Regarding administration on MSB


  • TV & Movies

    @faraday

    I don't want anything from you, proof wise or whatever. It's simply not good argument and I'm criticizing it as such. @ganymede coming in and sharing her view is valuable, the mysterious 'other people' are not.

    Beyond that, I believe your friends exist. I don't believe they're significant, largely because I don't think they'll ever join without changes that completely redefine the forum (ie, ban the Hog Pit). So while you insist you don't want to take anything away... you say you're 'saddened' and you want these people to be able to join, but I don't see how that would happen without much harsher moderation than we even have now, which is already getting pushback.

    You complain about people telling you to leave if you don't like it, about 'splintering' things. But let's be honest, you want a forum that isn't this one, a forum to suit your friends. Getting rid of people who value the board as it exists is just as splintering, probably far more so.


  • Pitcrew

    @ganymede said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    I can verify that there are people who believe as Faraday does, and who don't come by this place with their ideas for the reasons she's stated. I can't speak for why Faraday remains to voice her position, but I think it is because it's not just her position. As a person who is employed to speak for others, I can empathize with holding on and repeating what has been said because it needs to be said. Take that for what it's worth.

    I would like to note, in following up both Faraday and Ganymede... That I have had people come to me, since I've been a moderator, expressing their desire for a more constructive community to discuss things like game design, code, and so on.

    I won't out these people because I assume they had their reasons for reaching out privately versus opening up in a thread like this. But they do exist, they do want more. What I've done to help them 'be the change they want to see' (as the saying goes) is to encourage them to try posting. Some have done so and of those, a few have seen success and some have just felt further frustrated.

    There is this tendency (Arkandel has phrased it well above), I think, to go for extremes around here. A lot of us, if we dislike the idea, will be so adamant that it treads into not only tearing down the idea, but the person involved. Not everyone does this, nor does it happen on every thread, but it happens often enough that it has cowed some members into not wanting to speak up at all.

    I think my thread on weighing three separate game ideas went well. It gave me a lot to think about and I'm still investigating some things. But it could have, just as easily, gone in a wildly different direction. Imagine if some of the people who dislike me had used it as a platform to express that dislike and to undercut all of my ideas? I have (we all have) witnessed that happen to various extremes.

    I won't campaign for being rid of the Hog Pit, but I understand why some people dislike it. I also understand why some people value it.

    But my personal goal here (not a forum goal or vision; my own) is to encourage those constructive, creative, and exploratory discussions and to hopefully keep them in that realm.


  • Politics

    @bored said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    But let's be honest, you want a forum that isn't this one, a forum to suit your friends. Getting rid of people who value the board as it exists is just as splintering, probably far more so.

    But you also want a forum that this one is not. After all, you are a proponent of a substantial change: that is, having an "Honest Reviews" section whose rules lie somewhere between that of the current Mildly Constructive and Hog Pit rule sets. I don't think WORA or SWOFA or IGU tried anything like what you've suggested before.

    I don't recall anyone, other than Ghost, suggesting that the Hog Pit get pulled away entirely.

    And I keep hearing "harsher" moderation where I have witnessed, instead, "mistakes by moderators" and "uneven enforcement of existing rules." I have yet see anyone actually affected in a material, substantial way by anything that any of us have done in the past few weeks, or any example of Arkandel, Auspice, and I holding to "harsher" rules.

    So, let's be honest. People -- you included -- want change. But they want change with clear rules and consistent enforcement, and those two things are clearly in need at this time. We're working on the first step.



  • Thing is, we've had plenty of constructive threads since MSB opened. And most of them didn't devolve into chaos laced with a healthy dose of vitriol. That being said, I'm sure we've all noticed that in the last several months, things have become increasingly heated. I'm not sure why. Neither do I particularly care.

    Speaking just for myself, I think things were fine just as they were... say, six months ago. Now though, we really need to get rid of the extreme personal insults and ad hominem attacks. Those who engage in them on a regular basis, to the exclusion of most other content, need to be reined in or booted as all they contribute is 'sound and fury signifying nothing'.

    And GIFs. Ban the fucking GIFs.


  • Pitcrew

    IF THE GIFS GO, I GO </very serious threat>


  • Pitcrew

    @roz said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    IF THE GIFS GO, I GO </very serious threat>

    Side note: I may, uh, be trying to get a mod working that will allow you to search and use giphy gifs from right inside of the composition box. >.>


  • TV & Movies

    @ganymede Uh, that's an amazingly lawyer-ly putting of words in my mouth, and not in a good way. Shame, <censored for the Hog Pit>, etc.

    To be clear: I never wanted any of the changes in the first place, certainly not to the degree they've occurred. I expressed doubt in negative content being banished from ad threads, because that turns them into propaganda vehicles. I also saw how the wind was blowing, and have been suggesting alternatives to preserve as much as possible (ie, in one of the early discussions I suggested links from the ad threads to their review threads).

    In any event, to reframe the 'experimental' changes as the status quo and therefore paint me as wanting to fundamentally change things is quite the shady crock. It also suggests @Arkandel acting in bad faith, because if the 'experiment' is really 'the way it's gonna be' and the automatic assumed status quo, well, then it's a lie.

    All that said, absent the changes being reverted, I want you to do things to prevent good critical content from being banished to the Hog Pit and to maintain the nature of the board true to the way it has worked in the last several years. I am open to, if not particularly invested in, harsher moderation of personal attacks. A new section may be the most practical way of achieving that, but it is not, in itself, my desire.


  • Coder

    @bored said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    You complain about people telling you to leave if you don't like it, about 'splintering' things. But let's be honest, you want a forum that isn't this one, a forum to suit your friends. Getting rid of people who value the board as it exists is just as splintering, probably far more so.

    I really wish you'd stop assuming that all of the dozens of people whom I've heard express concerns through the years were just "my friends". It's not accurate and it's pretty condescending.

    I want a forum where people treat each other decently. That has nothing whatsoever to do with whether my personal friends would ever post here or not.

    I see no inherent contradiction in believing both that splintering the community is bad and that fostering negativity is bad. I would love to believe there's a reasonable compromise out there. But if there isn't, then it comes down to a choice between the lesser of two evils and we're allowed to have differing views on which that is.


  • Pitcrew

    @bored said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    do things to prevent good critical content from being banished to the Hog Pit

    There have been a few instances in the past weeks of critical/negative reviews being posted and staying put.

    The ones that get moved are the ones that are, well, frankly, Hot Pit material. A recent example was the one in which the person used terms like 'sexually frustrated rejects.' You (anyone) can write a review without going into baseless insults like that. And reviews of that nature often then become a dogpile of people (many who have never even played the game!) jumping on the worst parts of the review.

    In the thread the above was removed on, people did come back and post level-headed negative reviews and they have remained in place. Keep it clean, keep it to facts, and I'm fairly certain no one will campaign for their removal (except maybe game runners and, well, they opted to post).

    If people feel it's impossible or undesirable to post reviews that don't involve personal attacks/insults or Hog Pit-esque behavior... we may have greater issues to address first.



  • @ganymede said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    I think an Honest Review section is important. I think it needs to be watched carefully. I think the Hog Pit needs to remain as a check against pedantry and sophists. And I think that we need to be careful to keep the toxicity where it is supposed to be.

    ^ THIS. (When an upvote isn't enough.)

    There are a lot of things, in my 'ideal world', that I would change. My ideal take on things (which I don't expect anybody to agree with or adopt) looks something like this, in the form of a collection of scattered thoughts; I don't exempt myself from any of the following crits or concerns:

    • I see a lot of complaints about the expressions frustration that take a form someone doesn't like, but what I'm not often seeing from the same people is an understanding that those are also expressions of frustration and can come across in a way that someone else doesn't like. (For clarity: I apply this in all directions, including to myself; for instance, I don't like the very intimate and cutting real 'you are mentally ill' sorts of attacks but don't mind things so ridiculous they can't possibly be true, some hate both, some mind neither, and different things are going to be awful to different people.) This becomes a cycle, fast, and it's pretty much the stationary bike of getting anywhere productive at all.

    • Myself as example, because I don't have a good word for the start here: I over-explain things and repeat myself a lot. I can tell you this is because I don't think I'm being heard or that it seems that my perspective has not been clearly stated in a way that it can be understood whether someone agrees with it or not, but that's not going to stop accusations of brow-beating or that I'm trying to insist that my opinion is the only valid opinion if someone is intent on believing otherwise. (If I had to guess, this is where faraday and I were butting heads in more or less the same way earlier.) For other folks, it's some other pattern or go-to behavioral response that could very easily be interpreted multiple ways, some positive, some negative (and sometimes a combination of the two). I do actually think it's pretty unfortunate that the first response is usually the most pessimistic possible assessment, and a lot of us do it. I would like to see things get better on that front. (Told y'all I really am a pie-eyed optimist.)

    • Rare is the person who is angry or hostile because that's 'just how they are', or because they're a crappy person. There is so much focus on how people are expressing themselves lately that it is making it uncomfortable to express anything at all for a lot of folks, and for a very specific reason. That person's discussion about their problem or issue gets co-opted by someone nitpicking how they expressed their problem, and that very understandably leads to frustration and more anger. Not only is their chance to be heard being taken from them on what they are seeing as an unrelated technicality which has now become the focus of discussion, instead of getting any support, empathy, or (gasp!) helpful advice, now they're getting picked on for how they said it on top of their original problem. I don't know how many ways I can say it: I consider this extremely not cool. On some level, this feels to me like a case of 'but what were you wearing at the time?' and it is uncomfortable to watch. I've seen more or less egregious examples in which this is very clearly the intended message, too, and I think we can probably all agree that is a spectacularly shitty message to send. Things like this: "Something bad happened, and it was shitty!" "It probably happened to you because you can't control your potty mouth!" <twenty posts follow about how potty-mouthed people suck> ...are awful on multiple levels. I would really, really like to see less of this kind of behavior.

    • Some thought put toward the idea of compassion and care as things that exist in different forms. People accomplish these things in different ways and wires cross often about it. There is such a thing as a storm of good intentions. I'm going to use the recent example: "Hey, this issue is important, maybe we should start a thread about it specifically so it doesn't get lost?" is something both @Auspice and I have run into, apparently, and I'm sure we're not the only ones. This is a demonstration of concern from me, and if I say this, it's because I think what you have to say is important and I think more people should think about it in a serious way. It does not mean I think you should shut up and fuck off. It does not mean I think there should be a thread dedicated just to your experience alone or that you should be put under a microscope for dissection-by-forum. It means I think a lot of other people probably have similar concerns and experiences, and that they're something worth talking about specifically instead of as a tangent to something else. It means I think it would be useful to have a space where other people who have had similar experiences and may have advice can offer it or offer empathy, or people who have never known (or felt) they could speak up about what happened to them have space to see that, yes, they, too, can do that. Instead, we get things like 'survivor silencer' or 'telling people to shut up' thrown in our faces, when the intent is demonstrably the opposite. "I'm not comfortable doing that, I'd rather just do the thing here," is really all there is to that. To which I would cheerfully say, 'OK, want me to nudge if there's ever a thread about this or if I decide to start one?' (probably privately; I wouldn't make an initial private query because it would feel more invasive/personal than I am comfortable with). I would really like to see more threads focused on these issues, because the number of times they come up suggests they're prevalent. If they're problems and they're prevalent, I think they're worth talking about. If they're collected together, we're better able to look at patterns and trends on that issue, and if we can spot common threads? We'll be better able to spot them brewing, nip them in the bud, and/or craft better policies or standards going forward to avoid them occurring again. That's what my idea of constructive is re: horrible shit happening to people: "How do we, as a community or as individuals, prevent this from happening to someone else again?"

    • Disagreement with someone is not a silencing attempt. Criticism of behavior can be, but this one gets trotted out a whole lot lately, often by people who are criticizing someone else's behavior only to have theirs criticized in return, and suddenly criticism has evolved into a silencing attempt the moment they're not the ones doing the criticizing -- and guess what, that actually often becomes, yes, a silencing attempt. So in a number of instances we're attempting to silence people by claiming they're trying to silence us, and I am not capable of summing up my feelings on this pattern of behavior in a civil fashion, because it's genuinely reached that degree of This is Not Good and I'd Like to Think Better of Us Than This Pattern Indicates. (Please, all ye gmods and little fishes, let there be something about this in the dang 2.0... )


  • TV & Movies

    @faraday said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    I really wish you'd stop assuming that all of the dozens of people whom I've heard express concerns through the years were just "my friends". It's not accurate and it's pretty condescending.

    It wasn't meant as condescending, it was just shorthand for 'all these anonymous people.' Apologies. In any case, you're speaking for some silent body that I will acknowledge exists but do not really believe has a say, via you or any other proxy, specifically because they don't participate.

    We can certain disagree about all this stuff. We obviously do. I do think the idea I've put forward is constructive and works toward valuable compromise.

    @Auspice

    I'm not suggesting there's a rampant problem, because obviously, it's been a few days at best and things are settling. I do feel (or at least, did feel, before this thread, where a few folks have acknowledged my suggestion) that we were in a bad place where moderation was not going the right way in part because the 'Constructive'/'Hog' divide is so stark and it really seemed like the moderation was going to tend to 'when in doubt, Hog.'

    For all that me and @faraday are going back and forth (probably far beyond where it's constructive in any way) I do think this thread and my prior exchanges with @ganymede have been productive and I have a more positive outlook than I came in with. The rest is just... well, people liking to talk on the internet, as ever.


  • Coder

    @bored Thank you.

    And in a constructive vein - I think the one thing we both agree on (and so have others) is the idea of an "Honest Reviews" section. We may differ a bit on our desired execution, but I think the core idea is the same - that players should have the ability to review a game outside the hog pit even if that review is negative.

    I don't think forum software is the greatest way to record reviews, but since it's all we've got... one potential way to do it is to allow people to create a poll for a game with 1-star to 5-stars as the poll result options. Then limit people (by policy; I don't think the forum software can enforce it) to just one review post per game. No debates, no dumpster fires, just individual reviews.


  • Politics

    @bored

    On retrospect, I recognize that my previous comment regarding your alleged desire to see change was based on a false presumption. I recognize that I was merely speculating as to your motives and intentions.

    @faraday said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    I don't think forum software is the greatest way to record reviews, but since it's all we've got... one potential way to do it is to allow people to create a poll for a game with 1-star to 5-stars as the poll result options. Then limit people (by policy; I don't think the forum software can enforce it) to just one review post per game. No debates, no dumpster fires, just individual reviews.

    But I think we need to talk about this. This is important. I think I understand why Faraday suggests but one review post per game. But what about the game owners and their staff? Should they be permitted to respond to the post? If so, doesn't that imply the need for multiple posts in the same topic?


  • Coder

    @ganymede said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    But I think we need to talk about this. This is important. I think I understand why Faraday suggests but one review post per game. But what about the game owners and their staff? Should they be permitted to respond to the post? If so, doesn't that imply the need for multiple posts in the same topic?

    What I meant was one thread, like "BSGU Reviews" and then each individual can vote on a star rating and post a single review as a 'response' to that thread. Or just ditch the star rating and let the reviews stand on their own merits if folks are worried about it being abused.

    Whether you allow staff to respond is a valid question, but I tend to think that in absence of any tools to support that, it's just going to end up in a "You!" "No you!" type of fight any time something negative is posted. Especially with other players and the peanut gallery chiming in.

    Staff can post general remarks on their ads thread. And if there's something more to discuss like.... "Wow a lot of people don't like the XP system on BSGU, what's up with that?" then someone could make a different thread (in either the hog pit or constructive section, as appropriate) for people to discuss that further.

    That's just my brainstorming on the subject, anyway. Not saying it's a perfect system or anything.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    For goodness sake, there's a difference between "criticism" and calling someone a "shit-flinging howler monkey". And the fact that this is even being debated is exactly the thing that's driving people like me away from this forum.

    I definitely agree with this, however ever discussion forum I have ever been on that had an enforced rule of civility soon became nothing but happy positive because anything negative no matter how it was stated would get reported, complained about etc until disagreement became more trouble than it was worth and discussion died.
    At that point there is no purpose to the board existing.


  • Coder

    @thatguythere Well that all comes down to whether you have good moderators with the willingness to draw a line between: "I think that attitude is bad for MUSHing" (Complainer: "Wah wah they're so mean to me" Mod: "Yeah, no") and "You're a crap-flinging howler monkey."

    Stupid enter key, ETA: We handle this just fine on our game public channels, for the most part. I don't doubt we could handle it here. People just don't want to.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    Stupid enter key, ETA: We handle this just fine on our game public channels, for the most part. I don't doubt we could handle it here. People just don't want to.

    I will be brief in my response to this, but I have yet to see a public channel on any game that I thought had a purpose in existing, beyond serving as an info channel on places without an info channel.
    If you want a board with the level of discourse seen on game channels then it is a given that we will never be happy on the same one since games channels to me are only useful for the occasional Hey anyone want to RP? shout outs, otherwise they tend to been dead silent or filled with nothing.


  • Coder

    @thatguythere said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    If you want a board with the level of discourse seen on game channels then it is a given that we will never be happy on the same one since games channels to me are only useful for the occasional Hey anyone want to RP? shout outs, otherwise they tend to been dead silent or filled with nothing.

    I didn't mean literally just the "<Public>" channel - I meant public chat channels in general. And perhaps our experiences have been different. I've seen numerous games with chat channels filled with constructive policy discussions, theme discussions, code discussions, and chats about everything from healthcare coding to superhero movies and sports teams. Occasionally somebody goes overboard, but for the most part these conversations are civil and harmless because many (most? I hope?) staffers don't tolerate anything different on our games.



  • Tolerating differences -- and yes, I realize it's not the same context -- is part of the point of this conversation. There are a lot of different interests. Not everybody has to share them all. Not everybody has to participate in the ones that are available.

    A lot of talk has lent toward an interpretation that a stronger hand is all that's required for everything to get better. The problem, though, is that everyone has a different idea of what 'better' is, and what that stronger hand should be doing (if anything).

    I like having an outlet where I am not forced to be civil. I am not always civil, and neither is anyone else. Sure, some people couch their harsh attitudes behind pretty words, but that doesn't change the reality of those attitudes being harsh; a serious personal attack or slight can be made in very pretty and formal words and it makes it no less a serious personal attack; a polite slap across the face is still a slap across the face.

    I strongly believe that if the outlet in which we're not required to be civil to one another goes, it's highly likely we'll see considerably more of the above. While people think they're getting away with shit when they do those things, they're really not, because people do notice, and pretty words don't obfuscate nastiness very well in a hobby often focused on the creative use of language populated by folk generally far more literate than average. That brings the entire place down, from my perspective, because the folks doing this stuff? Already think that's civil and appropriate behavior, when really, it's genuine Pit fodder (read: it's not civil, respectful, etc.) sans profanity.

    I want to see less of that shit outside the Pit, and shit is an accurate descriptor of these behaviors. I want to see more people willing to say, "Hey, that's not cool," when people act like this in areas that are supposed to focus on respectful dialogue and the exchange of ideas.

    Removing the outlet for impolite dialogue isn't going to make the uncivil behavior go away. It's going to ensure it spreads in the form of even more 'fake nice', verbal sideswipes, ugly implications, holier-than-thou bullshit snootbaggery, and so on, because the only way to actually remove incivility is to remove it from people. Nobody's figured that one out yet, unfortunately.


  • Politics

    @surreality said in Regarding administration on MSB:

    Nobody's figured that one out yet, unfortunately.

    I have, but then everyone starts complaining about intolerable cruelty and I'm forced to start all over again.


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