Topics do not need to stay on topic

E

Eye

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What I don't agree or even fully understand is when off-topic is OK and when off-topic is not OK ?
When a moderator/admin tells you to stick to the topic?

Off-topic is not on my check list. I doubt others are checking it.

But yes, like Myrthos said, being a moderator to give a warning to stay on topic after stepping in (because of insults, other TOS stuff, P&R, and such) is a good way to prevent having to step in again to take even stronger measures, which is unpleasant for everyone.
And then of course, in that specific thread off-topic IS on my checklist.
 

wolfgrimdark

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I tend to agree with the general idea you need moderation when it comes to trolling, insults, etc., as most have said. The idea that people would police themselves via peer-pressure to be good, or that it is acceptable to tell people to just suck it up if they are the target of hate speech and insults, doesn't work and can be harmful for those looking for a fun place to relax.

In small, very close knit tight communities, like the crew of a nuclear submarine or tribal communities, peer pressure can work because then everyone knows each other extremely well and they all depend on each other for survival and their well-being. Everyone is in-person, constantly together and interacting, and as a consequence peer pressure to behave is far more intense and effective. Once you start getting into larger groups and bigger populations, then toss in the anonymous nature of the internet, it simply doesn't hold up. We have mods for the same reason we have laws. It is interesting to note that often the people who push to remove moderation of any posts are also the ones who do the bulk of the trolling and insulting. Like criminals upset that the laws are making it hard for them to commit crimes.

However, like Stingray pointed out, it isn't like this is the most robust forum in the world and stifling conversation by cutting it off because it goes off-topic doesn't seem healthy. Staying on topic may be needed for large communities or business meetings but to have healthy and interesting conversations you need some freedom to meander about. I know I tend to see most newsbits as conversation starters and not something that needs to be completely on-topic (in many cases there wouldn't even be much to say) unless the OP asks for it to be.
 
E

Eye

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In the past other moderators have closed a thread when people were starting to get on each others throat, fighting their fight once again, or simply for adding nothing new worthwhile - whatever reason moderators in the past thought it wiser to close a thread.

Personally I never liked that. Sometimes I wanted the opportunity to add something to the topic which I thought could be of interest to others, but it was not possible anymore.

So as a moderator I always kept threads open, and tried to avoid things getting out of hand in a different way: 'back on topic'. Until this afternoon. Now I see the advantages for a mod in closing a thread.

So, if people prefer seeing a thread closed, instead of my explicit warning to stay on topic, that is fine by me.
No more complaints about discussions being deleted (because hey, they simply do not get a chance to begin in the first place AFTER a mod stepped in). Much easier, and less complaining.
 
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Stingray

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So, if people prefer seeing a thread closed, instead of my explicit warning to stay on topic, that is fine by me.
Absolutely nobody is saying that, they're saying they'd rather be left alone and allowed to continue discuss whatever it was they were discussing, because additional discussion hurts absolutely no one unless your goal is just to kill these forums.

There were zero serious insults being flung around in the Tales of Arise thread last night. Unless somebody posted something that got deleted so quickly that I never saw it, which I suppose is possible.
 

SirJames

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I tend to agree with the general idea you need moderation when it comes to trolling, insults, etc., as most have said. The idea that people would police themselves via peer-pressure to be good, or that it is acceptable to tell people to just suck it up if they are the target of hate speech and insults, doesn't work and can be harmful for those looking for a fun place to relax.

There's actually a built-in feature of the forums that lets you ignore users and not see their posts.

Go to their profile and its under "user lists".

So, say you're the victim of Hate Speech. Someone says they hate all Skyrim players because its a terrible game and you're a Skyrim player so they passionately hate you. You can just ignore them forever. If anyone else was third party to this hate speech and doesn't want to be exposed to it again they can do the same. Eventually everyone will have them on ignore and they'll get bored of being ignored and leave.

So, we can police ourselves.

What we cannot do is delete spam from bots or links to malicious sites. That's what we need mods for.
 

Pladio

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When a moderator/admin tells you to stick to the topic?

Off-topic is not on my check list. I doubt others are checking it.

Except, that is the exact problem I am talking about it.
If it's not on your checklist then let discussions flow. If it is then we should understand it.

Having it based on the mood of the day makes for a very difficult forum life.

Is today the day that Mod A or Mod C are looking for off-topic posts ? Or is it tomorrow ? Do I need to watch what I say ? Or don't I ?

Why is topic A allowed to go off the rails and topic B doesn't ?

Again, ignore racism, sexism, etc. Everyone sensible understands these things should not be part of the discussions.
Just focus on off-topic discussions.
 

Stingray

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Again, ignore racism, sexism, etc. Everyone sensible understands these things should not be part of the discussions.
That's not exactly true. The Codex allows all of that in its discussions, and there's plenty of sensible people over there. Most likely a lot more than here, if we're talking raw numbers (seeing as how the total population over there is many times larger). Regardless, we all understand RPGWatch isn't a free speech zone like the Codex. I'd imagine some people post here precisely for that reason, while others may disagree with it but are willing to put up with it.

I just don't get why there is any kind of drive to crack down on discussion. Who cares what thread it's in.
 

lackblogger

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a free speech zone like the Codex.

That's not exactly true. There are loads of things you can post on RPGcodex to get banned or otherwise tarred and feathered. They just have different boundaries. You calling it a free speech zone rather than "somewhere where racists are allowed to post freely" is propaganda of the highest order.
 

Redglyph

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I echo @Pladio;'s questions and concerns, and I also appreciate the difficult nature of the problem. I can only share one impression about it.

I think that what is difficult for us (at least for me) to deal with is the one-time warning. I see the moderator as someone who applies sanctions when something gets out of hand, but also as a guide to wake up from our lapse of judgement when we lose track of the topic or get too close to the edge, since I like to believe most of us don't do it consciously.

When we get the one-time warning, we know we cannot go off-topic anymore and that the tolerance has suddenly dropped to zero. While I understand the need for it, it makes me uncomfortable when it comes out of the blue because I also understand there is sometimes more fun when the discussion touches different tangents, so
- we know that once the warning has been issued, it's not possible anymore even if subjectively it could bring something interesting
- we don't know when the warning may be issued and how far we can go before it does.

I would feel much more comfortable if it was more progressive, more of a guidance at first. At least a first not-so-strict warning or direction saying, "stop discussing about political stuff here", or "stop escalating the issue of X/Y/Z" (I don't have a good example right now). That way, I'd know what to avoid, and that there is still room for discussion. And if it goes on, then there's nothing else to do but get very strict or close, but at least we saw it coming and had a chance to be reasonable.

Maybe it's already like that sometimes and I missed it; I can only share my impression when it's a one-time "back OT" warning. Or maybe it has been tried here but it failed too often, and I'm delusional about people. I'm sure expecting this to fail occasionally when the discussion is too heated.


Of course, like Pladio, I'm not talking about racism & so on, or repeated bashing when it doesn't bring anything to the discussion. The ToS is a pretty good guide in that regard.
 

Stingray

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That's not exactly true. There are loads of things you can post on RPGcodex to get banned or otherwise tarred and feathered. They just have different boundaries. You calling it a free speech zone rather than "somewhere where racists are allowed to post freely" is propaganda of the highest order.
Fair enough, but you know what I meant. Speech is definitely freer over there even if you don't agree with the "free speech zone" phraseology that I used, and the things Pladio mentioned are allowed in their discussions, often the same discussions that have lots of quite sensible people involved in them. In short, it's just simply not true that "all sensible people" believe that speech they find offensive has to be shut down.
 

forgottenlor

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I guess the difficulty lies in trying to second guess which post we write is the one that will be the one that gets moderator attention.

From a poster's perspective:

See a conversation happening -> think about the topic -> see more posts -> decide to write something.

But, meanwhile, in the background someone else is:

See a conversation happening -> is distraught that people are in disagreement -> feels they need to do something -> decides to interrupt the conversation.

And the poster might just get bad timing, they might have posted right before the decision to interrupt had been made. Or their post might have been the trigger to interrupt. Or they were having a different conversation that just got caught up in the offending conversation. And it's difficult to know what posting rules then apply as the poster often has no idea which aspect of which posts are causing the hullabaloo.

And once the mod hammer has struck, as you say, there's this impending doom of not being able to even discuss why it all happened, which will be the only thing people are interested in after it happens. And you get threads like this.

Nobody wants to beat-up on the mods who are doing a primarily thankless task, but at the same time nobody likes having the phone hung up on them either :lol:

I think I've had two moderation warnings in my time here and both occurred in situations like this. Once I just read a post and replied, without finishing reading through the thread and seeing the moderator's warning. The other time the warning came as I was in the process of writing and got the warning.

I think in general the moderators do an excellent job and I have almost always understood why they jump in. I, like others in this thread, also might have intervened in some threads and not in others, but I'm the first to understand that we all have different feelings what kind of statements cross the line of acceptability and also because a lot of hard working volunteers cannot always be online when an infraction takes place. When I compare the moderation here to that of the RPGcodex, Steam, or Twitter, I think its impressive that the moderators do as commendable a job as they do.
 

forgottenlor

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Fair enough, but you know what I meant. Speech is definitely freer over there even if you don't agree with the "free speech zone" phraseology that I used, and the things Pladio mentioned are allowed in their discussions, often the same discussions that have lots of quite sensible people involved in them. In short, it's just simply not true that "all sensible people" believe that speech they find offensive has to be shut down.

I suppose your right, but I don't enjoy reading most codex discussions and don't go over there unless a review or GOTY discussion is in our newsbit, and even then I don't read the discussions in most cases. If the discussions here were like that, I wouldn't want to read them either. I'm happy the anti-semites, racists, mysoginists, and homosexual haters stay over there. I'm also happy the tone here usually stays pretty polite.
 

bjon045

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In the discussion thread this based on I used the term Weeaboo. I wouldn't normally use such a term but I used it for an explicit reason to make a point. HiddenX may of thought I was referring to him but I wasn't. I was intentionally trying to trigger a certain poster who constantly makes attacks against several posters on here along the lines of "old people are irrelevant and their opinions don't matter". Yes, there are a lot of older people in RPGWatch. By all means say we have poor taste in games. But drawing a correlation between age and poor taste - isn't that a step too far? It constantly gets ignored. I intentionally tried to trigger it this time in a thread about a game they really enjoyed hoping that they would see how pointless such an approach is. I was hoping that they might learn a lesson and perhaps show a bit more ettique in the future. I am doubtful the message actually got through though. At the same time I tried as hard as I could to keep the conversation on track and it would lead to the logical conclusion - which is everyone should be able to post about the games they love or hate without being attacked directly.

On one end you have moderating like RPGWatch and on the other end you have moderating like on the CodexOfUltimateWisdom. RPGWatch moderating is generally of a high quality and it overall maintains a much higher standard than the CodexOfUltimateWisdom - however that does come at a cost i.e. our good moderators have to spend a lot of time and effort and sometimes worthwhile conversations get ended too early. Let's face it, 99% of the time the conversation doesn't continue in a new thread.

I totally get the rule about off-topic disucssions. But perhaps off-topic should perhaps be interpretted a little bit more loosely i.e. talking about something with absolutely zero relevance to the topic at end. But perhaps if there is even a degree of relevance it should be left to continue. Talking about how great lawnmowers are for 15 pages in a thread about classic dungeon crawlers - it's probably off topic. Talking about how much you dislike said classic dungeon crawlers perfectly fine. Talking about an action game in a thread about classic dungeon crawlers - probably off topic but no real harm in letting it continue as it will probably get absorbed back into the main discussion point naturally.

When off-topic diverges into serious personal attacks it has crossed the line. Being racist, sexist, ageist, lgbqt hating, or threatning violence is not okay. But saying someone has poor taste in games? Fine. Saying someone is an old fart and irrelevant? Crossing the line unless it is obviousily said in jest. Saying someone is a f'ing idiot - that shouldn't be okay here. This kind of stuff is okay in the CodexOfUltimateWisdom but being accepting of it just degrades everything to such a low denominator it is almost impossible to have a discussion like what happens here most of the time.
 
E

Eye

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Except, that is the exact problem I am talking about it.
If it's not on your checklist then let discussions flow. If it is then we should understand it.

Having it based on the mood of the day makes for a very difficult forum life.

Is today the day that Mod A or Mod C are looking for off-topic posts ? Or is it tomorrow ? Do I need to watch what I say ? Or don't I ?

Why is topic A allowed to go off the rails and topic B doesn't ?

Again, ignore racism, sexism, etc. Everyone sensible understands these things should not be part of the discussions.
Just focus on off-topic discussions.
Again, you do NOT need to watch what you are saying, topics are allowed to go off-topic.

Like closure of a thread, a direction given by a mod is used as a tool.

Thanks to giving a direction a discussion was made possible that imo would have otherwise been about Pixar vs. Horror thread/forum, Nereida, antique PBophiles, childish weeaboo, poor tastes, Pathfinder, et cetera, and after a few posts probably calls for moderation to do something about silly, irrelevant or unrespectful posts coming from people who, to my surprise and disappointment, apparently have little trouble setting aside others in a non respectful way but make a hell of noise, including unfriendly PMs to a moderator, when targeted themselves.

We have seen that happening. We know how that ended. Not in a good discussion where everybody now seems to be so fond of. (But hey, refrain from moderation and behold.)

You can't have it both ways.

I directed the discussion back to the topic. But yes, that means that anything else than the topic will be deleted AFTER my warning.

Or I do not step in, which some of you now seem to prefer. But then, when I or other moderators do step in, a thread will be closed, like in the good ol' days. When again, threads were closed because no one added something worthwhile according to a moderator, because, according to a moderator, the thread turned into a boring tete-a-tete, or an equally boring, but rather destructive, mud throwing party.
Really, not one of the mods/admins, no one, is going to micromanage a mess of posts, where some posts or parts of posts are okay and others are not.

Warnings, making sure warnings are heeded, deleting posts, closing threads, those are all tools of moderation, to get a moderate reaction.
Not to go off topic warnings simply have been a tool to steer away from cliffs where members have shown to gather like lemmings to get in a turbulent flow to meet the bottom.
Goal: to make an interesting discussion possible.
When to step in is a question that is on the mind of every moderator. Sometimes things solve themselves out. Sometimes no flow but a wave of personal attacks coming from all sides, one after the other.

Ergo, you have been free to wander in whatever thread, until you stumbled on a sign-board that from that point on told you not to wander anymore: one way street. Or, in the past (maybe also the future?), you stumbled on a roadblock.
 
E

Eye

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In the discussion thread this based on I used the term Weeaboo. I wouldn't normally use such a term but I used it for an explicit reason to make a point. HiddenX may of thought I was referring to him but I wasn't. I was intentionally trying to trigger a certain poster who constantly makes attacks against several posters on here along the lines of "old people are irrelevant and their opinions don't matter". Yes, there are a lot of older people in RPGWatch. By all means say we have poor taste in games. But drawing a correlation between age and poor taste - isn't that a step too far? It constantly gets ignored. I intentionally tried to trigger it this time in a thread about a game they really enjoyed hoping that they would see how pointless such an approach is. I was hoping that they might learn a lesson and perhaps show a bit more ettique in the future. I am doubtful the message actually got through though. At the same time I tried as hard as I could to keep the conversation on track and it would lead to the logical conclusion - which is everyone should be able to post about the games they love or hate without being attacked directly.
Well, thanks for deliberately trying to steer towards the cliff. And then leaving it to the moderator to sort out the shit you sow. And getting a lot of shit for trying to keep the conversation on track.
You, trying "as hard as I could to keep the conversation on track"? O fuck off.
 

bjon045

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Well, thanks for deliberately trying to steer towards the cliff. And then leaving it to the moderator to sort out the shit you sow. And getting a lot of shit for trying to keep the conversation on track.
You, trying "as hard as I could to keep the conversation on track"? O fuck off.

My posts were exclusively talking about how sales does not equal quality apart from a single post where I referred to an apt post by Lackblogger and the very first post which was vague enough that it could apply to anyone - which was removed. Which I certainly didn't object to. I thought much of the moderation was warranted and I thought it was good that agist post etc was removed. It is obvious the thread must of gone downhill (further) when I was sleeping but I am not sure that is my fault given I was trying so hard to keep it to the topic as per your instructions.

I am certainly mature enough to apologise for though if it did create additional work for you, that was not my intention. Apologies if that was the case. I think the conversation that is happening now is worthwhile though.
 
E

Eye

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Right. Closing threads it is. Kill each other for all I care, as long as it is within the TOS. But don't come whining about moderation needing to take steps to remove
Troll-like posts that offer nothing useful.

O and indeed
You really have to question the mentality of the person involved and how meaningful their life is if they waste their own time on such endeavours.

A clearly pissed off Eye.
 

bjon045

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Context is everything is it not?

I will agree that it's significantly easier to make demagogic, effortless, half-witted posts about "media is dumb, I'm so clever" to get all the PB loving circlejerk on your tail than exercising reading comprehension and critical thinking. This is the way, so sayeth the Mandalorian.

I could also post the other 12 posts denigrating various members of the Watch because they must be old and senile to enjoy games like the Gold Box games but they are there for everyone to see anyway. Context.

The discussion was about whether Tales of Arise was a good game because it sold 2 million copies. It may be a good game but it certainly isn't because it sold 2 million copies. I'm still struggling to see what you are offended about in this particular thread. All my posts were on topic and actually Nereida and I were having a civil discussion. I certainly don't deny some of the other posters got a bit out of hand though.

Anyway, I thought I was apologising and paying you a compliment by agreeing with you that moderation was needed. I'm out I need to get some sleep.
 

Pladio

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That's not exactly true. The Codex allows all of that in its discussions, and there's plenty of sensible people over there. Most likely a lot more than here, if we're talking raw numbers (seeing as how the total population over there is many times larger). Regardless, we all understand RPGWatch isn't a free speech zone like the Codex. I'd imagine some people post here precisely for that reason, while others may disagree with it but are willing to put up with it.

I just don't get why there is any kind of drive to crack down on discussion. Who cares what thread it's in.

I don't really care what the Codex does. They can do whatever they want. That isn't the forum I go to. RPGWatch is.

If I wanted the types of comments like you get in the Codex I would frequent it. I don't think many people there are sensible actually. I opened a random topic and in the first 15 posts, 2 of them were horrible. I'm not even going to link to it, but I wanted to see what you meant by sensible.

Sensible to me is a discussion I would have with friends and family in real life. The Codex is not that. If I met some of the people from the Codex in real life, I would cross the street.
 

Pladio

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I think I've had two moderation warnings in my time here and both occurred in situations like this. Once I just read a post and replied, without finishing reading through the thread and seeing the moderator's warning. The other time the warning came as I was in the process of writing and got the warning.

I think in general the moderators do an excellent job and I have almost always understood why they jump in. I, like others in this thread, also might have intervened in some threads and not in others, but I'm the first to understand that we all have different feelings what kind of statements cross the line of acceptability and also because a lot of hard working volunteers cannot always be online when an infraction takes place. When I compare the moderation here to that of the RPGcodex, Steam, or Twitter, I think its impressive that the moderators do as commendable a job as they do.

I completely agree the mods do an amazing job.

I think it is commendable and I am happy they do it. I am suggesting a way to make their lives even easier though as well as making it easier for people to understand what works and what doesn't.
 
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