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#1 2005-07-30 14:10:03

T-Dawg
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From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Suggestions to improve the forum

In general, this thread would be far more productive if we shifted our thoughts to suggestions rather than complaints. We can't possibly move forward if we continue to dwell.

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#2 2005-07-30 14:45:22

tomk
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From: Ireland
Registered: 2004-07-21
Posts: 9,838

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

Here's a fairly brutal suggestion - get rid of Off-Topic. This seems to be where the trouble arises, and as someone else pointed out, there are countless places on the net where the subjects in question can be discussed.

If it's relevant, I rarely post or read posts in Off-Topic.

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#3 2005-07-30 14:46:57

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

The first step to solving problems is admitting that there are any. The moderator team told me that they think they did nothing wrong, so why bother trying to improve moderation if they think it isn't needed?

I have plenty of suggestions, but I'm afraid they aren't wanted. It's even against the forum rules to post any moderation related things publically here, according to the rules it should happen privately, so don't complain nobody posts any suggestions.

I suggested to get rid of Off-Topic and instead open a new Arch General forum instead in reply to the new Off-Topic forum rules. But that post and all others in that thread, except the first one, were deleted.

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#4 2005-07-30 15:15:17

T-Dawg
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From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:

I suggested to get rid of Off-Topic and instead open a new Arch General forum instead

Could you elaborate a little more? Would you enforce any rules in this forum? If so what would they be?

Please, lets try to work towards suggestions.

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#5 2005-07-30 15:23:11

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

Penguin wrote:

Could you elaborate a little more? Would you enforce any rules in this forum? If so what would they be?

It's a psychological difference, and a clean break with the old Off-Topic. General Arch is clearly for things that don't fit somewhere else, but are still Arch related somehow, like the new OT rules try to achieve the hard way. Off-Topic, is, well, off-topic stuff, and can be everything, and in practice the biggest crap is posted there, from rants to underwear. If new crap is suddenly disallowed, then people get the feeling that injustice happens, as they can point to so much worse crap than they just posted. So locking Off-Topic and making a new General forum to fill part of the gap seems like the best solution to me. After a while Off-Topic can be deleted or made invisible. Best is to first disallow new posts, and later when the existing threads died a bit lock the whole thing.

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#6 2005-07-30 15:29:30

dtw
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
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Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

sorry about that - please continue the useful suggestions

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#7 2005-07-30 15:52:32

T-Dawg
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From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:
Penguin wrote:

Could you elaborate a little more? Would you enforce any rules in this forum? If so what would they be?

It's a psychological difference, and a clean break with the old Off-Topic. General Arch is clearly for things that don't fit somewhere else, but are still Arch related somehow, like the new OT rules try to achieve the hard way. Off-Topic, is, well, off-topic stuff, and can be everything, and in practice the biggest crap is posted there, from rants to underwear. If new crap is suddenly disallowed, then people get the feeling that injustice happens, as they can point to so much worse crap than they just posted. So locking Off-Topic and making a new General forum to fill part of the gap seems like the best solution to me. After a while Off-Topic can be deleted or made invisible. Best is to first disallow new posts, and later when the existing threads died a bit lock the whole thing.

Thats a very reasonable suggestion, and much appreciated. You said you had "many" though, lets hear them smile

Note: other suggestions from other users are also welcome.

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#8 2005-07-30 15:56:55

dtw
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
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Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

That is a good suggestion - we have partial considered that before.

We thought we could lock Off-Topic for new post and then move any posts in the regular forum there for further discussion - cos people could still reply

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#9 2005-07-30 16:03:00

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

Alright, but let split this thread up then, just before tomk's post and leave behind a link to the new thread.

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#10 2005-07-30 16:24:57

T-Dawg
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From: Wilmington, NC
Registered: 2005-01-29
Posts: 2,734

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:

Alright, but let split this thread up then, just before tomk's post and leave behind a link to the new thread.

done! continue.....

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#11 2005-07-30 16:28:49

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

My other suggestions are for the forum in general, not Off-Topic related, so not appropriate to post here. So I advice to change the title to "Suggestions to improve the forum" and to move this thread to "Board and Document/Wiki Discussion".

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#12 2005-07-30 17:20:09

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

In order of importance, more or less:

1) All removed posts go into Dust/troll-bin, always, except ads posted by bots. Dust/troll-bin should never be emptied, thus keeping a public record of all moderation done.

2) When removing or locking a post the moderator should always post a short message explaining which rules are broken and why the post is removed or locked.

3) The "Unsure topics" thread should be public, but read only for non-mods. Otherwise posts seem to mysteriously disappear, and thus apparently deleted, which could upset users before any decisions are taken.

4) The moderator forum should be read only for non-mods. This would make things very transparent. When I was mod I never had the feeling that what was said there couldn't be public.

5) Get and install that phpbb mod which allows only certain users to be locked from a thread.

6) Perhaps rename Dust/troll-bin to "Trash". The original purpose of Dust/troll-bin was to scare away trolls, but that was back in the time the mods still had patience.

I'm sure these changes will only increase the public respect for the moderators, it will make things much more transparent and clear. Users can see what isn't allowed and why not, and what actually happens.

I'm aware that 4) is a big step the current mods most likely aren't willing to take. There could be a subforum added where the mods can discuss the matters that really shouldn't be public, but care should be taken that not all discussions moves to there instead. Though in the long run doing 4) will be the best.

Of course there are other things, like more consistent moderation, but I'll leave it at this for now.

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#13 2005-07-31 05:08:04

rasat
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From: Finland, working in Romania
Registered: 2002-12-27
Posts: 2,176
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Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:

1) Dust/troll-bin should never be emptied, thus keeping a public record of all moderation done.

3) The "Unsure topics" thread should be public, but read only for non-mods.

4) The moderator forum should be read only for non-mods.

There could be a subforum added where the mods can discuss the matters that really shouldn't be public, but care should be taken that not all discussions moves to there instead.

Dust/troll-bin is not a storage place to keep a history of unwanted posts but a reminder what's not wanted. If not emptied, what's the point of moving to the Dust-bin.... maybe valuable for users liking to dig trash. smile
My admin style is to move on and not dwell too long in the past. We learn from the past but nothing can be done.... past is past.

As the name "Unsure topics" stand, when not knowing if a post is appropriate its temporarily moved for the mods to discuss. Its only a prevention from flames. I think we can agree on this. But what I understand here, users don't want posts to disappear without been informed.

The mod forum is already a "subforum" where mods can discuss the matters that really shouldn't be public. No other discussions go on. If otherwise, this discussion would not now be here.

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#14 2005-07-31 05:09:10

iphitus
Forum Fellow
From: Melbourne, Australia
Registered: 2004-10-09
Posts: 4,927

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

uptime? tongue

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#15 2005-07-31 05:22:33

iBertus
Member
From: Greenville, NC
Registered: 2004-11-04
Posts: 2,228

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

iphitus wrote:

uptime? tongue

No, that would make it easier to post inflammatory comments!  lol

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#16 2005-07-31 10:42:45

dtw
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
Website

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:

In order of importance, more or less:

2) When removing or locking a post the moderator should always post a short message explaining which rules are broken and why the post is removed or locked.

I am a long advocate of this, especially when locking.  It is not so easy to di if you have to remove or hide the thread.

i3839 wrote:

3) The "Unsure topics" thread should be public, but read only for non-mods. Otherwise posts seem to mysteriously disappear, and thus apparently deleted, which could upset users before any decisions are taken.

There would be no point moving them then.

i3839 wrote:

4) The moderator forum should be read only for non-mods. This would make things very transparent. When I was mod I never had the feeling that what was said there couldn't be public.

Maybe other people's feeling are not as robust as yours and would not like to see themselves publically discussed in a completely informal environment?

i3839 wrote:

5) Get and install that phpbb mod which allows only certain users to be locked from a thread.

a) there are ways around such measures b) would you like it if it happened to you?  would you readily accept being stopped from posting in a thread?  No, I doubt it.

i3839 wrote:

I'm sure these changes will only increase the public respect for the moderators, it will make things much more transparent and clear. Users can see what isn't allowed and why not, and what actually happens.

As far as we are concerned 99% of the users are happy with the current transparency measures.  Most of your suggestions would only cause more problems rather than solve anything.  And also make all our decisions open to prolonged and apparently incessant arguement, we get enough of that already smile

i3839 wrote:

Of course there are other things, like more consistent moderation, but I'll leave it at this for now.

Sadly I think that this is the MOST important current issue.  It is shame you don't want to discuss something that might actually be useful to the wider community.

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#17 2005-07-31 11:01:23

dtw
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From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
Website

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

I had to heavily edit  my last post because I kept changing my mind about what I said - so sorry about that sad

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#18 2005-07-31 12:10:30

i3839
Member
Registered: 2004-02-04
Posts: 1,185

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

1: Moderation is done to keep the forums clean and pleasant, so that users aren't bothered by too much crap. That means moving stuff away from where it shouldn't be, that is enough. It doesn't mean that all crap should be made invisible. I believe it is very good to know what crap is out there, but it shouldn't bother anyone. People can decide for themselves if they want to read stuff in Trash or Dust/troll-bin and if it is a good way of spending their time or not. In the long run it makes a nice log, but if you prefer you can prune all posts older than a year or so to keep it small.

2: If you do 1) and thus move all removed post there then it's trivial to do. Having 1) is important to make 2) possible.

3: "Unsure topics" should be read only, but viewable. That prevents any flames too, as no one can post, but makes it clear what's going on. A post should be handled as not being guilty until decided otherwise. The point of moving them here is to temporary lock it and have time to review it, and to keep it out of hapless users' way until it's deemed harmless. All that is achieved by putting it in Unsure Topics, making it read-only only improves its function.

4:

Maybe other people's feeling are not as robust as yours and would not like to see themselves publically discussed in a completely informal environment?

Then they shouldn't post on a public forum, where such things can always happen, hm? Only difference is that it are the moderators discussing if it must be removed or not, and if someone is misbehaving so badly that they need to discuss what to do with him, well, I'm sure that such publically viewable discussion is healthy for the whole forum, as people can see that the mods aren't ignoring the problem and the problem may stop being one when reading all the stuff said about it.

But maybe I'm strange and are the only one who thinks that if people say things publically they receive what they deserve.

5:
a) there are ways around everything.
b) I sure wouldn't like it, but think about all the other people posting in the thread. If you lock the whole thread you condemn everyone, while with the mod you can only keep out the one causing problems and keep the thread alive.

As far as we are concerned 99% of the users are happy with the current transparency measures. Most of your suggestions would only cause more problems rather than solve anything. And also make all our decisions open to prolonged and apparently incessant arguement, we get enough of that already

The current moderation is as untransparent as a wall, only visible for users are locked threads, but beyond that it's impossible to tell what happens. I think you missed the importance of making certain forums read only. That means people can't post, but can see what happens, so no prolonged discussions. I dare to say that you'll get even less prolonged discussions via PM than currently.

The moderators have nothing to hide, so why hide it anyway? Making things publically viewable only forces the moderators to think more carefully what they do and say, something that surely isn't bad, but will lead to more consistent moderation. Mods can also look up old cases as they're preserved and see how they handled similar cases before. I really don't see what could be wrong with more openess and transparency. It's not like you're selling a closed source product and are afraid to make it GPL, you don't have money to lose.

I had to heavily edit my last post because I kept changing my mind about what I said

No disrespect meant, but this is something that happens very often with you. Not only is everything you say public, you're also a moderator so what you do and say has more weight. You should really more often think 5 minutes before hitting the submit button. Reading the preview may help a lot too (I do it also to find silly typos).

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#19 2005-07-31 12:59:24

dtw
Forum Fellow
From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
Website

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

i3839 wrote:

3: "Unsure topics" should be read only, but viewable. That prevents any flames too, as no one can post, but makes it clear what's going on. A post should be handled as not being guilty until decided otherwise. The point of moving them here is to temporary lock it and have time to review it, and to keep it out of hapless users' way until it's deemed harmless. All that is achieved by putting it in Unsure Topics, making it read-only only improves its function.

But what stops them from posting new threads about it?  Or hijacking other threads to further their own agenda?  Hardly any threads get moved to Unsure anyway.  This has only been an issue since the recent "off-topic purge" where pretty much everything got removed.  That policy is now under revision anyway so I still can't see how this would help.  Besides if we think someone is abusing the forums to further their own agenda then we WANT to hide their post from users to prevent them from doing this - it's quite obvious really.

i3839 wrote:

4:

Maybe other people's feeling are not as robust as yours and would not like to see themselves publically discussed in a completely informal environment?

Then they shouldn't post on a public forum, where such things can always happen, hm?

Yes, they do happen and it is called TROLLING.  Our moderator discussions often contain personal opinions on the motivations of abusive users.  If we discussed this in open forum it would be trolling.  To effectively do our job we must discuss human actions in a very open and frank way, as we are human too and liable to mis-interpretation, wrong impressions, poor judgement, etc.  We have to say exactly what we think in order to best make our collective decisions.  Some people may not like that idea but it would be naive to think that people view the actions of those using the forums without discussing certain posters with their peers.

i3839 wrote:

Only difference is that it are the moderators discussing if it must be removed or not, and if someone is misbehaving so badly that they need to discuss what to do with him, well, I'm sure that such publically viewable discussion is healthy for the whole forum, as people can see that the mods aren't ignoring the problem and the problem may stop being one when reading all the stuff said about it.

I agree that there is some merit making the normal users aware that we are dealing with certain trolls but this is often made clear when we lock trolly threads, reprimand users in public and/or move their posts to the troll bin.

i3839 wrote:

But maybe I'm strange and are the only one who thinks that if people say things publically they receive what they deserve.

Is that meant to imply that we have something to hide and that if everyone knew what we were secretly plotting there would be uproar lol OH NO!  We've been rumbled!  I think it is also worth noting that if something is said in public it doesn't automatically legitimate it or prove any right/wrong - it just means more discussion i.e. flamewar about sensitive issues.  Which bad for the forum...

How many more time do we have to go through this?

i3839 wrote:

5:
a) there are ways around everything.
b) I sure wouldn't like it, but think about all the other people posting in the thread. If you lock the whole thread you condemn everyone, while with the mod you can only keep out the one causing problems and keep the thread alive.

True - but look at what you are saying.  On one hand you are complaining about being over moderated and then you suggest more moderation powers, which you can then complain about when you feel they have been abused - no thanks smile

i3839 wrote:

As far as we are concerned 99% of the users are happy with the current transparency measures. Most of your suggestions would only cause more problems rather than solve anything. And also make all our decisions open to prolonged and apparently incessant arguement, we get enough of that already

The current moderation is as untransparent as a wall, only visible for users are locked threads, but beyond that it's impossible to tell what happens.

As I already said - this maybe was true during the "great off topic purge" but the details on the bottom of locked threads and the troll bin usually provide all the evidence that most people need.  And, of course, some people even PM us for clarification smile

i3839 wrote:

I think you missed the importance of making certain forums read only. That means people can't post, but can see what happens, so no prolonged discussions. I dare to say that you'll get even less prolonged discussions via PM than currently.

I do know what read only means smile  I think you forget how often people will start new threads to discuss the same thing again, which means more food for the dust bin smile

We only have prolonged PMs with people who can't accept that they are fighting a lost cause.

i3839 wrote:

The moderators have nothing to hide, so why hide it anyway?

Ummmm - that's not true we have plenty to hide as described above.  The results of our decisions are made known to those concerned, which is enough for 99.99% of people involved in disputes.

i3839 wrote:

Making things publically viewable only forces the moderators to think more carefully what they do and say, something that surely isn't bad, but will lead to more consistent moderation.

We think very carefully what we do and say, as you well know, but we are only human and sometimes we make mistakes.  I like to make reparations for my mistakes, undoing them were possible, apologising when it is too late.  I also try to avoid irreversable actions, as do the rest of the mod team, in case we do make mistakes.  Therefore we avoid splitting threads, which is un-undoable and we avoid deleting threads for the same reason, which is why UNSURE exists.

i3839 wrote:

I had to heavily edit my last post because I kept changing my mind about what I said

No disrespect meant, but this is something that happens very often with you. Not only is everything you say public, you're also a moderator so what you do and say has more weight. You should really more often think 5 minutes before hitting the submit button. Reading the preview may help a lot too (I do it also to find silly typos).

I often think for hours about a post and then change my mind.  I'm not afraid to make mistakes because I am happy to admit to them.  I'm sure some people prefer my open but occasionally risky approach, it certainly doesn't make me unpopular judging by the amount of PMs I get.  Besides, we have a TEAM.  We are all very different in our approaches and preferences and I like to think that, on balance, it works out ok.

And I'd like to clarify that I am a forum adviser, not a moderator.  I spend more time helping people (or trying) and removing spam than I do locking threads and getting involved in disputes.

No disrespect meant

Nah - of course not - just a subtle public dig at the me - no disrespect of course!

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#20 2005-07-31 19:37:27

phrakture
Arch Overlord
From: behind you
Registered: 2003-10-29
Posts: 7,879
Website

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

OK, who want's to go back on topic?
I do! I do!

Anyone else have suggestions? I think this thread was meant to list suggestions and not argue about which ones are good and bad.

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#21 2005-09-07 12:15:14

dtw
Forum Fellow
From: UK
Registered: 2004-08-03
Posts: 4,432
Website

Re: Suggestions to improve the forum

In light of the up coming forum mods this would be a good time to recount these points

i3839 wrote:

2) When removing or locking a post the moderator should always post a short message explaining which rules are broken and why the post is removed or locked.

[mod]bbcode[/mod] will be introduced to alert people as to the reason why a post was edited/locked.

i3839 wrote:

5) Get and install that phpbb mod which allows only certain users to be locked from a thread.

This is unfeasible and impractical

The rest of the suggestions have been rebutted further up the thread, I have only mentioned the one addressable through mods

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