[FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

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[FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

#1 Post by Cadde » 08 Feb 2017 02:29

If you want to discuss the contents of this thread you can do so here: viewtopic.php?f=28&t=228630
The thread is split like this so you can always be sure you get official moderator posts here rather than half of them being discussion and half being posted in an official capacity.


I've long wanted to write a post like this in an official capacity to try and explain what the moderators of this forum actually does in their duties as moderators.
This to shine a light on some of the misconceptions people have about those of us tasked with moderating the forum.

This will be a series of posts from moderators (and only moderators) about situations we generally encounter as we keep the forums as enjoyable as possible for each and every one of you.

So allow me to get the ball rolling on this one with...

What happens when i report a post?

As you all should know, this forum comes with a little button you can press to get a post to the moderators attention.


Pressing that button takes you to a form where you can select the nature of the report and fill in any extra details you feel is necessary for the report to make sense.


As you can see, the reasons one can select are few and should be rather self explanatory.
Most users use the "Other" category and state their reason in the "Further information" field.
Even then, the reason is non-essential to us moderators. We check the "Further information" field first and foremost for details about the report at hand.

If the "Further information" field is left blank. We will simply check the post in question for any inconsistencies (rules, location, others) and make a judgement of our own on the post in question.
But we ALWAYS appreciate it if you take the time to explain WHY you have reported the post and why YOU think we should do something about it and WHAT you think we should do.

Take this thread as an example: viewtopic.php?f=172&t=188456

I personally feel (at the time of this post, it might move in the future) it's in the wrong forum location. I never placed it there to begin with, it was moved by another moderator (whom i shall not name) and it bothers me to no end personally. But i have opted not to complain about it so far. BUT, it's the perfect example because i won't be stepping on anyone's toes when using it as my example.


Most reports we get simply state something like...
  • Wrong forum.
  • Merge with Wishlist Megathread.
  • Language.
  • Not a bug.
  • No game logs.
  • Off topic.
  • Double/triple/quadruple/.../over nine thousand/etc post.
  • Attachment not a bug
  • Already reported: <link>
  • ... Someone actually missed the reply button or otherwise...
Sure, that's enough for us to act. But sometimes we'd wish there was more information such as in the cases of...

Which word/phrase specifically?

Wrong Forum
Which forum would you move it to?

And so on... There are too many different cases to mention here. But mainly, when something can be mentioned to help us out with the report. It's always good to have it on hand readily.
Especially when you are requesting a thread merge (two threads to be joined together) in such a way that you link to the other thread to be merged.
Anyways, with all that out of the way...

How do we receive reports and how do we deal with them?


And here's my report on my own post...


And the details...


So, there's an insight into how your reports come to our attention.
And this is why we prefer it if you report posts rather than post in the thread or try and PM anyone of us.
Posting in the threads means we have to, by complete chance, happen on your post and then act. That's not going to work and it's one of the reasons we don't allow backseat moderation. The other being that we'd rather take the abuse from misunderstanding or self entitled users than see it escalate on the actual forums/threads.
Sending us a PM can easily lead to the PM being read (or not, depends) and no-one of us acting on it because neither of us having time to do so at that point in time. Thus it becomes forgotten.

Reports stay open until any one of us closes the report. And we NEVER delete reports, we just close them when we have acted (or not*) on them.

In the case of the above example report, i closed it without action because i stand fast in that i'd rather have the moderator that moved my thread figure it out on his own. ;)
Besides, it's not the end of the world... Which i will get to at some other point in time.

* - Not all reports are valid reports (rule violations or otherwise) and as such, we don't ACT on every report made.

What happens next?

We read the report details and make a judgement call on whether it's a valid report or not and what action to take.
Not all reports are valid or reports that we agree with. And as always, each moderator has his/her own ideas of what constitutes a valid report.
We tend to discuss amongst ourselves on how to deal with certain reports and have a VERY long thread on this subject alone. Not to mention the forum rules to guide us.
I can assure you that every time the forum rules are updated, there has been some form of discussion or event leading up to this change. To set a precedence for how to deal with such events in the future.

Even then, we don't ALWAYS agree amongst ourselves how to deal with certain issues. And we don't have to agree. All we have to strive for, without fear of shame, is a better community for all.
Again, i can assure you that the points we do disagree on, we still respect each others opinions on and act accordingly with what the moderator GROUP as a whole thinks is best for the community.
This means, there are certain things I want done that aren't done so i act in the best interests of the group and community rather than on my own whims.
And that's most likely the case with each and every one of us. Some think the rules are great as they are, others think the rules need revising. The common denominator is that we all discuss amongst ourselves for YOUR (the community's) sake.

So, when a course of action have been decided either through sole moderator decision or a discussed in our "little" thread, the moderator takes appropriate action(s) such as...
  • Move/Merge/Split threads
  • Edit or remove posts
  • Delete attachments
  • Send PM's
  • Issue warnings
  • ... And even ban users. Which is our LAST resort short of the most extreme cases.
... And so on...
There's a lot more that goes into being a moderator than i care to list here. And it's not just clicking buttons!

When i make a report, can i be punished for it somehow?

Not generally no. It's only when you are abusing the reporting system that we notify you about it.
In most other cases, if we disagree with you or have other remarks about your report, we send you a PM. Not always but sometimes.
We are (as opposed to what some say) not out to get you. Even if you break a bunch of rules, we don't generally put you on the chopping block for it. Unless you of course do something exceptionally malicious.

Can i report my own posts/threads?

Of course! In fact, we encourage it!
If your thread ended up in the wrong forum section for whatever reason then ask us and we will happily move it!
Or, if you had a WIP mod project in "Help Requests" and it now reached a finished state. Then we would be happy to move it to the appropriate sections.

DO NOT MAKE A NEW THREAD... Report your current thread!

Make as many reports as you want, whenever you want! It really does help us help you, the community.
But at the same time, make sure you make reports that actually make sense. Abusing the system in the hopes of silencing the "opposition" is not going to pass under our radar, just so you know!

There's no button or i can't report the post!

Most likely, the post has already been reported by someone else.
There can only be one open report per post.


... I hope this gives you a deeper insight into how we, the moderators, deal with your reports on a daily basis.
The last thing we want is for users to think we don't take your reports seriously or that you shouldn't make reports unless a rule has been broken etc.
Heck, you could technically even reports posts that have spelling errors in them if you wanted.
Just don't get on our nerves about it ok? ;)
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Re: [FORUM MODERATION] What do the moderators do?

#2 Post by Cadde » 08 Feb 2017 04:22

A short one just because i felt like it...

Why do you remove quotes?

I understand the frustration on both sides of the fence.

On one end, you have the users that feel that every message someone is responding to should be quoted in full. It makes it easier for newcomers to the thread to understand what is being discussed between two parties.
On the other end, you have users that think it's superfluous to quote messages in full when someone responds to said messages.

Here, allow me to illustrate a worst case scenario... First post in the Wishlist Megathread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=202336

What happens when someone presses the "Quote" button rather than the "Reply" button?

Click for full size

Most users don't even bother removing the parts they aren't interested in discussing.

They simply append whatever they want to talk about at the end and think all is fine and dandy.
Something like "I really agree with openable windows!"

Quoting PROS
  • Quoting what you are about to discuss makes it easier to follow what you are talking about. For this however, you don't need to quote a post in full. Only the parts you are responding to.
  • You can of course split quotes up into smaller parts if you want to talk about several parts of a whole post.
That's it basically (as i see it) for quotes. And the rule is about needless/excessive quoting. It's not forbidden to quote at all, but do so in moderation...


Quoting CONS
  • If you quote something you aren't responding to anyways then it becomes superfluous information. There's no collapsible function on quotes on this forum so it just leads to pointless scrolling on all devices.
    It also taxes the hosting as each quote can contain a LOT of text. 14 kilobytes (length of first post in megathread) might not seem like much but when a thread has several quotes of big posts in them, 14 kilobytes can quickly become megabytes of data for a simple thread.
    Add to this the fact that a lot of people might be browsing and reading threads over and over again on these forums and the host (the servers that host the forums) might needlessly have to push megabytes of QUOTES needlessly per second!
  • If you quote something that the original poster has since edited from his first post, your quote now leaves obsolete information in place. Such as old download links that unsuspecting users might click thinking it's up to date.
    In any other case, the original author might not want old and outdated information, instructions, statements etc hang about on the forums. He cannot edit your posts.
    And that is before we get into legal. Every original piece of work, which includes forum posts mind you, is copyright © the original author of said content. When you quote them, especially in full, you are technically in violation of that user's rights. Please respect each user's rights to their own work... Only quote what you intend to respond to, it's called "fair use".
  • The forum search function sorts results based on relevance. Relevance increases the more mentions there are of some subject. Hence, if you quote the phrase "Realistic Physics" over and over again. It does count into forum search results.
    Heck, even google's algorithm will get fooled by superfluous quoting.
  • Quoting the post directly above yours is, in almost all cases, completely unnecessary as the post contents is right there above your post.
    You generally don't even have to mention who you are responding to by name when responding to the previous poster. It's easy to understand who your are talking to.
In other words, there's absolutely no reason to quote a post in full and it's detrimental for several reasons to do so.

How would you want me to go about responding to someone?

Well, that depends on the situation. But in almost 100% of cases, quoting a post in full is NOT the answer.
Refer to them by name, such as...

@Caddle (happens way too often, i don't get it)
I think you are a doofus!

... Or, you can quote part of the message you are responding to...

... I really think cats are better than dogs!

Are you craycray? Cats will rip your belly and make catfood out of your insides!


In conclusion, use quotes only when you have to and only quote the parts that are necessary to get your point across.
Otherwise, we will remove your quotes as we see fit in the interest of keeping the forums usable for ALL that visit them.
If we have to keep removing your superfluous quoting we may even take further (harsher) action.

Oh and don't get me started on pyramid quotes... That is, quoted messages inside a quote.
Double, triple ... quadruple even ... the trouble and downsides. Just DON'T unless you have a good reason to.
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