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Should The Political Discussion Board Remain?

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Should The Political Discussion Board Remain?

Yes 66 53.66%
 
No 57 46.34%
 
Total:123
padib said:
HylianSwordsman said:

This is actually a pretty good idea. Maybe if it was locked for anyone below a certain number of points? Combined with stepping up the moderation on the politics forum, that would mean that many of the worst offenders would be permabanned from the forums entirely for trolling the gaming forums before they could accumulate enough points to muck up the politics threads.

Cool concept. It would have to be a private rating system done by a neutral group (mod team or a specific group for political threads as was mentioned earlier). It can't be a public rating system because people who disagree or read from the other side of a debate may not be able to stay neutral. It would have to be a rating done by a neutral party, and then certain threads could require higher or lower reputation as configured by a mod.

But that might lead to people not just refraining from trolling or being abusive, but it could lead to people developing some kind of cleaned out rhetoric that goes against the grain of the political forum.

Still it's an interesting idea.

I mean that's certainly one way to do it, but that would be really involved to create. I just meant the gamrPoints system, under your avi. You have 41,000 points right now. I have 11,900. We've clearly both been around long enough that if we were toxic troublemakers, it would already be apparent. Moderating politics would be hard enough with everyone able to access it, but with a high bar, say 5,000 or 10,000 points, only the most committed and proven members would be able to post in political threads, making it much easier to moderate. New people that are the type to troll and be toxic to the community wouldn't be able to post for a long time, and would probably get permabanned from activity on the gaming forums first. New people that aren't the type to troll and be toxic but would be turned off by divisive conversation wouldn't be able to take part in controversial topics until much later after they'd grown attached enough to the community to be able to look past that. All we'd need is some kind of check before a post submits that blocks posts into politics if your gamrPoints are too low. That, and a rule that posting a political thread to the wrong thread gets the thread locked instead of moved to politics if you wouldn't have enough points to partake in it, otherwise people would try to get around the gate by posting in General and getting it transferred to Politics. Also, it would probably be good to pair this with keeping Politics off of Hot Topics, Latest Topics, and the front page so as not to taunt new members with something they can't participate in.



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Ban all political discussion.



    

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I've been thinking on a "reputation" system for quite some time - different than points for doing stuff, or vg$ for doing other stuff, etc. There are many, many, MANY ways to skin this type of cat in ways that are fair while also preventing users from intentionally bumping up others who might not necessarily deserve it. For instance:

 - Your reputation must be at xx before you can rate anybody else - if your reputation takes a downturn and you suddenly find yourself below the threshold, then it will encourage you to start engaging in better conversations in hopes that your reputation will build back up again

 - Moderations can affect your reputation negatively (long stretches WITHOUT moderations can affect you positively)

 - You have to give reputation ratings to xx number of unique users, before you can bump the same person again (prevents people from repeatedly hammering one particular user - good or bad)

 - You are limited to xx number of ratings in a 24hr period

I know there are many additional rules that can be wrapped around this concept (these are just some of the easy ones that have been floating around in my mind) - but the obvious goal is to encourage good behavior (while allowing the community as a whole to identify persistent trolls). This could also then be expanded to include whether you can (or cannot) post in certain off-topic boards (such as politics) and thereby hopefully cut down on some of the incessant chatter. 

Anyway - I'm certainly not saying this is the solution, nor am I suggesting this is something we should rush to implement without a fair amount of feedback from staff and community. Just some random thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind for awhile... 



I don't like the idea of board reputation being linked to a debate about the Politics board: it seems to invite a situation where users could be “punished” for their political opinions in a way that would leak into other parts of their site use. Upvote/downvote systems are highly exploitable.



Sordel said:

I don't like the idea of board reputation being linked to a debate about the Politics board: it seems to invite a situation where users could be “punished” for their political opinions in a way that would leak into other parts of their site use. Upvote/downvote systems are highly exploitable.

Well, it was (and wasn't) linked to the politics board debate - as I said, it was already something I had been mulling over for awhile now (probably a year or two) - long before this thread was even started. And while I'm sure nearly anything can be used maliciously somehow - unless I missed something in some of the logical rules I listed, I would think it would be pretty hard to abuse something like this...     ...and if I DID miss something, well then, that's why staff and community feedback would be involved - to help CATCH those scenarios that were unaccounted for, and put a check in place.



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TalonMan said:

I've been thinking on a "reputation" system for quite some time - different than points for doing stuff, or vg$ for doing other stuff, etc. There are many, many, MANY ways to skin this type of cat in ways that are fair while also preventing users from intentionally bumping up others who might not necessarily deserve it. For instance:

 

 - Your reputation must be at xx before you can rate anybody else - if your reputation takes a downturn and you suddenly find yourself below the threshold, then it will encourage you to start engaging in better conversations in hopes that your reputation will build back up again

 - Moderations can affect your reputation negatively (long stretches WITHOUT moderations can affect you positively)

 - You have to give reputation ratings to xx number of unique users, before you can bump the same person again (prevents people from repeatedly hammering one particular user - good or bad)

 - You are limited to xx number of ratings in a 24hr period

 

I know there are many additional rules that can be wrapped around this concept (these are just some of the easy ones that have been floating around in my mind) - but the obvious goal is to encourage good behavior (while allowing the community as a whole to identify persistent trolls). This could also then be expanded to include whether you can (or cannot) post in certain off-topic boards (such as politics) and thereby hopefully cut down on some of the incessant chatter. 

 

Anyway - I'm certainly not saying this is the solution, nor am I suggesting this is something we should rush to implement without a fair amount of feedback from staff and community. Just some random thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind for awhile... 

On paper it sounds like a good idea, but my worries would be how it could be exploited. For instance, I could imagine a scenario where someone posts a really unpopular opinion in a thread and the rest of the thread goes after his reputation with a slew of downvotes, when he didn't say anything trollish, just unpopular. This would especially be true in the politics section. People would get enough reputation to post, post something in the politics board, and immediately lose access to the board when the strongest partisan group mass downvoted them. Sure, they can each only vote once, but have you ever been to Reddit? Because whenever even one unpopular comment is posted in a subreddit it isn't welcome in, that single comment can get bombarded to hell, even though each downvote was from a unique user. And that's with the ability to separate broad topics like politics into partisan groups. What you're describing would be like pushing The_Donald and SandersForPresident together. There would be blood. People are too tribal in their thinking nowadays, including on these forums, and not just politically, but in gaming too with the big three console makers. Just look at the up and down votes in the front page linked articles' comment sections. Someone says something unpopular, but not uncivil, and they get their comment hidden from tons of downvotes. I get that your idea wouldn't be a per comment rating, but rather a per user rating, and that therefore it's not like 5 users could give a person 25 downvotes by each downvoting 5 of his comments. However, if that person is the sort of user that doesn't comment often and slowly works his way up in reputation, then a few unpopular comments, delivered on separate days so that the 24 hour limit didn't apply and the downvoters had time to vote on other people, could wipe him out. In that sense, it would really hurt shyer users that don't comment often if they make one or two unpopular comments and get dogpiled. I guess what I'm getting at is that there's no way this reputation system would get used based on civility only, it would be exploited to be used for opinion bashing in our tribally minded world, and that would hurt people, perhaps even those it was meant to protect.

A few other things to consider:

1. What's to stop someone with a vendetta against a specific user from bashing them once a day? They could bash the user, wait a day, during which they'd upvote like-minded people to reset the unique user limit. They wouldn't need new reasons to do so, they could just keep doing it, and could do so completely undetected.

2. What's to stop a group of users from organizing through private messages or off-site entirely through a discord server or something to manipulate the system? Let's say your unique user limit is 15. So you can't rate a user again until you've rated 14 others. So then someone could invite 13 people to a private message group, pick targets that they want to silence from Politics or whatever other board they want them gone from, and just upvote each other once a day to keep their reputation up and downvote the target. Even less people would be needed for the group if they picked multiple downvote targets, or picked people that they liked hearing from but didn't trust to have in the group to upvote. A conspiracy like this would be very easy to organize if the unique user limit is too low, and also if the reputation votes are not viewable by the moderators in a way that would connect individual votes to individual users.

3. What's to stop people from going after mods? Or are mods immune? They'd have to be in order to prevent a mod from being banned from posting in certain boards, but if they weren't it might sow dissent for certain mods if that mod is known for posting opinions that border on unacceptable, or even just unpopular. It might be better if mods were immune but couldn't participate in off-topic threads except to moderate them. Honestly, that might not be a bad idea even without the reputation system at least for the Politics thread to prevent users from harboring feelings of partisan tribalism against a politically vocal mod.

4. What's to stop permabanned people from creating alts that go undetected long enough to get the necessary reputation to vote, then stop posting so as to avoid detection while using the account to go after whoever they blame for their permaban?

5. For that matter, what's to stop people from creating alts that avoid detection, growing them up to voting status, then stopping posting so as to avoid detection or loss of voting status, and just growing a bunch of such alts that they use to get multiple votes? I know you guys have tools to detect alts, but the tools aren't perfect and sometimes an alt slips by for a good while. As I said before, the mods would NEED to be able to link individual votes to individual users so as to detect suspicious voting patterns.

6. One final note on alts, what's to stop someone from creating an alt account, but never posting, resulting in your "long period without moderation=positive reputation bonus" rule automatically giving them the necessary positive reputation to vote? Anyone could just create enough alts to meet the unique user limit, and before those alts are even vote viable, the original account could just upvote them all to reset his unique user counter, and farm those alts for votes to get his original account able to do whatever he wants with minimal consequence. Another reason to have reputation votes be viewable by at least the mods.

7. If vote manipulation is suspected by a user, who thinks his reputation is falling too fast and someone has a vendetta against him, how does he report it, and how is it investigated, if at all?

8. If mods can detect suspicious voting patterns, you have to consider how far to take moderation on those voting patterns. Do you just use it as an additional way to detect alts? If people seemed to vote in groups against specific targets, do you try to punish that or is that okay (I mean it would be hard to definitively prove without direct evidence of deliberate coordination so you might just have to let it slide)? Do you punish people that seem to downvote a user right after or before responding to them in a way that disagrees with them? That could provide evidence that someone is likely using the voting system to bash opinions instead of punish uncivil behavior, but is that even wrong?

9. If it is wrong to bash other's opinions with the reputation voting system, and it really is just for policing incivility, why can't mods do that? If you want to stop misuse of the system, you could make the reputation system only usable by mods, as a way of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior in cases where a full moderation isn't quite called for. This would solve a lot of the issues I mentioned, but would make each person's reputation much less transparent to them unless they got notifications of which mods up or down voted them and why, and whether they did or didn't get such notifications, they'd likely start to resent that much moderation action if it didn't go their way or if it was usually a particular mod or they suspected that it was usually a particular mod that downvoted them.

10. If it isn't wrong to use the voting system to downvote opinions you don't like and upvote opinions you do, then why not just expand the "agree" system below each post to have a disagree button and make it like Reddit's karma system? But is that really what we want for this community? I personally would rather only mods could use the reputation system so we could trust it was being used for its intended purpose rather than have any amount of exploitability that lets users use the system to target people they disagree with, but that's just me.

Just a final thought to add to my first paragraph: if you base the use of a reputation system on the honor system that people will only use it for downvoting persistent trolls and not to troll each other, I fear you have too much faith in us. If it's possible to go after people for their opinions, that's what people are going to do, I guarantee it. And if they do, the tribal thinking on these forums will only get worse. Politics will become an echo chamber of the site's biggest political side. Outside of Politics, fans of the most unpopular of the big 3 companies at the time would suffer the most. They'd either learn to silence their positive opinions of the unpopular company and their dissent of the popular ones or they'd learn to live with negative reputation scores. Honestly, I'd be willing to bet that more negative votes would be given out than positive ones, and you might end up with no one being able to post in Politics. Hell, you might end up with no one with a positive score. Anger motivates more than love, unfortunately, and we see it in clickbaity news headlines every day. The last thing this community needs is a mechanical way to use anger against other users to reduce their ability to participate in the forums.

My apologies that this was long, I just really got to thinking about your reputation idea and once I started I just found I had a lot of thoughts about it.



HylianSwordsman said:
TalonMan said:

I've been thinking on a "reputation" system for quite some time - different than points for doing stuff, or vg$ for doing other stuff, etc. There are many, many, MANY ways to skin this type of cat in ways that are fair while also preventing users from intentionally bumping up others who might not necessarily deserve it. For instance:

 

 - Your reputation must be at xx before you can rate anybody else - if your reputation takes a downturn and you suddenly find yourself below the threshold, then it will encourage you to start engaging in better conversations in hopes that your reputation will build back up again

 - Moderations can affect your reputation negatively (long stretches WITHOUT moderations can affect you positively)

 - You have to give reputation ratings to xx number of unique users, before you can bump the same person again (prevents people from repeatedly hammering one particular user - good or bad)

 - You are limited to xx number of ratings in a 24hr period

 

I know there are many additional rules that can be wrapped around this concept (these are just some of the easy ones that have been floating around in my mind) - but the obvious goal is to encourage good behavior (while allowing the community as a whole to identify persistent trolls). This could also then be expanded to include whether you can (or cannot) post in certain off-topic boards (such as politics) and thereby hopefully cut down on some of the incessant chatter. 

 

Anyway - I'm certainly not saying this is the solution, nor am I suggesting this is something we should rush to implement without a fair amount of feedback from staff and community. Just some random thoughts that have been rolling around in my mind for awhile... 

On paper it sounds like a good idea, but my worries would be how it could be exploited. For instance, I could imagine a scenario where someone posts a really unpopular opinion in a thread and the rest of the thread goes after his reputation with a slew of downvotes, when he didn't say anything trollish, just unpopular. This would especially be true in the politics section. People would get enough reputation to post, post something in the politics board, and immediately lose access to the board when the strongest partisan group mass downvoted them. Sure, they can each only vote once, but have you ever been to Reddit? Because whenever even one unpopular comment is posted in a subreddit it isn't welcome in, that single comment can get bombarded to hell, even though each downvote was from a unique user. And that's with the ability to separate broad topics like politics into partisan groups. What you're describing would be like pushing The_Donald and SandersForPresident together. There would be blood. People are too tribal in their thinking nowadays, including on these forums, and not just politically, but in gaming too with the big three console makers. Just look at the up and down votes in the front page linked articles' comment sections. Someone says something unpopular, but not uncivil, and they get their comment hidden from tons of downvotes. I get that your idea wouldn't be a per comment rating, but rather a per user rating, and that therefore it's not like 5 users could give a person 25 downvotes by each downvoting 5 of his comments. However, if that person is the sort of user that doesn't comment often and slowly works his way up in reputation, then a few unpopular comments, delivered on separate days so that the 24 hour limit didn't apply and the downvoters had time to vote on other people, could wipe him out. In that sense, it would really hurt shyer users that don't comment often if they make one or two unpopular comments and get dogpiled. I guess what I'm getting at is that there's no way this reputation system would get used based on civility only, it would be exploited to be used for opinion bashing in our tribally minded world, and that would hurt people, perhaps even those it was meant to protect.

A few other things to consider:

1. What's to stop someone with a vendetta against a specific user from bashing them once a day? They could bash the user, wait a day, during which they'd upvote like-minded people to reset the unique user limit. They wouldn't need new reasons to do so, they could just keep doing it, and could do so completely undetected.

2. What's to stop a group of users from organizing through private messages or off-site entirely through a discord server or something to manipulate the system? Let's say your unique user limit is 15. So you can't rate a user again until you've rated 14 others. So then someone could invite 13 people to a private message group, pick targets that they want to silence from Politics or whatever other board they want them gone from, and just upvote each other once a day to keep their reputation up and downvote the target. Even less people would be needed for the group if they picked multiple downvote targets, or picked people that they liked hearing from but didn't trust to have in the group to upvote. A conspiracy like this would be very easy to organize if the unique user limit is too low, and also if the reputation votes are not viewable by the moderators in a way that would connect individual votes to individual users.

3. What's to stop people from going after mods? Or are mods immune? They'd have to be in order to prevent a mod from being banned from posting in certain boards, but if they weren't it might sow dissent for certain mods if that mod is known for posting opinions that border on unacceptable, or even just unpopular. It might be better if mods were immune but couldn't participate in off-topic threads except to moderate them. Honestly, that might not be a bad idea even without the reputation system at least for the Politics thread to prevent users from harboring feelings of partisan tribalism against a politically vocal mod.

4. What's to stop permabanned people from creating alts that go undetected long enough to get the necessary reputation to vote, then stop posting so as to avoid detection while using the account to go after whoever they blame for their permaban?

5. For that matter, what's to stop people from creating alts that avoid detection, growing them up to voting status, then stopping posting so as to avoid detection or loss of voting status, and just growing a bunch of such alts that they use to get multiple votes? I know you guys have tools to detect alts, but the tools aren't perfect and sometimes an alt slips by for a good while. As I said before, the mods would NEED to be able to link individual votes to individual users so as to detect suspicious voting patterns.

6. One final note on alts, what's to stop someone from creating an alt account, but never posting, resulting in your "long period without moderation=positive reputation bonus" rule automatically giving them the necessary positive reputation to vote? Anyone could just create enough alts to meet the unique user limit, and before those alts are even vote viable, the original account could just upvote them all to reset his unique user counter, and farm those alts for votes to get his original account able to do whatever he wants with minimal consequence. Another reason to have reputation votes be viewable by at least the mods.

7. If vote manipulation is suspected by a user, who thinks his reputation is falling too fast and someone has a vendetta against him, how does he report it, and how is it investigated, if at all?

8. If mods can detect suspicious voting patterns, you have to consider how far to take moderation on those voting patterns. Do you just use it as an additional way to detect alts? If people seemed to vote in groups against specific targets, do you try to punish that or is that okay (I mean it would be hard to definitively prove without direct evidence of deliberate coordination so you might just have to let it slide)? Do you punish people that seem to downvote a user right after or before responding to them in a way that disagrees with them? That could provide evidence that someone is likely using the voting system to bash opinions instead of punish uncivil behavior, but is that even wrong?

9. If it is wrong to bash other's opinions with the reputation voting system, and it really is just for policing incivility, why can't mods do that? If you want to stop misuse of the system, you could make the reputation system only usable by mods, as a way of rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior in cases where a full moderation isn't quite called for. This would solve a lot of the issues I mentioned, but would make each person's reputation much less transparent to them unless they got notifications of which mods up or down voted them and why, and whether they did or didn't get such notifications, they'd likely start to resent that much moderation action if it didn't go their way or if it was usually a particular mod or they suspected that it was usually a particular mod that downvoted them.

10. If it isn't wrong to use the voting system to downvote opinions you don't like and upvote opinions you do, then why not just expand the "agree" system below each post to have a disagree button and make it like Reddit's karma system? But is that really what we want for this community? I personally would rather only mods could use the reputation system so we could trust it was being used for its intended purpose rather than have any amount of exploitability that lets users use the system to target people they disagree with, but that's just me.

Just a final thought to add to my first paragraph: if you base the use of a reputation system on the honor system that people will only use it for downvoting persistent trolls and not to troll each other, I fear you have too much faith in us. If it's possible to go after people for their opinions, that's what people are going to do, I guarantee it. And if they do, the tribal thinking on these forums will only get worse. Politics will become an echo chamber of the site's biggest political side. Outside of Politics, fans of the most unpopular of the big 3 companies at the time would suffer the most. They'd either learn to silence their positive opinions of the unpopular company and their dissent of the popular ones or they'd learn to live with negative reputation scores. Honestly, I'd be willing to bet that more negative votes would be given out than positive ones, and you might end up with no one being able to post in Politics. Hell, you might end up with no one with a positive score. Anger motivates more than love, unfortunately, and we see it in clickbaity news headlines every day. The last thing this community needs is a mechanical way to use anger against other users to reduce their ability to participate in the forums.

My apologies that this was long, I just really got to thinking about your reputation idea and once I started I just found I had a lot of thoughts about it.

LOL!! Yeah, that was QUITE the novel!! There's a lot to take in there, and obviously since I'm not even in development or even prototype staging any of this - I'm not prepared to even take a stab at trying to address each one of your concerns. The only thing I can say with absolute confidence, is that I'm positive for each potential problem you've outlined - there is a way to resolve. You need to keep in mind - since these forums are 100% customized and hand built, we can do whatever in the world we want to do!!! While the customization of these boards is what makes enhancements and fixes so difficult at times and prone to bugs - it also gives us full flexibility to build and do whatever we want, as we're not tied to some template with strict rules and limited modification. We are free to do anything and everything... 

...I'll certainly look through this in greater detail at some point - perhaps if we get serious about implementing reputation, I'll use this as a guiding document to help ensure some of the scenarios are addressed from the beginning. But just to give an idea as to how I would resolve even your first issue, these are some possible ways to address (and some of these are tools I mentioned in my post, already):

1. What's to stop someone with a vendetta against a specific user from bashing them once a day? They could bash the user, wait a day, during which they'd upvote like-minded people to reset the unique user limit. They wouldn't need new reasons to do so, they could just keep doing it, and could do so completely undetected.

 - I mentioned that one of the throttling devices that could be deployed, would be that a user had to rate xx number of other unique users, before they could rate somebody else again (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 today - I won't be able to +1 him again, until after I've rated 15 other distinct users).

 - Insert a cool-off period between ratings (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 - I won't be able to +1 anyone else, for at least 10 minutes).

With just these two tools, somebody would need to be AWFULLY dedicated to trash (or inflate) a user's reputation. They would need to spend nearly 3hrs, trying to upvote 14 other users before they'd even have a chance to come back and rate the original user again. That takes a RIDICULOUS amount of patience on somebody's part!!! And if, at any point, the mods or the community in general suspect foul-play - it could be made into a simple click to reset a particular user's ratings that have been handed out (thereby, laying waste to all the effort they'd put in to screw with the system).

Again - I know you have other scenarios listed, I just don't have the stomach or attention span to go through them line-by-line right now (especially since a reputation system is still but a twinkle in my eye!!). The point of this response though, is just to make you understand that for every scenario you come up with, I'm POSITIVE rules could be in place to address it...     ...most important, there would ALWAYS be a tool readily available, to undo whatever malice may have been committed (which is the single most important feature to keep in mind, no matter how something like this ever comes together).

Last edited by TalonMan - on 15 March 2019

TalonMan said:

LOL!! Yeah, that was QUITE the novel!! There's a lot to take in there, and obviously since I'm not even in development or even prototype staging any of this - I'm not prepared to even take a stab at trying to address each one of your concerns. The only thing I can say with absolute confidence, is that I'm positive for each potential problem you've outlined - there is a way to resolve. You need to keep in mind - since these forums are 100% customized and hand built, we can do whatever in the world we want to do!!! While the customization of these boards is what makes enhancements and fixes so difficult at times and prone to bugs - it also gives us full flexibility to build and do whatever we want, as we're not tied to some template with strict rules and limited modification. We are free to do anything and everything... 

 

...I'll certainly look through this in greater detail at some point - perhaps if we get serious about implementing reputation, I'll use this as a guiding document to help ensure some of the scenarios are addressed from the beginning. But just to give an idea as to how I would resolve even your first issue, these are some possible ways to address (and some of these are tools I mentioned in my post, already):

 

1. What's to stop someone with a vendetta against a specific user from bashing them once a day? They could bash the user, wait a day, during which they'd upvote like-minded people to reset the unique user limit. They wouldn't need new reasons to do so, they could just keep doing it, and could do so completely undetected.

 - I mentioned that one of the throttling devices that could be deployed, would be that a user had to rate xx number of other unique users, before they could rate somebody else again (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 today - I won't be able to +1 him again, until after I've rated 15 other distinct users).

 - Insert a cool-off period between ratings (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 - I won't be able to +1 anyone else, for at least 10 minutes).

With just these two tools, somebody would need to be AWFULLY dedicated to trash (or inflate) a user's reputation. They would need to spend nearly 3hrs, trying to upvote 14 other users before they'd even have a chance to come back and rate the original user again. That takes a RIDICULOUS amount of patience on somebody's part!!! And if, at any point, the mods or the community in general suspect foul-play - it could be made into a simple click to reset a particular user's ratings that have been handed out (thereby, laying waste to all the effort they'd put in to screw with the system).

 

 

Again - I know you have other scenarios listed, I just don't have the stomach or attention span to go through them line-by-line right now (especially since a reputation system is still but a twinkle in my eye!!). The point of this response though, is just to make you understand that for every scenario you come up with, I'm POSITIVE rules could be in place to address it...     ...most important, there would ALWAYS be a tool readily available, to undo whatever malice may have been committed (which is the single most important feature to keep in mind, no matter how something like this ever comes together).

Again, sorry it was so long. I don't think I fully appreciated how long I'd made it until I saw what it looked like once it was posted, now I'm just embarrassed. I trust you guys to put a lot of thought into something like this, and being all custom made means you're only limited by creativity and dedication. Also, you had said that you'd thought of this years ago, so I guess I made the assumption that it was further along than it was. Sorry for wasting your time.



HylianSwordsman said:
TalonMan said:

LOL!! Yeah, that was QUITE the novel!! There's a lot to take in there, and obviously since I'm not even in development or even prototype staging any of this - I'm not prepared to even take a stab at trying to address each one of your concerns. The only thing I can say with absolute confidence, is that I'm positive for each potential problem you've outlined - there is a way to resolve. You need to keep in mind - since these forums are 100% customized and hand built, we can do whatever in the world we want to do!!! While the customization of these boards is what makes enhancements and fixes so difficult at times and prone to bugs - it also gives us full flexibility to build and do whatever we want, as we're not tied to some template with strict rules and limited modification. We are free to do anything and everything... 

 

...I'll certainly look through this in greater detail at some point - perhaps if we get serious about implementing reputation, I'll use this as a guiding document to help ensure some of the scenarios are addressed from the beginning. But just to give an idea as to how I would resolve even your first issue, these are some possible ways to address (and some of these are tools I mentioned in my post, already):

 

1. What's to stop someone with a vendetta against a specific user from bashing them once a day? They could bash the user, wait a day, during which they'd upvote like-minded people to reset the unique user limit. They wouldn't need new reasons to do so, they could just keep doing it, and could do so completely undetected.

 - I mentioned that one of the throttling devices that could be deployed, would be that a user had to rate xx number of other unique users, before they could rate somebody else again (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 today - I won't be able to +1 him again, until after I've rated 15 other distinct users).

 - Insert a cool-off period between ratings (ie. I give HylianSwordsman a +1 - I won't be able to +1 anyone else, for at least 10 minutes).

With just these two tools, somebody would need to be AWFULLY dedicated to trash (or inflate) a user's reputation. They would need to spend nearly 3hrs, trying to upvote 14 other users before they'd even have a chance to come back and rate the original user again. That takes a RIDICULOUS amount of patience on somebody's part!!! And if, at any point, the mods or the community in general suspect foul-play - it could be made into a simple click to reset a particular user's ratings that have been handed out (thereby, laying waste to all the effort they'd put in to screw with the system).

 

 

Again - I know you have other scenarios listed, I just don't have the stomach or attention span to go through them line-by-line right now (especially since a reputation system is still but a twinkle in my eye!!). The point of this response though, is just to make you understand that for every scenario you come up with, I'm POSITIVE rules could be in place to address it...     ...most important, there would ALWAYS be a tool readily available, to undo whatever malice may have been committed (which is the single most important feature to keep in mind, no matter how something like this ever comes together).

Again, sorry it was so long. I don't think I fully appreciated how long I'd made it until I saw what it looked like once it was posted, now I'm just embarrassed. I trust you guys to put a lot of thought into something like this, and being all custom made means you're only limited by creativity and dedication. Also, you had said that you'd thought of this years ago, so I guess I made the assumption that it was further along than it was. Sorry0

Nah - no reason to be sorry, at all!! This is a solid response, raising some valid concerns, and it's responses like this that I absolutely look forward to, when I reach out to the community for input.

...I just happen to think that everything you wrote is either not a problem or easily addressed.



CGI-Quality said:
Though no decision has been made yet, I again appreciate the feedback we've received. And, my mind has shifted a bit on it. Many of your posts have given cause to definitely make some changes, but not so drastic that we must remove. I'm not saying that's the final call, of course, but I opened this topic for that reason.

As a team, we don't all agree on everything, but one thing that we have all agreed on is the state of the Political Discussion. That is, something needs to be done, whether it is getting rid of it or something else. In fairness to much of the criticism we have received in this regard, mods need to do more. It can be tough, and that area of the site can get ugly, but if we decide to keep it, I'm happy to make sure that we step up our presence in these topics. That has been said before, but now it is with conviction! I have been listening to feedback on many things (we decided to put some work into the ruleset, as an example ~ plenty of mods also thought it needed to shed some fat...and it did).

Of course, this is a video game website first and foremost, and while we could surely do away with a board that seems to be on life support, perhaps letting it die isn't the answer. Deliberations will happen, but just know that this has all been heard and is being taken very serious!

There are four big points I want to make in my post. I will break them down into four separated sections.

Political Discussion is not the root cause of the problem

It is plain evident that there is a problem, but what's wrong can't be solved by closing down a subsection of the forums. The root cause is that mod teams in the past few years have been content with ignoring political discussions. If we did away with Political Discussion, the same topics would be moved into General, Movies or Gaming and then the mod team would be just as apathetic toward these topics as it has been the past few years. Worse, without containing political topics to mostly one clearly defined section that is easy to avoid for users who don't want to see such topics, you'd dissatisfy even more people than you are now, because you'd create a spread.

That's why Political Discussion has to stay. Plus the solution to fix it won't be something like a reputation system, because such a thing will only necessitate more work for the mod team than the more logical solution: The mod team simply does the job they have volunteered for and act as moderators of political discussions.

In order to solve a problem, one must not only admit that there is one, but also how big it is

One specific thread that helps to determine how big the problem is is this recent one: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=239500

It has blatant flaws in its title, chosen quote and conclusion that was presented by the original poster. If you scroll down to the very first reply to the thread, you'll see that it took the community only three minutes to catch on that something was off.

Your personal reaction to the thread was to stash it away in Political Discussion, because you couldn't care less. Here the thread passed the mod team's first check.

When somebody questioned if the thread is even real, I provided a response which promptly got me banned. My moderation is not the topic here, it's merely used as the second piece of evidence that the mod team did check the thread again. There were no consequences for the thread despite what was explained in my post, so it had passed the mod team's second check.

When I appealed my moderation - again, my moderation is not the topic here - I was assured with emphasis that the mod team will take another look at the thread. Once again nothing happened, so the thread passed the check for the third time. This third time happened after you wrote the post I quoted up there, so the alleged conviction you spoke of must be questioned.

A further factor would be the history of the user who made the thread. History is something that you've said is part of the evaluation to determine if someone is baiting or trolling, but the actual application of such an evaluation has been questioned before, and rightly so.

Again, it took the community only three minutes to see red flags, but the mod team couldn't find anything wrong despite looking at the thread three times. The only fair conclusion is that your current team lacks both the interest and competence to moderate political discussions. Another eye opener was the open admission by a moderator that the mod team doesn't want to do their job because of a toxic environment. That's the wrong attitude to have for people who want to be mods.

If you are serious about addressing the problem, it's clear that the first step has to be that you hire new mods who are up for the task. However, the more recent recruitment processes already had people who were hired to tackle political discussions and ultimately nothing changed for the better. As a head moderator it is your responsibility to bring the right people on board. Since an application process is currently underway, it would be nice to hear which individual(s) you have in mind to fill the position(s), because that way the community can already set their expectations accordingly.

You are paying lip service with this thread

When I first saw this thread, I couldn't believe that it was actually made. After all, there is already a thread where the community can bring up issues with moderation - The Moderator Thread - and your team had put two people on the ignore list because they brought up something that you wanted to avoid to answer.

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8982013
http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8982197

The above two posts concerning moderation in political threads have sat there for over one week now, left unaddressed by the mod team. In the mean time, you've created this thread about Political Discussion to earn appreciation and praise for how much of a caring and loving head moderator you are. I call this 'paying lip service' because it is the very definition of paying lip service.

On that note, I want to point out what the trimming of rules was really about - a point you brought up in the post I quoted above. What the team was asked to do by the community wasn't just to cut down on a convoluted ruleset with unnecessary rules, but much more importantly, to opt for a type of moderation that is based on context and common sense. I cannot say that you have fulfilled the more crucial part of that community feedback, because since then you've kept moderating people who pointed out problems while allowing troublemakers to do their thing. Said post was also ignored by your team despite the community putting 10 likes on it.

But this is how things usually go. "We are listening" and other general statements are commonly nothing more than fluff to keep up the appearance of a caring mod team. When somebody asks if you have any concrete ideas - such as Carl in this very thread - then it's greeted with another general and, ironically, very political response where you say something that people want to hear, but don't commit to anything specific.

Given that you haven't posted again in this thread since more than three days, I am inclined to believe that the thread served its purpose for the mod team. However, it has yet to serve its purpose for the community. This brings me to my last point...

You need an incentive to get to work

One method that proves efficiently when it comes to getting people in power to do what they are supposed to do is to make it so that it can no longer be ignored. For that reason I've come up with the idea to post a full plan with concrete details to get Political Discussion in order; said plan will be posted on Sunday, March 17th at 9:00 p.m. CET/8:00 p.m. (UK)/4:00 p.m. EDT/1:00 p.m. PDT; these times should be correct because Europe has yet to switch to Daylight Saving Time while North America already did so one week ago.

You might have already grasped the implications of this. If I am able to present a good plan while the collective mod team cannot, you'll likely be looking at the situation that the community demands that you make me a moderator, because I know what needs to be done. Merely reading this should already cause sweat on your foreheads.

If you have been sincere about your conviction to improve things, then your team will have already brainstormed potentially good ideas since a few days and you'll be already in the stage of finalizing a concrete plan; in that case it will be very much manageable for you to win this competition to make VGC better. If you haven't been sincere... tough luck; you better use that day you have left to make sure that your proposal is at least as good as mine.



Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club