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Harmonic's Serious Suggestions and Speel on the Forums and their Future

So, for anybody expecting something funny/witty/clever/random, turn back. This blog post is not what you're looking for.

 

So, let me start out by saying that I love these forums, these forums have one of the most varied and lovely communities out there, but now let me continue and say that it has some serious problems. Problems that need to be addressed.

 

Let me also start out by saying that I will never give up on this community, I will continue participating in and helping this community until I have been put in the ground. So don't worry about this by thinking that it is that type of blog posts. This is more like a long string of feedback.

 

The first thing I'd like to mention is that for the longevity of the forums, the "Address problems when we feel like it" model of operation will not work out in the long run. Don't laugh or think that's some kind of joke or poking fun at the forums, that kind of thing actually works on a small scale, but as the forum grows, more systematic moderation will be required to simply keep up with the amount of content being produced. I would recommend making some kind of system where there is at least one moderator always online, maybe by hiring moderator from varied time zones this will work out.

 

Another thing I've noticed is that the Administration does not seem to take the recent problems with the forums' public image very seriously. That is unfortunate, because unless we take steps to enhance that public image, the forums will simply become more and more hated, and users will keep leaving. I recommend we fix this by hiring some kind of section of site-staff meant specifically to address problems with public image. They could do trivial things that in the long run will make the forums look better publicity wise.

 

This solution might not seem necessary, but think about it, do you know how many more users, would, for example, stay on the website if we had staff members that helped them at home by doing things like replying to their welcoming plaza posts, handling issues with name changing so that the Admins do not have to. I would think they'd be a step from between Poniverse staff and moderation. You might think of this as trivial but keep in mind that this would help the mods and Admins by freeing up their time that they would have spent on trivial things like this.

 

Some recommended titles might be things like "Community Representative" or something similar that gives people the idea that these users represent the things that the forums are really about.

 

On to the next problem, inconsistencies in rule enforcement. It should not be set up in such a way that several minor infractions could lead to permanent bans. An example would be making it so that the most ban time a minor offense like backseat moderation or pointless/off topic could only add up to a week ban maximum, while excessive vulgarity could add up to a month maximum, and so on. You might say that users could abuse this, but here's the thing, I don't mean that it could never end up perma banning a user, I simply mean that the severity and intent of an action should be considered. Somebody well-intentioned should not be banned permanently for the site because they simply don't understand what they're doing.

 

In addition,this would help silence those who say things like "It's so easy to get permabanned here", and again, this would help the forums' public image. We should only be perma-banning long time-repeat offenders if they commit minor violations and permabanning extreme things like those who post NSFW content or trolls, etc.

 

 

The last problem I would like to address is the staff-selection process. The problem is that only staff have a say on somebody's promotion into the staff. The reason this system will fail in the long run is that it means that if it gets to a point where there are a lot of bad mods/admins, no good mods/admins will get added. In the long run, a better alternative would be user-nomination by other members, and then the staff would vote on these nominations.

 

That way, the public could express their support for a user's promotion, but the staff would still have the ultimate say in the matter. There should be some kind of fail-safe in case of staff corruption where if the general user consent is that this user should be promoted, they will at least have to be considered.

 

For example, the staff will receive a notification about it so that they know it would be a good time to make a final decision about it.

 

That way, the staff will not become a completely totalitarian 'Cool kids table' type high school-clique like it would if the staff can only grow by it's own will to do so.

 

I mean, if a user isn't cut out for the job, they can always be demoted at any time. But we should at least give them a shot if the community in general believes they deserve a chance. I mean, the forums needs to put at least some trust in the judgement of it's own members, otherwise, the staff team will seem detached and distant, thus further decaying the public's perspective of said staff team.

 

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In closure, I would like to say that these steps would ultimately help the forums and continue to help it grow and prosper, as opposed to stagnate (Even if the start of Season 4 makes the forums become more active, unless steps are taken, our increasing negative reputation will do much harm) like it is currently starting to do.

 

I am very passionate about this community, and am just worried about it, I want to see it continue to grow and expand it's horizons. I remain cautious but optimistic that the forum can become even better if only we set it on the right path.

 

I love you guys, and want nothing more than to have this forum continue to succeed for years to come.

 

 

-Harmonic

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Good ideas, really. Lists up some solutions for problems I've seen in other communities as well.

 

Do you plan on posting this in "Feedback & Suggestions", too?

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Good ideas, really. Lists up some solutions for problems I've seen in other communities as well.

 

Do you plan on posting this in "Feedback & Suggestions", too?

I posted it, woohoo.

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I'm gonna come out and say that I agree with you on everything.

 

...but you are missing the part where I, Lord Bababa, become the owner of this forum and all that inhabit it! I'd make the forums better by bannnnnn I mean promoting everyone to higher status!

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Very well formulated, lots of good ideas here (a couple of which have even crossed my mind).  Like StatesTheOblivious said, definitely post this in Feedback and Suggestions; the more staff who see this the better, especially from a longtime, respected member such as yourself Harmonic! :)

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"The last problem I would like to address is the staff-selection process. The problem is that only staff have a say on somebody's promotion into the staff. The reason this system will fail in the long run is that it means that if it gets to a point where there are a lot of bad mods/admins, no good mods/admins will get added. In the long run, a better alternative would be user-nomination by other members, and then the staff would vote on these nominations."

 

This part perplexes me because:

1. The only persons who truly know what qualities a mod require are the mods themselves. Members here will simply vote for the "LOL ZOMG POPULAR FRENDLY GUY XXD" kind of member and completely ignoring people who actually has the potential of being great mods/admins

2. The idea of having members nominating will only delay the process of choosing a new mod/admin. Seriously, if a lot members nominate the same member due to their qualities (helpful, friendly etc), the staff has most likely already considered making that person a staff member. A complete waste of time imo

3. It will end up being a popularity contest

 

Also, all of this can simply be solved by bringing in that User Survey that SCS suggested

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You have some valid ideas, though I am curious - in what ways specifically has the public image of these forums been suffering? I've always got my head in the clouds, so I'm not exactly up to snuff on what kind of things you're referring to when you speak of issues with negative publicity around here.

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"The last problem I would like to address is the staff-selection process. The problem is that only staff have a say on somebody's promotion into the staff. The reason this system will fail in the long run is that it means that if it gets to a point where there are a lot of bad mods/admins, no good mods/admins will get added. In the long run, a better alternative would be user-nomination by other members, and then the staff would vote on these nominations."

 

This part perplexes me because:

1. The only persons who truly know what qualities a mod require are the mods themselves

2. The idea of having members nominating will only delay the process of choosing a new mod/admin. Seriously, if a lot members nominate the same member due to their qualities (helpful, friendly etc), the staff has most likely already considered making that person a staff member. A complete waste of time imo

3. It will end up being a popularity contest

 

Also, all of this can simply be solved by bringing in that User Survey that SCS suggested

 

It's not that simple, like I said, the staff has the final say. Nominating is different than voting, if the mods feel like somebody only got nominated for being popular they don't mod them, simple as that.

 

A user survey would be nice but it would not fix the problem in the long run.

 

You also seem to be forgetting that it's already a popularity contest, except you just require the approval of a few staff members, thus, implementing my suggestion will actually make it LESS of a popularity contest than it already is.

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You have some valid ideas, though I am curious - in what ways specifically has the public image of these forums been suffering? I've always got my head in the clouds, so I'm not exactly up to snuff on what kind of things you're referring to when you speak of issues with negative publicity around here.

Staff have been resigning often, many popular members have left or just generally grown to dislike the forums, and much more. It's just on a downward spiral, really. It's really shot up in how common it is to see users just generally abandoning the forums as a whole because of how they've come to dislike the way things work around here.

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It's not that simple, like I said, the staff has the final say. Nominating is different than voting, if the mods feel like somebody only got nominated for being popular they don't mod them, simple as that.

 

A user survey would be nice but it would not fix the problem in the long run.

 

But why is that process even required? As I previously stated, if a person gets a lot of nominations because of their qualities, that person has already most likely been noted by the staff team

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Staff have been resigning often, many popular members have left or just generally grown to dislike the forums, and much more. It's just on a downward spiral, really. It's really shot up in how common it is to see users just generally abandoning the forums as a whole because of how they've come to dislike the way things work around here.

I got ya. Now that you mention it, I have seen quite a few statuses and blogs dedicated to how much the admins suck (their words, not mine) and whatnot. I feel that leaving the forums over something like that is a little silly, but to be fair, there are aspects about the way things are run here that merit honest reassessment.

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But why is that process even required? As I previously stated, if a person gets a lot of nominations because of their qualities, that person has already most likely been noted by the staff team

If it was already the case that people qualified to do the job are getting appointed, we wouldn't be in such a situation where people are resigning left and right.

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If it was already the case that people qualified to do the job are getting appointed, we wouldn't be in such a situation where people are resigning left and right.

 

Plenty of mods and admins are resigning, sure, but they resign because of personal reasons. Mostly because they can't handle the pressure, they don't feel like being active anymore etc. Rarely has it anything to do with incompetence, and if it does, it's the mods themselves who are admitting that they aren't doing much for the forums and decides to step out

 

(based on the high amounts of resigning threads)

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Plenty of mods and admins are resigning, sure, but they resign because of personal reasons. Mostly because they can't handle the pressure, they don't feel like being active anymore etc. Rarely has it anything to do with incompetence, and if it does, it's the mods themselves who are admitting that they aren't doing much for the forums and decides to step out

 

(based on the high amounts of resigning threads)

There's still the fact that users are constantly complaining about them, even if it will "always" get complained about, as of late, the frequency of these complaints has increased exponentially.

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