Over Moderating

Discussion in 'Player Advice & Discussions' started by OrtyBortorty, Dec 11, 2018.

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  1. OrtyBortorty

    OrtyBortorty Pig Jockey Lifetime V.I.P.

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    Hi friends, I would like to start by saying I am not upset or angry with anyone, staff included. I really appreciate the work everyone puts into NC, and this post is meant as a suggestion for how you can continue to improve the server. I am posting this here to encourage public discussion on over-moderation.

    With the beginning of the third map, there have been some changes in the attitude of some staff members. Many of the staff are new (ish), so this is to be expected and valued (sometimes). One of the not-so-great changes I have noticed is the tendency to punish or (officially, using warning points) warn players sooner than what used to be usual. I have screenshots of this happening, and I can post them in a comment on this thread if anyone is interested.

    Let's start with an example of someone receiving an official warning on the first map. In 2016, I was warned (unofficially) by a staff member in chat for creating fake vanity tags with /nickname. It was very late at night, and I was tired and hyper. However, the staff member gave me multiple unofficial warnings in chat, over a period of at least an hour, before giving me official warning points and removing my nickname permissions. I think the staff member was correct in issuing those punishments, but I really appreciate that I got unofficial warnings in chat before I got stuck with official warning points. While you could argue the unofficial warnings didn't help in this case, there have been other cases where I listened to the staff member in chat, and nobody had to issue or receive official warning points.

    In contrast, here is an example of someone receiving an official warning on the third map: A player was issued two warning points for "Official Reason: Avoiding the Filter." The word in question was "@@@@@@@." In response to this player's punishment appeal, a staff member wrote "At the time of your warning, I saw your use of "@@@@@@@" as avoiding the filter, which is against our Code of Conduct. I then asked that you be warned for this as I was unable to at the moment. After consideration and discussion, I am going to remove your warning points and grant your appeal."

    I really appreciate the way staff handle appeals, and that appeal shows that staff put time and effort into educating players on the Code of Conduct, and determining the best way to enforce the rules. However, this staff member could have avoided having to write the appeal if they took the time to search for the word "@@@@@@@" in discord before punishing the player.

    Before that player said "@@@@@@@," the most recent uses of that word visible in discord were Nodred (in-game chat), JentheGeek (Grand Central), and Islid (Grand Central). When staff members or former staff members use a word like that in a safe-for-work channel, they give players the impression that it is okay to say it. There might be exceptions, but in those cases, it would be prudent to warn the player in chat about it before issuing official warning points. Maybe they just didn't know it wasn't allowed.
     
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  2. dasqu314

    dasqu314 Tree Puncher Lifetime V.I.P. Nerdfighter

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    Hi Orty, First of all, thank you for writing this post and expressing your concerns.

    To start, the statistics between the second map and this map really don't indicate any significant increase in the number of warnings given out vs. the verbal warnings, if anything there are less warnings issued now than back in 2016. I think the reason staff seems less lenient is that there are simply more staff on more frequently leading to more percieved warnings.

    In regards to those specific examples, I frankly fail to see how your example of effective verbal warnings argues for your case, please feel free to provide other examples where a verbal warning was effective in getting you to stop what you were doing because as you said, it was not until you got a formal warning before you stopped. For your second example, staff made a mistake, though I can see how that may not have been clear from the appeal response. The end result however is that the warning points did get appealed. I agree, that should not have been a formal warning, and the word should have been filtered as staff said, but staff like all players occasionally make mistakes, and staff has been far busier than normal making sure that the server is working which means that they are more likely to be tired and prone to making mistakes. It is rather unreasonable to expect absolute consistancy from staff while expecting to get multiple verbal warnings whenever a player makes a mistake.

    I do think that there is room for improvement in the proccess by which appeals are handled and making sure that players are told why the decision got appealed. Flaw agrees on this issue. In regards to over moderating however, there really is no evidence that points to a trend of warning points being used frequently. In fact, within the last week there has essentially been one warning issued per day, and most of these were issued by long time staff.

    Like I said earlier, if you have more examples that would contribute to this discussion, I'm happy to see them. As always, staff are happy to hear constructive suggestions, and I am always open to helpful suggestions about how staff could improve.
    DFTBA :)
     
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  3. OrtyBortorty

    OrtyBortorty Pig Jockey Lifetime V.I.P.

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    This thread wasn't only meant be about warning points being used more frequently, but it's nice to know that isn't the case. Thanks for relaying the information that Flaw thinks there is room for improvement regarding the appeals process. Maybe "over-moderating" was the wrong title for this thread, because I also wanted to address the issue of etiquette between staff and players. The person who said "@@@@@@@" wanted me to say:

    "The tone taken from the message was a bit harsh. I personally work with kids and I don't even treat them like that, only if they have repeated the offense. If someone wants to say 'hey, I think you're wrong,' the staff shouldn't get defensive, they should get thoughtful. I didn't use any accusatory language beyond 'it was oranges13 who gave me the points.'" -Person

    I'm not expecting staff to have a set of rules that they follow absolutely and consistently. I'm asking everyone, staff included, to be kind and thoughtful when criticizing others' behavior. This works both ways. Staff members sometimes get personally offended when a non-staff player criticizes their behavior. Non-staff players sometimes get personally offended when staff members criticize their behavior. We're all only human, but we do try to avoid offending each other.

    Maybe you're thinking, "I'm not offended; the other person in the conversation is!" Good for you! :p As the calmer person, you have the opportunity to communicate clearly and more in-depth than them. Without the valid reason of being emotional about the topic, it is your responsibility to make sure the other person understands your point of view. That means reciprocation: if the other person is asking you complicated questions in complete sentences, don't give them one word answers (unless you're busy, in which case, say that you're busy).

    Staff members have more power than players, because they enforce the rules. This is not a good or bad thing, only a necessary one (if we don't want griefers everywhere). That means they have (at least a little) more responsibility than players when it comes to communicating with them about the rules.
     
  4. PerfectFlaw

    PerfectFlaw Space Llama Head Administrator Lifetime V.I.P.

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    Hi Orty,

    As Dasqu said, I appreciate you taking the time to write a thread, and am glad to see that you understand there's no real difference in rate of verbal vs. formal warnings issued between now and the time you referenced as being better. I am personally confused how the tone was taken a bit harsh, as I read it purely professionally. However, I am sorry the player took it as being severe. Staff tries to treat appeals seriously and professionally, as we know it can be a big deal to some players to appeal and we want them to know we are taking it seriously. In all honesty, the only thing I would have changed about the response would be to add (in bold/italics) "After consideration and discussion, we realized this should have been filtered in the first place and therefore a warning would not have been issued. As a result, I am going to remove your warning points and grant your appeal. Sorry about the mix up!" This makes it clearer that staff made a mistake. Attached is an example from that exact staff member a few weeks prior over a different staff mistake.

    Per your post, you do not expect 100% staff consistency, and we appreciate that. Hopefully you can see from the correction above and the example of a response from the same staff member that this was a fluke. I can assure you that staff aren't offended or defensive when someone makes an appeal because we messed up. We're happy to grant appeals based on that - see above.

    I am going to go ahead and lock this thread - it seems like we aren't going to get much "chiming in" given that the only other feedback we've gotten from players has been redacted quotes transmitted through you, so I feel this isn't doing much good on this forum vs. a grievance. Please feel free to pm me if you have further questions.
     

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