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Thoughts

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Sad Jari:

--- Quote from: Bunnie-Maru ---Also, is there a way to limit an IP to only one account at a time?
--- End quote ---

Not with standard phpBB, I think.

You could ban all user"s" coming from a single IP, of course.


--- Quote from: Relf ---I also think that Mods should'nt be able to ban unless its the short time ban, might lead to abuse if you just decide you dont like someone because of say, a political view.
--- End quote ---

Well, they haven't abused it thus far... you do know that they have had banning powers since they have been able to give cards?

Give them some credit, they are not power hungry freaks.

Anyway, abuse of power of course means that they won't have the power for much longer.

Qhimm:

--- Quote ---The moderation here has always been very lax. Lately, with the influx of stupid people, it has become too lax. Or people have become too stupid for it, take your pick.
--- End quote ---

I agree completely. Unfortunately that also means admitting that I've been utterly insufficient in my job of maintaining this place (either myself or by appointing enough moderators), but seeing as how bad things have gotten I would be quite arrogant to suggest otherwise.


--- Quote ---1) Rules must be written down, as specifically as possible. Moderators are not mind readers - unfortunately.
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I originally meant for the Administration forum (invisible to normal users) to contain the "ruleset for moderators", complete with appropriate actions to be taken in certain situations, or when to notify admin instead. I never got around to actually formalizing the rules though, and as you say, as a result moderators have been extremely careful not to "do too much" (and so the final decision usually comes to rest with me anyway). Stronger moderation requires stronger guidance, which I'll try to provide, somehow.


--- Quote ---2) Rules must be made a whole lot more strict. While the humane "let all the flowers bloom"-approach (otherwise known as a hippy way) is all fine and dandy, it will not work with large, heterogeneous crowds. Which has been seen here.
--- End quote ---

I agree completely, the rule system (as it is) was never meant to be actually enforced, as it makes a fatally incorrect assumption; that all members share a common sense of how to behave in a group. It worked only as long as the majority of active members were sensible, but now we've had an outflux of sensible people and a huge influx of socially inept people, tipping the balance way into crapland.


--- Quote ---3) The yellow card is nearly useless and should be removed entirely. Reasoning; it will only work if the person is really concerned in what other people think of him. The card system itself is good, because it gives the moderators more power. And that is exactly what they'll need.
--- End quote ---

For a few users the yellow card has actually snapped them back into reality, but this just falls into the "nearly useless" of your statement. As with so many other things around here, I originally meant for the system to be quite a bit more extensive, with more levels of "punishment" between warning and ban. The level system was meant to be its positive reinforcement counterpart, to encourage good behaviour just as bad behaviour was punished. None of these systems were developed far enough to actually do the intended job, however, for example the current level system merely encourages post flooding instead. A balanced level/rank system, more cards, and more importantly more cards that hurt a little more than your ego would probably provide a positive effect.

As Alhexx points out though, it does also have the positive effect of letting other users (who might not have seen the offense) know that the guy isn't to be taken at face value. It might not mean much to the offender itself, but we might get a few less users starting to defend "innocent newbies" just because they don't know the truth. On the other hand, those defenders probably deserve a kick in the groin for being too gullible to begin with, and speaking without first checking.


--- Quote ---4) Multi-forum moderators, or supermods are a good idea. To certain extent. The problem is that if there are not enough of them, the workload will get too large.
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Unfortunately phpBB does not come with "supermod" functionality built-in, so right now I have to actually appoint these mods to every forum. There's probably a hack for it though, as I'd love a more stable implementation of different levels of authority here.


--- Quote ---5) So called Judge Dredd-moderator. Term coined by yours truly. Moderator who is the law; police, judge and jury in one person. You'll need them. Since it seems that there are more idiots and mods have less time in their hands you must give more responsibility to the mods. Lots more.
--- End quote ---

Heh, I like that idea. Not unlimited power, but pretty damn close. I'd be prepared to at least cut off a few sub-forums (like General or Unrelated) into Judge Dredd-controlled territory, and get them off my mind. Note that todays moderators technically have this power already, but are afraid to use it (point 1). The banning issue itself isn't a huge administrative deal (since I made a card button to do it in two clicks), and while I do appreciate making final calls, I'm way too lenient in many cases and quite frankly it's a bit tiring to always be the one "responsible" for banning people, even if they are morons.


--- Quote ---6) Rules must be enforced in much more strict way. Seriously much more strict. No more yellow cards. No warnings.
--- End quote ---

This is actually what I wanted with my yellow cards (or rather, the multiple levels of cards I had in mind). First card, time-limited ban. Second card, longer ban (or permanent), and so on. Also cards would be time-limited, so if a user warned once kept clean for, say, six months, the card would automatically be pardoned. This of course also requires that the rules become way more formalized and prominently displayed. A lot of the simpler rules could even be scripted to be prevented, like double-posting, thread revival or avatar abuse. Or at least to display a warning, like "you risk breaking the rules / offending people at this point", after which any annoyed moderator could instaban (since the user obviously had the intent, then).

Permaban for repeat offenders is certainly the way to go, and is how we do things now (except the definition of "offense" is way too lenient). I'd also like a system where moderators could attach a reason for the ban, which could then be seen both by users (via banner user's profile), and the user himself (trying to visit the forums).

Alhexx: I'm way for something more than a silent warning for first offense, it should be felt. Of course there are varying degrees of offenses, but offenders should at least feel they lost something because of what they did, and if a sincere apology is not quickly forthcoming (either directly or after a temporary ban is lifted), then the user should be banned anyway (since he's clearly not in possession of the common sense we so value here).


--- Quote ---7) Moderators must be responsible for their forum.
--- End quote ---

Speaking of this problem, it could maybe be solved by another "feature" I was thinking about a while back, namely publically indicating when a user last logged in. For forum moderators, this information could even be presented as part of the forum display, a notice displaying the "activeness" of the current moderators. Stripping the moderator of powers every time he/she will be busy simply creates more administrative work, so if this sort of thing could be automated instead, it would be much preferable. And I don't mean automatically stripping mods of power, but rather indicating that they're just currently inactive and will still kick your ass later.


--- Quote ---8) Moderators, especially supermods and mods for high-volume forums simply must be fluent in English. Not speaking, but they must be able to read between the lines, see hidden meanings, notice attitude and get jokes. It also helps if they write well, or at least well enough that there will be no misunderstandings because of that, but understanding written English is a must.
--- End quote ---

I agree that this is indeed damn near necessary in order to fairly (and strictly) moderate a public forum. Or course, a lot of the visitors that need moderation don't speak good English to begin with, so the moderator's skills are often a bit wasted. But having educated and literate people on the top certainly increases enjoyability for the intended target audience. The only problem I can see is that as it stands, there aren't enough highly literate people that I can trust as moderators around here these days. If the forums somehow get back to their glory days, they would probably attract more, but for now probably at least the non-technical forums will have to have a few less-than-perfect moderators (albeit they might exercise a bit more care when stepping into situations).


--- Quote ---9) Registration needs to be more strict, if you want to control the idiot flood. Sure, it will prevent people just from popping in and asking things, but then again... most people seem to be rather pooping in than popping in these days.
--- End quote ---

The forced lurk period is a good idea, though maybe with one or two forums still open for public posting. Rather than closing registration periodically though (which still leaves the open period open for morons), I'd like a registration + lurk (limited posting) + full user rights sort of process, with a forced lurk period where you can't post in "content" forums. Special users could be exempt, of course. The "questionnaire" thing at registration is also a grand idea, both to know how people get here, and more importantly to find out what they hope to accomplish here. I'd also like more user levels to accomplish this, i.e. you could either have guest posting or "limited" users that are allowed to post relatively freely in some parts of the forums, while "proper" accounts require the full registration process (either with lurking or by reference of some regular). This could be done with phpBB via user groups and manually keeping track of lurkers, but definitely needs a script.

Oops, I notice I hadn't finished reading point 9 before writing the above. So yes, the forced lurk is my favorite. At least Sweden has laws against keeping personally identifiable information on mass registry (it could even be argued that the IP logs violates laws such as this). However, if the user explicitly has to approve of his data being part of the site's database (doesn't have to be public), then the legal issues would mostly evaporate. Forum registration and participation is not forced upon anyone after all, so we can require users to give up a few of their own rights to gain the right of posting. Just like those EULAs.

Alhexx: While we most certainly would not get to know the person from a few lines written at registration, we would certainly be able to weed out the most unpromising candidates. Also, there aren't a lot of people registrering really (typically a few each week at most), so I can probably live with an admin-approved registration process. If you have a lurk period, then the admin has plenty of time to decide whether to approve the ultimate registration, or to cancel the request.


--- Quote ---10) Karma system. This has been talked about before, but for different reason. It might help, though. But is there per-post-karma-rating mod for phpBB?
--- End quote ---

This ties in closely with the level system I originally wanted. My original idea was quite an extensive per-user karma system that would ultimately display as (or at least affect) your "level". Positive karma would be given by various actions, like posting in content forums, and to a small extent also in off-topic forums. Small amounts of karma could be given/taken by specific per-post feedback, where karma from high-level users would count more than karma from low-level users etc. Negative karma would be given (in descending order of magnitute) by warnings, having your topic deleted, having your post deleted, having your topic moved, or by per-post feedback. Inactivity would not affect karma. Also, users' karma record would be on public display in their profile. It might work (with the whole positive/negative reinforcement thing), of course it would mainly affect people who were good to begin with. I'm not sure if warnings should be automatically issued if your karma becomes negative enough. I think there are some mods for this sort of thing, but as with any mod I'd want to personally adapt it for the forums before putting into extensive use (plus I don't think there's a pre-made script as extensive as I'd like anyway).


--- Quote ---11) Titles. It needs to be very clear who is admin or mod. Make it so with their title. Use the colors and bold to make it stand out. Remove possible "Moderator" custom titles, if the person is not one anymore. Vice versa, mods and admins with custom titles still need to have the "Mod" or "Admin" visible.
--- End quote ---

This is a problem I noticed a while back, that any title (like our 'Freak' and 'No life' titles) overrides moderator/admin titles. This is utterly stupid and should be changed, actually moderator/admin status should be shown in a different way than a title altogether, like a small icon and/or colored user name.


--- Quote ---1) Rules must be written down, as specifically as possible.
--- End quote ---

Yes. Preferably as a special, clearly visible link at the top of every forum index, plus the post editor. Quoting the rules should not have to involve finding the rules topic and making a link, it should optimally just be a pre-made moderator tag, such as:

[ rules ] --> rules
[ mod ] Some text [ /mod ] --> MOD EDIT: Some text


--- Quote from: Alhexx ---I think it would be a good idea to open a "moderator Forum", which only admins and mods are allowed to visit. This would be a good place for discussing moderative questions, coordinating work between moderators etc...
--- End quote ---

What, it's not visible? Well fuck, that would explain a thing or two... *goes off to check permissions*


--- Quote from: Relf ---I also think that Mods should'nt be able to ban unless its the short time ban, might lead to abuse if you just decide you dont like someone because of say, a political view.
--- End quote ---

So far the only case of moderator abuse was Jari banning himself, moving some topic and editing his own posts to nothingness (which doesn't even require moderator rights). And the only reason I called that "abuse" is because his posts were quite valuable to the forum to begin with. I still take care about which moderators I select, plus I think moderator abuse is the least of our worries right now -- rather the complete opposite.

mirex:
Ohh, how I hate reading long threads like this. I have done it now to add my opinion this time:


--- Quote ---IP Block ban on further offenses. Not single IP ban, they are nearly useless. Simply ban the entire block at once.
Sometimes innocent people might get banned by this. Well, boo-hoo. Go get a life instead posting to forums, or go beat up the person who caused the block ban, chances are that he's living nearby anyway.
--- End quote ---

Heh what's this for a solution. Hurt innocent because of bad guys.


--- Quote ---9) Registration needs to be more strict, if you want to control the idiot flood. Sure, it will prevent people just from popping in and asking things, but then again... most people seem to be rather pooping in than popping in these days.
Close the registration. Seriously. Close it for three months, then open for one. Repeat year around. This forces n00bs to lurk and read first.
--- End quote ---

Very good idea but hard to manage. It takes too much time, I know it from different forums. Those forums are good because of that. They are around for 3 years or such; They have 3k+ users, and so far there was only 1(one) ban (few weeks ago) because user was posting without any sense.
Its managed in a different way. Useless posts are not discussed over and over, if someone is abusive or offensive he gets ban to the thread, if the post/thread is useless it gets deleted with no big talking.
But though there are alot more mods (each thread creator is the admin of the thread). And its better because of the strict registration. You have to write few sentences about you by which you will be judged and you will gain access eventually. There are approx 10 registration attempts daily.
Yup it is hard, I'm feeling lucky I got in. ;)


--- Quote ---One option might be this; when person registers, he can't write. He must stick to reading for some time... 2-4 weeks? After that he automatically gets the rights to write. Should cut down the "This has been asked 10001 times before, but I must know it"-questions.
--- End quote ---

Good idea. I'd give it to 4(or more) hours of board surfing time, so even guys visiting only once per week won't have it too easy. But how about guys (like me) that read first (for a few hours/days) and register afterwards when they finally want to write something usefull ? Will they have to wait more and more ?


--- Quote ---10) Karma system. This has been talked about before, but for different reason. It might help, though. But is there per-post-karma-rating mod for phpBB?
--- End quote ---
Aren't you at the same forum I'm talking about ? It has karma too. Its for the posts or the users. Though many times it misses its purpose. Not the valuable posts are marked, but funny or extreme posts get highest karma rating. I dont think that K!arma system is needed here.

---
Generally my idea of managing the forums is:
Let anyone get into forums.
If user does something wrong tell him in short what he did wrong PM or reply - warn him about it.
If user obviously does not belong to these forums, ignores you, does something against forums, then ban him.
Warnings are not needed. Warning was the notification from other members / moderators.
rules: I think that people can distinguish if they are doing good thing or bad thing that should not be done. Rules here seem too strict for some points, and there are none for other points.

I know it takes alot of time to manage this number of newbies, but its a role of moderators. If its too much work, get more moderators.

Alhexx:
I'm not going to post that much as before, since it seems we're starting to have a concrete concept on how to improve the situation. And I agree to most of your points.

Qhimm's answer on #7:
Well, do you want to have the moderators keeping an eye on the forum members, or otherwise? I think that presenting a moderators activity to public in form of a note on the forum display is not a good idea.
I think that if a mod is unable to do his job for a period (as mentioned in #7), then he should tell - but only the moderators and admins. The Administrative Crew is a team after all - they have to do the job together. Everyone has to do his individual part, of course, but it only works when all mods are doind their job.
So if one mod is not able to do his job for some time, then the team has to compensate this. But for that, I think we would need a few mods more...
Displaying the mods status publicly may make some members think: "Oh, he's gone for 5 days, so I've got two more days to spam this forum..."
Oh, and if someone is really interested in the activity of a moderator, he can still take a look at his (the mods) profile and click on that "Find all posts by ...." button...

And finally - thanks for showing me that admin forum  8)

 - Alhexx

Sad Jari:

--- Quote from: mirex ---
--- Quote ---IP Block ban on further offenses. Not single IP ban, they are nearly useless. Simply ban the entire block at once.
Sometimes innocent people might get banned by this. Well, boo-hoo. Go get a life instead posting to forums, or go beat up the person who caused the block ban, chances are that he's living nearby anyway.
--- End quote ---

Heh what's this for a solution. Hurt innocent because of bad guys.
--- End quote ---

I would guess that for example this forum has only a handful of people actually sharing IP block (and these dudes might know each other in real life), so the problem might not be as bad as you think. At least larger ISPs have several blocks that they use, often distributed according to location and/or connection type. Considering that there are only so many active users - globally - I think that the possibility of getting blocked because someone else is rather minor.

If someone really, really wanted to post, regardless of IP block ban, there might be a way to make it happen; can mod_rewrite be used to redirect/ban based on the User Agent string (I don't know/remember)? Because if you did the IP block ban with it, you could give the user a special UA string to insert into his browser (even IE can do it, via registry) and the server would let him through.

It's quite a bit of work, though. If you don't make an automatic gadget for it.

There's another aspect as well; it's not necessarily "Hurt innocent because of bad guys", but rather "make bad guys hurt innocents". Because they are the ones who brought the ban upon them, not moderators. Many of them would not care about that, some might actually want it, few might avoid being bad because of it.

I think that I might have bit more to say about some things, but that'll have to wait for a little while.

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