Shame Posting Is Not OK

Year-long bans do not come out of nowhere, unless the infraction was so counter to the rules and norms of the forum that the only other option was a permanent ban.

As for “steps before year-long bans,” there are both unofficial warnings (like when a mod says on a thread that it’s time to “stay on subject” or “to cool down”) and Discourse’s “Official Warnings” which are handed out when appropriate. And that’s all separate from when a mod does the heroic work of having an actual PM conversation with someone.

So, I get that it may seem like long suspensions come out of nowhere, but they don’t.

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Don’t know what I said in my last post that was offensive, but okay. I think this might be the issue we were attenpting to discuss.

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I feel like copying and pasting the forum rules here.

If You See a Problem, Don’t Reply, Just Flag It

Moderators have special authority; they are responsible for this forum. But so are you. With your help, moderators can be community facilitators, not just janitors or police.

When you see bad behavior, don’t reply. It encourages the bad behavior by drawing attention to it, and consumes energy that could instead have been spent making the community a better, more enjoyable place for everyone. Just flag it . If enough flags accrue, action will be taken automatically to hide the post, until a moderator can review it.

If a thread turns to discussing someone’s bad behavior on the forum, that’s not as serious as bad behavior, but flag that, too. If you wish to discuss a flag or removed content on the forums, contact the moderators. Don’t defend yourself, don’t defend others, and don’t pile on to someone who made a mistake.

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Was this thread not made as an open line of discussion, by the moderators, discussing the community? Why offer open communication, and then immediately close it off?

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I just want to weigh in as a non-mod in support of the mods. I know first-hand how it can be an unsympathetic, difficult, and time-consuming unpaid labor. Maybe CoG forums isn’t a place where you can say anything you want about anything you want. However, having any place at all to discuss something so niche with like-minded people is really special. Banning can seem really harsh IF you don’t consider what’s at stake. Things can very quickly take a downhill direction, in any number of ways, if you don’t nip them in the bud. TL;DR: the true irony is that mods get unconstructively criticized on a platform they enable to exist. I’m super grateful for the work they do.

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Edit: I misread the post; sorry for the confusion.

Closing it off after 24 hours…

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If nothing else, I think it’s good there was finally some discussion, on the forum, that didn’t result in deleted replies and bans. That’s a lot of progress, really. And the amount of people voicing their opinions on this who say how afraid they’ve been to talk points to this being something that needed to be had.

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It was closed for an hour, not permanently – did you have a specific thing you were unable to say during this hour that you could not say later?

I’ve put this thread into “slow mode.” Users can post once every 4 hours. This is intended to allow tempers to simmer a bit, without “closing the thread.”

To be clear, we have deleted some posts in this thread that violated forum rules.

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I agree, and I appreciate people who want to make suggestions for improvement coming forward and offering feedback without fear. I hope and believe that people who are posting in good faith are being listened to; certainly no post made to further the discussion (as opposed to posts made to provoke) was deleted.

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I do want to stress that everything that was said I have read and will work on including from this point out. I understand the feelings of many who feel that we don’t do enough in certain categories and then seem to crack down hard on silly things.

What I just want to stress is that you can always contact one of us to raise your concerns and we do talk about it if you guys go that extra step. We can’t see everything and we can’t read minds- if you have a problem please, please, just reach out and talk to us.

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Unfortunately, I believe there have been a deleted reply or two in the thread (and possibly a ban?)
While I can’t see the deleted posts so I admittedly can’t really judge how much they deserved to be deleted, it’s really just… not a good look, in relation to what the thread is about.

I hold hope that things can improve, but frankly at this point my expectations are well… low- and it doesn’t really encourage me to want to interact on this forum.

At the very least, thank you @Gower for being a consistently reasonable and empathetic voice among the mods.

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I haven’t been on this forum for very long and I haven’t participated in that many discussions (and none that really touch on any topics that could be contentious). I haven’t had any issues with any moderators, or any other users (that I know of). So I am coming at this topic as a relative outsider without any history, bad feeling or other bias in relation to this forum.

I have been following the thread for the past few hours and I just wanted to reflect back some of the thoughts that keep recurring in my mind as I read posts from all sides of the discussion.

I have read or posted in every thread relating to CS help since I joined the forum and don’t think I have seen a single issue flare up between users or mods. Similarly there have been plenty of discussions about designing CS games (along various topics) which have generated interesting, dynamic and positive discussions.

One of the biggest themes that pervades much of CoG and these forums is ‘inclusivity’ and a) the stated desire for this community to welcome anyone and everyone and b) that many people have found significant value in being a member of this community (at least in part) due to that stance.

My experience over the past 4 months is that more personal topics are more likely to result in, let’s say, ‘escalations of emotions and words’ - I know, shocking revelation, right? That people get more worked up over personal issues rather than their use of *goto commands.

In relation to this topic of moderation and user conduct, the trend that appears to me, is that people believe that others are deliberately acting in a negative or obtuse manner.
Whether that is the perception that individuals are flouting rules, being rude, offensive or being unconstructive in their criticsm.
Or the perception that individuals are being heavy handed in their response to issues or operating with a low(er) threshold of tolerance.

It feels to me that there is something of a negative feedback loop and that there are a few examples in this thread.

No one is perfect and everyone will make mistakes in things they say and do (I’m certain I’ll re-read this essay and cringe at some point).

For a forum centred around inclusivity, I think a central pillar for successful engagement (from any and all sides), is the recognition that the person you are communicating with is likely to be significantly different from yourself.
Not everyone realises when they’re being rude, not everyone shares the same sense of humour or tolerance for jokes. Not everyone has the same mastery of English or ability to recognise the subtleties of conversation and feedback.

When it comes to difficult topics, my personal opinion is that the most successful path forward is one where you assume that everyone is operating, fundamentally, out of good faith. That any mis-step is exactly that, a mistake or a misunderstanding - something to be discussed privately first.

After all, we’re all hear to share a fundamental love and that should firstly bind us together.

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To clarify the goal of the thread: it might be best to not write posts here bringing up specific moderation issues and arguing specific calls from years ago. The topic at hand is the guidelines/rules relating to posting screenshots, vis-a-vis the first post. I know we’ve drifted a bit, but I would love to keep the topic at least a bit more focused.

I welcome discussion of (other) large scale forum norms and policies here: Moderation and Forum Norms

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I thought I’d just throw in my two-sense for what it’s worth. I believe that the mods do a pretty dang good job, but that communication is key. I’ve only ever had one serious issue with a mod decision (except for a few deleted posts without letting me know but whatever lol). I was kind of freakin out, thinking I was going to banned over what I thought was not an issue at all, and so as a last-ditch effort, I message the mod in question. What followed was a very good conversation where we both realized it was just one big miscommunication.

I didn’t get banned, my respect for this mod went way up, and the issue was resolved.

The key thing here was communication though. I could have sent an angry message decrying the mod decision and spouting my anger blah blah blah, but instead, I went in with a spirit of trying to converse like a rational adult would. And we did! It worked!

I think that the mods do a great job, at least from what I’ve seen I’ve agreed with probably 95% of mod decisions. With a forum this large and with so many different kinds of people, both mods and members, that is impressive.

But again, if you have an issue, please go talk like rational adults! Because that’s what we are, we are rational adults! (well, mostly. I’m sure there are some teenagers running around here). So mods, thanks for what you do, I do not envy your job. And members, if you feel you’ve been slighted, just communicate! The mods are great people, show them that you are too :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I will preface this by saying that I have no clue what prompted this or who got shamed (which means I wasn’t involved, so yay me!). But my take on the whole thing…

  • This forum is basically CoG’s playhouse, ergo anyone who comes here has to play by their rules. We may find their rules extraneous or overblown, and their enforcement to be over-exuberant, but that’s what you get when you go into someone else’s house: you play by their rules or you get tossed out on your ass. That said…

  • It’s not in their best interest to be so ridiculous in their rules and enforcement of those rules so as to drive off everyone because, at the end of the day, it’s a business. By the same token, they don’t want this place to be hostile (since one of their claims to fame is to be welcoming to groups that typically feel marginalized). In other words, they have to maintain a delicate balance between sheltering those who might take issue to a great many things and having an environment where people can actually discuss things at a mature level. That is not a task I believe to be easy.

  • As someone who grew up in a time where, if someone hit you, you hit them back harder so they’d leave you the hell alone and, more importantly, the way to discuss topics was to argue back and forth until one party gave up or outright conceded, I initially found this place geared more toward toddlers than adults. And, in some ways, I still feel that way, but that’s just the nature of the beast–they don’t want people arguing, don’t want discussions to become too heated, and don’t want board wars because they can become too destructive, not to mention unpleasant for those who are more… sensitive (once again, we’re in their playhouse and they don’t want their things broken).

  • Given the above, it’s sometimes easy to feel like you’re walking through a landmine when posting here. I’ve stepped into a few times myself, partially because of my tendency to argue with brick walls until they crumble to dust, but also because when someone gets in my face, my first inclination is to proverbially clock them one to get them to back off. As such, I’ve had direct interactions with three mods, and have had varying experiences. The one I have interacted with the most is @Eiwynn, and have found that discussing things via PM works wonders to clear things up (not really so with one of the other two, but different people have different ways of dealing with things, so whatever). I’ve also discovered that, if you try to moderate yourself from throwing fuel on a fire, or even once you’ve started over that line, if take a step back, take a deep breath, and squash the fire before it starts raging, mods tend to give a nod and let things iron themselves out.

  • To be quite honest, I never read the rules here. I don’t read terms of agreement or instructions either, so that’s just me. I learn by doing, and I learned fairly quickly (cough cough) that the main “be kind to each other” spiel pretty much covers it. It’s just that their definition is a bit more stringent than mine (again, I like arguing with people, so I didn’t see going back and forth about the same topic as being disrespectful and still don’t, but again, I’m in their house so I’ll keep my feet off their coffee table and leave my shoes at the door). That said, I can see how some would need to have things spelled out for them, so it would probably be good if they had more defined rules.

  • The ban time: I agree with whoever said that banning someone for a year or a millennia is ludicrous. I get that people’s feelings have to be protected, but stomping all over someone else really isn’t the way to do it, especially if there was no ill intent. How do we decide if there was ill intent? I say give people the benefit of the doubt unless they attack someone outright (like wishing death on them or picking on them for personal reasons), but that’s me. Someone said banning someone for a few days has no effect, but banning them for a year or more is essentially telling them you don’t want them there at all. So it would be good to think twice before doing this, and make sure that the punishment fits the crime–it’s also good to have a balance between protecting the overly sensitive and allowing conversation to take its course. But I’m not the forum god, so YMMV.

  • Final conclusion: I don’t think the environment here is ‘bad’. I do think some people can get oversenstive, and I think others can get overly assertive (raises hand), but that is a personality thing. The mods do a pretty good job trying to balance, but they can probably do better, just like people who post here can do better by being “less” of whatever they are (less assertive, less argumentative, less sensitive, less judgy of other people’s opinions, etc.).

Basically, if everyone would try to be a bit less apt to jump to conclusions about other people’s intent–be it member or mod–I think things would mostly be fine. For members and mods alike, don’t fly off the handle. So yeah, stop assuming everyone else is an asshole and just accept that diversity of thought is just as crucial to the world as the more popular diversities.

This got more rambling than I intended but that’s what happens when I get on a boring conference call and start typing…

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“Likewise: Any public questioning of this is grounds for suspension as well.”

You shouldn’t be having any open threads which basically asks for discussions if you are using that type of authoritarian language those 2 actions and statements kind of contradict each other a thread promotes discussion and threatening users indicates you don’t want discussion at all make up your mind.

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