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 Post subject: Concerning Change
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:40 pm 
Grand Master
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Because moving it to the proposals thread defeats the entire point of the thread because of its lack of visibility:
Velvet LeChance wrote:
The General boards have changed considerably since the abolition of the discussion of economics, politics and religion. Whilst I do feel it would be unfair to link their abolition directly with the degradation of the board's posting standards, it is undeniable that such a vast reduction of discussion options has impacted negatively on the board's potential for intelligent and engaging discussion, and as such we've seen an increase in what I'd personally – and I know I'm not alone – call 'spam'. That's why I felt it was time to make this thread; that's why I'm here to ask what direction the users feel the boards should be moving toward. I'll begin with a simple question: are we to continue our progression towards our current social-media like format – meaningless one-liners and in-jokes making up the abundance of posts in General Discussion – or are we prepared to invoke radical change and return to our previous state as a board for discussion?

Whilst again I will say that I don't believe it is the only factor, I do believe that it was the banning of 'controversial' discussion that many of the board's problems largely stem from. Whilst conflict was soon at an all time low, so was meaningful posting. Instead such spam as what largely makes up the current content of General Banter began to replace it – meaningless fluff; one-liners and inside-jokes; stuff more resembling what's found on my Facebook newsfeed than an actual discussion board. This was tolerated; (perhaps the moderation thought that cracking down on serious and fun posting would be seen as overly harsh at the time), and sometimes it was even encouraged. As such the General boards entered the decline. It's twelve months later that we're starting to see the decidedly ugly consequences of this tolerance: passive-aggressive behaviour has become wide-spread in the General Subforums - something that is simply just accepted - and the General Subforums themselves have become littered with 'dump' threads, threads that urge the user to dump knowledge but not actually stimulate discussion.

It'd be a lie on my behalf to claim I can't see the logic behind the abolition of controversial topics. However twelve months on, it's having, what I feel to be more a detrimental effect on the General boards than a beneficial one – both directly through the lack of variation in discussion, and indirectly through the increasing tolerance of 'spam' posting. Below I've outlined two propositions which I – amongst others – believe could help. Whilst the second is something I feel should be at the very least attempted on a trial basis, I do feel that the first – effective spam moderation – does certainly need to be followed through on.

1. Spam needs to be cracked down on. Whilst I don't believe silliness should ever be entirely discouraged, chat would serve as a much greater location for the meaningless fluff that makes up large proportion of General activity. The General boards should be used for discussion; spam – like in any other subforum – should not be tolerated – or at the very least the copious amounts that are currently being tolerated, should not be.

2. A return of 'controversial topics, that is, economics, politics, and religion/philosophy. I believe that it is only through the return of such discussion that we can assure a return to a degree of seriousness in our conduct that has not been enjoyed in simply too long. Opinion drives discussion, in short. I will again advocate a private invite-only subforum for debates, heavily moderated and with a low tolerance for the flaming that was common in previous forum debates; members can – and will – be banned from the subforum for rule violations. I'd also propose a new set of moderators whose sole job would be the moderation of this subforum.

However, I don't believe that the reforms should end there. It's the management of the forum that I feel needs to be addressed next, and whilst I don't hold the pro-minarchist, laissez-faire style moderation that Doros presented twelve months ago, I do believe there does need to be changes. Under our current system user input into the decision making process is at its pure minimum. Whilst user opinions are still accepted the discussion over their inaction is between mods and undertaken privately in the moderator's own subforum. The user, despite being the one to make the original suggestion, remains largely isolated from the actual decision making process. This centrally-planned process saves time, I'll admit to that, but what it also does is draws solely on the opinions of the forums ruling minority.

1. I believe that any discussion regarding the direction the boards should take – particularly the General subforums – should be amongst all the users, and not specifically those in charge of directing the change. Change should be based on the general consensus of the community, and if that cannot be decided on a vote. Members of the electorate should be those belonging to the 'members' group – i.e., those with ten or more posts. However to ensure that no rise of demagoguery occurs, the forum admin will have the ultimate right to veto any change felt to be overly-detrimental to the board.

2. I believe that two new users should be chosen to police the new Debate subforum. However, unlike the manner in which our current moderators are chosen they're to be elected into their positions, and therefore held accountable for any actions taking under their tenure. Elections will be held bi-anually, though bi-elections can – and will – take place in the event that one finds him or herself unable to preform their duties.

3. I believe that if elected moderation in the new Debate subforum proves a success then we should expand it to the rest of the General threads, leading eventually to two separate moderation teams – one in General, and the other looking over the largely Elder Scrolls orientated subforums.

I'm not saying I have all the answers here; I don't. These are suggestions, suggestions that I - amongst others - feel need to be discussed, and then decisions made based on where the community feels the boards should be heading. Thanks,

- Velvet Lechance,

Rose of Sithis, Moeboid, Baratron, Mars, Archer, Frost Mage, Virtual Weasel, Derp53.

I'd prefer if my post got it's own thread. Thanks.

Vote for my sig in the competition of the month! #VOTEKES2012

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