So as you can all see, we're in the process of making some structural changes to the forum to help improve organization & address the spam/flaming problem. Major changes are summarized below.Major Forum Changes1. Created a "Flame Wars" board.
Whenever a legit thread goes off onto a tangent (useless back & forth exchanges of spam/flames) that content will be split from the main thread and moved to this board. Users can continue posting to the split thread or even start new threads in this section if they want, however posts made will not add to total post count. Forum rules do not apply here.*2. Created a "Forum Affairs" board.
This section is for posts related to the forum, announcements (such as this one) about what actions admins/mods are taking, and for everyone else to post suggestions or complaints about the forum, how it's being run, etc. Our forum users have shown they are very concerned about free speech, fair administration, etc. so this is our attempt to be totally transparent about how the forum is operated.3. Moved existing threads into these new boards.
I did a quick sweep through the boards and moved the most obvious threads into these two new sections. If I missed anything or moved anything incorrectly feel free to point it out here and myself or another mod can adjust accordingly.4. Installed a Warning System plugin
The Warning System plugin will standarize moderation activities so there will never be any question of mods taking unfair or arbitrary actions. * The exception is that porn links/images must still be clearly labeled and/or concealed within a "Spoiler" tag, which is a forum-wide policy.
New Warning System
The warning system will operate as follows:
* Infraction details:
- Mods will issue warnings to users for committing agreed-upon infractions.* (Standard warning = 10%)
- As the warning level increases user privileges will automatically be suspended. (50% warning = mute)
- Warnings automatically decrease at a rate of 2% per 24 hours, thus gradually restoring privileges.
- Flouting a direct instruction/request from a mod results in an immediate 48 hour mute.
- Warnings can be compounded for excessive/repeated offenses.
As of right now the forum rules
disallow spam, obnoxious pictures, offtopic garbage; "acts of religious, racial, sexual intolerance", and posting porno links, pictures, videos onpage. My interpretation of this:
- If two (or more) people get into a flame war in a primary board and a mod has to split the thread & move it to Flame board, all parties involved receive a warning.
- If one person makes multiple low quality (spam/flame) posts within a thread or threads that require their posts to be split, they receive a warning.
- If someone makes a post attacking or harassing another person (or a general group of people) based on race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, they receive a warning.
Examples: "John Doe, you are a filthy Muslim piece of shit." "All Germans are Nazi scumbags." (Here we use race/nationality interchangeably.)
- If someone links to graphic/NSFW content without labeling it, or embeds it directly into a thread without using a labeled "Spoiler" tag, they receive a warning.
- If someone commits an infraction within 5 days of being unmuted (i.e. while still at 40% or higher warning level) they can be subject to compound warnings at a mod's discretion, resulting in a longer subsequent mute period. A compound warning is the amount of the previous warning + 10%
- If someone continues to display aggressive/disruptful behavior after receiving multiple compound warnings, they can then be subject to an IP ban for a period of 7 days. Longer bans may be applied in extreme cases at a mod's discretion.
The list of infractions that a moderator can issue a warning for:
* Details about use of porn links/images:
- Violating any of the rules the community has voted to enforce in the official forum rules*.
- Blatantly disobeying a direct request issued by a moderator.
Currently the rules state: "Porno links, pictures, videos onpage should cause muting" which we're intepreting as meaning unlabeled links, and images/videos directly embedded into a thread. Therefore, porn is technically allowed if links are clearly labeled as leading to pornographic material, and image/video embeds are concealed in a clearly labeled "Spoiler" tag.
An image/vid embedded in a labeled spoiler is the same difference as a labeled link, in that it gives people the option to not view the content if they don't want to. If anyone feels it's necessary to revise this guideline to prohibit all links/references to porn/graphic content, period, they can raise that issue for discussion and a community vote.
Other admins/mods: feel free to append to this list if you feel it's necessary, but make a public announcement if you do. People have the right to know in advance what they can be punished for.
Currently we haven't finalized any guidelines for employing censorship on the forum. Should we do it ever? Should we do it some of the time? Some ideas are:
- Hide off-topic/spammy content inside a "Spoiler" tag to prevent it from cluttering a useful thread (for 1-2 posts, where splitting is overkill).
- Hide offensive material that violates the rules (porn, racial slurs, etc.) inside a "Spoiler" tag
- Replace offensive material that violates the rules with asterisks, e.g. "you filthy ********"
- Remove offensive material that violates the rules outright (permanently deleting)
28 Aug 2015
References to poll removed. Rules finalized.09 Mar 2015
28 Feb 2015
- Increased warning duration from 24 hours to 5 days.
- Added info about compound warnings
- Added porn exception to the "no rules for Flame Wars" decree
- Add clarification about correct usage/labeling of porn