MODERATION POLICY & PROCEDURES UPDATE - 2016.07.28 I've been kicking around ideas for improving the way we moderate here for a couple of months now. Yesterday afternoon I made the decision that I was going to cancel the work I had to do today and tackle this issue. I've been working at it since I woke up at 5AM, and I think we've got a pretty good rough draft of changes we're going to be making. I'm calling this a rough draft because I'm sure we're going to have to make a few tweaks as we go, and also because some of the features we're likely going to have to pay someone to develop. To be clear, we're keeping the rules as they are right now. This discussion is about how we handle things afterward. A few words before we get to the changes, let's start on the topic of everyone's favorite moderator, deadeye. I'm sure simply reading his name has some of you reaching for your pitchforks, but to be honest your anger and frustration is misguided. I've said it many times before and I mean it, I am the one responsible for the way moderation is handled here. I honestly feel bad for him, a longtime member and a good guy who's being admonished for doing what I've told him to do. The reason he was made a moderator in the first place is because of the value and knowledge he brought to this community, as well as his good rapport with others. People are quick to point to him as "the" issue, and I understand why you'd think that -- when was the last time you've heard or seen anyone else issue a reminder? Each of our staff members play a different role in keeping this community running, and we all work hard at it. He just happens to be the one filling that particular role. I realize that it hasn't been fair to him, and for that I apologize. I've been so busy focusing on the technical aspects of the site that I have failed to provide the structure and leadership needed for our team to succeed in this area. I intend to fix that. REMINDERS & BANS: THE OLD WAY The way we had the system setup was fairly simple. You violate a rule, you get a reminder. Each reminder had a point value assigned. Accumulate enough of these reminder points and the system automatically banned you for a set period of time (depending on total reminder points). The issue with a system like this is the black and white nature of it. While the concept of strict law and order is good in theory, it just doesn't play out well here or in real life. Sometimes there are other factor to consider, and this system didn't leave much room for that. A perfect example I realized just this afternoon: none of us are notified when the system 'auto-bans' someone due to reminder points, not even the mod issuing the reminder leading to the ban. I can understand why you guys were upset with this 'robot justice'. REMINDERS & BANS: GOING FORWARD Going forward we're going to try a different, more simple, more human approach and see how that works here. No more reminder points, no more temporary vacations, and the automatic ban system has been disabled! If a member violates the rules they can expect a private conversation from a moderator reminding them of the rules. I believe for that for the majority of people here this is where things will both start and end, case closed. If difficulty following the rules continues I will contact them myself with one simple question: Would you like to work through this and remain a member here or move along? This conversation will determine whether the person remains a member of our community. Simple, right? DELETED CONTENT The majority of my day was spent speaking with developers to see whether the software to do this exists or if we'll have to pay for it to be developed. Even if it costs us, I'm thinking this is the best way to do this. 1. Member posts inappropriate content. 2. Moderator deletes content and starts conversation with member. 3. Member edits content and notifies moderator (optional). 4. Moderator restores content. Not only will this allow members to view their deleted content, it should also help to ensure that post they've been working on for the last hour isn't gone without recourse. The software limitations we're up against right now do not allow members to view deleted content, so it will need to be done through a moderator until we can afford to have it developed. MODERATORS Without the use of the reminder point system I see the role of moderator shifting from one of law and order to one which is more relaxed, friendly, and helpful. It might be wishful thinking, but I'm hoping those qualities may carry over and improve the the general atmosphere here. It will be my responsibility to address the troublemakers here and ensure that they find a home elsewhere if they cannot fit in. Stepping back from automation in favor of personal conversations is going to double if not triple our workload, meaning we're going to need to bring on a few more moderators. If you're an active member who's been here a couple of years and think you might be a good fit, shoot me a PM.