My apologies for taking so long to get back to this. Yesterday was a shit day for a variety of reasons.
Before I turn to @ashestoashes018’s questions, I want to point out that there isn’t an “unofficial official” COG Discord. When they opened that server, I asked them to change the name to ChoiceScript Games, to get our name off of there. (In the same way that I asked @dashingdon to change his server.) I very much appreciate the enthusiasm of our community to make that and other Discords–and Dashingdon for his server!–but we cannot take responsibility for what transpires on those platforms. Just as we cannot take responsibility for what happens on CYS or Tumblr.
Which turns me to Ashes’ questions. Ashes, I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to answer your questions–it’s unclear to if there’s anything I could do to change your mind–but I’m going to try.
- What are you going to do to prevent harassment of authors?
1a. On-forum: if an author is harassed on forum, users should flag the harassing posts. We’ll do our level best to sort through the issue. More specifically, the only thing I can do to stop “hating en masse” is to suspend folks, and unfortunately that requires them to do something that results in suspension. Which, I hope you can see, creates a problem: I can’t proactively stop harassment. I can only retroactively suspend or ban individuals.
1b. Off-forum: basically, nothing. As I said above, I can’t take responsibility for what happens off-forum. There are some small things that I can do–where a forum member might be doing something that is encouraging off-forum harassment–but I don’t have magical powers over users or other platforms. There are some exceptions here–and I certainly do reserve the right to respond on the forum to non-forum activity–but largely nothing.
- Will there be “protections put in place against things just being deleted”? The problem with this question is that there is context and nuances here that you’re not allowing space for. (Which is, unfortunately, mostly a matter of trust. From the tenor of your posts, I think you just don’t trust me, which is why I don’t think I’m going to be able to change your mind. But that’s not answering your question.)
2a. Broadly, no. Which is to say, I don’t see the current norms changing. The current norms are not to “just delete” things from regular, established users that are in good standing. If you’re a new user and you post your WIP and it or its description is grossly offensive, I don’t see much of a reason to give you a warning. To go back to the coffeeshop metaphor, that’s like walking in an taking a dump on the floor and being expected to be given a warning that that’s inappropriate. Now, it may very well be a part of that user’s culture to take a dump on the floor of coffeeshops–or they could just be trolling–but this isn’t a place where that’s acceptable; it’s on the user to observe and learn the norms of this forum.
2b. Similarly, someone who has received warnings or is otherwise on “thin ice” will probably not be given the opportunity to revise posts. If someone is a regular user, and they’re posting things that they should reasonably know are inappropriate, then no.
- As for Broken Lenses, no one has complained about it to us. In fact, in response to this thread, the author reached out and made a case for what they’re doing with the project. That said, I haven’t played it. I’m likely to never play it. I’m certainly not going to take the time to go play it right now. As has been said elsewhere, we don’t have the resources to play every WIP that’s posted on the forums. If you find Broken Lenses to be offensive, then send us an email with specifics.
- What steps will be taken to ensure that rumors are nipped in the bud? As Havenstone pointed out, I wrote a series of posts about negative conjecture, and a lot of people freaked the fuck out. But negative conjecture is exactly the sort of thing that leads to rumors. That said, I don’t have any ideas about how to “nip rumors in the bud” other than, frankly, to close down the forums. So, if you have ideas about how to stop them, I’m open to hearing them.
- What steps will be taken so information is freely available? What information? You need to be much more specific here.
- You also reference “email chains,” and unfortunately, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Does that about cover your questions?
Honestly, if you want rumors to fizzle out, the best thing to do is be open to them. All these instances of people being banned or their threads being deleted/closed are the exact things that lead to more rumors. The problem with deleting a WIP because it’s description is “grossly offensive” is that it’s purely based on subjectivity. Not having some set of standards, and instead taking it case by case could lead people to believe there is a bias. Especially when the WIP doesn’t really break any of the rules in “adult-fiction”, and even contains what there are tags for.
I’d think of it less as a “taking a shit in a coffee shop”, but more like being kicked out of a coffee shop just because the manager doesn’t like you.
In any case, @Avery_Moore’s story should now be cleared for publication, right? She had the go-ahead from Alex, so I don’t really see anything that would restrict her from getting her story out there to a larger audience via HG.
I think I can field this in a general sense, not relating per se to Price of Freedom. I agree that this sort of thing is subjective and that it is hard to avoid bias when you are dealing with humans making aesthetic and taste judgements. I totally agree there. Sometimes when I look at a post or a thread I have to make that call and it really is up to me at that moment to use my best judgement about whether something is appropriate or not. That’s why there are guidelines for what goes in adult or on the forums at all, but there can never really be rules that don’t require interpretation by people. Sometimes I look at something and I just know it doesn’t belong where it is. That is probably frustrating–I get that.
That’s what it means to have a moderated forum–by posting here you are saying you accede to the call of the moderator. I hope that my call, and the call of the other moderators make sense, especially when it comes down to something like removing a work-in-progress thread, which is really very rare. I’ve done it, though, and in some of those cases, the subject matter was so appalling that I didn’t think it belonged on the forum. I don’t like doing that, but a call has be made.
Anyhow this is a bit tangential to your actual question at the end of your post about The Price of Freedom and the issues of publication, which is I guess the important bit. But I did want to address the bit about subjectivity.
I think a big issue is NOBODY read the GENERAL rules where is CLEAR that you can’t put anything that is racist and grossly offensive against Lgtbq and women. And that will never be published. It is in the Rules since forever.
I am tired of can’t looking wips because they give a shit warnings or not respect them and have triggering issues that are big big against the positive and the rule in forums. My point is directly Not play any new wip that i don’t know author.
Cog is far bigger nowadays and staff can’t control everyone wip etc… and most people don’t care triggering content racism rape lgtbq killing so this kind of wip will appear and will be removed .
Cog is not a government that has to publish everything to respect freedom of speech.
Is a private company with a editorial and a guidelines. Same nobody goes to asking publish a porn editorial a normal cook book.
When one sign an account in forum has accepted the rules and being moderated. You don’t want that go elsewhere.
I am very happy being here in a place I know i won’t be triggered with machism racism insults and blatant anti lgtbq content and grossly insults.
Lately, there are a quantity of rumors and drama that i don’t get it. Why people instead spreading negativity . Just go send a pm to the staff or simply asking with the truth like a banner.
I know I am sometimes too rude and direct. But being sincere and direct could be useful to let this rumour drama waves behind.
Well it’s obvious that rules will always be subjective to the person enforcing them. Though the problem (at the least my problem), is that there seems to be no rules or guidelines as to what one can and can not say, and it is instead judged entirely on the admin. During the whole mass mother murder crisis (as I like to call it), there was a large lack of information for anyone wondering in, such as me. Now I never particularly cared for the story but from what I saw it seemed as though it was simply taken down because it was “to offensive” and was censored. Now I’m staunchly against censorship and spoke out against the decisions of the admins in a non combative way. But my post and thread on the matter were all deleted and flagged resulting in me getting banned for 4 months. I looked through the post rules and saw that nothing I posted broke any rules or guidlines, excluding one which could be seen as derailing a topic. I was left completely in the dark as to what I had done wrong. The rules as it would seem were moot in the situation. The only information I was given was the little pop up when I tried to log in, which really fails to iterate what I did wrong. So I made a second account tried to send a dm to the admins and reposted my thread (in hindsight that wasn’t a good idea but I was pissed off). I later found out I was wrong from some helpful members on the discord, but point being, the rules were nullimvoid for my situation.
I think what people would like to see are a more concrete set of rules that are applied unbiasily, and more communication after ones post has been taken down. Maybe even a way to appeal the deletion of a post or suspension of a account.
Edit: also the response time of something like the mass mother murder crisis should of been faster. A simple address from anyone with authority telling people what happend would of stoped people such as myself from even touching the topic. But the total silence that was left made rumors and misinformation spread rapidly.
CoG cannot remove or take down a WIP, as they are not the ones hosting them.
I think it’s very important to make a difference there.
They can delete the WIP threads, here on the forum, but that is not the same thing.
Also, any issues between an author and a publisher, is for the concerned parties to handle. None of them actually owes the fans/readers/forum-goers an explanation.
It’s nice of them to provide one, but it’s not obligatory.
Cog is a very small company then the time zones. They haven’t pr personal and moderators are volunteers. You can’t really asking for a real time monitoring in a company of five seven people that has to edit and programming lot of stuff. This is not Ea or Ubisoft they have not material time to moderate and direct everything real time
A general thing I have learned;
The response time of the upset poster is always going to be exponentially faster than any moderator or forum owner.
The trick is just to take that extra breath yourself and find out the truth before making a storm in a teacup. Moderation will ALWAYS exist after the fact, people rarely read information posts, and even if there was time to make them, what moderator would have time to notice someone taking down their own links and quitting the forum, and even less, make some sort of information post about it?
Moderators are just people, it is up to us to keep ourselves informed before we do something rash.
I’m not asking for anything of the sort. I’m asking for rules and a way to appeal those rules. Some one read and deleted my post, I would like them to take the time to tell me why they felt that it needed to be removed. I don’t care how long it takes for them to do this, if I got to wait a hour a day whatever. I just want information, don’t leave the user in the dark it’ll only cause more resentment. That’s not to much to ask right?
Really total truth. I have committed that error so many times. Of rude harsh angry posting and i harmed people with that. But thankfully I think I have learned the lesson to breathing and stop rage posting. And that makes everyone better and happy. I mean I always be grumpy and little harsh because that is my personality. But I think being more civic and less easy to rage will helping the forum be better. Everyone should do like that andmoderators would have easier job. And leaders
You can send the one who removed your stuff a message and ask. That’s what I did, when I couldn’t figure out which rule I supposedly broke.
If you can’t figure out the specific person, there’s always @ moderators (without the space).
I would personally like more clear rules as well, but I understand that it will never be perfectly clear, and there will always be grey areas.
I was banned, I was unable to send any dm’s. I sent a email though the only response I got was “grow up, your immature.” I’m paraphrasing of course though that was more or less what it said. I can post a screenshot of the email if you’d like.
Exactly that also works to asking if something could be against a rule or not. Also if you aren’t totally sure you could go support or any of official staff like @RETowers i have asked several forum doubts and they replied in a very reasonable time. The system is there and works just nobody uses it lol
I don’t doubt that a admin would respond to a dm when your confused. Thought there is no mercy as it would seem once you are banned. Like I’ve had my post taken down before and had a very civil conversation after words with the admin, Gower I believe their name was. Though this was entirely absent during my banning.
Hold on, the rules only state:
Only content that “glorifies” these subjects aren’t allowed, not ALL content. I’ve seen somewhere else labelled that the player character that shouldn’t be the ones expressing that but I can’t find it right now.
Still I think this should be updated now since Jason declared that “child rape, child soldiers, violence against children, etc etc,” are now off-limits.
Also, shouldn’t that alone make Broken Lenses thread inappropriate for this forum? @jasonstevanhill you said that you didn’t read Broken Lenses to know if it was appropriate but you also said you didn’t read POF and deemed it inappropriate and deleted it? You did mention TW, but Broken Lenses also has its own TW:
To sum up the story in a single sentence: Traumatized child soldier becomes a high school student. If that doesn’t appeal to you then you can probably ignore the rest of this post
It does contain the topic you mentioned since March 2, 2016 and the thread is still there to this day, while POF was deleted in seconds.
Appeal? Appeal to whom? The god of internet forum fairness? If a moderator or staff member decided you were going to be banned, saying you want an “appeal” just means you want an opportunity to argue about your banning with the person who banned you.
If we spent time arguing about bannings we’d never publish any games. And this thread has gone very, very far afield.
Those are the requirements for getting a game published with Hosted games, I think @poison_mara was talking about the rules for the forum.
Also, as Jason said, the post for POF was an advertisement for a game outside of ChoiceScript, and so get removed easier.
(And again, the actual game wasn’t removed, just the thread)
@exeldgamer, I don’t know why they banned you. The first reason that springs to mind is if you kept posting the same stuff, after having it removed once or more.
And that would be reasonable, in my opinion.
Exactly rules for forum posting threads and wips. The general rules. To be published norms is a different theme. to what we are talking here.
Ideally the person who banned me. Though anyone with the ability to tell what I did wrong works to.
Well yes that’s the idea of appealing. To put forward a argument that what you did didn’t violate any the rules set in place by the forum. If they said something like “rednecks are the problem with US” well there’s no reason that person should be able to appeal. Like its a judgement matter “Is what this person said completely uncalled for?” What’s important is the communication between party’s, it’s what keeps people coming back after they’ve been suspended. Like if I wasn’t writing a story there is no way is still be around, because I see what happend to me as unfair. But if there was some kind of communication between me and a admin things would be different.
Please don’t give an example like that. Ok, that’s a kind of forum norm that you might not be familiar with. We don’t give examples like that.