Monday morning, Jason had a conversation with a user (@mogalas/ u/sharingeas), whose post over the weekend brought together a few concerns members of our community have. @mogalas was very open and laid out a list of the issues, and the Choice of Games staff is very appreciative of the work he put in to talk with us.
As we understand it, here are some of the concerns that @mogalas expressed—both in the conversation and in his original post—and the remedies we have undertaken:
- More Moderators - We have added three new moderators to the team. Please welcome @ramidel, @achubbyblackcat, and @hannahps to the team. In addition, we have promoted @redroses to be a Leader.
- There may be a few other appointments to come.
- 1,000 Year Bans - When we click the “permanent” ban button in Discourse, Discourse tells the banned user that they’re banned for 1,000 years exactly: “You are suspended until May 4, 3021.” We agree that this is a very silly thing to say and we’ve filed it as a bug with the Discourse team. The Discourse team has agreed that this is a problem and are adjusting the UI to address it.
- General Moderation - We are working with Mods to adjust the style of moderation to one that will be more fair and helpful to all users.
- Mods and Staff will not lead with “Bans will be handed out for [X behavior]” on any posts. We understand this can feel excessive and stifle discourse.
- Mods and Staff should treat all users equally. We understand that there have been instances of Mods and Staff letting behavior slide from some users while banning other users for substantially similar conduct. This has been discussed internally and should not be happening. This applies to ban-worthy or rule-breaking behavior, not the nuanced conversations that can arise from having a vibrant and diverse community. Axes of privilege and minority status will still be respected, and the Choice of Games values about equity and respect still stand.
- Mod Tag-Out System - We are advising Mods to start using a tag-out system that will hopefully help with communication and transparency. In practice this will appear as a Mod stepping away when they feel they are not resolving an issue to their satisfaction and another Mod will “tag in” to monitor the situation.
- If a moderation decision necessitates a larger address to the community, someone else—likely Staff—will initiate any necessary threads.
- Tagging-out of mods will involve tagging Jason or @KaiDeleon in more frequently.
- Blocking Users - Unfortunately, Discourse software does not have a block feature, and per the developers there are no plans to ever add such a function. However, there is an “Ignore” feature that allows users to limit what they are seeing from another user. Here is how you utilize that feature.
- Dedicated Appeal Form - Users are welcome to email CoG Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) any time they feel Moderators are out of line or that there is great concern for events occurring in our online community.
- Additionally if a situation seems particularly touchy, you can email me at email@example.com
Another request that @mogalas brought up was the desire for an audit log of Moderator actions. This is not currently a feature of the forum software, but we actually feel that it would be counterproductive. If there were an audit log, then any post that is “deleted” would effectively exist forever in that log. Additionally this is a functionality that Discourse would have to make for us, and we believe it is not a function they would implement.
One of the reasons that users have been upset—and perhaps a reason that the idea of a Mod Audit Log seems appealing—is the flagging and deletion of content on the forum. We stand by the claim that moderating and deleting comments is healthy for a community. However, just because we delete some things—especially ones that are delivered in an inflammatory or hyperbolic way, or that repeat blatant misinformation—doesn’t mean we’re not listening for genuine constructive criticism.
Thus, this thread is an opportunity to discuss the points raised above and to give you the opportunity to tell us if we missed something salient in the original post. This thread will be using Slow Mode indefinitely to make sure that we hear all the voices that want to participate. We look forward to a respectful and productive discussion.
-Choice of Games Staff