Credibility

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Chazz

Artisan
So earlier today I got Moderated. Let me tell you its something I am not even mad about. In fact, I probably deserved it. What I am mad about is how the lack of moderation keeps me from believing this place to be a viable form of communication. Then I start to wonder how many other potential players have been driven away due to the lack of professionalism present on these forums.

cred⋅i⋅ble [kred-uh-buhl] –adjective
1. capable of being believed; believable: a credible statement.
2. worthy of belief or confidence; trustworthy: a credible witness.

Lets take the post in question as an example. In it, a poster accused (and since has apologized) someone of having unfair bias due to their possible financial association with a project. This same poster has also started the glorious threads of "Ban Latex from the Alliance" and "The Alliance is the last on a sinking ship." Great. Heres where "Credibility" comes in. He is also sure to remind us constantly how long he's been playing and the services he performs at the Headquarters of the Alliance. That sort of representation coming from the Home of "Be All You Can't Be" serves nothing other than to detract and dissuade people from even giving it a shot.

So as to not entirely bash one guy in this issue I am trying to bring to light I thought I'd do a search of the "Newbie Questions" forums. All too often I come across examples of people who are seriously trying to answer questions correctly and it just degrades into a "No you can't" / "Yes you can" fest. Little thing of note is that in these posts the OP has stopped responding long ago. Whether said poster took the information or not or if he still plays is of little consequence. Think about what that sort of thing looks like to someone just reading it. Lets take "Mouse Racials", "Shields" and "Starting Equipment" as prime examples. The last one there being quite horrendous to a new players eyes. If we can't even get that much answered without 3 pages of argument then why should said new player bother.

In order to attain credibility to your posts, and thus the boards, one must take certain things to heart.
--Don't think, know. If you don't know, don't post.
--RTFM, Read the Frackin' Manual. Like our "Fearless Leader" shows in the "Starting Equipment," even he who wrote the book has no clue.
--Mistakes happen. Even I make them. Often (like thinking this will go anywhere). Our "Fearless Leader" showed something special when he went back and re-read before he replied.
--Your position at any given chapter will only serve to cheapen the chapter. It will not add weight to an argument.
--Like all well written things, one must think about what they are going to write. Write it, review it and edit it before you hit the submit button.
--This is a forum. Not an Instant Messaging service.
--If you are getting updates on your iPhone or Droid just stop. Seriously.
--Whenever sending a reply please try to provide more than, "This rule is written poorly." Great, we got that. How should it be written then?

Without adhering to the above I can promise certain things. First, people will continue to be grossly misinformed. Second, those of us who want to see an actual Alliance where we can all try to play the same game will never see that day. Third, people who could be enticed to play will continue to shy away when they see such lack of professionalism and credibility from all players of the game.

Think on it. I hope it takes you somewhere.

--Chazz

PS more to come
 
“O my Lord
Lord, Lord, Lord

Lord, we stand before You
this evenin'...

to say thank you.

We thank You, (Chazz),
for Your grace...

and Your many blessings.

Now, I run off...

and left all my young'uns
and my kinfolk in bondage.

So I'm standing here this evening,
Heavenly Father!

to ask Your blessings
on all of us...

so that if tomorrow
is our great getting-up mornin'...

if tomorrow we have to meet
the Judgment Day...

O Heavenly Father,
we want You to let our folks know...

that we died facin' the enemy.

We want 'em to know
that we went down standin' up--

Yes, Lord!”

Amen.
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
We do have a "Good Sportsman Rule" for the Boards posted here: viewtopic.php?f=50&t=5

The problem is in enforcement. I hate to be a censor, and generally we have not moderated these boards hardly at all. (The situation today came about from a request to delete the posts, especially since the original poster had apologized and had taken his posts down).

So where is that middle ground? Do you people want more moderation? Should we set up a "moderating board" that can delete angry posts? You know as well as I do that this often causes even more problems, as one person's "angry post" can be another's "debate." Should a moderating team send warnings to people?

What is the solution, other than to ask people to be nice (which, as you can see, has already been done)?
 
This issue (among others) is one of the main reasons that I keep hearing come up that people avoid this forum. There's too much arguing, hostility, redundant posts, and pages of irrelevant banter after (and sometimes before) a simple question is answered. Well over half of what gets posted is unnecessary, but it's an internet forum, so I don't really expect people to contribute. That said, I read about a quarter of the boards (Official, General, Rules, Newbies, Oregon, Seattle, and San Fran), and really only base that opinion on the national forums (the local ones don't tend to have those problems, I think it's because people know each other). I've gotten to the point where even the Rules board is on my mental Skim/Ignore list, it's just not worth the time.

Moderation might be helpful, but there's really not a good way to do it. Some of the people chosen in the past to moderate have been noted to have as volatile personalities as the people they're using their powers upon, and that's a combination that's primed for trouble. Simply banning members (other then spammers) really isn't a viable option, either. Send individual warnings maybe, but we once had our GM (not me :p ) banned from the boards just because he shared an IP address with somebody. We simply can't take the risk of banning staff members. I've noticed the lack of moderation recently, and most of the time it's been fine. I don't think that 'angry/upsetting/offensive posts' are really as big of a problem as simply unprofessional/inane/redundant/off topic posts are.
 
Yea I agree with a lot of what Chazz has said. I just don't have many idea how this could be fixed either. But it would be nice if something could be developed. :?
 

Chazz

Artisan
First off let me thank those who have responded in kind here and on my FB account. Its your "keep at it" thats gonna do just that. The response in such a short period has been quite overwhelming. Without further ado,

There is no middle ground. There is only a place far away from here. A higher place. In some respects this sounds like just another dream, another vision of what could be. However, I maintain that it is something that must be striven toward. Especially considering the new chapters opening shortly. How can the current player base support such an endeavor if it does not grow?

Moderation of these boards has become beyond necessary. It is our front face to the world. Its no wonder chapters keep their own separate forums considering whats allowed to take place here. I don't know that this proposed moderation causes more problems because I have yet to see it done. If it is done it needs to be maintained and followed up upon. Its no longer about what "you people want." Its about what the game needs to have happen to continue to grow.

Yes, there should be moderating teams to send warnings to people. Should those warnings not be adhered to further steps like those defined in your "Good Sportsmanship Rule" must be acted upon. Even further steps may be well advised to consider. If a person is so intent on disrupting this place it eventually becomes the responsibility of the Owners/ GMs of the chapters in which they play to have a face to face with said person. If this rule you link to is really an extension of the "Good Sportsmanship Rule" then make it so.

Here is a simple progression laid out before you. Warning, Final Warning, Month Ban, 6 Month Ban, 1 Year Ban, Chapter "get on this disruptive player post haste" Ban. Simple enough. A few things that warrant such response include but are not limited to:

--Conduct designated unprofessional in anything but the "General Discussion" and "Off Topic" forums
--"Rules" replies by non marshals or marshals who decided they didn't need to check their rule book first.
--"Newbie Questions" replies by non Owners, CS reps, New Player contacts or anyone found replying to a reply instead of the OPs question.
--Replies to responses from Owners, ARC members and Moderators with anything but "thank you for your time" or "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to warrant your attention."

The first steps must be taken by you Mike. If something is so pressing that you really must reply to it sooner rather than later, show a new level by adhering to higher standards. Check your rulebook first. Double check what you have written. Nothing a person could possibly write is worth posting immediately. You represent all of us when you post. A single player being impressed by such a level of professionalism will bring far more than an events admission. He could bring friends, skills or best of all, good word of mouth.

To everyone who plays this game know this, If you start it everyone else will follow.

--Chazz
 

James Trotta

Spellsword
Diversity Committee
I have no problem with Chazz for asking people to make quality posts but to complain about threads on a message board degrading? I would say message board threads that remain active usually devolve into something else. I suppose that with heavy moderation that could be changed but I wonder if it's necessary. Anyone who has spent time on internet message boards should not be particularly turned off by what happens here.
 
James Trotta said:
Anyone who has spent time on internet message boards should not be particularly turned off by what happens here.
You are totally right… but we can also do better.

As a community, in person, we are, more often than not, good to each other. We just need to not let the internet norm be our norm. In doing better we can open this forum up to more than just the vocal minority. We could have the majority of the Alliance having a voice here.

Chazz,

You know how I feel. I would just like to add that while Mike, as well as all of us, could improve the quality of our posts, I do also think that it's nothing short of miracle that neither he, nor some of the other long term admins, haven't purchased hunting rifles and maps to their local clock towers. So, in short, thank you to all the people who try here. Many of us know what a taxing and demoralizing job it is to not just patrol, but to also contribute meaningfully to this thing. We ask more of you, but we need to give as much of ourselves.

-Gary
 

Gormegil

Newbie
I've been very active as a player and moderator on message boards before. I have to agree, moderated boards tend to be more user friendly. I read a great deal of the topics here, but I do not comment very often. I find that there are too many people who just devolve the discussions into something else.

Also I HATE when people post RTFM or anything like that. It would be eternally more helpful if you either pointed out where in the book it is or said nothing at all.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
obcidian_bandit said:
There's too much arguing, hostility, redundant posts, and pages of irrelevant banter after (and sometimes before) a simple question is answered. Well over half of what gets posted is unnecessary, but it's an internet forum, so I don't really expect people to contribute.
This is the specific reason why I consciously ignore about 95% of this particular forum. I read the Rules section pretty thoroughly, and General Discussion when someone points me to a specific thread (like this one). Other than that, I simply do not have the time to wade through the in-jokes and banter between friends that makes up a huge proportion of the otherwise useful threads. There are countless threads that I have wanted to contribute to and have been completely driven away from because numerous people, none of whom I know, turn the thread into random side comments to each other that have nothing to do with the topic. IMO, other than the rules forum (which is a greatly useful resource for all chapters), far too many threads on this board are only of relevance to a small web of interconnected chapters out of the whole, because the participants drive things very, very far off topic.

Now, before I get jumped for that opinion, I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing so long as everyone's on the same page about it. With the way things are now, it makes far more sense for some chapters to have their own forums where they can make their own in-jokes and banter between friends and drive things off topic in their own particular ways if they like - or, if preferred, they can moderate to keep things specific and on topic except in the off-topic forum. What does not make sense is to try and pitch this board as a truly integrated single source board for all Alliance chapters, at least until some very heavy on-topic moderation goes into force and players start to recognize that they are driving other players away from contributing due to the way they post.

(Standard disclaimer: This is my personal opinion only! The above has nothing to do with any official positions I might hold!)

-Bryan
 

Mike Ventrella

Duke
Owner
Moderator
HQ Staff
Polare said:
obcidian_bandit said:
There's too much arguing, hostility, redundant posts, and pages of irrelevant banter after (and sometimes before) a simple question is answered. Well over half of what gets posted is unnecessary, but it's an internet forum, so I don't really expect people to contribute.
This is the specific reason why I consciously ignore about 95% of this particular forum. I read the Rules section pretty thoroughly, and General Discussion when someone points me to a specific thread (like this one). Other than that, I simply do not have the time to wade through the in-jokes and banter between friends that makes up a huge proportion of the otherwise useful threads. There are countless threads that I have wanted to contribute to and have been completely driven away from because numerous people, none of whom I know, turn the thread into random side comments to each other that have nothing to do with the topic. IMO, other than the rules forum (which is a greatly useful resource for all chapters), far too many threads on this board are only of relevance to a small web of interconnected chapters out of the whole, because the participants drive things very, very far off topic.

Now, before I get jumped for that opinion, I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing so long as everyone's on the same page about it. With the way things are now, it makes far more sense for some chapters to have their own forums where they can make their own in-jokes and banter between friends and drive things off topic in their own particular ways if they like - or, if preferred, they can moderate to keep things specific and on topic except in the off-topic forum. What does not make sense is to try and pitch this board as a truly integrated single source board for all Alliance chapters, at least until some very heavy on-topic moderation goes into force and players start to recognize that they are driving other players away from contributing due to the way they post.

(Standard disclaimer: This is my personal opinion only! The above has nothing to do with any official positions I might hold!)

-Bryan
Just for the record:

Each chapter subsection here is completely controlled by that chapter. They have their own moderators and can delete and edit posts, add their own subsections, and treat it just as if it's their own separate Board.

I think it's important though that we're all here at the same place to help encourage the idea that we are an Alliance, especially when discussing rules. Otherwise, you have separate rules discussions on a dozen different Boards and no coordination -- and you end up with a dozen different interpretations of the same rule.

Looks like people want the Board to be moderated, so we'll be setting up a Moderating Panel soon to take care of this.
 

kitsune85

Artisan
Gormegil said:
I've been very active as a player and moderator on message boards before. I have to agree, moderated boards tend to be more user friendly. I read a great deal of the topics here, but I do not comment very often. I find that there are too many people who just devolve the discussions into something else.
I agree with this statement. There are times where I have shyed away from a thread or even an entire forum due to bashing, whining, wandering off topic, or just general drama.

I have been on forums where they are left with very little moderation, and this is very bad as it leaves a hostile drama filled board.

I like the expression of ideas, but civility is key.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Chazz,

Thank you for your posts.

Mike, ARC, Future Moderation Panel, Owners, Etc: Please take a look at the following link for an example of what other heavily moderated sites have done to improve the quality of work that goes on there.

http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=38003.0

For those who may not know The Mana Drain (TMD) is an online forum designed for a community of players who focus on Vintage Magic:The Gathering. They deal with VERY complex rules concepts and statistics. Their forums have a strict set of rules and guidelines set forth by the forum moderators and any post that does not follow those guidelines is dealt with. I would think that out rules forum (at the very least) would benefit from these sorts of rules. It would encourage active discussion about our rules and could result in everyone having a more clear understanding of how things work/should work.

With all of that said Chazz is right. No forum moderation rules will be relevant if the management and moderation committee does not follow the rules posted. The reality is that if a good portion of us agree to hold ourselves to a higher standard things will start to get better immediately.

As my one suggestion for a rule for the rules forum: If you answer a rules question without copy/pasting the actual text of the rule from the rulebook your post should at LEAST be deleted. At worst the responder should be warned. Nothing causes more arguments on these boards then rules questions that are answered by "an authority" incorrectly. With an online copay of our rulebook so easily available (and inexpensively) not pasting from it or typing from it is inexcusable.

Stephen
 

Gormegil

Newbie
I'd happily volunteer to work as a moderator. I've worked as one on sites with FAR FAR more traffic than our site gets. I think the key is to get a few people and assign them each various boards as their moderating domain. This way each board has a consistent presence looking over them rather than a group of people who could step on each others toes. Or have a situation where what one person feels is fine another wants to moderate. Keep it consistent and impartial, that's the key.
 
I also agree with what JesseS and Steve have said here. And I'd be happy to help in some sort of endeavor of this kind as well.
 

youthculture

Fighter
Similarly, I don't mind volunteering my time; having moderated larger forum networks with similarly passionate people, it's more or less familiar territory for me. I think having an active moderation team is a Good Thing and a step in the right direction, but Chazz pretty much hit the nail on the head. I'm glad someone directed me toward this post.
 

Jevedor

Fighter
Asheville Staff
RiddickDale said:
As my one suggestion for a rule for the rules forum: If you answer a rules question without copy/pasting the actual text of the rule from the rulebook your post should at LEAST be deleted. At worst the responder should be warned. Nothing causes more arguments on these boards then rules questions that are answered by "an authority" incorrectly. With an online copay of our rulebook so easily available (and inexpensively) not pasting from it or typing from it is inexcusable.

Stephen
I'm not really sure if my opinion on this is heavily weighed, but i cant agree more with this train of thought. I find that the rules forum is the most frustrating place on these boards so much so that I don't even bother going into it any more, if i can help it... which greatly frustrates me as I feel like anything new announced, be it for the addendum or even or information on the new latex weapons, i miss out on. Unless I hear it word of mouth or someone links me to the information I worry I will not have the time to find or see it. I go on a lot of forums for other things, and I think the best ones are the ones that are moderated with a dedication to the guidelines set forth in the forum rules..

I want to thank everyone who is attempting to remedy this issue, and really hope that these things can be set forth soon. I really enjoy these boards but I think we can all recognize a problem when we see it.

- Jeremy
 

Mobius

Squire
just to be the voice of dissension, ¿doesn't this seem a bit overzealous a response? with the glaring exception of the "ARC questions" and "Official Announcements" boards, the majority of this space is ad-hoc and impromptu. that is, Bryan Gregory (or a designated ARC representative) posts on the ARC boards because he is the "official" responder and his words carry the weight of the Owners and the Rule Book (RB). he is referee and his words stand. everywhere else, it's nothing but the opinion of this or that player. sure, some of the posters are owners, but unless they're quoting the ARC or it's Mike V relating Owners'/Alliance-Wide business, it's only opinion

it seems dictatorial to monitor all portions of this forum with an eye toward banning and punishment merely because threads can get murky. this is a discussion board - an organic, moving creation of intelligence, whim, relationships, and fancy. if we tighten the screws, we'll squeeze out all sense of creativity as people will be so worried about the "Banning Board" they'll refuse to offer up anything. the OP talked about credibility, but if we close this open-discussion down to a small sanctified group talking amongst themselves, ¿wouldn't that inspire the wrong kind of credit? wouldn't it would make the Alliance out to be a bunch of ram-rod jerks so self-assured and resentful of discussion they gag anyone with a differing - or differently framed - opinion? what will "newbies" think if they get suspended for being mistaken or, worse, simply speaking their mind?

i could understand building an "Official Rules" forum. a kind of ARC for the simple questions: a designated group would respond to simple, unambiguous questions; they would include RB citation and the response would be a group consensus. this would be the place where the rubber meets the rule-book. just like the ARC, once it's spoken in the "Official Rules" forum, it's canon - anything else you hear, is suspect

what seems to be sticking in everyone's craw is unprofessional discussion on the "Rules" board. so, lock down that board: change it from a "discussion board" into an "answer board". the people who are looking for official rules discussion can monitor the official boards; while people who aren't, can muse elsewhere. seems that would foster the creativity so necessary for a game like Alliance, but also quench the need for some kind of moderated Referee
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
I think that's the general consensus.

I know, at least, that I am not interested in seeing heavy moderation on the entire board. BUT, we have a few sections on our boards that need to be treated professionally for the sake of the long term growth of our game. The Rules forum, at the very least, needs to have some rules posted and enforced. Most of the rules should be in regards to how questions are ANSWERED (so that shouldn't effect noobs at all)

Creative, free-flowing ideas are not fostered in an environment where some people are over aggressive and others are flat out incorrect. If we want REAL suggestions to be made that might have an impact in our game then we need to create rules that support intelligent discussion as opposed to witty debate.

Again I reference The Mana Drain as an effective forum that fosters an international community and has a significant impact on a gaming format.
 

MKing

Scout
Moderation should be done, when the Good Sportsmen Rules are broken...i.e. name calling and such...plus people should keep on topic...when there is a question asked about something and then 2 or 3 people go on about something that has nothing to do with the question asked then there should be somekind of moderation done at that time...
 
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