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*NEW* Moderation: now with discussion!

Who needs it, who got it, who hands it out and why.
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[violet]
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*NEW* Moderation: now with discussion!

Postby [violet] » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:33 pm

Previously, Moderation hasn't allowed general discussion, including suggestion threads. It has instead been used for reports of rule violations.

This has now changed! Discussion threads are welcome in Moderation.

To keep things orderly, please respect the separation between the two different types of threads: Reports and Discussion.

Report Threads
A report thread points moderators toward content you believe may contravene site rules. Report threads should:
  • Refer to a specific incident.
  • Use a "[Report]" prefix, such as "[Report] Flaming in Arms Trade thread."
  • Not be replied to except by moderators and posters who are either (a) directly involved in the incident, or (b) can provide specific, relevant additional information about it. You may also reply to a report thread to appeal a ruling, if it affected you.
  • Not contain discussion (e.g. asking how the ruling might apply in different circumstances, suggesting a policy change). Please start a new discussion thread for that instead.
Report threads are handled formally by moderators according to our posted process. Moderators will always attempt to respond to a report thread in a timely manner.

Discussion Threads
Discussion threads are for informal chat about moderation processes, including rules, rulings, and policies. The purpose of a discussion thread is to share ideas for making the NationStates forums a better place. In a discussion thread:
  • Anyone may post.
  • Opinion is welcome.
  • A topic prefix is not required.
  • Reports about specific incidents should not be made. If you require a ruling about an incident, please start a report thread instead.

Moderators are free to participate in discussion threads, but they aren't interviews where players ask mods questions. Instead, as in the Technical forum, discussion threads are for players to raise ideas and share opinions with each other about how to improve NationStates for all. While mods and/or admin may contribute to those discussions, they don't have to.

That's it for the bare rules! For a longer discussion of WHY and some context and explanation, please see the following post.

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[violet]
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Founded: Antiquity

Postby [violet] » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:34 pm

Moderation Forum: Some Whys and Wherefores

Lately there has been a troubling rise in the number of moderator/player interactions here that I would characterize as deeply dysfunctional. They have engendered a toxic atmosphere in which neither side completely trusts the motivations of the other, which has derailed a great deal of what would otherwise be good, productive discussion.

Many people have noticed this and requested change. Here is the result. Firstly, as detailed above, Moderation is now the place for discussion threads about site policy and moderation practices. Previously, discussion threads were banned, in order to preserve the original intent of the forum as a place for open, impartial viewing of moderation actions: it is difficult to follow a formal procedure for reports if anyone can chime in with related questions, comment, and suggestions.

I hope that the two types of thread--report and discussion--can live side-by-side in the same forum. If necessary, though, we will split into two subforms, one for reports and one for discussion. I would like to avoid this, since additional fragmentation is generally not good for the community.

A second important change is a new requirement that posts in Moderation must be good faith.

To explain. Moderators are good people. The job is tough, but the people are good. They are funny, they disagree a lot, they want what's best for the site. And posters are the same. We share a common goal of wanting this place to be better. Good faith posts aim at that goal, making a genuine attempt to help us improve the site.

Bad faith is when a poster becomes grumpy with moderators and stops trying to work with them, instead beginning to work against them. They may be "point-scoring" posts that denigrate a moderator but contribute nothing useful, or may be deceitful, asking questions where the poster doesn't care about the answer except that it may catch out a mod in a contradiction, or provide ammunition for the future. Fundamentally, they aren't motivated by a genuine interest in improving the site, but rather by a desire to punish a moderator for something they did in the past.

We don't want to hide from our mistakes, or defend a bad policy. Instead, we have an exhaustive process for reporting rule breaches, including misbehavior by moderators. This entire Moderation forum exists to provide what I believe is an unprecedented level of transparency and openness for an internet forum of this size. This forum is an exercise in good faith, exposing what moderators do and how they make decisions, so that everyone can see.

But this requires reciprocation. It requires posters who disagree with a moderator ruling to express that dissatisfaction in a constructive way, and not allowing it to become an ongoing campaign. No-one, not posters nor moderators, should carry a grudge into this forum. That kind of thing derails genuine threads, discourages well-meaning posters, and punishes moderators for being open and informal with their thoughts. That's not why we're here.

As a reminder, Moderators are volunteers. They aren't lawyers, they're not professional forum moderators; they're just good people from all walks of life giving their time and energy to the site for free, because they want to help make it a fun and fair place. Similarly, the rules are written to the spirit of how we want NationStates to be, not as a hard legal code. They are applied in good faith by the best efforts of volunteers. Consistency is a goal, but it cannot be guaranteed. If you like to play the game of finding loopholes in rules, please do so with the aim of suggesting improvements, not scoring "gotcha" moments against mods.

Since this is Moderation, I know people will be interested in a hard and fast definition of good faith vs bad faith, including examples. I was going to include this, in the interests of clarity, but decided against it, despite there being quite a number to choose from, so that we can make a fresh start, not point fingers at past misbehavior.

So I have simply instructed moderators to remove posts from discussion threads that are bad faith. Hopefully there will be none, or very few.

Finally I would like to welcome and thank anyone who comes to this forum with the aim of helping us make the site better. That is why we're here.
Last edited by [violet] on Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jeckland
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Postby Jeckland » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:35 pm

Woah, wasn't expecting this, but a brilliant idea IMO! Can't wait to see how it works!
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Swith Witherward
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Postby Swith Witherward » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:50 am

I have a few neutral discussion topics that come to mind but you all have me trained so well that I'm hesitant to post them. :lol2: Fear the newspaper! Fear it!

It's an excellent idea, [violet]. Thanks to you and the Modlies for doing this.
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NERVUN
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Postby NERVUN » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:52 am

Swith Witherward wrote:I have a few neutral discussion topics that come to mind but you all have me trained so well that I'm hesitant to post them. :lol2: Fear the newspaper! Fear it!

It's an excellent idea, [violet]. Thanks to you and the Modlies for doing this.

You know, I read that for a second as Modlings and wondered if this was some kind of new spin off, like, Modling Babies, we make your bans come true...
Last edited by NERVUN on Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Swith Witherward
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Swith Witherward » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:09 am

NERVUN wrote:
Swith Witherward wrote:I have a few neutral discussion topics that come to mind but you all have me trained so well that I'm hesitant to post them. :lol2: Fear the newspaper! Fear it!

It's an excellent idea, [violet]. Thanks to you and the Modlies for doing this.

You know, I read that for a second as Modlings and wondered if this was some kind of new spin off, like, Modling Babies, we make your bans come true...

Oh Nervie, you always say the sweetest things to moi. *flips hair*
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How may I help you today?
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Why is everyone a social justice warrior?
Why didn't any of you choose a different class,
like social justice mage or social justice thief?
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Milograd
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Postby Milograd » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:14 am

This is a good move. :clap:
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Unibot III
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Postby Unibot III » Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:28 am

Great news!
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Sdaeriji
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Postby Sdaeriji » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:34 am

Given this change, can we expect more severe punishments for off topic posts in Report threads?
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:54 am

Sdaeriji wrote:Given this change, can we expect more severe punishments for off topic posts in Report threads?


Not likely more severe and not likely immediately. We understand that a change like this will take some getting used to; the [REPORT] tags on reports for example. But what we define as 'spamming moderation threads' is still against the rules. That hasn't changed. People with constructive information that belongs in a Discussion type thread will be instructed to post in one or start one.
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Bezombia
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Postby Bezombia » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:57 am

I, for one, welcome our old moderator overlords.
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Postby Caninope » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:07 am

Jeckland wrote:Woah, wasn't expecting this, but a brilliant idea IMO! Can't wait to see how it works!

So, I don't want to be that guy, but this is in no way an original idea.
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Lunatic Goofballs
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Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:11 am

Caninope wrote:
Jeckland wrote:Woah, wasn't expecting this, but a brilliant idea IMO! Can't wait to see how it works!

So, I don't want to be that guy, but this is in no way an original idea.


Neither is the taco, but my Thanksgiving in a Taco is. :)
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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Modbusters
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Postby Modbusters » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:14 am

Ideas don't have to be original to be good.
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Caninope
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Postby Caninope » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:16 am

Modbusters wrote:Ideas don't have to be original to be good.

I'm just pointing out that there have been posters who have been calling for a more open and transparent Moderation Staff and Moderation Forum for quite some time.

With that said, I have some major misgivings about the way the policy is currently configured, given the heavy handed order that posts in "bad faith" be deleted, given recent debacles where entire threads that could have been salvaged were instead deleted or other times where discussion of a controversy surrounding Moderation was banned altogether and the very discussion of it was considered to be in "bad faith", but I'll give this one a go.
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Agritum wrote:Arg, Caninope is Captain America under disguise. Everyone knows it.
Frisivisia wrote:
Me wrote:Just don't. It'll get you a whole lot further in life if you come to realize you're not the smartest guy in the room, even if you probably are.

Because Caninope may be in that room with you.
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Norstal wrote:What I am saying of course is that we should clone Caninope.

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Bezombia
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Postby Bezombia » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:25 am

Caninope wrote:
Modbusters wrote:Ideas don't have to be original to be good.

I'm just pointing out that there have been posters who have been calling for a more open and transparent Moderation Staff and Moderation Forum for quite some time.

With that said, I have some major misgivings about the way the policy is currently configured, given the heavy handed order that posts in "bad faith" be deleted, given recent debacles where entire threads that could have been salvaged were instead deleted or other times where discussion of a controversy surrounding Moderation was banned altogether and the very discussion of it was considered to be in "bad faith", but I'll give this one a go.


That's true as well. Just look at Wikkiwallana's thread, which was apparently deleted without notice and he permabanned without notice.
Interestingly enough, his thread seems like it'd be perfect for the new {Discussion} system.
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Kyuji
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Ex-Nation

Postby Kyuji » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:41 am

Bezombia wrote:I, for one, welcome our old moderator overlords.

Temples will be built in honor of them
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Alyakia
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Alyakia » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:52 am

Caninope wrote:
Modbusters wrote:Ideas don't have to be original to be good.

I'm just pointing out that there have been posters who have been calling for a more open and transparent Moderation Staff and Moderation Forum for quite some time.

With that said, I have some major misgivings about the way the policy is currently configured, given the heavy handed order that posts in "bad faith" be deleted, given recent debacles where entire threads that could have been salvaged were instead deleted or other times where discussion of a controversy surrounding Moderation was banned altogether and the very discussion of it was considered to be in "bad faith", but I'll give this one a go.


it's good there's an active move against the whole "evil moderators!" "ugh troublemaking posters only in it for trubble!" mindset but yeah this is one of the few things that worried me as someone that has had bad experiences with their post being arbitrarily declared as basically bad faith/not contributing and had to do a song and dance to finally get it properly handled but still somehow retained a warning for it.

can we make "moderation is NOT a discuss- oh. oh..." the new official tagline
pro: good
anti: bad

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Sebtopiaris
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Postby Sebtopiaris » Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:56 am

This is a nice idea, but given some time and an NSG summer it could backfire rather badly. But for the time being, let's... erm... discuss things!
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Divair
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Ex-Nation

Postby Divair » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:00 am

[violet] wrote:So I have simply instructed moderators to remove posts from discussion threads that are bad faith. Hopefully there will be none, or very few.

I'm sure this will definitely not be abused to silence criticism. Nope, not at all.
Last edited by Divair on Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Ex-Nation

Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:06 am

Sebtopiaris wrote:This is a nice idea, but given some time and an NSG summer it could backfire rather badly. But for the time being, let's... erm... discuss things!


One of the nice things about this idea is that it is supposed to free up us moderators to post informally regarding moderation topics and not as part of the 'hive mind'. What I say in a discussion thread doesn't have to represent any mod's opinion but my own. Hopefully. I have some concerns that some players may not see it that way and/or try to use my comments as some sort of weapon against other mods(or even myself) in the future. That would suck because it completely undermines the spirit of this change.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
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Bezombia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Bezombia » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:08 am

Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
Sebtopiaris wrote:This is a nice idea, but given some time and an NSG summer it could backfire rather badly. But for the time being, let's... erm... discuss things!


One of the nice things about this idea is that it is supposed to free up us moderators to post informally regarding moderation topics and not as part of the 'hive mind'. What I say in a discussion thread doesn't have to represent any mod's opinion but my own. Hopefully. I have some concerns that some players may not see it that way and/or try to use my comments as some sort of weapon against other mods(or even myself) in the future. That would suck because it completely undermines the spirit of this change.


This wasn't the case already? I mean thread like this one have led me to believe that the moderators just post whatever they think first and ask the rest of the mods later.
Our weary eyes still stray to the horizon...but down this road we've been so many times...
Please, call me Benomia. Post count +14623, founded Oct. 23, 2012.
Sauritican wrote:We've all been spending too much time with Ben
Verdum wrote:Hey girl, is your name Karl Marx? Because your starting an uprising in my lower classes.
Black Hand wrote:New plan is to just make thousands of disposable firearms and dump them out of cargo planes with tiny drag chutes attached.
Spreewerke wrote:The metric system is the only measurement system that truly meters.
Spreewerke wrote:Salt the women, rape the earth.
Equestican wrote:Ben is love, Ben is life.
Sediczja wrote:real eyes realize real lies
I'm a poet. Come read my poems!

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Lunatic Goofballs
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Ex-Nation

Postby Lunatic Goofballs » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:16 am

Bezombia wrote:
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:
One of the nice things about this idea is that it is supposed to free up us moderators to post informally regarding moderation topics and not as part of the 'hive mind'. What I say in a discussion thread doesn't have to represent any mod's opinion but my own. Hopefully. I have some concerns that some players may not see it that way and/or try to use my comments as some sort of weapon against other mods(or even myself) in the future. That would suck because it completely undermines the spirit of this change.


This wasn't the case already? I mean thread like this one have led me to believe that the moderators just post whatever they think first and ask the rest of the mods later.


Levels of comfort vary both with mod and situation, but sometimes I don't feel comfortable posting an opinion without checking with the whole group for fear of breaking some precedent or making some precedent. Not only does that make moderation slow and cumbersome at times(I've noticed this lately with some threads that should be closed quickly but end up 20 or 30 pages long while we discuss them), but it makes our jobs more difficult, because the rules we enforce are as the Pirates would say, "more like guidelines" than some sort of formal legal code.

I think misgivings about speaking our minds(constructively) is gumming up the works for both players and mods.
Life's Short. Munch Tacos.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
Hunter S. Thompson

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The Archregimancy
Game Moderator
 
Posts: 26658
Founded: Aug 01, 2005
Democratic Socialists

Postby The Archregimancy » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:14 am

Divair wrote:
[violet] wrote:So I have simply instructed moderators to remove posts from discussion threads that are bad faith. Hopefully there will be none, or very few.

I'm sure this will definitely not be abused to silence criticism. Nope, not at all.


To avoid any misunderstandings over this - and this is one of those cases where we're more than happy to be transparent - the immediate trigger for Divair's deletion was not the above (though it hardly helped), but rather his repeated advertising of a competing game (not another discussion forum, which would be legal, but another nation simulation game) both in the forums and via attempted TG recruitment. This runs counter to long-standing policy.

We have also received complaints over those TGs from other players, forcing us to act.

For further clarity, he is not DOS.

For even further clarity, this thread is not for discussion of this deletion; this simply seems the best place to make this point given the potential for misunderstanding over the nature of the quoted post.
Last edited by The Archregimancy on Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:33 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Blekksprutia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Blekksprutia » Mon Mar 17, 2014 7:49 am

Great idea. Needed something like this, badly.
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