[Discussion] Suggestions: On Rules and Moderation

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Muni, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Muni

    Muni New Member

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    Introduction

    So before this finalized post, I typed up a long contrived introduction as to why I was qualified to write about the issues I am going to discuss, and it went something along the lines of: yadda yadda, I was a forum moderator before, yadda yadda, I'm a judge and tournament organizer for card games so I deal with this in real life too, yadda yadda, look at how important I am. It was pretty fully formed too, had all the semantics and everything. But then I realized two things. One, understandably, was that I was sounding like a giant pompous snob. The other was that, to put it simply, that wasn't the sort of conversation I wanted to start. I wanted to start a discussion, not as someone who "has had similar experience", or "worked on similar levels" as the moderators who so dutifully regulate these forums, but as the regular Joe that I am who enjoy the services of these forums on an occasional basis. Because I think there needs to be an acknowledgment there; that members are not on the same level as staff. And as such, there needs to be a level of discussion between the two groups so that even if they are not on the same level, they can at least be on the same page. So I will write what I can, of the current issues (that I perceive) concerning rules and moderator/member relations within these forums. For all I know, the issues that I think are there may not even be a problem…but I hope at the very least that I can create some talking points for a robust conversation between moderators and members.

    Rules: Visibility and Accessibility

    Visibility

    Probably the first (and in my opinion the most prominent) issue that I noticed on the matter of Forum Rules was the fact that they simply weren’t being viewed that much. Having been on the forums since April 16th, I was pretty surprised that the most current iteration of the forum rules had a whopping 369 views…compared to the 46,000 views that Tharos’ 2.5.0 Update thread garnered in only a week. Now, I understand that a thread about new and exciting changes to the game is much more “hype” than looking over the rules, but I think there’s no argument that knowledge of the rules is just as, if not more important. With that being the case, perhaps steps can be taken to raise awareness of the rules. Here are several possible suggestions:

    · Move the Rules Thread to a more frequently visited forum, such as “General”.

    · Create a site-wide announcement header reminding members to familiarize themselves with the forum rules and providing a link to the thread in said header

    · Integrate learning the forum rules into the new member registration process

    After all, the first step to correcting broken rules is to make the general populace aware of what the rules are in the first place. With knowledge comes accountability. The moderators no longer need to hold a member accountable. Each member must hold themselves accountable. A moderator’s presence is only needed when a member refuses to hold themselves accountable. …Now, I understand there is a very good counterargument to all of this, which is that “members should already be responsible for familiarizing themselves with the rules, it’s not something to be spoon fed to them”…which leads me to my next point

    Accessibility

    Yes! That’s absolutely right! In a perfect world, there should be no reason for a moderator (or anyone) to have to go out of their way to facilitate the knowledge of someone else when they are dutifully bound to know that information. After all, it should be an inherent responsibility of a forum member, just as it is an inherent responsibility for a citizen to have (at least some) knowledge of the laws of the nation that governs her. However, we must also admit as a collective species that there are quite a few of us that skip over the ToUs, ToAs, and ToSs of the world, simply because it is “mad work”. In the unfortunate struggle between “Responsibility” and “Convenience”, it should not come as that much of a surprise that “Convenience” comes out on top quite a bit. As for the solution to this universal problem of laziness…perhaps it is time to make “responsibility” more “convenient”.

    To begin with, I must point out a characteristic of the current rules that is somewhat daunting for me. It is approximately 3 pages of pure, blocky, 11 pt font, Calibri text on Microsoft Word. Those are very specific rules. And that’s great. With specificity comes accuracy. Members know exactly what is not allowed, and moderators have a very clear cut guide on how to regulate. However, it is also an extraordinary downside for a set of rules to be specific. Because there are people willing to read 3 pages of rules, and there are people who are not willing to read 3 pages of rules, and both groups are members to a forum.

    To quote Samuel Johnson: “In all pointed sentences, some degree of accuracy must be sacrificed to conciseness”. To be blunt, there is some need for a simplified, concise set of rules that will be much more accessible. That isn’t to say we should abolish the complete rules in favor of some sort of abridged edition. However, just as a citizen is expected to have some, but not total, knowledge of the laws that govern them, forum members should be able to function responsibly with understanding (but not necessarily complete mastery) of the forum rules. A shortened, concise edition of the forum rules will go a long way in lowering the threshold for members familiarizing themselves with the general acceptable conduct of the forum, while co-existing with the complete set of rules which can then be used by members or moderators for further clarification.

    Up Next...Ambience: Entitlement versus Responsibility
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  2. Dead Tamagotchi

    Dead Tamagotchi Member

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    It is really OK as it is. And so are the Rules.
     

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