Forum policy review 2018

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Luís
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Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-02-18, 19:45

The current forum policy can be found here.

Everything is up for debate except for section 4.6.2 (copyrighted material) and at least part of section 4.7.2 (pornographic material) in order to avoid getting proycon (the owner of the forum) into trouble.

I invite everyone to propose changes, so that we can end up with a better forum policy.

Likewise for our ban policy.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-18, 19:51

None of the items in red deserve an immediate ban without prior warning.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-18, 22:01

vijayjohn wrote:None of the items in red deserve an immediate ban without prior warning.

Why do you think so? These things are clearly in red in the policy, which usually means something severe. There is also the footnotes that explain that. Why do you think if someone posts personal information about someone else, or graphic sexual stuff, they should first get an official warning and only a ban after a second infraction? We can't really have a discussion about changing policy without an explanation of why someone thinks something should be changed.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-18, 22:04

dEhiN wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:None of the items in red deserve an immediate ban without prior warning.

Why do you think so?

Because they are all issues that can be (and, elsewhere, are) resolved without such harsh penalties.
These things are clearly in red in the policy, which usually means something severe.

Severe from whose perspective?
Why do you think if someone posts personal information about someone else, or graphic sexual stuff, they should first get an official warning and only a ban after a second infraction?

That's not what I think. I think the policy as it stands is draconian. I see no need for banning a user without any warning for any reason to begin with unless maybe they are a spammer.
We can't really have a discussion about changing policy without an explanation of why someone thinks something should be changed.

So I'm explaining why, or at least trying to, but I said something to get the discussion started.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Johanna » 2018-02-18, 22:22

Doxing will get you permabanned immediately on all forums that I'm a member of as far as I know. In fact, I've only ever seen it being tolerated on alt-right sites and those which are very much OK with that kid of people populating certain sections.

Graphic sexual content in text only is only a warning on some of them, but those are the kind of forums where the shortest ban is one year or even permanent, not two weeks. Actual porn will get you permabanned immediately on every single one of them.

But OK, you don't think it's severe enough to even warrant a two-week time-out without prior warning. That leaves either an official reminder or a warning, but you tell dEhIn that you didn't mean that either. So what did you mean? That we just let it slide, make it a free-for-all when it comes to those things?

Or did you mean that we should give people a warning and if they don't care and there's a second infraction, we should give them yet another warning. OK, other forums use that model so we could switch to it too. But sooner or later we need to ban someone who doesn't listen or the forum would become completely impossible to moderate.

Edit: Red means "ban" as in the shorter, time-out kind, not a permaban. Keep this in mind.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-18, 22:28

Johanna wrote:Or did you mean that we should give people a warning and if they don't care and there's a second infraction, we should give them yet another warning. OK, other forums use that model so we could switch to it too. But sooner or later we need to ban someone who doesn't listen or the forum would become completely impossible to moderate.

That sounds much more reasonable to me.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-18, 23:51

What buy-in do we have from the moderation team on this? Because if they're not committed to reading these suggestions, evaluating them, and actually implementing some of them, I don't see any point to contributing to this thread.

How does the procedure to modify the existing forum policy work anyhow? Luís said it was decided by majority vote of the mods, but what does that mean exactly? 50% + 1? Of which group of mods? Does the board owner have an absolute veto over any approved changes?

Because, again, if we need more than 50% of the mods to approve a change before it takes effect and we don't have at least half of them willing to read, review, and discuss our proposals, it's pointless to make them.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-19, 3:37

I agree.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-19, 5:25

vijayjohn wrote:
Johanna wrote:Or did you mean that we should give people a warning and if they don't care and there's a second infraction, we should give them yet another warning. OK, other forums use that model so we could switch to it too. But sooner or later we need to ban someone who doesn't listen or the forum would become completely impossible to moderate.

That sounds much more reasonable to me.

If we were to change things so that there's no infraction that would immediately result in a ban - even a short-term, temporary one - and instead we issued warnings, what do you think is a reasonable amount of warnings to issue before a ban is issued?

Also, as far as I understand the current forum policy and practice, warnings are issued privately. Which, if so, would mean that others are not privy to who gets a warning. So, let's say we have a policy change that says 3 warnings and then a ban. If someone gets 3 warnings and then continues to break policy, they would get a ban. But to everyone around them, it might appear that they were banned randomly for no reason. Would you like to see that changed? Do you think that warnings should be publicly made? (The devil's advocate to this is that not everyone might want all their peers to know they've been warned; it can be embarrassing).

Actually that devil's advocate argument applies with respect to banning transparency. One of the grievances either you or linguoboy, or both, had was that you want to know who has been banned and why. I understand why it could be good to share who has been banned: that way if a user you regularly interact with suddenly stops responding to you, you're not left in the dark wondering what happened. But not everyone might want others to know why they've been banned. Especially considering that the current policy allows for short-term bans wherein the banned person can return to the forum after their ban is over. They might come back and be embarrassed to find out that all their peers know why there were banned. Would it not be better to only show who has been banned (and perhaps for how long)?

linguoboy wrote:What buy-in do we have from the moderation team on this? Because if they're not committed to reading these suggestions, evaluating them, and actually implementing some of them, I don't see any point to contributing to this thread.

What buy-in would you like to see? From what I recall reading in the discussion on the Random thread, you (and Vijay) expressed a fair amount of distrust in the moderation team in regard to the interaction between those on the team and everyone else. Even when Luís, Car, and Johanna all expressly said that there would be no repercussions for anyone complaining, their words were met with disbelief from Vijay and sarcasm from you. So, rather than one (or all) of us suggesting something, perhaps a starting point could be what you/Vijay would consider to be a show of good faith that we, the mod team, do want to change?

(Please note: I'm not singling out you or Vijay, and hopefully there will be others involved in this policy discussion besides you two and the mod team. It's just that you two were the only ones in the Random thread discussion who shared grievances.)

linguoboy wrote:How does the procedure to modify the existing forum policy work anyhow? Luís said it was decided by majority vote of the mods, but what does that mean exactly? 50% + 1? Of which group of mods? Does the board owner have an absolute veto over any approved changes?

As far as I know, the majority vote of the mods means 50% + 1. Discussions on forum administration (of which policy falls under) and any voting is done by the global moderation team, which means all global mods and forum admins. So basically all the blue and green guys. :D The language forum mods (the purple guys) are only responsible for the moderation of their respective language forum(s). The initial delineation, from what I understand, of global mod vs forum admin was that the global mod group was created to help the forum admins out with general moderation duties: moderation of the general forums, helping language forum mods when necessary, and moderation of any language forums that don't have a language forum mod. The forum admins would then be able to focus on actual administration of stuff. However, I'm not sure if there was ever a split of access and responsibility from the start, but currently the two groups are effectively the same in both access and responsibility. (I say effectively because as far as I can tell, there is no difference whatsoever in both aspects, but perhaps there is some technicality I'm not aware of).

Lastly, I don't know if proycon has absolute veto or even if he is, or has ever been, involved in forum administration duties. My understanding is that both he and Yserenhart, by the fact that they are server admins (red guys), are responsible solely for administration, upkeep, and maintenance of the server. It is possible for others to have access to the servers though through request: this is why Luís is able to make language name additions/changes from requests in the "My languages options" thread.

linguoboy wrote:Because, again, if we need more than 50% of the mods to approve a change before it takes effect and we don't have at least half of them willing to read, review, and discuss our proposals, it's pointless to make them.

Considering that the 4 forum admins and I all responded to the discussion on the Random thread that spawned this thread, I would say that there are at least 5 of us who are willing to read/review/discuss things. There are currently 7 of us on the global mod team - the other two members are global mods. I believe JackFrost does keep abreast of things (since he's a global mod plus language forum mod of the French forum), even if he doesn't always respond. I cannot speak for Ashucky. But even in the event that those two are unable to or unwilling to participate in this thread, you definitely have more than 50% of us who are willing and wanting to participate.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby vijayjohn » 2018-02-19, 6:34

dEhiN wrote:If we were to change things so that there's no infraction that would immediately result in a ban - even a short-term, temporary one - and instead we issued warnings, what do you think is a reasonable amount of warnings to issue before a ban is issued?

I don't know; I can't tell you how to do your job, only try to make some suggestions, and I would rather defer to someone who already moderates a forum with such a policy. I will venture a guess of twenty. That seems more reasonable to me than one to three.
Also, as far as I understand the current forum policy and practice, warnings are issued privately.

It has not always been done this way on this forum. People have even been banned very publicly here before; I remember witnessing this after I joined but before you did. But the administration has been inconsistent about this over the years. Nowadays, it seems as if their approach is instead a paranoid one that involves issuing warnings to users by PM whenever they feel like it.
Do you think that warnings should be publicly made?

Yes.
The devil's advocate to this is that not everyone might want all their peers to know they've been warned; it can be embarrassing.

Then IMO they should be able and allowed to request this from the admins and global mods and not be punished in the process of requesting it, regardless of how disrespectful the admins and/or global mods supposedly find them to be. This means, among other things, that the link that banned users are provided in case they want to contact them should be valid and lead to an operational e-mail address. This was not the case when I tried to appeal my own ban, and I find no reason to believe that it has changed since then.
From what I recall reading in the discussion on the Random thread, you (and Vijay) expressed a fair amount of distrust in the moderation team in regard to the interaction between those on the team and everyone else. Even when Luís, Car, and Johanna all expressly said that there would be no repercussions for anyone complaining, their words were met with disbelief from Vijay

They said this when I tried to appeal my ban, too, and like I said, there were repercussions nevertheless. The excuse that I was disrespectful in the process of appealing my ban is a baldfaced lie. I am willing to post the full text of what I wrote in my e-mails to the admins and global mods at the time to prove it.
So, rather than one (or all) of us suggesting something, perhaps a starting point could be what you/Vijay would consider to be a show of good faith that we, the mod team, do want to change?

If the admins and global mods can offer convincing and consistent evidence that they will not ban us - something that they have never done - then and only then can we rest assured that we will not be punished. Otherwise, no matter how many times they insist today that we won't be banned, they could change their minds about banning us tomorrow, and we would be helpless. They don't face any threat from us since we don't have any authority over them.
I'm not singling out you or Vijay

I do realize that.
and hopefully there will be others involved in this policy discussion besides you two and the mod team

I agree.
It's just that you two were the only ones in the Random thread discussion who shared grievances.

Honestly, I think we are the only ones left and everyone else with grievances to share has already been driven out by the harsh moderating style on this forum.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Ashucky » 2018-02-19, 9:20

Having read through the discussion here, I'm fine with reducing the number of bannable sections and replacing them with a warning before the ban, except for 4.5.2 (doxing) and 4.7.2 (graphic sexual content).

As for banning people in general, perhaps an idea would be to introduce a read-only role? I'm not sure if that's possible but essentially it'd allow a member who's suspect of a forum policy infraction to still access the forum normally but not be able to post until their situation is resolved. During that time the member in question could clarify their intentions or reasons for having done whatever it was that warranted an action, and after that the member would either receive a ban or be given their regular status back.

Something like that could work for more serious issues or for people who have received several warnings and ignored them.

Regarding warnings, IMO up to three warnings should be enough before a more decisive action is taken. If someone is unwilling or cannot change their behaviour after three warnings, I doubt they're going to do so after twenty. Again, a read-only role could be used after the third warning, followed by a discussion between the affected member and the admins/global mods. If the discussion is resolved favourably, the member could be given a second chance and go back to normal but any further infractions would promptly result in either a longer read-only status or a ban. I don't see much reason in keeping around members who contribute nothing of worth to the community and only seek to provoke other users (this is also why I'm for keeping sections 4.5.2 and 4.7.2 bannable - the former is just a violation of one's privacy and the latter only serves to cause discomfort and has nothing to do with a language forum; and if they really want to post nudity and related, they can find another forum that, I'm sure there's a plethora of them on the Internet).

I honestly have no real opinion about warnings and bans being either private or public, so I'm fine with them becoming public. Perhaps that might discourage people from committing infractions. Another option (I think it's been mentioned by someone already) is to ask permission if the ban/warning can be made public. If the response is negative, it would still be publicly noted that the member refused to make it known (of course, this applies only in case bans/warnings become public in general).
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-19, 9:58

vijayjohn wrote:I don't know; I can't tell you how to do your job, only try to make some suggestions, and I would rather defer to someone who already moderates a forum with such a policy. I will venture a guess of twenty. That seems more reasonable to me than one to three.

I realize you can't tell me how to do my job; my question was to get your suggestion since the point of this thread is to gather everyone's input on possible policy reform. I personally agree with Ashucky that twenty is probably not going to make a difference: if someone hasn't changed their actions after several warnings, it's extremely unlikely they will after a lot of warnings. Perhaps three might be too small, but (again, personally) I don't see anything greater than five being necessary.

Presumably, the hope would be that for the person who unintentionally made an infraction deserving of a warning, the first warning will suffice for them to amend their actions. In the event that the person doesn't agree it was an infraction, then the hope is that the first warning will spark a discussion between the mod team and that person. I can't really see someone unintentionally making the same infraction more than 5 times.

Though I never considered (until just now) the case of someone getting a warning for different infractions. I guess the hope is that every user reads through the forum policy, and asks clarification questions in the UniLang Information forum, should they be unclear on something. But even then it's possible someone could unintentionally commit three or five different infractions. So maybe we could have two limits: one for warnings for the same infraction, and one for overall warnings? For example, something like you're allowed three warnings for the same infraction, and eight warnings overall? Or five for the same infraction and ten overall? After that the next level of corrective action is taken.

vijayjohn wrote:Then IMO they should be able and allowed to request this from the admins and global mods and not be punished in the process of requesting it, regardless of how disrespectful the admins and/or global mods supposedly find them to be. This means, among other things, that the link that banned users are provided in case they want to contact them should be valid and lead to an operational e-mail address. This was not the case when I tried to appeal my own ban, and I find no reason to believe that it has changed since then.

I like this suggestion. I don't know if I agree about "regardless of how disrespectful". I understand that what constitutes disrespect could be subjective, but not entirely. For example, I think that if there's a discussion between someone and the mod team, and that person is firing off expletives directed at one or more members of the mod team, that's blatant disrespect. The same would be even if the recipient isn't a mod. Perhaps sections 2.3 and 5.1 could be used to determine this? That way there will hopefully be less ambiguity.

vijayjohn wrote:I am willing to post the full text of what I wrote in my e-mails to the admins and global mods at the time to prove it.

As long as it is only text written by you, I don't see why not. If what you want to post contains text written by others, you should probably get their permission first, or edit out their name. Also, are you interested in a discussion about it? If not, perhaps what we could do is you could create a new locked thread in this (sub)forum with the text. If so, then perhaps those who were on the mod team at the time, and who thought you were being disrespectful, could explain why. And hopefully others could share their thoughts on it.

vijayjohn wrote:If the admins and global mods can offer convincing and consistent evidence that they will not ban us - something that they have never done - then and only then can we rest assured that we will not be punished. Otherwise, no matter how many times they insist today that we won't be banned, they could change their minds about banning us tomorrow, and we would be helpless. They don't face any threat from us since we don't have any authority over them.

I think at this point the consistent evidence could only come from the actions of the mod team going forward. Because of past actions and the fear of inconsistent moderating, I can't see any evidence offered to try and convince you (general you) being effective. Hopefully this thread and the fact that so far Johanna, Ashucky and I are responding is a start.

vijayjohn wrote:Honestly, I think we are the only ones left and everyone else with grievances to share has already been driven out by the harsh moderating style on this forum.

That's possible; if that's the case, that's a shame. However, there's also another possibility: not everyone who has been around for several years or more sees the moderating style of this forum as harsh. A third possibility is also that others who had grievances in the past have found a way to resolve their grievances without leaving this forum.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby linguoboy » 2018-02-19, 11:07

dEhiN wrote:Even when Luís, Car, and Johanna all expressly said that there would be no repercussions for anyone complaining, their words were met with disbelief from Vijay and sarcasm from you.

Because--as Vijay has stated repeatedly at this point--the moderating team has made this promise to him before and broken it. I don't understand why you don't understand how that leads to a situation where we don't have trust in the promises of the moderation team.

dEhiN wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Honestly, I think we are the only ones left and everyone else with grievances to share has already been driven out by the harsh moderating style on this forum.

That's possible; if that's the case, that's a shame. However, there's also another possibility: not everyone who has been around for several years or more sees the moderating style of this forum as harsh. A third possibility is also that others who had grievances in the past have found a way to resolve their grievances without leaving this forum.

Last time I was banned (July, 2016), one of the moderators expressed interest in a discussion of the moderating style here (via PM, of course), so I contacted two formerly-prolific posters who had similar disagreements with it and had basically stopped posting here. But, in the end, the team as whole refused to agree to make the discussion open (using arguments similar to what prompted my sarcasm this go-round) and nothing came of it, so all I did was raise false hopes and waste their time. "But this time it will all be different!" As Vijay keeps saying, fool me once, shame on you...
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Luís » 2018-02-19, 11:44

I think we should make a distinction between spammers (most of them are not even real users, but rather bots) and regular users. We ban a few of the former everyday and I don't see any reason to change that.

So, here's my opinion on every single point of the current policy:


1.1 Do not choose an offensive username.


Seems reasonable.

1.2 You are allowed to have only 1 account. If you create any others, they will be banned and there will be consequences. If you have a deactivated account, see 1.6; you are to ask for that to be reactivated instead of creating a new one.


Seems reasonable, although I'd probably get rid of the part that says "and there will be consequences".

1.3 Contact the forum administrators or global moderators via PM if you want to change your username. It may only be changed once in any 6 month period, and three times in a 2 year period.


This has been working fine so far and all changes are usually approved as far as I can remmber. The time limit is there to avoid users changing their name every other week.

1.4 If you for any reason can't log into the forum and need to contact the forum administrators and global moderators, send an e-mail to unilang@unilang.org
Ex. Your account is deactivated, you've forgotten your password and can't reset it using “I forgot my password”, or you're currently banned.


No issues here.

1.5 If you haven’t made any posts from your account and it's older than 2 months, your account may be deleted in an account purge, without your consent.


I don't think anyone has cleaned up the database in a long time, but if that happens, then it makes sense that users with zero posts who haven't logged on in a long time are probably the first to go. Maybe the time can be increased to 6 months or something like that.

1.6 If you have made at least one post, you may deactivate your account by contacting the forum administrators or global moderators.
• This is is done instead of deleting an account, since deleting the account completely destroys the ability to follow threads.
• All it leaves is the account’s username. However, all posts will remain.
• Your account must remain deactivated for at least 6 months.
• You must contact the forum administrators or global moderators for reactivation. You can do so via the contact form or e-mail.
• If you discuss it with the forum administrators or global moderators first, deactivation for a period of less than 6 months is possible with a good reason.


No issues here. Maybe the 6 month period can be changed, but I suppose it's there to avoid people from making us go through the account deactivation process only for them to change their minds the next day.


2.1 General guidelines:
• Be nice to other members and visitors to the forum.
• Treat people the way you would want to be treated.
• Be civil, show respect for other members and their views.
• Use normal netiquette.


I'd say this is just common sense.

2.2 Do not:
• Ridicule, mock or insult other members.
• Post for the sole purpose of getting reactions from other members (in other words, do not troll).
• Fill the forum with a lot of meaningless posts.
• Speculate that someone is a troll or spammer or call their posts trolling or spam.
• Do any backseat moderating, that is to tell other members what to do or write, how to behave, that they are breaking the rules or should be banned.


In principle, I agree with this, but of course the whole thing is highly subjective. However, a simple majority of mods is needed for any action to be taken. How can we make the system more impartial?

2.3 Language - We do not censor language. Cursing is permitted as long as it is not used to offend another.

2.3.1 Examples of what is allowed:
• “That’s fucking great!”
• “This book is fucking stupid!”2.3.2 Examples of what is forbidden:
• “You’re a fucking idiot!”
• “Fuck you!”


OK

2.4 If you think that someone is breaking the rules:
• Report the post, there is a button for that in the header of all posts.
• Do not comment on it or reply to it in the thread itself.
• Private messages are reported in the same manner as posts.


OK

3.1 Allowed:
• Linking to a blog, personal or commercial website which contributes to a post or topic.
• Linking to a survey with an academic purpose, if you ask the forum administrators or global moderators for permission first.
• In signatures, links to non-commercial sites that have to do with languages.
• In signatures, links to a personal blog or website, as long as it’s non-commercial.
3.2 Forbidden:
• Posts whose sole purpose is promoting any website or blog, non-commercial or otherwise.
• In signatures, links to commercial websites.
• Unauthorized posts whose sole purpose is getting answers for a survey.
• Private messages advertising commercial goods or services, as well as non-genuine romantic private messages, seeking to mislead another user.
• Joining for the sole purpose of promoting a website or a blog, non-commercial or otherwise.


I think this is fine as well.

4.1 Keep posts on topic, if you feel the need to discuss something that is not, do so where it is appropriate, or create a new thread. If a discussion goes off-topic for more than one page, the moderators may split it into a separate thread.

4.2 Do not post in old threads unless you have something that contributes to them. Similarly, do not create a new thread unless you have something to contribute about the topic.

4.3 Do not create a new thread if one already exists, however exceptions can be made for threads that are very outdated, and should be made for threads which have had their topic completely changed through off-topic posts.

4.4 Do not write posts with identical or very similar content in multiple sub-forums. If you want input from speakers of several different languages or people from several different countries, post it in the General Forum, the General Language Forum, or in one of their sub-forums, which one depends on the topic and type of thread.


No issue here, these are very general guidelines that make the forum more organized but not following them is not that big of a deal.

4.5.1 Allowed:
• Using the given name of another user if it is already common knowledge.
• Posting the personal details of a non-user that are public knowledge.
Ex. “The President of the United States lives in the White House”, “Elvis lived at Graceland”.4.5.2 Forbidden:
• Posting another user’s personal information.
Ex. Account details, addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, etc.
• Giving away another user’s identity without permission.
• Exchanging any personal details of a non-user that are not public knowledge.
Ex. “Zhang Ziyi, the lead actress in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon lives at [her address]”.


This is serious stuff, though.

4.6.1 Allowed:
• Links to torrents or downloadable material in the public domain, or material to which the user owns the copyright.
• Explaining how torrents work for users who wish to download legal material.
• Links to streaming content which does not break any other terms.
• Discussions about piracy.4.6.2 Forbidden:
• Explaining how to obtain illegal or pirated material.
• Linking to downloadable illegal or pirated material.
Ex. Copyrighted books, films, music, software, etc.


This should stay, for obvious reasons.

4.7.1 Allowed
• Non-sexual flirting, regardless of gender.
Ex. “You’re cute”, and “I’d take you out for dinner”.
• Posting sex-related posts in the appropriate thread.
Ex. The random threads, but not in threads with a specific, non-sexual subject.
• Clearly artistic historical works depicting nude people.4.7.2

Forbidden:
• Sexual flirting.
• Graphic depictions of sex.
• Graphic depictions of body parts and fluids.
• Pictures or drawings that:
- are clearly pornographic
- show pubic hair (including the mons pubis if there is no hair)
- show nudity with the genitalia covered by a hand or object
- show exposed breasts
- show genitalia


I think most of these restrictions are for legal reasons, but I'm open to hearing other people's opinions.


4.8 Editing posts

4.8.1 Allowed:
• Correcting typos, spelling errors and grammatical errors.
• Clarifications of what you meant, before too many have answered.4.8.2
Forbidden:
• Deleting all of the content.
• Twisting the content so that the actual meaning of it becomes something else.
4.8.3 The ability to edit your posts will be taken away for a year should these rules be continuously broken or ignored.


Doesn't seem problematic to me.

4.9 Pictures

4.9.1 Allowed:
• Posting a picture which you hold the right to, unless another Unilang member is visible in it, in which case you need that member’s

expressed consent.
• Posting a picture which you don’t hold the right to if you have been given permission by the person who does.
• Posting a picture belonging to the free domain.


Same here.

5. Private messages

5.1 The rules for behavior on the forum also apply to private messages.
5.2 Allowed:
• Forwarding a private message to the forum administrators and global moderators if a rule violation is suspected.5.3
Forbidden:
• Posting any private message on the forum without expressed consent by the author.


OK

Regarding the ban policy, it's a pretty diagram but it's probably too complex and inadequate for the current level of activity of the forum.

I'd be in favor of a simpler system everyone can remember and understand (a "three strikes and you're out" kind of thing)

Regarding the changes, I can't speak for other mods, but I'd be in favor of submitting the final draft to a voting (anonymous Yes/No forum poll).
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby dEhiN » 2018-02-19, 11:57

linguoboy wrote:Because--as Vijay has stated repeatedly at this point--the moderating team has made this promise to him before and broken it. I don't understand why you don't understand how that leads to a situation where we don't have trust in the promises of the moderation team.

I'm not entirely sure how to say this, but I'm going to try and explain how I saw the discussion in the Random thread:

1) You and Vijay raised grievances about the moderation of this forum.
2) Some of the mods responded inviting you to discuss the grievances and share your complaints.
3) You didn't citing that you had been burned in the past with disciplinary action for complaining and were afraid of it happening again.
4) Some of the mods responded giving their assurance that the same wouldn't happen this time around.
5) You said you didn't believe the mods assurance, citing the past.

I know there was a lot more to the discussion than just that, but this is essentially how I saw the tête-à-tête. And to be honest, on some level I understood how what has happened in the past led to a situation where you don't have trust in the promises of the mod team. But on some level, I didn't understand then how you wanted us to proceed. It seemed that due to the regular referencing back to the past, we were at an impasse. Part of me thought, "why even bring up stuff if you're not willing to talk about it". Don't get me wrong - I'm glad we're talking about it, and I would much rather talk through things that pretend everything's fine. I guess why I couldn't seem to understand where you guys were coming from is because your position seemed to create an impasse that had no resolution. If you don't have any trust whatsoever left in the promises or the word of the mod team, then what recourse is there? From my recollection, when this sort of thing happens offline - where two parties reach an impasse due to mistrust - a third-party negotiator is called in; someone who both parties independently trust, but who is impartial to the outcome. I don't really see that being an option here just because of the logistics: who would we ask and how would that work? So, yes, I do understand your position and the level of distrust you have. But where do we go from here? Are you willing to put aside that distrust and give us the benefit of the doubt one more time? If not, then...?
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Aurinĭa » 2018-02-19, 12:30

dEhiN wrote:Discussions on forum administration (of which policy falls under) and any voting is done by the global moderation team, which means all global mods and forum admins. So basically all the blue and green guys. The language forum mods (the purple guys) are only responsible for the moderation of their respective language forum(s). The initial delineation, from what I understand, of global mod vs forum admin was that the global mod group was created to help the forum admins out with general moderation duties: moderation of the general forums, helping language forum mods when necessary, and moderation of any language forums that don't have a language forum mod. The forum admins would then be able to focus on actual administration of stuff. However, I'm not sure if there was ever a split of access and responsibility from the start, but currently the two groups are effectively the same in both access and responsibility. (I say effectively because as far as I can tell, there is no difference whatsoever in both aspects, but perhaps there is some technicality I'm not aware of).

All correct, including that there is currently no difference between forum admins and global mods, which is why we're planning to merge both groups.

linguoboy wrote:Last time I was banned (July, 2016)

You weren't banned in 2016, you were warned. You were last banned in 2013. (Unless I've missed something, but I don't think I have.)

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-02-19, 13:23

dEhiN wrote:hopefully there will be others involved in this policy discussion besides you two and the mod team.

I don't want to become too much invested in forum politics, but okay, I'll share my opinion on the questions you asked.

If we were to change things so that there's no infraction that would immediately result in a ban - even a short-term, temporary one - and instead we issued warnings, what do you think is a reasonable amount of warnings to issue before a ban is issued?

I think it's fine to stay at a model where different violations of the rules lead to a different amount of warnings before you get a ban. Immediately banning without prior warning should be the absolute exception, though (except for obvious spam accounts, of course). I can see it appropriate for things like severe violations of the privacy of another user (they example mentioned in the policy: "Ex. “Zhang Ziyi, the lead actress in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon lives at [her address]”), but not for anything that could be violated accidentally or depend on subjective judgement. Maybe require that immediate bans are unanimous in the admin team instead of majority vote.

Deleting the message in question may be required (even legally) , but that doesn't mean that the person must be banned immediately.

Also, as far as I understand the current forum policy and practice, warnings are issued privately. Which, if so, would mean that others are not privy to who gets a warning. So, let's say we have a policy change that says 3 warnings and then a ban. If someone gets 3 warnings and then continues to break policy, they would get a ban. But to everyone around them, it might appear that they were banned randomly for no reason. Would you like to see that changed? Do you think that warnings should be publicly made? (The devil's advocate to this is that not everyone might want all their peers to know they've been warned; it can be embarrassing).

I'd keep warnings private, but bans public. When someone disappears, I really think people should know why. To address the problem you mention, you could announce bans like "$name has been banned from the forum for $time after $x warnings on $date1, $date2, ...".

As for mentioning the reason, if we want to do that, there can different levels of detail: Between "Here are the links to the messages that caused the action" (well, should that even be possible or should messages always be deleted when they cause a ban?) and "Repeated violation of section 4", there are many options.

But not everyone might want others to know why they've been banned.

If you get banned for posting something that you don't others want to know, then maybe you shouldn't have posted it on a public forum.

In fact, from reading the discussions, I get the impression that even those who get banned don't always really know why they are banned. They keep saying there were banned for X, and the admins say it was for Y. If it had been recorded publicly in the forum, therre would be no doubt at least what the official reason was.

Especially considering that the current policy allows for short-term bans wherein the banned person can return to the forum after their ban is over. They might come back and be embarrassed to find out that all their peers know why there were banned. Would it not be better to only show who has been banned (and perhaps for how long)?

If you get banned for something in the boards, the embarrassing message was visible anyway. I can see that things might be different for PMs. In that case, maybe just stating "inappropriate behaviour in PMs" without further detail would help? Any other actions apart from public and private messages that could cause a ban and be embarrassing?

If you don't have any trust whatsoever left in the promises or the word of the mod team, then what recourse is there? From my recollection, when this sort of thing happens offline - where two parties reach an impasse due to mistrust - a third-party negotiator is called in; someone who both parties independently trust, but who is impartial to the outcome.

You could probably ask a respected user that doesn't have any function on the forum, has never asked for someone to be punished and has never been punished themselves. That conversation would probably have to take place outside of this forum, which would be inconvenient and possibly cost some effort to set up, so that sounds more like a last resort than a good action plan for the next step to me.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby księżycowy » 2018-02-19, 14:05

kevin wrote:
dEhiN wrote:hopefully there will be others involved in this policy discussion besides you two and the mod team.

I don't want to become too much invested in forum politics, but okay, I'll share my opinion on the questions you asked.

I'm kind of in the same boat. I don't want to heavily get involved in this, but I have been following the conversation.

The most I'll say so far is, I think that 20 warnings is a bit too much. I think I agree with dEhiN, 3-5 warnings is more than enough. And I agree that we should give people the benefit of the doubt and not ban (even "time-out" ban) someone for a first offense without a warning first. It's quite concealable, after all, that not everyone even reads the forum policy despite it being easily accessible.

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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby Salajane » 2018-02-19, 14:09

2.3 Language - We do not censor language. Cursing is permitted as long as it is not used to offend another.

That was the reason why some time ago I wanted to leave the forum and never return, but then changed my mind because the positive aspects of the forum outnumbered the negative ones.Is allowing swearing really necessary? Are there people that really cannot live without them? I don't know if you realized it, but there are people (like me), for whom even swearing not directed towards them or another user is disgusting and offensive, and this could be the reason for leaving the forum (if I didn't find more positive aspects in the forum, I would certainly have leaved it).
I think we should not ban users for this, but at least editing/deleting the inappropriate posts or parts of them would be good. Maybe we can also make an exception if there is a good reason for posting it - if a peson don't know what a word means and wants to ask for an explanation or translation etc.
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Re: Forum policy review 2018

Postby kevin » 2018-02-19, 14:27

Irusia wrote:Is allowing swearing really necessary?

As a general remark, I think the question should always be whether forbidding something is really necessary. Allowing it should be the default.

What I like about the current rule is that it's pretty clear. If you want to ban swearing in general, the line would become blurry because reasonable people (especially from different cultures) can disagree what constitutes swearing and what is still okay.

I can also see your point, but I'm not sure how to resolve it without impacting the clarity of the rules.


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