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Regarding forum moderation
Topic Started: August 22, 2015, 10:08 pm (1,337 Views)
Iarumas
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The backwards samurai!
Hey everyone, Iarumas here. I want to bring up something I felt has been long overdue and in desperate need of both attention and discussion.

As time continues to pass, our forum continues to age and people come and go. It is both a fun and humbling experience to see the community growing and coming together, but this is not always the case. There are times were forum members act rudely or inconsiderate of others, speak in offending ways, and even flat out insult other members or specific groups. Normally, with good, structured rules and a set of competent moderators at the helm, none of these previously mentioned things should pose too much a problem to the forum and its users. To my distress and to the distress of other members though, that does not seem to apply to our forums, namely in the case of our moderators.

I myself have watched a number of incidences unfold. In the case of a minor offence, the offender receives a small, verbal warning. Now, in the case of a more serious offense, no matter how serious their offending action seems to be, the person in question always receives a "strike". To put it bluntly, instead of any actual penalties being imposed, they are given a slap on the hand and an empty verbal warning. This might be acceptable as a first time warning but, even in the event of a repeat offence, the person in question still receives nothing but a "strike". What's the point in giving these members a second chance over and over again if they keep failing to heed these "strikes"?

With that in mind, one cannot help but ask "where are the forum moderators when these things happen?" At best, they are unable to act because are offline, away from the computer and dealing with other matters. At worst, they are online and either act too late or, all the more distressingly, do not act at all.

The lack of activity and action being taken is of huge concern to both myself and others in the forum. It is unfortunately due to the incompetence of the moderators and it needs to be addressed.

In my own opinion, I believe that, at the most extreme, we should restructure the moderation of the forums and implement an entire new staff that is both more active and able to directly address any issues that may arise. In the very least, I believe at least one or two new forum member should be elected. Candidates can be selected and elected by the community in order to ensure satisfactory results and good faith in the new moderators.

Everyone should feel safe and comfortable using these forums. To fail in do that is to fail in being a successful forum, a place meant for thoughtful discussion and having fun. So let's address this issue head on.
Edited by Iarumas, August 22, 2015, 10:24 pm.
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Ajogamer
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I will acknowledge that we have been slow to act with some of the moderation in the past, mainly due to my own inexperience and softness, so I'll admit my own fault there (I only blame myself for not being a better leader at the time; the mods under me have done their jobs well). That said though, I'll also say that I feel the forums are in control in this point, with issues responded to and taken care of as they arise. I know bans have been rare, but that's only because people have been good about heeding any strikes they've been given and improving their behavior, so there generally hasn't been a need to ban (and I'd much prefer people have a chance to improve than be quickly banned for one mistake). If they don't, then they'll find themselves with a temp ban on their third strike (or perma-ban, if their actions are severe enough) and a definite perma-ban if they reach four strikes. Strikes don't go away over time either, so I think they're a pretty effective deterrent for future misbehavior.

I should also mention that we can only know and act on what we see, so if anything's going on in PMs, then we don't know about it unless people bring it to our attention in some form, be it telling us or using the report system to report the PM itself (which is the only way we're able to see PMs to other users). Likewise, reporting any posts that need attention is the quickest way to alert us when there is something that needs handling, and can help us act quicker.

Also, keep in mind that aside from moderators, users can only see their own strikes, so when we do take action beyond a warning, it may not always be apparent to everyone as a result, since I'd rather not single anyone out.

In any case, we're not going to have a complete restructuring of the moderators since I'm pretty satisfied with the ones we have, though I'm certainly open to criticism or suggestions, especially since I also want people to feel safe and comfortable on these forums.
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PinkFloyd
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Iarumas
August 22, 2015, 10:08 pm
Hey everyone, Iarumas here. I want to bring up something I felt has been long overdue and in desperate need of both attention and discussion.

There are times were forum members act rudely or inconsiderate of others, speak in offending ways, and even flat out insult other members or specific groups. Normally, with good, structured rules and a set of competent moderators at the helm, none of these previously mentioned things should pose too much a problem to the forum and its users.

I myself have watched a number of incidences unfold. In the case of a minor offence, the offender receives a small, verbal warning. Now, in the case of a more serious offense, no matter how serious their offending action seems to be, the person in question always receives a "strike". To put it bluntly, instead of any actual penalties being imposed, they are given a slap on the hand and an empty verbal warning. This might be acceptable as a first time warning but, even in the event of a repeat offence, the person in question still receives nothing but a "strike". What's the point in giving these members a second chance over and over again if they keep failing to heed these "strikes"?

With that in mind, one cannot help but ask "where are the forum moderators when these things happen?" At best, they are unable to act because are offline, away from the computer and dealing with other matters. At worst, they are online and either act too late or, all the more distressingly, do not act at all.

The lack of activity and action being taken is of huge concern to both myself and others in the forum. It is unfortunately due to the incompetence of the moderators and it needs to be addressed.

In my own opinion, I believe that, at the most extreme, we should restructure the moderation of the forums and implement an entire new staff that is both more active and able to directly address any issues that may arise. In the very least, I believe at least one or two new forum member should be elected. Candidates can be selected and elected by the community in order to ensure satisfactory results and good faith in the new moderators.

Everyone should feel safe and comfortable using these forums. To fail in do that is to fail in being a successful forum, a place meant for thoughtful discussion and having fun. So let's address this issue head on.
1. Proof of the forum members acting rudely or inconsiderate of others? and If it does happen has anyone ever heard of the thing.. yeah its called standing up for what you feel is right.

2. There's like only 100 people on here a day I haven't seen an moderator on here 24 hours a day :P

3. If I had a gun pointed to my head and anything if I said was considered offensive means I get shot I wouldn't feel safe or comfortable

I kinda feel better with this moderation group rather than having a new one and then me getting banned for saying a bad word
Believe you and me I have read the rules and I will happily respect everyone on hear but if someone wants to insult me I will gladly take it and tell them what I think of them from their post

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Iarumas
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The backwards samurai!
Firstly, to start, I cannot think of any instance where a member has been outright banned unless they were a spam-bot. Secondly, I'm not against second chances and I'm not saying we should ban anyone after one mistake unless it's extremely serious. Additionally, regarding feedback, I certainly do not feel that feedback towards the moderators is being taken seriously enough.

Moving on, yes, the moderators cannot act on anything unless they see it, but this is also due to mod inactivity. Not only that, but there are times when not enough action is being taken. Also, since it has been brought up, no, these forums do not feel safe and comfortable to its users. There have been numerous times in which members have even straight out stated this. In fact, there was even at one point a thread that outright stated that the forums felt unsafe and, before it was closed by a moderator, a number of members had begun to reply to it as well. Unfortunately, though it was supposed to be taken care of by the mods and made right, the member who had posted the thread has not since been nearly as active on the forums preciously because they do not feel the forums are safe.

In addition, it has been stated that the forums are now "under control" and, despite this, we have very recently had not one, but two members leave, not because they were banned, but because they themselves stated that they no longer felt welcome and that the forum gave them a strong sense of discomfort and negativity. The fact of the matter here is that if everything was ok, these things would not have happened. The forums do not feel safe. Choosing to do nothing about this situation is not an option.

@PinkFloyd:

1. Outright naming names as a form of "proof" would be rude and inconsiderate, hence I have not done so.

2. I understand the moderators cannot be on 24/7, but, collectively, they are not on as much as they should be in order to properly moderate the forums.

3. No, but no one should have to feel scared or insecure about other members either and the current route is neither effective nor a compromise.

To conclude, what I'm trying to say is no member should have to fear harassment or mistreatment from any other member, opinion or not.
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Cain Marder
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PinkFloyd
August 23, 2015, 6:37 pm
Iarumas
August 22, 2015, 10:08 pm
Hey everyone, Iarumas here. I want to bring up something I felt has been long overdue and in desperate need of both attention and discussion.

There are times were forum members act rudely or inconsiderate of others, speak in offending ways, and even flat out insult other members or specific groups. Normally, with good, structured rules and a set of competent moderators at the helm, none of these previously mentioned things should pose too much a problem to the forum and its users.

I myself have watched a number of incidences unfold. In the case of a minor offence, the offender receives a small, verbal warning. Now, in the case of a more serious offense, no matter how serious their offending action seems to be, the person in question always receives a "strike". To put it bluntly, instead of any actual penalties being imposed, they are given a slap on the hand and an empty verbal warning. This might be acceptable as a first time warning but, even in the event of a repeat offence, the person in question still receives nothing but a "strike". What's the point in giving these members a second chance over and over again if they keep failing to heed these "strikes"?

With that in mind, one cannot help but ask "where are the forum moderators when these things happen?" At best, they are unable to act because are offline, away from the computer and dealing with other matters. At worst, they are online and either act too late or, all the more distressingly, do not act at all.

The lack of activity and action being taken is of huge concern to both myself and others in the forum. It is unfortunately due to the incompetence of the moderators and it needs to be addressed.

In my own opinion, I believe that, at the most extreme, we should restructure the moderation of the forums and implement an entire new staff that is both more active and able to directly address any issues that may arise. In the very least, I believe at least one or two new forum member should be elected. Candidates can be selected and elected by the community in order to ensure satisfactory results and good faith in the new moderators.

Everyone should feel safe and comfortable using these forums. To fail in do that is to fail in being a successful forum, a place meant for thoughtful discussion and having fun. So let's address this issue head on.
1. Proof of the forum members acting rudely or inconsiderate of others? and If it does happen has anyone ever heard of the thing.. yeah its called standing up for what you feel is right.

2. There's like only 100 people on here a day I haven't seen an moderator on here 24 hours a day :P

3. If I had a gun pointed to my head and anything if I said was considered offensive means I get shot I wouldn't feel safe or comfortable

I kinda feel better with this moderation group rather than having a new one and then me getting banned for saying a bad word
Believe you and me I have read the rules and I will happily respect everyone on hear but if someone wants to insult me I will gladly take it and tell them what I think of them from their post

1. Well, true, but some people tend to exagerate or tend to get offensive or start fights, believe me, I was there.

2. You didn't saw a moderator (Skybird) being here every day, almost the whole day? Naeither did I xD (Sarcasm)

3. Um, we are not mixing strikes with the firing squad, are we?

On the rest I agree (well, I don't believe that there's someone so stiff that will ban you for a swear word like f@ck, or anything, but I as well, am pretty happy with our current moderators :) )
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astra
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@larumas
people will be that way

being rude on occasion should be tolerated because those instances can be ignored by people
banning for it is harsh and should only be used for outright harassment of any members

@ajo
for the activeness of this forum i must say your mod staff is rather small
to my knowledge only you and sky are still active and thats too little
sniperskaya is a solid candidate imo

@pink floyd
you should have just shut up here
if someone is discussing rude members and you feel the need to reply you dont need to demand proof because that impulse is the proof that you are a guilty party even to yourself
Edited by astra, August 24, 2015, 12:52 am.
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Ajogamer
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Iarumas
 
Firstly, to start, I cannot think of any instance where a member has been outright banned unless they were a spam-bot. Secondly, I'm not against second chances and I'm not saying we should ban anyone after one mistake unless it's extremely serious. Additionally, regarding feedback, I certainly do not feel that feedback towards the moderators is being taken seriously enough.

So far, bannings have all been spam bots and duplicate/sockpuppet accounts, so you're not far off with that. I don't see that as a bad thing though, since it just means people have been responsive enough in improving their behavior upon receiving warnings or strikes that we haven't had to ban anyone yet.

Iarumas
 
Moving on, yes, the moderators cannot act on anything unless they see it, but this is also due to mod inactivity. Not only that, but there are times when not enough action is being taken. Also, since it has been brought up, no, these forums do not feel safe and comfortable to its users. There have been numerous times in which members have even straight out stated this. In fact, there was even at one point a thread that outright stated that the forums felt unsafe and, before it was closed by a moderator, a number of members had begun to reply to it as well. Unfortunately, though it was supposed to be taken care of by the mods and made right, the member who had posted the thread has not since been nearly as active on the forums preciously because they do not feel the forums are safe.

In addition, it has been stated that the forums are now "under control" and, despite this, we have very recently had not one, but two members leave, not because they were banned, but because they themselves stated that they no longer felt welcome and that the forum gave them a strong sense of discomfort and negativity. The fact of the matter here is that if everything was ok, these things would not have happened. The forums do not feel safe. Choosing to do nothing about this situation is not an option.


While I don't think we have an issue with a lack of moderators being active and watching the forums, it's also true that I can't guarantee we see everything. Considering such, If you or others feel we've missed or failed to address anything, then the best thing to do is to report the situation. We do our best to keep an eye on the forums as a whole, of course, but reporting is a surefire way to make sure we see any problematic quickly. I also want to emphasize that people shouldn't be afraid of using the report function, since it's essentially just a way to alert the mods. A mod has to look at the report before any penalty is dealt out, so one of us will review the report and take the appropriate action, with no repercussions to the person who made the report regardless of the result.

While we'll do our best to promptly act when we see someone breaking the rules, do keep in mind that some smaller conflicts can unfortunately be inevitable as a forum's userbase grows (and these forums have grown quite a bit since the earlier days). We definitely don't want people insulting or or harassing others, but if someone's annoyed with a particular user that isn't actually breaking the rules, that could be a good time to use the ignore function (this is done by either by rightclicking a person's username and clicking "ignore username", or by going to the user's profile, hovering over "Profile Options" then clicking "Ignore username"). I know ignoring may not be an ideal solution, but it can be a decent option for any personal conflicts that fall outside actual rulebreaking.

I have seen those two recent threads of people leaving, and like you, I do find it concerning those members don't feel comfortable, though at the same time, I have no information on what may have caused them to leave since their posts were vague and came out of the blue. I would hope nothing serious happened (and I would certainly want to do what I could to resolve it if there is an issue), though I have no way of knowing unless I witness a situation myself or someone tells me. That said though, I also don't want to jump to conclusions, since it's also possible they simply left for personal reasons, since people come and go all the time on various forums. It's impossible for me to know one way or the other without more information.

As for that one locked thread, I don't want to go into specifics or call out any names, though I will say that I myself feel that was a situation we could have handled quicker and better than we did at the time; I'll fully admit that. That said, I'd also like to add that the situation wasn't as cut and dry as it may seem at first glance, since we had to respect the wishes of those involved; the one who was being harassed actually requested that we not contact the one harassing them, which limited what actions we could take. That said though, the harasser has received significant punishment since, and at least based on what I've seen, they've done well to improve their behavior and not cause any similar issues. I and the other mods also haven't gotten a single report of harassment of any sort since that one incident, so if any has gone on since, the only reason we haven't addressed it is cause it's going on in private and nobody has alerted us.



PinkFloyd
 
1. Proof of the forum members acting rudely or inconsiderate of others? and If it does happen has anyone ever heard of the thing.. yeah its called standing up for what you feel is right.

2. There's like only 100 people on here a day I haven't seen an moderator on here 24 hours a day :P

3. If I had a gun pointed to my head and anything if I said was considered offensive means I get shot I wouldn't feel safe or comfortable

I kinda feel better with this moderation group rather than having a new one and then me getting banned for saying a bad word
Believe you and me I have read the rules and I will happily respect everyone on hear but if someone wants to insult me I will gladly take it and tell them what I think of them from their post

I'm glad you say you'll respect others, though I would like to remind you that if someone insults you, the best action to take is to report the offensive post; if you insult them back, then that not only has the potential to escalate the situation, but could also wind up getting you in trouble as well, potentially.

astra
 
@ajo
for the activeness of this forum i must say your mod staff is rather small
to my knowledge only you and sky are still active and thats too little
sniperskaya is a solid candidate imo

It's true our team's on the smaller side, and I may consider recruiting one or two more in the future, though I'm satisfied with the size of our mod team at the moment.
Edited by Ajogamer, August 24, 2015, 1:08 am.
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astra
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dark djinn
@ajo
theres only four of you though

and one of them is even less active than i am (going by his posts per day he might be a super mod but i cant tell lol)

your satisfactions not a factor in that if people are feeling that there arent enough mods
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Zaion
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I feel satisfied with the number of mods, and I haven't seen many serious issues so far. The one time I did, I reported it and the issue was dealt with very quickly.

Anyways, my personal feeling is that there is no point increasing the number of mods simply for people to feel safe. If people are feeling unsafe, then the issue is not the number of mods, but what they are feeling threatened by.

The lack of mods is not a reason to feel unsafe. This isn't like a police patrol where there needs to be constant presence on the sight to prevent incidents. Everything we do is in written format which can be sent to a mod at any time.

Since I've never been a forum mod or administrator, my opinion may not count for much, but the lack of mods should only be an issue if there are not enough people to deal with things or it takes multiple people to deal with the workload. So far, there's nothing I can see that suggests we need more mods, and I'm a relatively active member here.

There's no real indication to me that we need more watchmen, and the site is relatively self-policing in that sense. Members warn each other about rules or hateful comments that may be provocative, and the one situation which looked like it was escalating was stopped by Ajo relatively peacefully.

If anything, we may have too many mods, or too few problems. There's no reason for 4 mods to warn the same person, one is enough.

As for the sky and ajo thing. Zeik is here from time to time as well and s/he (sorry, don't know you well enough to guess your gender :P ) cleared up points that neither Sky or Ajo did. What I'm trying to get at here is that the each of the mods have their strong and weak points, but they are still here and help out where they can.

It's also worth pointing out that mods have IRL lives to, so making it sound as if they are just lazing around being inactive rings a bit insensitive.

As for those leaving posts, I saw both of them, and I agree with Ajo's opinion that they were pretty out of the blue.

I honestly don't see much reason to leave here due to harassment. Leaving because my posts and threads get ignored, possibly, but that's both just me being sulky and a fact of life. Not everything I or anyone says is going to be important or interesting to everyone here, and thinking otherwise is both childish and selfish.

I know a couple members interact with each other over skype, and I have a feeling that may be where some of the bad blood is being generated. I've heard a couple of online conversations turn really bad really quick, and being harassed over skype can be pretty painful. It may explain why those two left all of a sudden with no written evidence or reports. Although the first interactions were here, the places where the harassment took place were elsewhere.

In that case, it may be worth stating that harassment of a member over things like skype or other sites can be punishable on this site as well, but I have no idea how to implement that. Honestly, it sounds like a cluster f@ck waiting to happen with tonnes of exploits, but that's probably the only way I can imagine a mod on this forum helping deal with harassment that takes place elsewhere.
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Cain Marder
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Zaion
August 24, 2015, 4:52 am
I feel satisfied with the number of mods, and I haven't seen many serious issues so far. The one time I did, I reported it and the issue was dealt with very quickly.

Anyways, my personal feeling is that there is no point increasing the number of mods simply for people to feel safe. If people are feeling unsafe, then the issue is not the number of mods, but what they are feeling threatened by.

The lack of mods is not a reason to feel unsafe. This isn't like a police patrol where there needs to be constant presence on the sight to prevent incidents. Everything we do is in written format which can be sent to a mod at any time.

Since I've never been a forum mod or administrator, my opinion may not count for much, but the lack of mods should only be an issue if there are not enough people to deal with things or it takes multiple people to deal with the workload. So far, there's nothing I can see that suggests we need more mods, and I'm a relatively active member here.

There's no real indication to me that we need more watchmen, and the site is relatively self-policing in that sense. Members warn each other about rules or hateful comments that may be provocative, and the one situation which looked like it was escalating was stopped by Ajo relatively peacefully.

If anything, we may have too many mods, or too few problems. There's no reason for 4 mods to warn the same person, one is enough.

As for the sky and ajo thing. Zeik is here from time to time as well and s/he (sorry, don't know you well enough to guess your gender :P ) cleared up points that neither Sky or Ajo did. What I'm trying to get at here is that the each of the mods have their strong and weak points, but they are still here and help out where they can.

It's also worth pointing out that mods have IRL lives to, so making it sound as if they are just lazing around being inactive rings a bit insensitive.

As for those leaving posts, I saw both of them, and I agree with Ajo's opinion that they were pretty out of the blue.

I honestly don't see much reason to leave here due to harassment. Leaving because my posts and threads get ignored, possibly, but that's both just me being sulky and a fact of life. Not everything I or anyone says is going to be important or interesting to everyone here, and thinking otherwise is both childish and selfish.

I know a couple members interact with each other over skype, and I have a feeling that may be where some of the bad blood is being generated. I've heard a couple of online conversations turn really bad really quick, and being harassed over skype can be pretty painful. It may explain why those two left all of a sudden with no written evidence or reports. Although the first interactions were here, the places where the harassment took place were elsewhere.

In that case, it may be worth stating that harassment of a member over things like skype or other sites can be punishable on this site as well, but I have no idea how to implement that. Honestly, it sounds like a cluster f@ck waiting to happen with tonnes of exploits, but that's probably the only way I can imagine a mod on this forum helping deal with harassment that takes place elsewhere.
1. I agree with Zaion here, he made very good points.

2. As far as I recall, Zeik (Kira) and Enig are females :)

EDIT: the double tapping thing on my tablet is slowly killing me, that's what you get when you tape fast and your tablet is not responding, saying 'no, you're not going to have that sentence wrote correctly.' (Sorry for going off topic)
Edited by Cain Marder, August 24, 2015, 5:26 am.
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