me probably more than it annoys general users, because I hit it daily. (Tom knows the feature is missing, and it's in his plan to bring back in at some point, schedule is for him to decide)

The second issue is one that I can offer you a form of apology for: The delete reason is vague. This does happen, and it's a bit of a pain really. I suspect had the delete reason explained the first point, I'd like to think your reaction wouldn't have been item number 2 ...

Stephen001 deleted your comment 'Re: Most complete Text MUD engine demo / open source engine?': Ladies, please. Lets not get our panties in a twist. There was a tangent, we removed it, so the prime discussion of "what is the best MUD engine / library available" can continue without a 10 post tirade on how old inclusion mechanisms were crap. [Link]

Basically, this one was the deletion of several posts that stated "Hey! I don't think you should've deleted my posts!". Which is fine. If it was over pager, or in the support form, or maybe even ... BYOND discussion. It was in the very topic the previous moderator had trimmed posts (the very posts referred to, no less) for being on a tangent.

As much as you might agree or disagree about the deletion of the posts, whether they were a tangent or not, a moderator decided they were. So why oh why, would it be okay to post more stuff in the topic about the deleted tangent posts? It's clearly a tangent (even if it transpired the previous posts were not), and while I'm a fairly optimistic guy, it comes across as plain disrespectful of the moderator. Posting in that manner (and the location) always comes across as disrespectful to the moderator, it always has, and I'm sure for future moderators, always will. I don't think you have to be a moderator to see that. There are plenty of other avenues for expressing complaint, like pager, and here! And I know you've used both before to express moderator complaints, so that's not a novel concept to you.

It should also go without saying, that trying to conduct a complaint about a moderator action (about a supposed tangent, no less) in some else's topic isn't very respectful to the OP, and their need to have feedback on good MUD engines.

So yeah, I thought you were being pretty childish, if I'm quite honest, so I threw you a snarky remark. It's what I do sometimes, when I think someone's left their common sense at the login page. I probably need a slap for it, rest assured, Tom will slap me silly. I offer you my apology for the comment. The deletion was fine.

***deleted your comment 'Re: BYOND Flash': Trimming off useless stuff. This thread has nothing constructive happening. [Link]

Annoyingly I can't seem to find this. We used to have a cool feature that let us reveal deleted posts, so I used to be able to go to the topic in question and show up the post, and so comment, but alas.

***deleted your post 'Moderation Guidelines': Don't jump on the bandwagon. This post is just fueling the fire started by ego. [Link] - Yep this exact same post since the other one posted by someone else was removed.

I'll actually tackle the remaining quoted items as one, as they are basically one matter. What we had (and you can see from the log) is a matter where (as much as the point of the topic was worthwhile) a member essentially made a list of rather arrogant demands upon the staff and volunteers at large, and very actively insulted them in the process, such that basic intellectual respect was lost in their posts.

No useful discussion can operate here, unless basic intellectual respect (the assumption that the other person may be reasoned with, is attempting to make a genuine and rational point, and is giving intellectual respect in kind) is maintained. So no matter how interesting the underlying point may be, if it is conducted with no regard to basic intellectual respect of it's audience (to be honest, the topic lacked basic human respect also) then we will not allow it.

You wouldn't allow someone to freely run their mouth off about your mother, your upbringing or your intent, as part of anything that is supposed to represent an intellectual exchange whether a consensus is supposed to be reached. I wouldn't allow it. The moderators as a whole won't allow it. We won't allow it when those being insulted are fellow members, or moderators, or you. So given that, I'm sure you can see why the original "feature request" (wat?) was deleted.

Now what you essentially did, was take this rather dire topic, and attempt to extract a point from it, and go "Hey guys, I think there's actually a bit of a good point in here somewhere". Your mistake, was doing that in the middle of the original somewhat heated postings of the original poster. It's a bit like having the person insulting someone's mother in the middle of discussion, repeatedly, and loudly (so he can be heard and "drill his point home") and you pipe up and go "Hey guys, he kind of has a point" while he shouting, and people are shouting back at him about insulting someone's mother.

Being an optimist, no matter how genuine or well mannered your intent was, that was simply not the time to be attempting to hold, or initiate, a discussion on the matter. It's not helpful to do so, in the middle of what was a flare-up by a quasi-banned member.

Once suitably waiting for cool-down, the topic becomes one we can all discuss in a calm and rational environment. And so, here we are. :)

The implication that moderators would also have deleted this topic had Tom not posted in it, if I'm honest, is rather "hurtful" to us moderators, as what you are implying, is we are freely going around doing whatever, maybe even maliciously so, and neigh, implies that your issue is Tom isn't keeping us in check, as suggests some negligence on his part. Images of moderators hi5'ing each other for deleting random useful posts ensue.

Having moderated here for 6 years, that kind of hurts, and for Tom also I'm sure, that kind of hurts. It's not proportionate to any actual problem here and I must say, really weakens your credibility in this discussion, which most likely should be one of protocol, as Forum Account is discussing.

The trend of topic deletion being a resident of this forums is fairly new, kinda like Forum_Account is fairly new as a resident on this forums, and so are you (although I do recall the odd casual post from you prior). A good raft of our moderators, interestingly, are also fairly new as resident on these forums.

So what I'll do, I think, is offer where I can, some explanation of where older policy, or features, worked quite well in the forums, be it these, or the guilds, to prior.

Matters of moderator organisation or hierarchy (something I like, but hasn't really ever happened), mechanisms that mitigate deletes of good content (which we used to have, but maybe could take even better forms), and some sense of moderator protocol, I would leave to you all.

As a matter that I'll probably conduct more privately: Forum_Account's final note regarding moderators as leaders and influencers of the community is a strong one, and played a good role in improving BYOND Anime's levels of mutual respect and productivity, so I would wish very dearly that good heed is paid to understanding that moderators are not simply hired and don't simply prune and click buttons, but are leaders, with personality and presence. Forum_Account brings up good points about moderators not demonstrating good presence currently, and I think there's a lot of moderator discussion we can have amongst ourselves about team-building, and some "workshops" (I don't like the term) regarding our roles, and to be honest, for many moderators, simply getting out into the forums and chatting in topics more.
Apology accepted and I also offer one if I did hurt anyone's feelings it was not intended.

If I had known that one must wait for a cooling off period when posting a touchy subject like this I would of done so I assumed as this is a forum one could express matters of interest at any time.

You have valid points about my actions and some other things but as Forum Account said if we aren't shown what is acceptable and what is not then how is one to know.

I have been a BYOND member since 2001 and been a forum user since then.

I still believe the posting guidelines need a re-vamp as being a jerk can be misinterpreted as a joke to something more serious.

Some moderators actions and reason have been poor you can't deny that and this is also something that should be looked at.

If you feel that Iam incorrect in any way please feel free to express yourself below.
If I had known that one must wait for a cooling off period when posting a touchy subject like this I would of done so I assumed as this is a forum one could express matters of interest at any time.
if we aren't shown what is acceptable and what is not then how is one to know.

The forum runs on what is essentially a common-sense rule; if it sounds like it might be a bit silly, you probably shouldn't do it - and if something of yours gets deleted, you know not to do that thing in future.
Joining in on a subject that was being very aggressively, insultingly and repeatedly spammed onto the forums was not the best idea anyone could have for getting a point across; it just made us lump you in with Falacy;
At that point, our thought-process changes from "Oh, ATHK has something to say on the matter" to "Oh god, more spammers."

A deletion by a mod isn't us personally judging you or telling you to shut up, it's us doing our job; moderating the discourse of the forum. Keeping it moderate.
If a moderator feels that a person's post is tangent to the topic, what if there was an option to turn that into a mini thread inside of the thread like the old system (after all, it's organized that way anyways)? The moderator could mark the post as a tangent thread, but still have it attached to the current thread. It could be clicked and brought to that new thread or open a smaller extension. Thus it may say (This post is not necessarily relevant and has been turned into its own thread attached to this one. Click to respond.) Something to that effect. Or it could simply automatically be turned into a slightly smaller extension that could be scrolled over if desired. It may be a bit more complicated and take more efforts on the part of the moderators because of the forum's new look and design, but it may be a valid option for dealing with this problem that wouldn't involve deleting the posts and would also be a comfortable change for the community since it was like that for so long.

(I'm not saying you shouldn't delete posts. There are a lot of people around here that do post -more than- just unnecessary things. However, just because a comment is irrelevant it doesn't deserve to be deleted as many others have made clear. Even if it isn't what you're trying to get across, it feels like judgement and commenters --hate-- when their comments are deleted.)
Common sense rule, not noted anywhere.

Yet Falacy's post was nothing like the above.

Seems you treat users as a whole instead of as individuals my post was remove with in a few seconds of posting it, you can not tell me it was read thoroughly in that amount of time... No excuse it was removed and removed very very quickly. I can not determine wether another user is about to post a subject that is exactly or close to my own... Now that is silly.

I am not trying to single anyone out here hence why I removed names obviously you come across like you are taking this as a personal attack which it isn't all I have asked for is some changes and a review of current guidelines for posters and moderators with an online section to view these.
In response to A.T.H.K
A.T.H.K wrote:
Common sense rule, not noted anywhere.

That's because we were sort of hoping that it was common sense. If you're in a public venue, you don't do what Stephen described. You don't go yelling "Hey, that guy has a point" while the nuisance is screaming about Stephen's mother being all kinds of bad and being removed. If you do, you'll be removed along with the guy because you were contributing to the problem.

Yet Falacy's post was nothing like the above.

Seems you treat users as a whole instead of as individuals my post was remove with in a few seconds of posting it, you can not tell me it was read thoroughly in that amount of time... No excuse it was removed and removed very very quickly. I can not determine wether another user is about to post a subject that is exactly or close to my own... Now that is silly.

The rest of the post is fair enough, so I'll just address the above.

Deathguard wrote:
Joining in on a subject that was being very aggressively, insultingly and repeatedly spammed onto the forums was not the best idea anyone could have for getting a point across; it just made us lump you in with Falacy;
At that point, our thought-process changes from "Oh, ATHK has something to say on the matter" to "Oh god, more spammers."

Falacy posted his post 31 times (with slight variations, mind) over the course of 40 minutes, with the last 20 minutes containing the vast majority of them. You jumped in the middle exactly quoting his post and without adding much more than "yeah, what that guy said." You definitely got lumped in with him because you started in right in the middle of the action (~10 minutes in) and didn't contribute much more than an exact quote. If your post would've been structured more like the above and posted at a better time (not in the middle of a spam-fest), this would've never happened.
While one post was an exact replica I'll apologize for that.

Mean while the other two weren't .

Again I have no control over another user. To my defense I only saw the one post or maybe three (same topic assumed same post) as the moderators removed them so quickly I was not aware it was a "spam fest"

I think everyone is missing the point my posts were deleted and one moderator not apart of all of this explained why in a professional manner and I took that hence why I have posted today instead.

The point is guidelines or standards need to be set so some one without common sense knows what is happening.

My prior common sense remark was sarcasm.
The only posts of mine which are ever deleted are the ones where I'm trolling or posting image macros.

My most recent deleted post was actually from the "BYOND Flash" thread, all I did was post a picture of the character Flash in response to someone asking for Flash.
Forum_account wrote:
Deleting a post is about the most extreme action the moderators can take but it's often the first action taken. They've all gotten used to that being the standard action that it makes sense to them, but really it's the cause of most of the problems.

Deathguard wrote:
A deletion by a mod isn't us personally judging you or telling you to shut up, it's us doing our job; moderating the discourse of the forum. Keeping it moderate.

Oh dear.

if something of yours gets deleted, you know not to do that thing in future.

If you only expect that people will learn to behave by having one of their posts deleted, you're going to break the poor delete button! If you set a good example people will learn to follow it. If you're only acting privately (deleting posts, sending private warnings, etc.) and your actions are not visible to all users, then you can't be setting a good example. To be a good example people need to see what you're doing.

When you delete someone's post without offering any public warnings it will seem personal and drastic. It's personal because you're sending private warnings - how could people not feel singled out? It's drastic because the forum users consider deletion to be a drastic measure but to the forum mods, it's often the first action taken as a response to anything they don't like. That seems to always be the problem people complain about and, without knowing what posts you're talking about because they were all promptly deleted, it seems to be the case here. ATHK was annoyed that his posts were deleted and the BYOND staff, with their tendency to delete first and ask questions later, can't figure out why a deleted post might annoy someone.
I suspect you'll be hard pushed to get further posting guidelines on these matter, for people with "no common sense", as that's essentially asking for a guide in how to conduct yourself in social environments as a whole. It's mostly that reasoning which has my "shouting insults" example brought back to you repeatedly on why your topic was deleted at the time it was, and why it can stand now, after a period of cooling down and letting the dust settle.

The rationale for that has top to bottom agreement among staff and moderative volunteers also. The interesting topic, as I see it, isn't really a matter of what "powers" moderators have (moderators tend to have the same powers on most self-respecting forums), but what tools they have and how they employ them (which is the distinctive mark on good moderation and bad moderation)

As moderators, we've already highlighted to Tom a strong desire to have some kind of topic splitting feature like we used to. This would've remedied the matter of tangent topics (and is my prime concern, as it currently deletes perfectly good content). The question is what other tools could we use to avoid deletion, which will include communicating better in general.
In response to A.T.H.K
A.T.H.K wrote:
While one post was an exact replica I'll apologize for that.

Mean while the other two weren't .

Fair enough, but the other two got netted just the same because of the aforementioned spam-fest.

Again I have no control over another user. To my defense I only saw the one post or maybe three (same topic assumed same post) as the moderators removed them so quickly I was not aware it was a "spam fest"

This goes along with what Forum_account was saying. You had no idea that there were actually 31 different posts made in that timespan, so you weren't really aware there was a problem.

I think everyone is missing the point my posts were deleted and one moderator not apart of all of this explained why in a professional manner and I took that hence why I have posted today instead.

The first deletion you had might've very well been because the deletor didn't notice that it was a different author, and thus used what was at that point the standard deletion message for all of those posts that cropped up. That's an understandable mistake because the only difference just from looking at the title was that the title was the exact same one already being spammed but capitalized. Not to justify what happened as you're understandably frustrated, but it makes sense that it was just a miscommunication.

The warning you were sent I wouldn't take too personally, more-so because it was another moderator than deleted your post. It was mainly his way of communicating to you what the actual problem was- that you chose a really bad time to post it. Could he have done better? Yeah. I'd probably say that it would've made a lot more sense to you if the issue that Forum_account addressed wasn't an issue.
In response to Stephen001
Stephen001 wrote:
As moderators, we've already highlighted to Tom a strong desire to have some kind of topic splitting feature like we used to. This would've remedied the matter of tangent topics (and is my prime concern, as it currently deletes perfectly good content). The question is what other tools could we use to avoid deletion, which will include communicating better in general.

A lot of forums have some kind of warning system which is displayed on the side with their name, avatar, etc. Whether that is actually useful I don't know. What I do know is that if you aren't going to delete a post, you need to make known to the person that they need to rethink how and what they post and what was wrong with what they did. Thus, warning systems come into being.

A topic splitting system would avoid a ton of these problems to begin with, anyhow.
I remember when you logged in the Forum and you received a mini alert with the ammount of warnings... It was nice.
To which I'd agree. The mechanism of warnings has always been somewhat sparsely used here, and I think it's because we have no decent way to connect the warning to the post we're warning about (99% of warnings are usually about specific posts, or require a post-based example).

A few things we also lost were "post as moderator" which marked our post as being of some visual authority, with a red name. This allowed us to communicate issues much more publicly than current, which entails a slightly odd "edit post" kind of approach.
Post as moderator could change the entire color of the upper part of every comment, thus increasing the visual significance. I think you guys should definitely bring up to Tom and Lummox the issue of bettering the warning system too. I do think that some kind of topic splitting system is in order.

With all of these things in mind, if put into practice and created, I think it would greatly benefit the community and its relationship with the mods if used wisely. It should be clear to all of us what comes about from deleting posts. People don't like it. There are times for it, but it should be a last resort.
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