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Arguments for moderation policy reform

Who needs it, who got it, who hands it out and why.

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Neo Art
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Ex-Nation

Postby Neo Art » Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:59 pm

Sdaeriji wrote:
Neo Art wrote:
You mean, what do you do if an appeals mod gets warned and wants to appeal?

Deal with 2 I guess. Split vote goes in favor of the original decision.


More like, what do you do if you're appealing a warning for flaming, and the person you flamed is one of the appeal mods.


same issue. The appellate moderator is a party in the dispute and is recused. Vote with 2. Split vote upholds the original decision.

Or keep a "backup" in those rare occasions. Or allow them to appoint a senior game mod on those extremely rare circumstances...there are ways to deal with it.
Last edited by Neo Art on Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:01 pm

What if one of them gets arrested and sent to jail in RL? It could happen. It always pays to have extras.
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Neo Art
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Postby Neo Art » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:03 pm

Muravyets wrote:What if one of them gets arrested and sent to jail in RL? It could happen. It always pays to have extras.


what happens when a judge gets hit by a truck? You appoint a new one based on the system already in place.
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Maurepas
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Postby Maurepas » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:05 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Muravyets wrote:What if one of them gets arrested and sent to jail in RL? It could happen. It always pays to have extras.


what happens when a judge gets hit by a truck? You appoint a new one based on the system already in place.

You people are cruel, you're not even gonna try to save that guy first!? :p

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Belschaft
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Postby Belschaft » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:06 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Muravyets wrote:What if one of them gets arrested and sent to jail in RL? It could happen. It always pays to have extras.


what happens when a judge gets hit by a truck? You appoint a new one based on the system already in place.

It may be a minor issue, but I could imagine some people here picking a fight with an appeals mod just to screw the system up. Make it five, its just as simple, and causes no problems.
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Tue Dec 14, 2010 6:07 pm

Neo Art wrote:
Muravyets wrote:What if one of them gets arrested and sent to jail in RL? It could happen. It always pays to have extras.


what happens when a judge gets hit by a truck? You appoint a new one based on the system already in place.

OK. I guess whether NS has only 3 appeals mods or up to 5 at any time doesn't matter to me as much as that 3 comprise an appeals panel, though I personally don't see the harm in having a few willing stand-bys picked out.

And re Maurepas: Feh, if he can't show the good judgment to either duck or avoid getting convicted, he'd suck as a mod anyway. :p
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Saint Clair Island
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Postby Saint Clair Island » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:47 pm

Updated the OP.

While I agree with a number of points raised so far, there are a few of them that the mods have claimed they are supposed to do already:
Neo Art wrote:When you make a decision, be able to point to the SPECIFIC RULE violated. Far too often it’s near impossible to tell exactly what a poster is actually getting warned for.
...
First off, you have mods who made the decision participating in the appeal process. No, don’t do that.
...
if a moderator is the subject of a complaint, for god’s sake, don’t let him or her participate in the decision making process.
...
If a report is made against an individual, it relates on to the reporter, the reported, and the fact-finder. Nothing else is relevant, and nothing should be added further. They should all be “mod only”
...
Learn to delineate moderator and poster. Red text is good, but it’s not enough. When you’re a moderator, your words are going to be taken as moderation, even when you aren’t intending to. Find a way to separate what is a decision, what is a ruling, and what isn’t. If conduct is not violating a rule you have 0 official capacity. Find a way to clearly delineate what is what.

Muravyets wrote:Suggestion 2: When moderators are in player-mode and are really getting into a thread, whether RPing or debate/discussion, they should not moderate that thread.
....
Suggestion 3: If a mod is in player-mode, and another player loses their cool and starts flaming or baiting them, that mod should not moderate their own complaint.

More or less all of these are, apparently, SOP for NS moderation. However, the fact that they're being brought up suggests that SOP... isn't.

One contributing factor to this perception might be that, while players' code of conduct is readily available, mods' isn't. It could be that there's a One-Stop Mod Shop or similar in a private forum we can't see, but if we can't see it there's no way for us to determine whether we can legitimately complain about any given instance of mod behaviour.

One idea would therefore be to append to the OSRS or whatever future form it might take a post along the lines of "Duties and Responsibilities of Moderators" explaining what roles moderators play and how they should conduct themselves. This doesn't have to be any different from how the mods currently run things (although some changes would obviously be nice <.<) but I think it would help matters on both ends. There would be fewer complaints about Mods being generically "rude" (Was she breaking the rules? No? I refer you to Section 2 then), and conversely it would be much easier to bring abuse to light (I think this ruling seems in violation of Section 3, could you check please?) without fearing that discussion will simply be shut down curtly.

I've generally been happy with moderation on this site, so I don't feel anything is really fundamentally broken. There are certainly things I'd do differently were I an administrator. That said, I'm limiting myself to suggesting tweaks or small changes to the existing system largely because (1) I don't think I'd find any support otherwise and (2) reworking the entire system would be as tiresome as a tiresome thing, and if I have no desire to embark on such a project I'm sure the mods care even less to.
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Barringtonia
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Ex-Nation

Postby Barringtonia » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:25 pm

I'd go the other way and make the process less transparent by creating a single Moderator account that is essentially anonymous but accessed by all Mods.

1. Post in Moderation
2. Receive judgment
3. If you want to appeal file a complaint
4. Revised judgment where applicable is provided

Since a warning has pretty much bugger all effect on one's life and that one needs to go a pretty long way to be banned or deat'd, I don't see why people aren't a little more grown-up about all this and allow some context and inconsistency over what is, in the end, minor slaps on the hand.

As far as I can tell, it's more about personal ego and grudges than a genuine need to make too many changes. If anything I feel the increased attention given to these complaints merely serves to continue them. Given it's very much a matter of personal perception - I didn't deserve a warning - then anonymizing Moderation would make it easier for Moderators to hand out judgments without fear of being unpopular and less scope for posters to get worked up over one Moderator or another.

Having said that, I really don't see much need for change at all, where is the flexibility on our side to take warnings with a pinch of salt now and again given it works for the most part.
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Muravyets
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Ex-Nation

Postby Muravyets » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:48 pm

SCI, I believe there already is some mention moderator code of conduct, or something like that, in the OSRS. However, like the rest of the rules, it needs to be written better and is applied or enforced seemingly spottily.

I agree that, for the most part, moderation in practice is just fine. The problem is those times when it is not. That is when the actual faults in the system and the gap in perception between players and mods/admin both get thrown into glaring relief. And those flaws and gaps are, in my opinion, bad enough that they undermine confidence in the system and create conflicts that otherwise don't need to exist.

So the suggestions that I made -- and I think the same is true for Neo Art -- are not about changing moderation behavior. They are about making that behavior more visible, more obvious, and more clear to the players. The mods can say they are already doing all these things all they like -- and frankly, on certain points detailed specifically by Neo Art, I do not agree that they are, but be that as it may -- but they are not being SEEN to do it.

Visibility, clarity, specificity -- as you said, all those things can make it much harder (though not impossible) to misunderstand what a moderator says and means. They can make it much easier to decide whether a complaint is legitimate or not, whether an appeal has any merit, and whether a moderator really has crossed a line or not.

The goal here is not to remake NS in a new image. It is already far superior to many other boards, imo, which frankly is why I'm still here. But it doesn't deserve these constant conflicts. It doesn't deserve this level of growing tension between some of the most dedicated users on both the player and moderator sides. If a few very small tweaks to the way moderation posts are written - such as an identifying official title bar, such as possibly minorly cumbersome systems of calling in other mods in some few, rare instances for the sake of demonstrating lack of bias, such as citing specific rules to go along with warnings or penalties -- can help to bridge the perception gap and relieve the feelings of suspicion, surely it's worth considering.

This post is really directed towards moderators who do believe they are already doing all that is being suggested here.
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Sarzonia
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Postby Sarzonia » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:06 am

The Bleeding Roses wrote:We should be allowed to shame people who start awful topics.


My apologies because I'm in a state which does not allow diplomacy, but what fucking planet do you live on where that shit is a good idea?

If a topic is considered trolling or flaming, that's one thing. However, what authority on this green Earth gives YOU the bloody right to decide what sort of topics should be considered "awful"?

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Reploid Productions
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Postby Reploid Productions » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:21 am

Sarzonia wrote:
The Bleeding Roses wrote:We should be allowed to shame people who start awful topics.


My apologies because I'm in a state which does not allow diplomacy, but what fucking planet do you live on where that shit is a good idea?

If a topic is considered trolling or flaming, that's one thing. However, what authority on this green Earth gives YOU the bloody right to decide what sort of topics should be considered "awful"?

If you're not in a state that allows at least basic civility, it's better to hold off on posting until you are. This is completely unhelpful to the discussion and the way you present your opinion is done in such a way as to antagonize your opponent instead of debate the merits (or lack thereof) in someone else's point.

While I'm not handing out any warnings at this point in time, this is a reminder to keep it civil and on topic.

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South Lorenya
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Ex-Nation

Postby South Lorenya » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:11 am

While the boards and moderation are mostly good, I still feel that the mods should be more open when asked about why a specific nation was deleted and -- in case they were a puppet -- whose puppet they were. After all, I've seen that the mods give many, many second chances*; if an account is deleted, it means that either they have a huge list of warnings or they did something very, very bad. In either case, they shouldn't have the shroud of secrecy.

*I don't know the record, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a nation with 20+ warnings on their record before finally being deleted.
Last edited by South Lorenya on Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Vonners
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Postby Vonners » Wed Dec 15, 2010 3:02 am

kudos to the mods for wanting and allowing us to address these issues.

I have a couple of concerns though. I fear we are looking at becoming rules heavy. All I can see is more complexity being added to an already complex system of rules.

Appeals. Great idea and understandable but jeez...this is a just a website...not real life law where you can get locked up for years on end. Is there really, really a need for appeals mods? Not only are there issues revolving around time zones there would also be problems revolving around speed of adjudication...and then of course the 'I want to appeal the appeal' situation (although this can be easily stopped dead in its tracks). If this system is under serious consideration I would really suggest that it be kept as simple as possible and as transparent. I think, from what I have read so far, that this is the main objective and you are all working towards that. However the two issues of time zones and speed would need to be looked at.

Having said the above I do think that the most important subject, one that has been touched upon, is mod comportment. Mods being held to a higher standard must be taken as a given. It' just a matter of professionalism. Sure its fun to say that 'oh when I modded this one site I banned all the trolls by getting them so irate that they flamed giving me the right to ban them'...I don't think that the mods here at NS want to be labelled with that kind of reputation.
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The Blaatschapen
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Postby The Blaatschapen » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:46 am

South Lorenya wrote:While the boards and moderation are mostly good, I still feel that the mods should be more open when asked about why a specific nation was deleted and -- in case they were a puppet -- whose puppet they were. After all, I've seen that the mods give many, many second chances*; if an account is deleted, it means that either they have a huge list of warnings or they did something very, very bad. In either case, they shouldn't have the shroud of secrecy.

*I don't know the record, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a nation with 20+ warnings on their record before finally being deleted.


I don't agree. Why should it be public who was deleted for what and whose puppet it was?

Anyway, personally I'd like to implement only some small changes, because most of the moderation is already good. And while striving for higher and better standards is a laudable goal, we have to look at impact vs. effort. Unlike real life where you can lose your freedom for years on end when a judicial error is made, here the biggest impact is that someone has to find a new hobby. Logically we cannot expect moderators who do this in their spare time to use the same amount of scrutiny as real life judges/police/etc. Mistakes will always be made and there will always be unhappy people.

That having said, improvement is always possible, so what are these small changes? One of the things I sometimes see/hear is that a mod doesn't have much time to properly look at a case because of RL constraints. Well, if you can't look at a case properly, then don't look at it at all at that moment. If it's not a troll that is spamming everywhere, chances are that it can wait a bit until a moment when you do have a bit more time or until another mod comes along. It is bad to have a quick confusing ruling from a mod that at that moment didn't have the time to look at it properly.

I'm also not so fond of the unofficial warnings for the reasons given above. Either give a simple "hey, take a break, you might be heading the wrong way there" as piece of advice to hopefully keep posters away from actual rulebreaking or give an actual warning when a rule is actually broken. An unofficial warning is confusing. Is it a warning? Is it a piece of advice?

Another idea that I like is the coloured subject bar, but how much work(effort) is that techwise?

A wholly seperated appeal group vs. normal ruling group of mods looks like quite a lot effort to me and I hope we can find other solutions to the mentioned problems that require less effort.
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Muravyets
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Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:12 am

A couple of points to clarify where I'm coming from:

1. I don't want to see more rules. I only want to see clearer and more obviously consistent application of the rules NS already has. In fact, I think the rules could be simpler, though to me what the rules are is less of an issue than how the rules are exercised.

2. It's true that using a separate appeals panel system would slow down the decision process. As I've said, I personally do not see that as a problem, but if others do, then maybe poll the playership for opinions, or try a trial and error experiment to see what works. It might turn out not to workable, or it might turn out not to be a problem at all.

3. I think the main reason a separate appeals panel was suggested is that the most likely reason for someone to appeal a ruling is because they think it's either mistaken or unfair. Either way, the person making the appeal is saying that the original mod is wrong. Yet there are very, very strong indications that mods whose rulings are appealed are among those who review their own rulings. Think about it -- a ref calls a penalty on you; you dispute the penalty; and you find that same ref basically saying "No, y'know, I think I was right."

Yes, I understand that the mod being appealed is not the only one involved, but seriously -- forget courts of law for a moment -- in GAMES the ref who's being disputed is not the one to review his own call. Period. Because in reality, nobody buys for a second the claim that someone you say isn't objective, is suddenly going to become objective when his/her own ruling is questioned. Now, mind, I am NOT assuming that the person making the appeal is going to be right. I'm saying that, if you object to someone making a ruling on you, you're not going to be satisfied with that same person ruling on your appeal. If the goal is foster trust and acceptance of the system and get players feeling good about the mods and willing to accept their rulings, then this is a basic, first level step to show good faith on the part of moderation -- make sure that people appealing rulings know that the mods hearing their appeal have no stake in the outcome. Simple, basic fairness.

The flip side option to make sure things are fair would be even worse: If a mod who is being appealed is allowed to participate directly in the discussion of the appeal, then the player making the appeal should be allowed to participate in the discussion directly, too. If the mod gets to argue for his/her ruling, then the player gets to argue against it. Do we want to not just open that can of worms but dive into it head first? Not just adopt the rules structures and ethics of the courts, but their procedures as well, and turn every appeal into a virtual lawsuit of argument and counter argument? Or do we want to take the simpler route of just making a categorical rule that, if a mod is being appealed, that mod sits out the review of the appeal?

Maybe a separate permanent panel would not be workable. Maybe it would. Maybe some other system that would achieve the same effect would be better. I just say the idea is worth experimenting with.
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The Republic of Lanos
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Republic of Lanos » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:41 am

South Lorenya wrote:In either case, they shouldn't have the shroud of secrecy.


I agree with this reason:

When 2ND PLT was mod-assassinated and DoSED, the only mod post on the whole matter that Max and every mod said his activities (whatever they were) warranted the DoS order. Instead of keeping the whole mess secret and us guessing, maybe a database of all those DoSED could be compiled and released?

*Note: I left out DEAT nations. That should remain private because many nations were DEATed before becoming successful NSers and want to keep that private.*

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Intangelon
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Ex-Nation

Postby Intangelon » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:43 am

The Bleeding Roses wrote:We should be allowed to shame people who start awful topics.

End thread.

I agree with you.

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Vonners
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Postby Vonners » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:21 am

Intangelon wrote:
The Bleeding Roses wrote:We should be allowed to shame people who start awful topics.

End thread.

I agree with you.

*takes own temperature*

Overwork.


yeah...if the players had thicker skins I'd concur but sadly that is not the case. Also we need to keep in mind that there are kids* here...which does, it seems, complicate things.

* and that the board is used in schools...which is something else I've found a bit bizarre. but /meh
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The Cat-Tribe
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Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:24 am

The Cat-Tribe wrote:I know this breaks my vacation (again). I was e-mailed about this this kerfluffel. I have a couple of comments to add to Neo Art's well articulated suggestions.

1) The Moderation team itself has acknowledged in other threads the rules regarding second opinions and appeals aren't actually followed by Moderators/Administrators -- despite the fact that (when convenient) players are chastised for not following them. See, e.g., link.

2) If "Mods are subject to the same rules as eveyone else", it makes little sense that RL events can completely excuse (or explain away) Moderator mistakes or misjudgments. No player would be allowed to retract a flame, trolling, or otherwise illegal post based on it being made in haste or anger influenced by RL. To the contrary, I can think of many examples of players (myself included) who have posted under RL time constraints and emotional distress (that was actually explained in the post) and got warned. (In my case, the warning was reversed on appeal for unrelated reasons.)

The tiff between Mura and NERVUN isn't a great example and I don't wish to dwell on it. I deeply respect both of them and would actually like to consider them friends. It has already been discussed ad nauseum why each could reasonably (if not ideally) reacted to each others's posts the way the did. What is exception and disappointing is to have [violet] step in and use Mura as an example of how one should not be rude to Mods. It is doubly bizarre as the particular post [violet] considered rude was not particularly rude and made a valid point:
if a Moderator does not have time to fully consider before posting a ruling or a "Moderator-mode" statement, they shouldn't post it!
In NERVUN's case this was pretty minor, but we've had much more significant instances of this in the past. (I don't want to re-hash the "tranny = trash" incident, but it comes immediately to mind.)

I'm sure I could ramble on, but NA has covered much of what I might say (as have posts in the prior thread).

Neither NA or I expect that Nationstates Moderation operate like a judicial system and I recognize some of our expectations of consistency, transparency, explained decisions, ect, come from our background in the law. But they are also principles of fairness and justice. Nationstates doesn't have to live up to these principles. In fact, I'm getting the increasing the increasing feeling that the idea they should is resented and rejected. That is fine. You are right. It's your sandbox. And we don't have to play in it.

But if you truly are seeking to improve it and you truly would rather not drive posters like myself (who despite my testiness and semi-annual conflicts with Moderation try to make NS a better place) away, why not try listening? Otherwise we will leave. I know the answer is that you will survive without us and won't miss us, but is that really the best policy towards those who've been here awhile -- to simply say "love it as is or leave it"?

(I will now once again try to extricate myself from this tar baby.)


Having broken the seal (so to speak) by posting here, I thought I'd re-emphasize the above and add:

1. I agree with Vonners that Mods and Admins deserve kudos for listening (hopefully) to this thread. I would add I think the Moderation/Administration of NS is generally very, very good. That is why it is so frustrating and disappointing when it is "bad," "unfair," illogical, secretive, or pretends to be flawless. You all (and I mean "all") do a selfless job and do it well. But no one is perfect. Mistakes get made. Often they are fixed. Sometimes they are covered up or defended as if they were righteous and without question. That causes some of us to want to throw up.

2. I am not sure we need wholesale new rules. What we need is consistency and transparency in how whatever rules there are are applied. This could be achieved by new rules that (like sentencing guidelines) made everything more clear up front, but it could also be achieved by Mods being more open and willing to explain their actions.

3. I don't think elaborate new procedures are needed to handle second opinions or appeals. I primarily think the OSRS needs to match the actual practice of how things are handled. Especially if players are expected (despite the fact the appeals process isn't followed as described), individuals can be chastised even warned for not following the OSRS. Ideally, the actual practice should change to better match the rules as well as the rules being re-written: in other words, meet in the middle.

4. More specifically, I definitely think any kind of Mod appellate panel is taking formality too far. The issue of Mods involved in a complaint or a decision being involved in the appeal is a problem, but that should be easily avoidable if the Mods simply stop letting that happen. This requires self-policing and trust on the part of players, but I think it can work.

5. Similarly, it should be a rule -- either in the OSRS or internal in the Mod Cave -- that a Mod not rule on a case in which he or she is involved. That should be a no-brainer. We have, in fact, had Mods recuse themselves because an allegedly trolling post angered them too much to be objective (which some of us thought was evidence it was trolling), so recusing onself for personal bias out to be a matter of course.

6. Unfortunately, at least one Mod (perhaps more) has been clear he/she feels personal animosity towards certain other posters. Although a rule about "a Mod that doesn't like a player shouldn't rule on issues about that player" could create a nightmare of posters trying to escape just punishment by claiming bias, simple professionalism and common sense should lead the Mod Squad (hee hee) to internally keep an eye out for this problem and try to prevent its occurrence. {b]Obviously it would be best if Mods didn't have clear agenda's against certain posters, but I recognize you are all human and these things happen.[/b]

7. I re-iterate my somewhat buried point above. If a Mod doesn't have time to give a thorough and thoughtful response to an issue, they should not post in an official capacity -- or at least say they are posting without having had time to think about what they are posting and their post should be considered a temporary placeholder! It is little comfort to have a Mod make a "bad" ruling or say something "bad" and then later say they were under RL time constraints or other pressures. As I said, that excuse would not be excepted by a Mod for a "bad" post by a player.

8. I am starting to agree the "unofficial" warning is a bad idea. If it goes in your record and counts against you in future decisions, it should be open, clear, and challengeable/appealable. The "unofficial" warning has always given the impression of being similar to a "knock it off" or a Mod suggestion. Now it appears to exist in a limbo where it sounds like you didn't really break a rule and aren't being punished, but secretly a black mark appears on your "permanent record." This is unacceptable for copious reasons I would think are self-evident.

9. There should be a way of notifying by TG posters that get warned. It is (despite posts I've seen to the contrary by Mods) not realistic to expect every poster to keep track of every thread they have posted in idefinitely because they may at some point receive a warning. Nor is it realistic to expect posters to constantly scour Moderation for complaints against them (especially when a warning might come from a GHR.) I know Mods are overworked, but this seems like it wouldn't take much. At some point long ago, it was standard procedure AND it seems like basic courtesy and due process.

10. Finally (whew ;) ), I have an issue with appeals being shunted into the GHR process -- where it disappears into a black box of secret deliberations. There are, I recognize, many advantages to this -- especially to the Mods. But it means that posters often have no idea what gets decided -- let alone how it got decided. If X is warned for flaming Y and appeals, Y will never know if X gets that warning reversed. If Y appeals a decision not to warn X, X may not learn directly that appeal has resulted in X being warned. (see my point above.) Add to this that the GHR process is itself entirely opaque with no hint to anyone of how decisions are reached, and it seems like it needs some reform. I'll freely admit I have no good solution to this problem.
Last edited by The Cat-Tribe on Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
I quit (again).
The Altani Confederacy wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:With that, I am done with these shenanigans. Do as thou wilt.

Can't miss you until you're gone, Ambassador. Seriously, your delegation is like one of those stores that has a "Going Out Of Business" sale for twenty years. Stay or go, already.*snip*
"Don't give me no shit because . . . I've been Tired . . ." ~ Pixies
With that, "he put his boots on, he took a face from the Ancient Gallery, and he walked on down the Hall . . ."

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Barringtonia
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Posts: 9908
Founded: Feb 05, 2007
Ex-Nation

Postby Barringtonia » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:50 am

The Cat-Tribe wrote:*snip*


The main issue with even greater transparency is that it simply creates more parameters by which people can parse rulings. Given greater transparency, the case will only arise whereby people find finer gradients by which to challenge rulings and, sooner or later, someone with enough sway will find a wide enough gap through which to exploit an issue, generally through a perception of '..but this concerns me', which creates further discussion on 'how can the rules be fairer' when, really, all that's occurred is another set of rules that can be debated are made.

The cycle continues.

This might be fine in a truly legal setting where monetary loss is at stake but here, really, it's a warning at most for the majority of people and possibly a bruised ego. Do we really need an endless cycle of refining, which is all transparency will achieve, when it's essentially akin to squeezing a hand of sand, the more one squeezes the more sand escapes.

Surely at some point we, as posters, place less concern on, relatively, minor issues and appreciate the time, stress and simple distate a moderator must undergo to rule on anyone.

Or perhaps you would prefer to be a moderator, surely that would be the easiest way of gaining some insight into the workings. I hereby nominate you - on the understanding I have the leverage of a particularly short lever - but then any reason you might give for declining - time constraints, a desire to post free of responsibility and etc., - should provide an understanding of what moderators provide, and that perhaps we shouldn't lay too many duties on them, or provide some understanding, or just be one less nuisance.

Surely it's not hard, surely we don't need some lengthy document and process outlining how we, who want to be treated as adults, should act?
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Belschaft
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Founded: Mar 19, 2008
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Belschaft » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:58 am

Barringtonia wrote:Or perhaps you would prefer to be a moderator, surely that would be the easiest way of gaining some insight into the workings. I hereby nominate you - on the understanding I have the leverage of a particularly short lever - but then any reason you might give for declining - time constraints, a desire to post free of responsibility and etc., - should provide an understanding of what moderators provide, and that perhaps we shouldn't lay too many duties on them, or provide some understanding, or just be one less nuisance.

Y'know, TCT would make a great appeals mod.
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Muravyets
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Posts: 12755
Founded: Aug 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:12 am

Barringtonia, wouldn't the fact that the issues currently being addressed have been complained about by different people for at least five years and two boards (to my personal knowledge, since that's how long I've been here to observe) indicate that it isn't that simple to just all be on the same page and happy together?

NS went to the trouble of writing a set of rules. We all -- players, mods and admin alike -- should abide by those rules, all the same and consistently. To that end, the written rules need to be redrafted, not to change the content but to make them clearer as read, so everyone can at least come to similar understandings of them. This is not imposing more rules, it's just making the existing rules easier to understand.

It has been stated by mods that some of the rules are outdated. Moderation no longer conducts appeals precisely as outlined in the OSRS. Clearly, the OSRS must be updated, right? I mean, this is just basic. If you're going to set up a system, then you maintain the system and keep it up to date.

If you really look at what has been proposed so far, much of it is not changing the rules or adding rules at all. Rather, the suggestions would only clarify rules and make the process more visible. Much of these suggestions amount, basically, to house cleaning.

As for the fear of endless demands for tweaking and changing, that is simple. Include limitations on appeals (I'd be happy with one bite at the apple and you're done). Rather than making the rules reactive to every individual case, instead base the rules on the desired effect they should have, and then build in specific guidelines for application of moderator discretion (and limits to that discretion). In such a way, you can cut off the constant demands for special case status as well as appearance of inconsistency in rules enforcement.

Will that silence players who want to shout for special treatment? No, of course not. But just because people demand things, that doesn't mean you have to give them to them. Real and, imo, substantive practical issues have been raised with the current moderation system. Most fixes are relatively simple, it seems to me. If they work, then a better system will exist in which it should be far easier to see if complaints or cases have any merit or deserve special attention.

EDIT: I rewrite rules and procedures for the people I work for all the time. Between my project coordinator hat and my editor hat, I have a lot of experience with taking fuzzy, mangled documents and making them clear. I would be happy to do it for NS over several days, but I don't want to be the cause of the multiple infarctions that I'm sure the idea of me editing the OSRS would trigger. :p
Last edited by Muravyets on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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However, I am still not the topic of this thread.

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The Cat-Tribe
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Posts: 5548
Founded: Jan 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby The Cat-Tribe » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:38 am

Barringtonia wrote:I'd go the other way and make the process less transparent by creating a single Moderator account that is essentially anonymous but accessed by all Mods.

1. Post in Moderation
2. Receive judgment
3. If you want to appeal file a complaint
4. Revised judgment where applicable is provided

Since a warning has pretty much bugger all effect on one's life and that one needs to go a pretty long way to be banned or deat'd, I don't see why people aren't a little more grown-up about all this and allow some context and inconsistency over what is, in the end, minor slaps on the hand.

As far as I can tell, it's more about personal ego and grudges than a genuine need to make too many changes. If anything I feel the increased attention given to these complaints merely serves to continue them. Given it's very much a matter of personal perception - I didn't deserve a warning - then anonymizing Moderation would make it easier for Moderators to hand out judgments without fear of being unpopular and less scope for posters to get worked up over one Moderator or another.

Having said that, I really don't see much need for change at all, where is the flexibility on our side to take warnings with a pinch of salt now and again given it works for the most part.


I actually mostly agree with this. Although I think the "it's about personal ego" crack is unwarranted and beneath you.

I actually have (with the exception of filing a single GHR) never IIRC raised a big fuss over being warned.

What has caused me consternation (and sometimes disporportionate and unseemly drama) is when people who should have been warned, have not been. To me, this has sent a message to said poster his/her message was OK. (And, in the couple of cases that most prominently come to mind, the poster involved bragged that is exactly what the non-warning meant.) In most of the few cases I have "raised a fuss," I have not been a party involved. My ego was not on the line. No grudge was involved. I simply didn't think that certain behavior should go unpunished -- if we were going to behave as adults.

I am also a bit disappointed at either your deliberate or honest ignorance or refusal to acknowledge there have been and continue to be cases of personal animus by certain Moderators against certain posters. The Moderator that comes to mind for me I actually respect in many ways and generally think she/he does a good job, but it has been clear he/she "has it out" for certain posters. It isn't just a matter of "acting like adults" to ignore this.

Barringtonia wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:*snip*


The main issue with even greater transparency is that it simply creates more parameters by which people can parse rulings. Given greater transparency, the case will only arise whereby people find finer gradients by which to challenge rulings and, sooner or later, someone with enough sway will find a wide enough gap through which to exploit an issue, generally through a perception of '..but this concerns me', which creates further discussion on 'how can the rules be fairer' when, really, all that's occurred is another set of rules that can be debated are made.

The cycle continues.

This might be fine in a truly legal setting where monetary loss is at stake but here, really, it's a warning at most for the majority of people and possibly a bruised ego. Do we really need an endless cycle of refining, which is all transparency will achieve, when it's essentially akin to squeezing a hand of sand, the more one squeezes the more sand escapes.

Surely at some point we, as posters, place less concern on, relatively, minor issues and appreciate the time, stress and simple distate a moderator must undergo to rule on anyone.

Or perhaps you would prefer to be a moderator, surely that would be the easiest way of gaining some insight into the workings. I hereby nominate you - on the understanding I have the leverage of a particularly short lever - but then any reason you might give for declining - time constraints, a desire to post free of responsibility and etc., - should provide an understanding of what moderators provide, and that perhaps we shouldn't lay too many duties on them, or provide some understanding, or just be one less nuisance.

Surely it's not hard, surely we don't need some lengthy document and process outlining how we, who want to be treated as adults, should act?


See above, with the following added:

I definitely don't wish to me a Moderator and I thought I made it clear I didn't think we needed some "lenghty document and process" about how either we or the Moderators should act.

I understand where you are coming from, but it does a disservice to everyone to dismiss anyone trying to suggest improvements to Moderation as just whiners seeking to complain about getting warnings or looking to create new loopholes to argue about Mod rulings.

Not to make this personal, but to make a concrete example, you snipped my post. Please tell which of the 10 points I was making fall into the categories of:
  • "creat[ing] more parameters by which people can parse rulings"
  • suggesting "an endless cycle of refining"
  • "place .. concern on, relatively, minor issues"
  • ignore "the time, stress and simple distate a moderator must undergo to rule on anyone"
  • suggest we "need some lengthy document and process outlining how we, who want to be treated as adults, should act"
The Cat-Tribe wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:*snip*


Having broken the seal (so to speak) by posting here, I thought I'd re-emphasize the above and add:

1. I agree with Vonners that Mods and Admins deserve kudos for listening (hopefully) to this thread. I would add I think the Moderation/Administration of NS is generally very, very good. That is why it is so frustrating and disappointing when it is "bad," "unfair," illogical, secretive, or pretends to be flawless. You all (and I mean "all") do a selfless job and do it well. But no one is perfect. Mistakes get made. Often they are fixed. Sometimes they are covered up or defended as if they were righteous and without question. That causes some of us to want to throw up.

2. I am not sure we need wholesale new rules. What we need is consistency and transparency in how whatever rules there are are applied. This could be achieved by new rules that (like sentencing guidelines) made everything more clear up front, but it could also be achieved by Mods being more open and willing to explain their actions.

3. I don't think elaborate new procedures are needed to handle second opinions or appeals. I primarily think the OSRS needs to match the actual practice of how things are handled. Especially if players are expected (despite the fact the appeals process isn't followed as described), individuals can be chastised even warned for not following the OSRS. Ideally, the actual practice should change to better match the rules as well as the rules being re-written: in other words, meet in the middle.

4. More specifically, I definitely think any kind of Mod appellate panel is taking formality too far. The issue of Mods involved in a complaint or a decision being involved in the appeal is a problem, but that should be easily avoidable if the Mods simply stop letting that happen. This requires self-policing and trust on the part of players, but I think it can work.

5. Similarly, it should be a rule -- either in the OSRS or internal in the Mod Cave -- that a Mod not rule on a case in which he or she is involved. That should be a no-brainer. We have, in fact, had Mods recuse themselves because an allegedly trolling post angered them too much to be objective (which some of us thought was evidence it was trolling), so recusing onself for personal bias out to be a matter of course.

6. Unfortunately, at least one Mod (perhaps more) has been clear he/she feels personal animosity towards certain other posters. Although a rule about "a Mod that doesn't like a player shouldn't rule on issues about that player" could create a nightmare of posters trying to escape just punishment by claiming bias, simple professionalism and common sense should lead the Mod Squad (hee hee) to internally keep an eye out for this problem and try to prevent its occurrence. {b]Obviously it would be best if Mods didn't have clear agenda's against certain posters, but I recognize you are all human and these things happen.[/b]

7. I re-iterate my somewhat buried point above. If a Mod doesn't have time to give a thorough and thoughtful response to an issue, they should not post in an official capacity -- or at least say they are posting without having had time to think about what they are posting and their post should be considered a temporary placeholder! It is little comfort to have a Mod make a "bad" ruling or say something "bad" and then later say they were under RL time constraints or other pressures. As I said, that excuse would not be excepted by a Mod for a "bad" post by a player.

8. I am starting to agree the "unofficial" warning is a bad idea. If it goes in your record and counts against you in future decisions, it should be open, clear, and challengeable/appealable. The "unofficial" warning has always given the impression of being similar to a "knock it off" or a Mod suggestion. Now it appears to exist in a limbo where it sounds like you didn't really break a rule and aren't being punished, but secretly a black mark appears on your "permanent record." This is unacceptable for copious reasons I would think are self-evident.

9. There should be a way of notifying by TG posters that get warned. It is (despite posts I've seen to the contrary by Mods) not realistic to expect every poster to keep track of every thread they have posted in idefinitely because they may at some point receive a warning. Nor is it realistic to expect posters to constantly scour Moderation for complaints against them (especially when a warning might come from a GHR.) I know Mods are overworked, but this seems like it wouldn't take much. At some point long ago, it was standard procedure AND it seems like basic courtesy and due process.

10. Finally (whew ;) ), I have an issue with appeals being shunted into the GHR process -- where it disappears into a black box of secret deliberations. There are, I recognize, many advantages to this -- especially to the Mods. But it means that posters often have no idea what gets decided -- let alone how it got decided. If X is warned for flaming Y and appeals, Y will never know if X gets that warning reversed. If Y appeals a decision not to warn X, X may not learn directly that appeal has resulted in X being warned. (see my point above.) Add to this that the GHR process is itself entirely opaque with no hint to anyone of how decisions are reached, and it seems like it needs some reform. I'll freely admit I have no good solution to this problem.
I quit (again).
The Altani Confederacy wrote:
The Cat-Tribe wrote:With that, I am done with these shenanigans. Do as thou wilt.

Can't miss you until you're gone, Ambassador. Seriously, your delegation is like one of those stores that has a "Going Out Of Business" sale for twenty years. Stay or go, already.*snip*
"Don't give me no shit because . . . I've been Tired . . ." ~ Pixies
With that, "he put his boots on, he took a face from the Ancient Gallery, and he walked on down the Hall . . ."

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Melkor Unchained
Retired Moderator
 
Posts: 4647
Founded: Antiquity
Ex-Nation

Postby Melkor Unchained » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:40 am

I'm mostly just spectating here but several of the other mods and I are developing a powerful curiosity about some of the things people are saying re: appeals. We/I have seen it mentioned a few times that there's a worry that the ruling mod has a voice for appeals regarding their rulings. I'm not sure I understand where this comes from and would appreciate it if someone could explain to me what fuels this perception.

Also (and I haven't read everything just yet but), some of these ideas have come up before. There was some mention earlier of bluecoats handling appeals, which is a suggestion I had briefly considered posting to M/A shortly after the group was created. The idea was that Kat, Rep and I would handle appeals and let the other mods sort of "do their thing" and what-have-you. But as I saw it there were some basic problems with the idea so I never actually suggested it: we'd have to add more bluecoats probably, since with three of us, even one being missing would screw the pooch. It would also basically require that bluecoats cease handing out warnings in all but the most clear-cut cases, and I don't want to restrict our function to that degree. In short, it would require that we add more bluecoats whose function would be (at least marginally) limited in terms of forum moderation. That seemed counterproductive to me so I shelved the proposal.

The other thing I've been harping on just about since we got this forum was the use of TG'd warnings. I've asked/suggested this a few times, but we either lack the (code) monkeypower to get it done, or said codemonkeys don't see the benefit and/or it'd be too much hassle. This has frustrated me a few times, but we have to remember that moderating voluntarily and codemonkeying voluntarily are beasts of two completely different stripes. Even [violet] slacks off sometimes. ;)
Last edited by Melkor Unchained on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
"I am the Elder King: Melkor, first and mightiest of the Valar, who was before the world, and made it. The shadow of my purpose lies upon Arda, and all that is in it bends slowly and surely to my will. But upon all whom you love my thought shall weigh as a cloud of Doom, and it shall bring them down into darkness and despair."

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Muravyets
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12755
Founded: Aug 18, 2005
Ex-Nation

Postby Muravyets » Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:50 am

By the way, I would also point out that adults abide by lengthy documents and processes that tell them how to act all the time. They're called codes of law, and billions of adults around the world not only consider it worthwhile to make them up, but go to a lot of trouble to act in accordance with them and make sure others do too.

But that is not, I think, what anyone here is proposing at all for NS, and I think a careful reading of the proposals will show that.

Now granted, I'll say this: Neo Art's initial suggestions do look like he's suggesting a lot, citing him as an example only. But in fact, he is not. He is only suggesting minor tweaks or alterations to already existing systems. The only really new thing he has suggested, as far as I read it, is the appeals panel idea. But his posts have a whole ton of words and bullet points in them because it takes a hell of a lot more words to explain a thing than the thing itself would actually require.

As for the "whiners" and "ego" remarks, I think one of the main issues interfering with peaceful community in NS is the suspicion of hostile or ulterior motives in our forum mates. My hope for the suggestions that I made is that they would clarify moderation enough to eliminate such suspicions because instead of wondering "what was that about?" or thinking "different people seem to get different rules around here," we'd all be able to see as clearly as we are willing to exactly what is going on and why. In that vein, I have to say that assuming insultingly petty and self-serving motives on the parts of people who are making these suggestions seems like just part of the problem rather than part of the solution. If players should not be assuming ill motives on the part of admin/moderation, why can't players get the same benefit of the doubt, and let our words speak for themselves?
Kick back at Cafe Muravyets
And check out my other RP, too. (Don't take others' word for it -- see for yourself. ;) )
I agree with Muravyets because she scares me. -- Verdigroth
However, I am still not the topic of this thread.

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