This whole Lefein, Aquanox, MMBest banning nonsense

Rebon

Master Poster
Dec 8, 2003
3,120
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www.psu.com
#1
Look guys, what happened over the past few days is just a big miscommunication. We are keen to get the forums on track and try to improve posting quality etc, and it was a rushed, knee-jerk reaction which wasn't properly discussed through.

We have some great moderators here at PS3Forums - some of the best anywhere - and I fully support them. This wasn't an issue of poor judgement but of mixed signals in the brief discussions that took place.

This whole culture of gossiping and "he did that so I did this" is just silly. These are some damn good forums for discussing gaming, and we want to make them even better. That doesn't invovle going neo-Nazi on every minor issue and it doesn't mean letting anything go - we need to find a middle ground.

I'm making a call to all mature, intelligent gamers who read these boards to open a discussion on sensible actions that can be taken to improve the boards.

My proposed steps include:

#1/ Enahnce the systems, so that SMC have more powers and can do more to help the boards, freeing up the mods for the higher level issues.

#2/ Promote a few more mature and level headed mods to help look after the helm.

#3/ Better educate new members through a simple and clear FAQ guide which we direct them to at every stage in the registration process.

#4/ Focus on community building, through the introduction of a few more forum skins, new logo, bringing back POTM, a few new initiatives, etc.

I welcome your thought-out suggestions and ideas.
 

Carsonal

Elite Sage
Jun 3, 2006
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#2
Sounds good to me.
I've always liked PS3forums for its posters knowledge and helpful advice.
Its just when threads become aggressive and sidetracked that it can be a little unappealing.
So I appreciate the efforts of the mods and admins, since this is the only forum I visit.
 
Feb 8, 2007
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#3
All the points seem good, and helpful. Not like my opinion matters that much but I fully support these ideas. I think the whole community apreciates your effort to make this forum not just another forum.
 

Lefein

Ultimate Veteran
Jun 9, 2005
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#4
I'm all behind that. Back when I was an SMC it was pretty tough to see 100% flamebait threads go on for hours while waiting for a mod to get on.

This will be a big improvement.
 
J

justintheman99

Guest
#5
So if you were an SMC before Lefein how come you are not anymore? I've been here for quite awhile and I am sorry to say I don't remember any reasons.
 

Lefein

Ultimate Veteran
Jun 9, 2005
22,966
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#6
[QUOTE="justintheman99, post: 0]So if you were an SMC before Lefein how come you are not anymore? I've been here for quite awhile and I am sorry to say I don't remember any reasons.[/QUOTE]

I'll be perfectly honest. It's because Siren wanted me to be more pro-XBox and made it a matter of how I represent the board rather than letting me just reflect my personal views. In order to be an SMC, I had to give up my modus apperati.. So I stuck my SMC badge to him so he could have a trophy. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have let it get to me, but at the time I did and there's no going back.

As you can see, I've still tried to remain fair towards the Xbox and its games. I even try to be fair about the hardware itself. When it comes to peripheral pricing strategy and MSes marketing tactics, they get two thumbs down. I suppose that wasn't good enough. Sadly, ever since then, he's made it a mission to get me out of his hair.

You're not the only person to ask the question, and since I'm "up in the air" about things right now, I don't mind being frank and honest about that particular situation.
 
Jun 2, 2006
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#8
Well my suggestions are

MORE MODS. We defiently need more active mods to watch over the daily commute and react sooner rather then penalizing someone who did something a day or more ago.

Users who are clearly abusing the boards or are nothing but trolls or flame starters should recieve a 3 day ban warning as first offence perm ban if repeated. Remember once a cheater always a cheater. These people will NEVER get any better.

Swearing in ANy form should result in either rep taking away or points taken away further abuse will be banned

Alot of the new users post pointless info and the new thread starting count should be increased.

These are just a few ideas. I hope they help!
 
J

justintheman99

Guest
#9
[QUOTE="Lefein, post: 0]I'll be perfectly honest. It's because Siren wanted me to be more pro-XBox and made it a matter of how I represent the board rather than letting me just reflect my personal views. In order to be an SMC, I had to give up my modus apperati.. So I stuck my SMC badge to him so he could have a trophy. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have let it get to me, but at the time I did and there's no going back.

As you can see, I've still tried to remain fair towards the Xbox and its games. I even try to be fair about the hardware itself. When it comes to peripheral pricing strategy and MSes marketing tactics, they get two thumbs down. I suppose that wasn't good enough. Sadly, ever since then, he's made it a mission to get me out of his hair.

You're not the only person to ask the question, and since I'm "up in the air" about things right now, I don't mind being frank and honest about that particular situation.[/QUOTE]


I appreciate the response, even though you didn't have to say anything. I was just rather curious as to what happened as I didn't recall you being an SMC before. Was it for a short duration I am assuming?
 
Jan 29, 2007
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www.mangadownload.net
#10
hmmm since we are on the topic of mods

1. Do not necessarily make more mods, you need to go throught he mods you have now, and see who is more active, get rid of a few, and promote some others, cause the last thing you need is like 20 people running around saying i am a mod i am going to delete your posts cause i dont like it, with some people having power goes to their heads :p

2. about the FAQ considering a step to step guide to something is good, but not really for a forum it can just be added to the rules, and that can also be added to the top of every sub-forum, it is a special thread, that can be seen everywhere, my forum uses it to keep our forums up everywhere

3.SMC i dont know what yall do really, but it wouldnt be to much of a bother to give them a lil bit of freedom like a super moderator considering they are knowledged in all aspects of gaming and not just certain places i would believe

4. i would say cleaning up the forums alot of the older threads that are in some of the forums i.e ps3games
 

hypermaniac85

Superior Member
Jan 18, 2006
524
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#11
I don't know how the banning system works, but you should have all of the moderators agree that a person should be banned and then send that suggestion to you or Morpheus for final verdict. Put a little bit more of a check and balance system in the banning process IMHO.
 
Oct 19, 2006
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#12
I think more mods and more SMC with more powers would do the trick. I see the problem all the time. There will be a thread start to get out of control and theres no MOD's around to deal with it. The thread then goes way off the rails and everyone gets upset and bitchy with each other. I assume the more mods and SMC's we have, the more often there will be someone available to watch over the boards.

Also, i dont know if this is even feasible but what about having some specialist mods who come on at the busy times or at specifically scheduled times. I know everyone has lives outside of here (i hope anyway, lol) but if you get get some sort of agreement or commitment of a small few to guarantee being on at certain times that may help.

Someone in one of the other threads also mentioned having section specific mods (ie ps3 discussion etc). Lastly, im sure this has already been discussed by the Admins but after the whole "lack of comuunication" issue there must be a better way for the mods to communicate with each other. Dunno, just spitballing here, but what about some about some sort of daily report sent to each of the mods explaining the days discussions and ideas about the forum (this possible exists already but im not sure).
 

adz1992

Elite Member
Nov 30, 2005
1,560
3
0
#13
[QUOTE="thekingofkings, post: 0]Well my suggestions are

MORE MODS. We defiently need more active mods to watch over the daily commute and react sooner rather then penalizing someone who did something a day or more ago.

Users who are clearly abusing the boards or are nothing but trolls or flame starters should recieve a 3 day ban warning as first offence perm ban if repeated. Remember once a cheater always a cheater. These people will NEVER get any better.

Swearing in ANy form should result in either rep taking away or points taken away further abuse will be banned

Alot of the new users post pointless info and the new thread starting count should be increased.

These are just a few ideas. I hope they help![/quote]


im sorry but if you do that
im gone i have a freedom of speach if i cant use it then this forum has truely entered its demise
you have a RIGHT to a freedom of speach on the internet in music and out on the street
if you take that away you do realise they could shut this forum down and take morph and reborn to court they have to think about whats politicially right legal and will please the forum members
unless the language is used in an abuseive manner you cant do anything to stop them using it
i have the police come up to me about my swearing several times and all i have said is "I have not been abuseive and i know my rights if you arrest me ill see you in court"

my suggestians

better mods with more knowledge of slang and the members and they are active
the demotion of the mods that banned aqua and lefein these decisions were the worst i have seen on this forum

and of course MORE mods with activity and knowledge




thats Adzas 2 cents
 

Stoffinator

Power Member
May 23, 2005
16,684
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Toronto
www.youtube.com
#14
I also suggest not being so tough on some posts. Some of the mods do act like Nazis (although thats a strong word to use) when removing a posts. Case in point, I made a post asking if anyone would buy MotorStorm if it got low ratings by game reviewers and I got it removed because it was "useless post". Excuse me?

This board is the best one you can go to for talking about games, but you guys are SO strict sometimes on what can be posted, its like we can only post what is a article from another site with a source, and that we can't post are own thoughts and concerns unless is written in a thesis style. :?

Can this be changed? Can the mods be trained on what to tell is spam and what is a concern or thought?
 

Supaman²²³

Undercover Moderator
Apr 18, 2006
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#15
The problem lies more in consistency of moderating than anything else. There are moderators that are very strict and will gladly ban you for the slightest reasons, and then there are very lax and laid back mods that won't act until there is sever provocation and by which point its simply too late.

I propose that we draft a "constitution" which will basically be a newer version of the rules, but in addition it should also have guidelines for mods to follow in different situations.

The mods would also have to refer to this every time some one receives an infraction or a ban. This way both the members and the mods know whats expected of them and what the consequences will be.

If this gets the approval of the Admin's i could Whip one up.

Section 1 – Trolling

Trolling is defined by trying to make others insult you. Posts such as "PS3 sux" would be considered trolling, as it is a purposeful act meant to result in argument.

a) Messages that are meant to start a argument between members
b) Messages that are false and have been proven so , Such as (20 gig ps3 can not do 1080p)


User's could then be charged with "Trolling Contrary to Section 1 A" There could be guildline for what the punishment should be, ot i could be left up to the mods discretion.
 

Lefein

Ultimate Veteran
Jun 9, 2005
22,966
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#16
Actually, what is needed are more moderators with forum community experience in general. I have noticed that some of the moderators here take a very amateurish approach towards guiding these forums. To be absolutely honest, moderating a forum this large is much more of an art than a science.

I know, because I have been a member of a much larger and older forum in the past. Many of the things I see happening here is simply the result of power being put in the hands of people who win popularity contests with certain mods or groups of mods and SMCs. Notice, I'm not pointing fingers at a single soul for this because in the end, everyone deserves a fair chance to make or break it.

I'm only speaking from past experience here, but there needs to be a better vetting process in place for the moderation team. One thing that should definitely be looked at is how much experience someone has in online community situations. I can't even count how many times someone from a "usual suspects" standpoint drops in a subtle napalm bomb post but since it wasn't just completely overt flamebait it went on and on and on for days.

Some of these things can be avoided, but you have to evaluate the experience and mindframe of someone becoming a moderator on top of their maturity. You simply can't give power to someone who is going to "burn out" on a forum nor can you do it to someone who may or may not have their own agenda when wielding such power. It's an art, not a science at this point. I feel for Morph and Rebon a lot on this situation, because the forum is large enough to where the marketplace of ideas has become an all you can eat buffet. Sometimes the best thing possible is to just let someone make a complete arse of themselves first and then ban them before they can do any more harm. Cracking the whip on everyone can or can not make a particular situation better.
 

WhatRuOn

Super Bias Moderator
Dec 1, 2005
6,416
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#17
http://www.ps3forums.com/showpost.php?p=1117880&postcount=5
[QUOTE="ferrismc, post: 0]it known that online play is better on ps3 because of the cell chip.
in 2 years live is history. you will see the ps3 community explode as it is free while xbots playing the smae amount of users.[/quote]
This is the perfect example of my plea. Posts like these degenerate the image of the forum.

I think a post like that should be bannable and the post should stay in the topic with a moderator note as to why the user was banned. Set an example for anyone else who might post in that fashion.
 

Uncool

Power Member
Aug 27, 2006
16,815
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#18
[QUOTE="Supaman²²³, post: 0]The problem lies more in consistency of moderating than anything else. There are moderators that are very strict and will gladly ban you for the slightest reasons, and then there are very lax and laid back mods that won't act until there is sever provocation and by which point its simply too late.

I propose that we draft a "constitution" which will basically be a newer version of the rules, but in addition it should also have guidelines for mods to follow in different situations.

The mods would also have to refer to this every time some one receives an infraction or a ban. This way both the members and the mods know whats expected of them and what the consequences will be.

If this gets the approval of the Admin's i could Whip one up.





User's could then be charged with "Trolling Contrary to Section 1 A" There could be guildline for what the punishment should be, ot i could be left up to the mods discretion.[/quote]I know new guidlines need to be brought up or rather revised in order to accomadate the increasing amount of situations involved with the miscommunication of members/SMC/Mod's respectively. With that said, if there isn't a "constitution" of a sort that should be followed so that reports can be reviewed and by Mod's and see fit that a post deserves a specific action or what not. In other words a cohesive decision by all Mods for all high-level offences like thread derailing and major flamebait. This is one way a Mod wouldn't jump the gun and mistakenly give a wrongful punishment. Also if it were to happen, the Mod's should immediately be able to PM the user soon after discussing the situation before and after the action has been taken.

[QUOTE="WhatRuOn, post: 0]http://www.ps3forums.com/showpost.php?p=1117880&postcount=5

This is the perfect example of my plea. Posts like these degenerate the image of the forum.

I think a post like that should be bannable and the post should stay in the topic with a moderator note as to why the user was banned. Set an example for anyone else who might post in that fashion.[/quote]This is the sort of thing I ment in my post. Cohesive decision and not a one man team like what usually happens when reports are handled. I have to leave now but I would like to continue where we left off.
 

TidalPhoenix

The Last of Us
Staff member
Dec 16, 2006
12,712
100
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#19
[QUOTE="The Game, post: 1117662]I also suggest not being so tough on some posts. Some of the mods do act like Nazis (although thats a strong word to use) when removing a posts. Case in point, I made a post asking if anyone would buy MotorStorm if it got low ratings by game reviewers and I got it removed because it was "useless post". Excuse me?[/quote]

Err...was that the one with the subject title "Motorstorm gets bad reviews!" and which started with "No not really lol" - if so then think a little bit longer as to why that may have been locked.
 

$_KD_

Super Elite
Apr 9, 2006
2,350
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#20
i think we as a gaming community here need to focus on the new comers and guide them very well on what are to do's and don't dos.by that being done more and more will learn how this forums work and work together. we need to bring a positive side to this forums by needing mature mods to rule out what is best for this forums.
 

Stoffinator

Power Member
May 23, 2005
16,684
12
0
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Toronto
www.youtube.com
#21
[QUOTE="Sparc, post: 0]Err...was that the one with the subject title "Motorstorm gets bad reviews!" and which started with "No not really lol" - if so then think a little bit longer as to why that may have been locked.[/QUOTE]

Its because my post was about that and I added "no not really" because people would say "where are the reviews" give me a break. So we can't make posts unless its official news? It was not done as a joke or to start a fight, is that all you people see when someone makes a post?
 

Lefein

Ultimate Veteran
Jun 9, 2005
22,966
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#22
[QUOTE="WhatRuOn, post: 0]http://www.ps3forums.com/showpost.php?p=1117880&postcount=5

This is the perfect example of my plea. Posts like these degenerate the image of the forum.

I think a post like that should be bannable and the post should stay in the topic with a moderator note as to why the user was banned. Set an example for anyone else who might post in that fashion.[/QUOTE]

With all due respect to you, this is exactly what i think should NOT be done here. What should have been done is a senior member come and call him out on it. It's really simple. Just ask him why he feels that way and to explain it.

It's such a patently absurd viewpoint that it wouldn't be hard to simply poke holes into his argument until he gives up. Then, if they keep on making craptacular posts that ilicit confrontation, it becomes a bannable offense.

Being ignorant is not a crime.
 

Hippo

Elite Member
May 7, 2005
1,646
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#23
promote me to moderator...no no, kidding...or am I?

anyways,

I think we need to do away with this taking away people's points and rep...95% of people here probably don't even really know their exact number and how they got it.

Bans are the only way to get the message across, but without a properly definied strike system people are going to get confused/angry. That being said, if someone "flames" someone they should get banned based off their record. First time, ban them for a day, second time three days, third time two weeks, and a fourth time ban them for good. That's just a suggestion but I think its the best way to make people aware of being polite and respectful. What's the worst thing that can be done to a poster, take away their points, heck no, its to prevent them from posting.

We also need some sort of judicial system in the simpliest form. If you get banned you should have the right to at least challenge the ruling. One day banned maybe not, but if you're about to be banned for two weeks you should be allowed to at least defend your comments...either publically or through PM. I think some members are being punished because they got defensive or worked up. We ban the member that lashes out but don't take the time to look at the member who provoked him. I think if we allow members to defend themselves we'll have less controversy over punishments dealt out.

Another suggestion, create a debate forum...an end all, somewhat no holds-bar, debate forum. Sort of a "buyers beware" forum where members can debate topics that clutter every forum currently. With this debate forum we can relax the rules slighty to allow entire topics to be about debating issues. With this we will severally limit topics getting out of hand in the other forums and ruining the actual topic in the thread. When a topic starts turning into a debate it (or just that section of the topic) can be moved to that forum where the moderators will be aware that arguements can continue. Members who create inappropiate debates in the normal topics can be warned that that is not allowed (eventually banned). Every topic nowadays seems to turn into a debate and its gotten rediculas. I hate coming into topics a day too late and the original topic isn't even being discussed anymore. A debate forum would move all of "that" into one area so members can discuss positively in the appropiate forums instead of negatively once a topic has gotten out of hand.

We do need more moderators, and though I'd love to help out, we need more regardless. And its not that the current moderators are doing a bad job, they just can't be expected to police the entire forum constantly. The rate at which a thread is posted and replied to in the PS3 sections is very high, and I can understand why it can be difficult.

With regards to moderators though, we need to have both Super Moderators and normal Moderators. Super moderators to police the entire forum, moderators who show zero, absolutely zero, bias towards any system or topic, and normal moderators that have shown slight bias to police individual sections. I think if each section had one or two moderators to police just that section it would greatly reduce the spam on this forum. Those moderators should be individuals who post in that section regularly so they are familiar with the content. We should not have a PS3 fan moderating the Xbox 360 forum...even if he/she is a great person. Super moderators should be highly respected members of the forum and incredibly mature. They police the regular members and the normal moderators. This would create a hierarchy so no member has too much power.

Another suggestion I have is creating a "special" sub forum for respectable members. This includes moderators and administrators, but also members who have positively affected the forums either by not flaming individuals, helping with trolls, and overall being a respectable influence on the forum. This sub forum would be there so these members can have their own general discussions about anything, including forum related matters. Think of it as a counsel for repected members (not just members with authority). This sub-forum would be private to everyone else. Having this would encourage members to be respectful and kind so they might one day be accepted into the forum. This has worked very well at other forums I have been on.

Current members need to also be aware of forum elders. That means, former moderators or special members (forgot the name) should be listed as "Retired moderator" and so forth. Why do this, so new members know that these members are respected individuals on the forum and thus shouldn't be flamed. You don't need to have power to give off a positive message. This would also do justice for any member who hasn't been here for a while, and it wouldn't be as difficult to remove their positive of power.



Overall though, we need to have a Zero Flaming Policy which says that flaming won't be tolerated. While I see us eventually loosening up on the rules, right now, since it appears to be getting out of hand, we need to invoke a no flaming policy. Members who do flame, harass, troll, provoke should be banned based off their record. If members see that you will get banned if you flame someone they will be much less likely to do it.

Those are my suggestions, take them as you want.
 

Blu-Ray

Elite Sage
Jul 9, 2006
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#24
I agree with all the points Rebon pointed out. I think we need a few more events going on to give the members a fun, relaxed environment to post in. I love the Admins...
 

Dorfdad

Super Elite
Sep 8, 2005
2,476
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#25
Reborn, Ive been on a few of the bans and for one a good reason :)

But I have also been banned by knee jerk reactions from some MODS who do not like my views on something. Unless a topic of post is of hate, or religous bashing, or something that is along those lines users should not be banned for there conversations and views regardless of the moderators views.

If you really want to end the fighting get rid of the other sections and make it a PS3 forum.. I like the 360 section and Aquanox is a tremendous asset to this site though he is a bit of a big XBOX head :) People who have been here longer and have contributed to the success and growth of this forum should have a little more discussion before a BAN unless it fall in line with the above.

I love these forums, but I think new topics need to have users with at least 50-100 posts.
 

Blu-Ray

Elite Sage
Jul 9, 2006
11,787
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#26
[QUOTE="Dorfdad, post: 0]Reborn, Ive been on a few of the bans and for one a good reason :)

But I have also been banned by knee jerk reactions from some MODS who do not like my views on something. Unless a topic of post is of hate, or religous bashing, or something that is along those lines users should not be banned for there conversations and views regardless of the moderators views.

If you really want to end the fighting get rid of the other sections and make it a PS3 forum.. I like the 360 section and Aquanox is a tremendous asset to this site though he is a bit of a big XBOX head :) People who have been here longer and have contributed to the success and growth of this forum should have a little more discussion before a BAN unless it fall in line with the above.

I love these forums, but I think new topics need to have users with at least 50-100 posts.[/quote]

I agree with the last sentence of your post, but the rest is like "eh...". There is no reason to delete the Xbox forum, it would only cause confusion, and Xbox conversations would take up most of the OT forum. Not to mention the future arguments the forum is going to witness if that does go down.
Having the Xbox forum gives PS3F more diversity is conversation in a sense... no offense to you or anyone else who agrees with you because you are entitled to your opinion, but atleast think about future consequences of your ideas.
 

Dorfdad

Super Elite
Sep 8, 2005
2,476
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#27
No im not saying get rid of the 360 forums, Im saying if you want the fighting and flame wars, haters to all go away remove the 360 forum.

Im not for that either as I have all three consoles and love them each..
 

kingsam

Super Elite
Sep 1, 2006
2,415
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#28
[QUOTE="The Game, post: 1117662]I also suggest not being so tough on some posts. Some of the mods do act like Nazis (although thats a strong word to use) when removing a posts. Case in point, I made a post asking if anyone would buy MotorStorm if it got low ratings by game reviewers and I got it removed because it was "useless post". Excuse me?

This board is the best one you can go to for talking about games, but you guys are SO strict sometimes on what can be posted, its like we can only post what is a article from another site with a source, and that we can't post are own thoughts and concerns unless is written in a thesis style. :?

Can this be changed? Can the mods be trained on what to tell is spam and what is a concern or thought?[/quote]
For me personally this is my biggest problem with the forum. There seems to be little to no room for humour, or even less-significant discussions. It seems to inhibit(sp?) character and I find it slightly annoying. I'm all for good quality posts, but there's nothing wrong with a joke or a laugh, or just lesser discussions, provided they stay amicable(sp? again).

It's less the mods action, which in general I respect, but more the semi-forum 'veterans' who are like 'pointless thread, lock' or 'use the search function', and so on. People act like a thread is some sort of comodity like oil, or something. If a thread is of no interest, then it will sink down, it doesn't need to be exterminated.

In my personal view, if you force 'higher level' discussion and prohibit - too much mind you, there is of course a limit - 'lower level' conversation, you create a stale characterless enviroment. Not that I'm saying it is like that now, but I have seen forums with a lot more character, and togetherness through the fact they are given the ability to interact in more socialble terms. It's these people that seem more 'forum Nazi' to me than the mods, and they don't serve to make the forums a friendly place to be, especially for new members.

Being more flexible about this will also give the mods more time to focus on the idiotic and childish behavour that happens on this forum. The kind that is done to rub salt in someone's eyes, rather than the harmless childishness that frequents the "General Room".
This stuff definitely needs to be cracked down upon for a while, or some other kind of way of dealing with it. And some 'beacon' posters that show an example of what the ethos of this forum really is, or what it used to represent.

To all, keep the good work, as in general I think this place is very good. ;)
 

Tetsu

Forum Guru
May 6, 2006
3,844
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#29
One thing I don't like are thread locks. It's really not fair to thread starters or those involved in the conversation for it to be derailed by childish posters. The biggest targets have to be PS3 and 360 hardware threads, and Gran Turismo and Forza threads. I think something more appropriate than slamming the door is for a mod to intervene and straighten a troublemaker out. Perhaps Hippo's idea of removing the offensive section to an argument arena would work best. But somehow, let the thread continue unless it's hopelessly overrun by all sides and is beyond salvaging.

I also don't like bans, even though in this age of flame, banning is the most effective punishment for some. I prefer intermediate stages like removing posting access for a day or three. I'd hope that the SMCs would be effective in corralling troublemakers. Hopefully a few more active ones will make the environment here lighter and more fun. I think the heavy handed approach is all wrong. Treating everyone like a thug is what ruined the communist world, and we don't need a KGB here, even temporarily. Maybe on teamXBox.com, but not here. ;)

I think Lefein's and kingsam's posts said it better.
 

c.a.p

Super Elite
Jan 9, 2005
2,100
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#30
For this place to get better, a number of steps must be taken. I agree with some of your points Rebon, but I don't think that's enough. For there to be real long term changes around here, bigger steps must be taken. Here are some ideas I had in mind:

Trolling: This is my prime concern for the future of the forums. A great deal of trolling in every one of it's ugly forms occurs on a daily basis here. Every party is guilty of it, so it is useless to single out any individual "group". The only thing that can be done is to remain on high alert, as these trolls often help to fan the flames of these ugly arguments that occur far too often around here. I suggest that the post histories of a user the moment troll-like behavior is seen from them. That way it can be seen if this is a recurring problem with them. If it is agreed among the staff that it is, that user can be promptly banned.

Moderators: To put it simply, there aren't enough active moderators. I believe that before any single person is chosen to be promoted to moderator that they should at least be among the more active users on the forums. They must also be respected so other members will actually listen to them. It's also essential that they have good posting skills so they set a good example for newer members. I think that if these steps are taken, we will not have to worry about searching for new mods for a good while.

SMC: Like you said Rebon, the SMC need more power. If anything, I think that they should be able to edit, delete posts, and hand out minor infractions. Also, as with the moderators, they need to be active, well respected, and have good posting skills.

Community: I like your fourth idea on community building. Some suggestions I would make would to be to create and promote new competitions in the Design Corner, maybe even hold political debates in the politics forum (Heavily moderated, of course.) I've also tried this before, but it didn't quite get off to a good start. How about a community thread in the General section? You can talk about whatever as long as you don't spam. This way, the members will get a chance to know each other a bit better and maybe even become friends after chatting with each other.

That pretty much sums up my opinions for now, please consider them. :)