Cleaning Up The Community


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Steven P.
That is how I feel here at Neowin :)

Well I would totally disagree with that. This thread is a result of suggestion from the community, as was the forum reshuffle and all of the extras we include in the community (such as the upgrade test, is one example?).

My example from IPB is a bit different because they actually hosted us, and also worked with us to make their board work properly on high volume sites like Neowin. Bit different ;)

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Lilrich

I think i am going to have to agree that the warn system is harsh someone called me something in a thread a few months back which i quoted back and a mod PM me and i had a warning for that which i thought was unfair if we are going to as a community become more strict etc i think that everyone including modertators and sups need to be told what the rules are.

If a thread gets into a debate which gets slightly heated the mods come along and start 'cleaning' posts out ok this is fine if it is offtopic, racist, or whatever but i just don't think 100% of the time that is the case.

Don't worry too much about what others are doing. It's like complaining to the cop that other people were speeding too.

That is a very wishy washy statement and from a Admin is not something i would expect, this is not school if you are going to enforce rules do it for everyone

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Steven P.
I think i am going to have to agree that the warn system is harsh someone called me something in a thread a few months back which i quoted back and a mod PM me and i had a warning for that which i thought was unfair if we are going to as a community become more strict etc i think that everyone including modertators and sups need to be told what the rules are.

If a thread gets into a debate which gets slightly heated the mods come along and start 'cleaning' posts out ok this is fine if it is offtopic, racist, or whatever but i just don't think 100% of the time that is the case.

That is a very wishy washy statement and from a Admin is not something i would expect, this is not school if you are going to enforce rules do it for everyone

Did you even read what the moderators and myself are trying to say regarding "blanket moderation'?

as far as "blanket moderation" goes.. I think we can agree that it would be grossly unfair to ban someone who has been here for years and has a "bad week" over someone who has just walked through the door and immediately starts causing trouble. After 9 years of doing this and seeing how different staff moderate, it's simply impossible to adhere to a "bible set" of rules and moderation consequences.

I suppose you'd have to have experience to know/understand what I mean.

Also, what Brad says is correct, even though that probably doesn't apply to a forum it's still a fact of life.

Again, it's impossible for us to moderate everything we rely heavily on the report system, and the community has a big hand in reporting what they think is unacceptable which is when a moderator steps in. You can't expect us to babysit everything but we do our best.

If you can't reply to someone without insulting them, then there may be consequences.

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Lilrich

I did read it yes, i just wanted to make my feeling known.

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Steven P.

Oh OK :p

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Vice
Well I would totally disagree with that. This thread is a result of suggestion from the community, as was the forum reshuffle and all of the extras we include in the community (such as the upgrade test, is one example?).

My example from IPB is a bit different because they actually hosted us, and also worked with us to make their board work properly on high volume sites like Neowin. Bit different ;)

I dunno about that. I've made lots of suggestions as have others. And the only replies I see are 'Well that is not possible because x y z' or 'No the way we do it is x y z' or 'You can accomplish that by doing 5 more steps than what you suggested'.

Instead of 'thats a good idea, we will look in to it' all we get is PR speak 99% of the time.

In my opinion, instead of doing damage control all the time you should just admit your failings and fix them.

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Steven P.

Neowin is a business. If we took everyones ideas on board it would be a mess here. We already have over 10 custom hacks to our forums at code level and then tons in the templates. In an ideal world we'd have none because that would make upgrades (and point releases) so much easier, but that would dilute the experience you're used to here.

In my opinion, instead of doing damage control all the time you should just admit your failings and fix them.

Thats pretty harsh, we're all doing our best here and if a few of your ideas weren't noted or acted on then deal with it.

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Vice
Neowin is a business. If we took everyones ideas on board it would be a mess here. We already have over 10 custom hacks to our forums at code level and then tons in the templates. In an ideal world we'd have none because that would make upgrades (and point releases) so much easier, but that would dilute the experience you're used to here.

Yeah but we aren't really suggesting software changes we are suggesting administrative ones such as having two members of staff agree on a warning before it is delivered to a user. Having more detailed rules especially with regards to warez. And these are just 2 things out of this thread there are many more suggestions that take nothing more than some training of your staff and a few documents written up for all to view.

Thats pretty harsh, we're all doing our best here and if a few of your ideas weren't noted or acted on then deal with it.

Maybe it is a little harsh, but at the same time I'm not wrong that you guys are heavy on the PR. I've seen before where someone suggests things (including myself) and then months and months later that feature is implemented as something you lot thought up yourselves. Which is the exact same issue you had with IPB.

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Steven P.
Yeah but we aren't really suggesting software changes we are suggesting administrative ones such as having two members of staff agree on a warning before it is delivered to a user. Having more detailed rules especially with regards to warez. And these are just 2 things out of this thread there are many more suggestions that take nothing more than some training of your staff and a few documents written up for all to view.

I think you forget that Neowin staff moderators are all volunteering their free time in an attempt to keep this community a decent place to visit. We're not a call center, they aren't paid for it and in all honesty some moderators will tell you that after being on staff a while the experience for them (they used to be members too!) is affected by all the trolls we have to deal with.

Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, thats why we have Supervisors and promote the idea that you can always challenge a moderator decision by taking it up with a Supervisor via PM. If that isn't fair then I don't know what is, a lot of other sites state that moderator decisions are final and thats that, here that isn't always the case.

If you're looking for perfection then I'm afraid that's impossible.

Plus we already have basic guidelines that moderators can follow, so asking them to work as couples while moderating isn't necessary or needed.

Maybe it is a little harsh, but at the same time I'm not wrong that you guys are heavy on the PR. I've seen before where someone suggests things (including myself) and then months and months later that feature is implemented as something you lot thought up yourselves. Which is the exact same issue you had with IPB.

Thats completely untrue, look at any of my upgrade posts on the main site or forums and you'll see that I credit the community and always say that the change is due to feedback on the forums, if you're looking for individual credit then you're talking to the wrong person :p

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+Frank B.

What would be the point of having two members of staff agree before a warning is handed out? The moderators know quite well what is warn-worthy and what isn't. And if you feel unfairly treated - there's a system of checks and balances in place. You're always free to PM a supervisor and complain about a warning.

What I do agree with is how some rules need to be clarified.

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Vice

I'm not really looking for perfection, just a few worthwhile improvements. I mean you aren't even willing to update the rules to make posting about copyrighted material more clear? How much work would it take to say Linking to material is not right, but discussing a leaked build of an operating system is? - Just basic clarification really.

What would be the point of having two members of staff agree before a warning is handed out? The moderators know quite well what is warn-worthy and what isn't. And if you feel unfairly treated - there's a system of checks and balances in place. You're always free to PM a supervisor and complain about a warning.

Well that is just it, they don't as you have seen in this thread where Fred has admitted to overturning warns by other Moderators where he said they were in error. Consensus stops that from happening altogether. And really if the mod gives you a warning they never mention you can talk to another member of staff about it. It all feels so finite unless you read a thread like this where an Admin welcomes you to challenge your warns.

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Subject Delta
And Frank, as far as "blanket moderation" goes.. I think we can agree that it would be grossly unfair to ban someone who has been here for years and has a "bad week" over someone who has just walked through the door and immediately starts causing trouble. After 9 years of doing this and seeing how different staff moderate, it's simply impossible to adhere to a "bible set" of rules and moderation consequences.

I suppose you'd have to have experience to know/understand what I mean.

I do have experience, I have moderated forums for more than 5 years. To be honest it isn't rocket science, you just apply the rule in the same manner, consistently and fairly. Sure I agree more leniency should be given if a member who is good overall slips up a bit, but I don't believe that should make them completely above the rules of course.

Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, thats why we have Supervisors and promote the idea that you can always challenge a moderator decision by taking it up with a Supervisor via PM. If that isn't fair then I don't know what is, a lot of other sites state that moderator decisions are final and thats that, here that isn't always the case.

Again, I appreciate that totally, but in my example I CLEARLY pointed out to the staff member that other people where behaving in a similar manner, and I was met with an extremely arrogant response. I appreciate that all humans make mistakes, but I sometimes get the impression that around here not all of your staff are big enough to admit that.

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Steven P.
What would be the point of having two members of staff agree before a warning is handed out? The moderators know quite well what is warn-worthy and what isn't. And if you feel unfairly treated - there's a system of checks and balances in place. You're always free to PM a supervisor and complain about a warning.

What I do agree with is how some rules need to be clarified.

Yeah our ruleset might need looking at, but that is something nobody has challenged in 8 or 9 years. Some examples of moderations have seen us adjust the ruleset to compensate for stuff we've missed but if you have ideas on making the rules easier to understand then I'm listening.

One thing is important tho, it can't start to look like an EULA. The rules are purposely small in comparison to what they could be, because we understand that members won't want to read a huge page of rules and clarifications for every point thats made.

I'm not really looking for perfection, just a few worthwhile improvements. I mean you aren't even willing to update the rules to make posting about copyrighted material more clear? How much work would it take to say Linking to material is not right, but discussing a leaked build of an operating system is? - Just basic clarification really.

Ah.. the copyright issue. You may remember that we started out as a leak site. We have been in trouble a few times with Microsoft and others for leaking copyrighted information and (beta) software. Had we accounted for that we would be huge hypocrites!

I do understand that we've changed from those days quite a bit and the rule probably needs looking at, but all I've heard when we bring it up with other staff members is that the issue covers a huge "grey area".

We can look into it again tho? I'll take this up with the supervisors and see what we can come up with.

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Vice

Thank you :) - I will admit I can be harsh, you guys do listen and I do understand you are only volunteers. I do get frustrated sometimes when I feel that good ideas are being ignored for the wrong reasons but I also know you can't deliver the moon and you need to prioritise.

Also I just wanted to add that I'm not all down about the site. I think the software here is the best, it looks the nicest, its the clearest. The board skins are all very minimalist and look great. There is not any clutter anywhere. And the Moderation while very strong and heavy handed years ago I feel is much lighter and less noticeable today whilst the community has become more friendlier than it once was. I think the Vote Up/Down in the new skin will only help to solidify the communities improvement by giving us our own quality control methods which have shown to work so well in other social networking sites like Digg.com. My outlook of the site is positive.

Edited by Vice
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kinetix63
Yeah but we aren't really suggesting software changes we are suggesting administrative ones such as having two members of staff agree on a warning before it is delivered to a user.

Think about this very carefully from an operational perspective. What you are asking for there would essentially HAVE to be a software change in the long run. In order for your suggestion to work, then the following steps would have to be taken for it to work without software changes:

1) The thread in question would need to be moderated.

2) A thread would need to be opened in a staff area with details of the infraction, and why a warning should be handed out.

3) You then rely on another moderator or a supervisor to approve that warning.

4) The moderator who initially raised the issue would then have to go back and issue the warning increase.

That increases the work of the moderation team by a significant amount. You cannot expect volunteers to go through a long drawn out process like that for warning someone for something that is quite obviously a personal attack. In order for it to work, you'd have to modify the IPB warn system so that warnings go in to a queue for supervisor approval before the 20% increase is applied. That's a LOT of work for our developers, and time we'd much rather spend on improving the experience of our users when it is only the very small (yet vocal!) minority who think our warning system is unfair.

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Vice
[...] when it is only the very small (yet vocal!) minority who think our warning system is unfair.

Maybe you should make a topic with a poll on that to actually gage the communities opinion on it? - The vocal users you speak of cant vote twice so it would be accurate no?

I just want to make clear I have no issue with a warning system. Nor do I have a problem with the application of warns for when you break a rule. I just have an issue with the volunteers who give warns for things that are not written in the rules or it comes down to their personal belief system or cultual differences. Sometimes even the language barrier of slang terms can mean the difference between 'lol' and 'This message has been removed by xxx'

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+Frank B.
Maybe you should make a topic with a poll on that to actually gage the communities opinion on it? - The vocal users you speak of cant vote twice so it would be accurate no?

I'd venture to guess that > 90% of the community will agree that the moderation system is fair. Even under the new, stricter guidelines you get more than enough chances before the banhammer drops; as has been mentioned often enough there are checks and balances in place, giving a warned member the chance to have warnings they deem unfair overturned; and those who end up being banned for repeatedly breaking rules deserve it.

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Steven P.
Maybe you should make a topic with a poll on that to actually gage the communities opinion on it? - The vocal users you speak of cant vote twice so it would be accurate no?

I just want to make clear I have no issue with a warning system. Nor do I have a problem with the application of warns for when you break a rule. I just have an issue with the volunteers who give warns for things that are not written in the rules or it comes down to their personal belief system or cultual differences. Sometimes even the language barrier of slang terms can mean the difference between 'lol' and 'This message has been removed by xxx'

Your opinion is noted but you're still a guest here. The house rules are almost as old as this site and to be frank, the only people who have "issues" with the rules are the people who keep breaking them.

The moderation process works just fine and what you want (the example kinetix gave) wouldn't work here.

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Rob
Maybe you should make a topic with a poll on that to actually gage the communities opinion on it? - The vocal users you speak of cant vote twice so it would be accurate no?

But people are more likely to vote if they have an opinion about it. If they don't care either way, they're not going to bother to vote. So the results would always be skewed towards those vocal minority.

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kinetix63
Maybe you should make a topic with a poll on that to actually gage the communities opinion on it? - The vocal users you speak of cant vote twice so it would be accurate no?]

Whilst we didn't do a forum poll on it, we did hold a user survey some time ago now. One of the questions on there was what users thought of moderation on the forums. Over 70% of respondants believed it was fair.

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Vice
Your opinion is noted but you're still a guest here. The house rules are almost as old as this site and to be frank, the only people who have "issues" with the rules are the people who keep breaking them.

The moderation process works just fine and what you want (the example kinetix gave) wouldn't work here.

I have 0% warn. I have issues with the application of the rules by volunteers. So to say the only people who have an issue with the rules are people who break them would be incorrect.

But people are more likely to vote if they have an opinion about it. If they don't care either way, they're not going to bother to vote. So the results would always be skewed towards those vocal minority.

Kinetix's comment kind of contradicts yours? (Quoted below)

Whilst we didn't do a forum poll on it, we did hold a user survey some time ago now. One of the questions on there was what users thought of moderation on the forums. Over 70% of respondants believed it was fair.

I'd not say 70% was that great to be honest. 30% think its unfair? The moderation here has improved over the past year perhaps time for another survey. I did see a survey pop up on the site the other day why not include such a question in that?

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Steven P.

Vice, you yourself have had more than 10 run ins with our moderator staff, so what you're saying then is that you should have been banned a long time ago?

It's true you're at 0%, but you turned it around and obviously have no issues with or rule set now ;)

Edit:

I'd not say 70% was that great to be honest. 30% think its unfair? The moderation here has improved over the past year perhaps time for another survey. I did see a survey pop up on the site the other day why not include such a question in that?

I think you're nit picking now. Not everyone likes blue, but thats our branding. If we polled it we probably wouldn't get as high as 70% if we asked if everyone liked blue. The facts are that 70% is still overwhelmingly high for the question that was asked.

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kinetix63
I'd not say 70% was that great to be honest. 30% thing its unfair? The moderation here has improved over the past year perhaps time for another survey. I did see a survey pop up on the site the other day why not include such a question in that?

70% includes only the postive comments. It doesn't include the (roughly) 20% that voted neutrally and didn't believe it was either fair or unfair. Only approximately 10% indicated that they believed the system was unfair. TBH - I'd say those are pretty good statistics. We're never going to please everybody.

The pop-up you relate to is actually from our advertising partner that is showing up erroneously. We do intend to do another survey in the future, but the previous one wasn't all that long ago now.

Please don't get me wrong - I'm not trying to attack your suggestions or anything of the sort like that. I'm just specifically trying to address the one regarding approval for warnings, and show you why it just isn't workable (or for the most part, necessary as far as we believe).

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Vice
Vice, you yourself have had more than 10 run ins with our moderator staff, so what you're saying then is that you should have been banned a long time ago?

It's true you're at 0%, but you turned it around and obviously have no issues with or rule set now ;)

Edit:

I think you're nit picking now. Not everyone likes blue, but thats our branding. If we polled it we probably wouldn't get as high as 70% if we asked if everyone liked blue. The facts are that 70% is still overwhelmingly high for the question that was asked.

I see your breaking your own rules mentioned in this very thread about sharing punishments that were dished out to users.

And the reason I had 10 run ins has mostly been due to uneven moderation. For example I received 1 warn from a moderator who is now banned from this site for trying to delete all his own posts after an argument with you and I received 2 other warns from a moderator who has been stripped of his status and isnt even given a veteran tag. And one of those warns was because I uploaded a default font file present in Linux, OS X and Windows to the board for a user who had accidentally erased it. That is just 1 example. And I also want to note I have had many many of my warns overturned by other staff members who commented to me that the warns were unjustified.

And I only bring these up in public because you have brought up my 'run ins' with staff.

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Steven P.

Just sayin' Vice ;)

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