Author Topic: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.  (Read 510 times)

Offline x4000

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Cinth.  I'm going to respond here since it's been a public discussion thus far.  Normally I try not to call out people in public, but this one needs to happen simply for clearing the air, I think.

I'm going to be brief (edit: why do I ever say that):

1. As a moderator and thus a representative of Arcen, I expect you to hold your tongue to a certain extent.  People say things that piss me off all the time.  Sometimes it's intentionally trying to stab at my emotions, other times it is a matter of frustration that Someone Is Wrong On The Internet.  Whatever the case, if you wish to remain a representative of Arcen in any fashion, you're going to need to reign that in quite a bit.

2. I understand that there is quite a difference of opinion between Cinth and kasnavada on a lot of topics, and that's something that I don't even find particularly unfortunate.  Discord in discourse is where interesting ideas come from.  The fact that you don't agree most likely means that there is something actually there that is a problem, but that neither of you are fully right. 

3. Instead of trying to win the argument (I gave up on that years ago), I've started trying to see the meaning behind the statements of the other person.  Ultimately that may lead to nothing (that is the usual outcome), and the status quo is thus maintained, for better or worse.  But sometimes that leads to some sort of ingenious spark that leads to incremental or substantial change, depending.

4. Whatever the case, I suggest that at best we all practice turning the other cheek if we simply cannot agree on something.  I will do my best to listen to everyone, but ultimately at the end of the day it's my responsibility to try to please the most people possible while not neglecting the minority.  Sometimes, thanks to things like lobby options, we even get to have it both ways: two incompatible playstyles become enabled via lobby options.  So the fact that someone espouses something that you deeply disagree with is neither reason to panic (I'm not that trigger-happy), nor a reason to be offended (diversity in playstyles is great, and even things that appear to reduce diversity could in actuality be another form of diversity if we're talking about an optional piece).

5. Ultimately the movie The American President said it best: "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours."

6. For anyone with a moderator badge, you have an added responsibility.  While you are speaking using an account with that badge, your speech is less free, as is mine.  In the name of professionalism, you have to grin and bear it, even if the other person is theoretically being a complete jerk.  I haven't read through the whole comment history here to even check if that's the case properly, but that's because I mainly don't care for purposes of this specific post.

7. Beyond that, for the forum community at large here I hold inflated standards for discussion compared to what you'd see in the youtube comment section, etc.  Blatant personal attacks will be censored if they're directed at someone other than myself; I tend to let the ones aimed at me stand, since I don't feel that I'm an impartial judge of what is across the line.  I feel that anyone with moderator powers should hold themselves to the same standard, and recognize the role that emotion and our own past experiences bring to the table.

8. Ultimately I think that certain community members may be worried that I will be convinced by a majority of people deciding X, Y, or Z and convincing me that's the way to go.  If anyone remembers Control Nodes, you know I'm not THAT easy to convince. ;)  In seriousness, that was a case where I really should have listened far sooner than I did, and I've become much better about that sort of thing in recent years.  It can be a struggle, but I strive to be somewhere in the middle.

TLDR:
In the vast, vast majority of cases, this is a wonderful community of people that are respectful toward each other and the Arcen staff, and even when someone slips up that's not a reason to crucify them.  Cinth is a really good guy, he made a lapse in judgement a couple of times in a row here, and I'm not going to beat him up over that (this post is not meant to shame, although I can see how it may come across that way). 

Nevertheless, Cinth is smart and savvy and extremely good-natured in the main.  All of us can react too strongly when opposing views are presented at times, and I know Cinth well enough to say with some confidence that some of this overreaction stems from personal things completely outside of the sphere of these forums.

All of that said, regardless of circumstances in our personal lives, I simply expect better.  I also have faith that there will BE better.  This community is so awesome that we haven't even had to come up with a system for banning people after a certain number of strikes or whatever despite this being an active place for SEVEN YEARS.  Do you realize how exceptional that is??  I certainly do, and it's my belief that all of the parties concerned here will take the high road in the interest of preserving this community for all of us.

I highly doubt all the blame is on Cinth, but I'm calling him out because he's a moderator.  We all need to be careful of how confrontational we might come across, or we're going to run into this situation between two non-mods, and that will really put me in a pickle.  I want to hear all of your voices, ideally unclouded by emotion or ego on the parts of any of us.  That will never happen if factions start developing or people start taking too much personal ownership in specific ideas to the exclusion of others.

With a game this large, we are all going to win some and lose some (when it comes to any design changes).  Some of your favorite units or mechanics likely WILL be changed or cut.  Other things that you've really wanted improved also will be.  As much as possible I'll try to make it so that all parties are satisfied, but please understand that is an impossible task and above all be kind to one another about it.

Thanks for your time.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 10:32:47 AM »
One added note: despite appearances, I know for a fact that Cinth has not been stalking anybody's posts.  He's helping me out on a lot of things, and right now I haven't had enough for him to do, so he's taken to looking at EVERYTHING.  But I think that he's basically only been commenting on places where his viewpoint isn't already represented.  When there are two people with opposing ideas on things, that can lead to the appearance of stalking.

In general, I think that's going to be unavoidable for a lot of people, where duos mostly show up to debate one another. ;)  I'm not going to be mad if people want to just throw a quick "me too" in various threads where their viewpoint is represented, since that's something that can be a way to help affirm who thinks what AND contribute to a positive atmosphere rather than only having discussions where there are arguments.

Think of a "me too" as an upvote on redditor or whatever. ;)  I don't even care if you just post "+1": frankly, it gets your point across and is less for me to read.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2016, 10:56:10 AM »
Sorry for having your time wasted on this, drama wasn't needed here.

:( <- unhappy me.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 11:01:07 AM by kasnavada »

Offline x4000

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2016, 11:49:26 AM »
It's okay -- my goal was not to make anyone feel bad, just as neither of you were trying to waste my time or hurt each other.  Things happen, and life goes on.  No bad feelings on this end, and I hope you guys patch it up as well.  Cheers.  :)
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2016, 08:04:13 PM »
I just wanted to chat about board conduct for a moment. Everyone knows I haven't always been the exemplary member. Not because I don't care (I'm a huge fan of Arcen, I am mainly here for AI war), but because like other people on this board, personality problems. I haven't been good at it, and the moderators/Chris have always been fair about it.

Okay, that bit of honesty aside, a couple things to think about that I have figured out as I grew older.

Being the smartest person in the room and expecting anyone else to care about it, doesn't work. It's never worked. This isn't a rocket science convention. In fact, if you are in a marriage and smarter than your spouse, I guarantee you that being right is not the goal you should be shooting for. Actually, what I admire most about the people around me isn't how smart they are, but who they are as people. I would rather hang out with a good person any day of the week than a smart person who is a total dbag.

Thinking you are the smartest person in the room and definitely not being so, is incredibly annoying for those of us that are.  >D

Anyway, the Arcen community is absolutely loaded with engineers, developers, and other educated people. Lots of nerds, people who read books, and generally have overactive brains that seek out developers who make these kinds of games. There are some who are their own biggest self-critics, but unfortunately use their intellectual abuse against others. AI war specifically is how many of us landed here. If you try to be the smartest person in the room with a bunch of people who are quite smart but already have social problems or disabilities, it's just not going to work. It'll turn into that Dr. Seuss work "the Zax." Or worse.

In a community setting (and definitely in a marriage), it pays to have emotional intelligence. Being able to rise above being right or being the smartest person in the room, and instead actually care about others opinions, listening to others, and trying to at least give them the freedom to express themselves even if you don't agree with them, is the best way to build community.  And we want to build community, we're trying to build a new game here! Drama is not needed.

Emotional intelligence is easier said than done. I use the ignore feature on this forum. It helps me accomplish that. Some people need to use the ignore feature, I'm one of them, because I know I'll be tempted to reply in a way that's not socially acceptable.

A little bit of board/AI war history, we have had some knockdown drag-out fights around here. Off-topic and about AI war. And the one that comes to mind most readily is CSGs, core shield generators. This split the community in half, with pages and pages of arguing from folks who don't like games on rails (me) and from folks who thought they needed more direction and guidance from the game. And after all the fighting and acrimony, Chris merely put a flag in the game options where you could decide for yourself whether you wanted them turned on or off. I've never turned them on, I absolutely hate being told what planet I have to take, but I have no qualms about other people liking them.

With that, the argument was over, everybody actually left happy because Chris allowed us to play both ways. The lesson here being, don't feel like you have to force a game mechanic, or that somehow there is "cheese" if people like to play a certain way, or try to prevent people from having their own fun. I mean, if people really want to win so bad, there are plenty of configuration options that will help you do so. If you want to play with a suitable challenge, you can do that, and you will be rewarded. If you want to play sandbox, or you want to play with some easy configuration, fine. Who really cares? It doesn't cheapen your experience if someone else is having fun.

With that, my own commentary on the AI progress thing, is I reserve judgment. I don't think it's a huge issue right now. I have won the game with way more than 200 AIP and with low AIP, and I had fun both ways. I don't want a certain AIP number causing my game to quit because I think that's forcing people to play a certain way, and I don't want us to get into the habit of taking away the configurability of the game.

Now, I just expressed an opinion without anything personal, just my own feelings about the game. I think if we continue to share with each other like that, it's going to be okay.

Cinth, I read your posts quite often, and I think we have a lot of the same views about AI war, so don't get all quiet now. Maybe you should make another Arcen forum name if you need more freedom of speech.

Kasnavada, I have to say, I disagree with you the most of the time, but I totally respect your opinions and right to share them, and I appreciate the energy and open-mindedness you bring to the forum.

Now back to the show.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2016, 08:19:07 PM »
Cinth, I read your posts quite often, and I think we have a lot of the same views about AI war, so don't get all quiet now. Maybe you should make another Arcen forum name if you need more freedom of speech.

Coming from someone with whom I've had some heated discussion (some wouldn't call it that), I appreciate it.  I'm not going to disappear or anything, just kinda let things cool off on my end.  Making a second account really wouldn't work.  It wouldn't take long for everyone to realize it's me, and I'm still a mod so I'd still be in the same boat.  Besides, there is just way to much epicness tied to this handle over in AIWC's forum.   ;)

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Online chemical_art

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2016, 08:35:21 PM »
It is due to my sometimes erratic behavior I've never asked for any position such as this. I may be fine 98% of the time but there will be that quarterly night were I go a bit...off. Never wanted to put Arcen in a bad light so it is easier to just have a non special handle.

Also, the mods on here are great already. I would not be needed.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2016, 08:41:58 PM by chemical_art »
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Offline x4000

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2016, 08:41:02 PM »
Thanks very much for that, Cyborg -- you and I have personally butted heads a number of times in past years, mostly in 2012 and before IIRC.  We've both grown a lot since then, for sure.

I had forgotten about CSGs, but that was certainly memorable now that you bring it up.  The resolution was so easy (in the end) that it I guess faded more for me, but control nodes are burned in my brain because not only was it toxic, I was dead wrong, and it drove one community member (I can't remember his name!!) away.  Fairly sure he still hates me.

Feeling the need to have the idea that makes it into the game is indeed dangerous.  I gave that up years ago, mainly because I guess I had my fill of being lead designer in the not-listening-to-others fashion.  It's hard when its your first game and you're in love with it and want to show your chops.  I see a lot of developers run into that problem, not that that makes it right.  From a developer standpoint, I'm not sure what the solution for that is other than just gaining some professional confidence and not being too tightly emotionally bound to one game.

From a player standpoint, it's harder.  When it comes to dealing with me, I don't want people to feel like they have to prove they're smart in order for me to listen to their ideas.  It's not all about me, obviously: the standard for discourse here tends to be high, and everybody is trying to impress everybody.  But in terms of actually being heard by the guy writing the design document, if you mess up your punctuation and write in all caps, but say smart things, I'll listen to you just as well as the eloquent guy next to you.

chemical_art: I always appreciate your honesty and self-reflection, particularly in the last few years.  For a lot of us we really have become "fuller adults" together, haven't we?  Not that I know most of your ages, but I'm 33, and when you first met me I was probably 26 or 27.  A lot changes in those years, and simply as the community has grown things have changed for all of us.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2016, 08:56:57 PM »
Wow, okay, a lot of stuff happened while I was sleeping. 

For what it's worth, that this is about as bad as it ever actually gets here says a lot of good things about this forum and it's members, to be honest.  We don't get the screaming arguments here that plague so many other forums.  Hell, us moderators haven't had to actually DO all that much actual moderation.  All the bot-stomping not counting, that's effectively infinite and never ends (sigh).  But actually having to step in and try to calm people down?  Hardly ever happens.  On any other forum I go to or have been to in the past, it's FREQUENT.  And it's not just "disagreements" like this, it's usually a bunch of shrieking idiots spraying f-bombs at each other.  If that has ever happened here, it had to be before my time (and it just occurred to me how long I've been here, yet still I cant remember any huge incidents), that's for sure, but somehow I doubt it ever did happen here.

So there's that. 

And hell, that's with AI War 2 upcoming, too.... as lively as things are right now we still aren't getting any bad stuff happening.

Really, we've got a great community here.

The bots can go stab themselves, though. With a rusty fork.  Bloody things.

Online chemical_art

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Re: Behavior guidelines for moderators, and by extension community members.
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2016, 08:58:51 PM »
I absolutely agree Chris we have [all] grown "fuller" over these last few years. It is not often to find an online forum that has interactions for so long. To find one not a pit full of stakes with mod abuse being thrown about is even rarer. (This forum is by far the tamest I have seen.) 

Cyborg I think in being correct in the importance of emotional intelligence. I grown a bit smarter on academia, but it is the emotional growth that started 3 years ago and accelerated  last...year? That emotional growth has certainly made my personal life better and I would not be surprised if it flows into other outlets like here a bit.

Time is flying. Anyway I find it amusing how emotional intellegence expresses itself in different ways, not always in noble ways. If I am craving that screaming match I still indulge in it...just not here  ;D
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