1. #1
    Merely a Setback Breccia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    NY, USA

    Reguest: extended punishments for blatant violations of MMO-Champion Rules

    I don't want to ask for this. But this last week has made it necessary.

    Spamming is already against the rules.

    Trolling is already against the rules.

    Conspiracy theories are already against the rules.

    And personal attacks are already against the rules.

    I am not asking for a change to any of those policies, or the penalties for violating one or two of them.

    However, it's been made clear to me that the moderators on these forums are overworked, and this last week has hosted three specific examples as to why. We have seen posters who are taking advantage of the overworked moderators and attacking the forums directly.

    Specifically, these posters have
    a) posted something which is unfounded, untrue, or a conspiracy theory
    b) doing so intentionally to provoke a response
    c) not only provoking responses of "you are factually incorrect, here is evidence" with repeated unbacked postings of "nuh uh" spanning multiple pages, and
    d) calling people who bring factually true evidence to the argument a variety of derogatory names, such as stupid or mentally ill
    e) and doing so for hours, maybe days, before moderation is applied.

    Frequently, by the time moderation arrives to handle this mass rules violation -- likely due to dozens if not more Report clicks and personal messages, because nobody knows what anyone else has reported -- enough other posters, yes this is their own fault, have resorted to replying multiple times and personal attacks of their own, resulting in them being infracted -- sometimes even before the original rulebreaker.

    These actions devalue the forums. And I wonder if the moderators are as sick of it as I am.

    I therefore petition for an expanding of the penalties for anyone who is found to commit these most severe actions. Specifically, someone who does all four of the following at the same time:
    A) Posts a conspiracy theory; or an objectively false statement as if it was true, despite evidence demonstrating it is false.
    B) Trolling, including Sea Lioning (a form of trolling) in their choice of topics and how they are presented
    C) Responds ten or more times on the same falsehood, conspiracy theory and/or trolling attempt, in four hours (numbers adjustable)
    D) While defending an objective falsehood, conspiracy theory or continued trolling, uses personal attacks multiple times

    People make mistakes. But breaking all four of the rules at the same time, is not a mistake. That's intentional. It's an attack on the forums itself.

    Someone found to have such mass breaches of the terms of MMO-Champion forum rules, as we've seen, is likely to do it repeatedly until they have a reputation. And nobody, again I assume this includes moderators, wants to wade through six pages of one troll being confronted by twenty earnest posters to find useful posts, or worse yet, to find the original problem to handle it.

    Therefore, in the paired interest of both making the forums easier and more pleasant to read, as well as to ease the burden on moderators, I recommend expanding the actions taken when such mass rules violations happen by the same poster at the same time.

    First, I recommend the penalties be automatically made consecutive, and not concurrent. This might already be the case, I don't know.

    Second, I recommend the moderators acquire an IP checker. If multiple accounts have mass rule violations are coming from the same IP host, action could therefore be taken against that IP host (blocking it from the site) if deemed necessary.

    Third, I recommend anyone found committing such a mass rules violation be required to sign a form when they return, requiring them to admit they know why they were banned and requiring that they have re-read the terms of service for these forums. This form would also act as a new terms of service, informing the returning poster that another mass rules violation will result in a permanent ban from the forums, or deletion of their account.

    And finally, I recommend anyone banned due to such a mass rules violation automatically become ignored by all other accounts for as long as they are banned. Alternatively, the posts could be suppressed and archived, making them invisible to all. This should cut down on the follow-up spamming and trolling success.

    It doesn't have to be all of these, or even any of these. But there have been some truly spectacular violations over the last week, far more than I can remember and I've been clicking "Report" for years.

    If the moderators have any interest in providing a better forum for honest and constructive discussion, and/or less work for themselves, I ask they discuss this topic amongst themselves. Even if the result is "no" if the discussion happens, I'm satisfied.

    Thank you for your volunteered time and effort.

  2. #2
    Legendary! Darkeon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    People still taking MMOC and it's moderation issues seriously are fun.

  3. #3
    Waiting for the thread lock in 3,2,1

  4. #4
    Moderation around here is random. I've seen tons of people blatantly flaming and insulting others with no punishment, yet one single time, I call someone dumb for posting blatantly false information and get smacked with a week-long ban.

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  5. #5
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Cretaceous Period
    Long response, but hopefully covers the majority of points on the post:

    • There are already higher value infractions that moderators can issue for greater or multiple simultaneous offenses. These higher values result in longer bans, and they expire more slowly than regular infractions, meaning someone has to show improvement in their behaviour for longer to have their points reset, while if they continue on the same road they will have longer and longer bans until they are spending more time sitting out than participating. This gives users a chance to change or improve without letting serial or serious offenders off the hook.
    • Bans are already applied automatically to accounts based on point values, starting at 15 points.
    • Additionally, we can and do issue manual permanent bans for accounts that have an extended history of very bad behaviour without showing any signs of improvement, or lifetime points. These bans are also automatically triggered when someone hits certain thresholds for active points.

    Some of the other things you mentioned are also already the case.

    As far as infraction things that are demonstratively false" - we just are not going to do that. Moderators are humans too, and not only cannot be relied on for determining ultimate truth™. That's not our job, it's not a job we could necessarily do better than any other person, and it shouldn't be our job. At the very least, time spent fact checking arguments is a lot of time that would be taken away from other duties. If something is false, that's the responsibility of the users on the forum to debate and disprove. Our job is to make sure discussion happens, stays on track, and that people behave in the thread. The one exception is for things like classic conspiracy theories where no one is going to get anywhere in discussion because people are arguing over nondata and no one is going to be convinced.

    Lastly, with regard hiding the posts from banned individuals, this would require dedicated developer time and would probably be very low priority even if we decided it was a good idea. I'm not entirely convinced it is, as plenty of users who are regularly banned still often contribute things that result in productive discussion. Just because specific posts are bad doesn't mean they all are. And, fwiw, we already technically have the ability to delete infracted posts, we just usually don't so other users can see visible moderation, what sort of behaviour is not tolerated, and learn from those mistakes. On very very rare occasions though, if the post is causing a significant derail, we may chose to manually remove it to set things back on track. But overall, we feel it's better to let posts remain visible than remove them.

    Quote Originally Posted by anon5123 View Post
    Moderation around here is random. I've seen tons of people blatantly flaming and insulting others with no punishment, yet one single time, I call someone dumb for posting blatantly false information and get smacked with a week-long ban.
    Ban duration is determined by how many active points there are on an account, not necessarily the triggering offense. If someone gets a longer ban for an infraction, that is only because they already had active points on their account. In fact, receiving a ban at all already means one already had received three "warnings" (infractions) or a more serious infraction since bans don't even trigger until 15 points.

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