9/08/2005

Thread: Locked

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usEldar Online. I dislike it and there's a plethora of excellent reasons why. Some are just a matter of personal taste, like how I find a lot of the topics to be rather repetitive (i.e. "What's the best craftworld?", "What's the best aspect?", "What's the best Phoenix Lord?", etc). I don't hold that against anyone, however; I've been known to ask a lot of stupid questions in my life, so I can't exactly point a finger at someone else.

Another reason is that I find it sometimes smacks of the condescending argumentative nature which defines Dakkadakka; it's not unusual to have one person telling another that their idea, their painting, their army list or whatever is "useless", "pointless" or some other perjorative adjective. I find that unneccesary. Dakka is much worse, but EO still has that problem (I'm a lot more frustrated when it's the admins who are doing it, as they should know better). I very sincerely believe that if admins aren't cultivating an atmosphere of encouragement and mutual support, then their forum is going to have nothing to offer either novice or experienced players; it'll just be a matter of sumo wrestling between over-inflated egos.

The main reason that I dislike EO, however, is that the admins are positively thread-lock-happy. If there's one thing that turns me off, it's admins who lock threads down for the flimsiest of reasons. Locking a thread is your last option for getting a completely out-of-control discussion in hand; first you guide, warn, encourage... whatever it takes to get the discussion going in a good direction. I'm also a believer that unless a discussion is a) encouraging illegal activity or b) somehow interfering with other peoples' ability to enjoy the forums, that an admin should stay out of it (as the head admin of a large online forum, I have given this much thought). I go to EO, pull up a random part of the forums, and see something like the pic to the right (go ahead and click it). I just shake my head in disappointment; for a nation that has an irrational obsession with free speech, people sure like locking the clamps on other peoples' desire to talk.

I'm going to talk to one of the admins about it, because I do think EO is a really great resource in a lot of ways. I am not interested in going onto EO and posting publicly about my thoughts, as that's just trying to stir up trouble. I'll just make my points here on my little blog that no-one reads.

Anyhow. Back to Deep Space for me.

4 comments:

Quint'Aan said...

Yeah, they are a little nutso there about that.

Lomendil said...

Hello there. I'm Lomendil, a mod at 40kOnline (which is EO's new name. I don't lock many threads personally, and I don't consider that the staff as a whole do. We only lock threads that are:

- Redundant, due to the topic already being discussed in another current thread

- Spiralling flame wars or pointless spam

- Threads made purely to plug another site



The first is by far the most common problem - and, a problem which you yourself have already said that you don't like on forums. If we kept these redundant threads opened then we'd have a chaotic mess of one debate spread across three or more threads, and that's clearly no good.

At 25000 members, we need to take bigger measures to keep things organized. It's not like those cosy little forums with only a few dozen tight-knit members, which are effectively self-policing. With several hundred active members at a given time, we need to step in quickly to keep things running properly. Being a big site, we do get a lot of spam, flames and other such pesky posts, and in the vast majority of cases these posts are deleted and the threads kept open. Sometimes a thread does need to be locked - and we do use this as a last resort.

Anyway, I appreciate that you do put your complaints in a rational and polite way. Makes a nice change from some mindless brat sending flames to our PM boxes. ;) Take another look at the forums and see if you can see it from our point of view.

- Lom

Baast said...

Lomendil, thanks for the measured and even reply. I read and re-read it with attention. You, Ramses and Dark Flame have all taken time out to respond, and I appreciate it.

If you visit this thread, you'll find my responses to Dark Flame. Note that I found his posting on Deep Space (rather than here) weird and unneccesary, and I found his comments much less thoughtful than yours. Please take no offense from what's written on Deep Space, as none is intended. I felt like Dark flame had one kind of agenda, and you have a different one, and so my responses are different as well.

For what it's worth, it was probably careless of me to post something so critical and curt about EO (or 40kO), and I apologize if your hard work to make it into a good site was disrespected by it. I really do. It was a rant and, while rants have a place in the world, it's not helpful to discuss problems without offering viable solutions. Bad on my part. Nonetheless, I believe my points stand and I haven't yet read anything which makes me think that I'm missing any important points (yeah, of course sometimes threads have to be locked. I'm not arguing that). That being said, I'm not at all closed to listening and promise to carefully consider everything that's said to me in this thread so long as it's courteous in the way that you have been.

If, however, I get any comments which suggest I couldn't possibly understand the heavy burden of being an admin at 40kO and that I "just don't get it", I'll be a lot less open to that. :)

Falhandir said...

I hope you won't mind me responding here to your comments on Deep Space. Like you said the guys at DS aren't likely to want to have one of their boards clogged up with a discussion about the workings of a different forum. I hope my posts will bring some insight as to why you'll have seen things as they were, or at least my take on it. At 40kO, I'm Falhandir. I don't think we've spoken before, but I mod the Video Gaming and Computers Board. My posts are representative of my personal opinion and are not necessarily in anyway similar to that of the rest of the staff. I'd also like to point out that it's preferred that you post your problems with the board in the Suggestions, Questions and Comments board. Obviously this is your blog and yours to do with as you wish, however posting it here is less likely to have an impact on the forum simply because people from the forum are less likely to notice it, thus making the issues harder to adress.

I'd also like to point out that very few of the staff are actually admins, them being Rasmus, Raine and AiR of the active ones, and that other posts are from Moderators, be they Global or Local. From the way you've phrased things it seems that you're placing Mods with Admins, which isn't entirely the case.

Regarding the picture: I clicked one single forum area and scrolled down to see if there were any subjects I'd like to peruse, saw all those locked threads, and thought that was ridiculous. When you teach a class and a few students fail, that's a reflection on them, but when more than a few fail, that's a reflection on you. I've been poking my head in at EO for years; you and I know those are not the only six locked threads that have ever existed on those forums. How many over time? So, yeah. I'm calling bullsh*t on that one.

I'm also curious; how many by the same admin? If I go back to look at those locked threads again, will I see usually the same guy closing them over and over?
(Taken from your response to Dark Flame on DS).

Lets not just look at the fact that there are a number of threads locked, or why those particular threads were actually locked, but also at what the circumstances of their locking are. Noone is going to try and say that there are very little locked threads floating about. But when a mod signs on it is common for them to check the reported posts and then scan through board(s) checking for any problems or rule breaking, and dealing with them as seen. For there to be a number of locked threads on one of the busier boards such as the one your referenced to, and for the vast majority of them to have been done by Rasmus (who, by the way, is possibly the most active at moderation and will likely deal with a relatively high percentage of the rule breaking when compared to someone such as I), would imply that he had recently logged on and performed modly actions as he saw fit. This would have meant that there were a number of locked threads on the front page due to the fact that they had only just been locked, and had not yet had time to sink. Of course, these were mostly by the same person because he was the one actively moderating at the time. Conversely you could see a series of locked threads in a row, though locked at different times because the majority of threads inbetween them are posted in, thus making the number of threads inbetween the locked threads progressively shrink.

I'll merely offer this: When someone, especially a newbie, gets a wrist-slap for posting something which, while commonly asked, is of interest to them, that makes them want to leave and go elsewhere. What's more, it makes others who read the thread get the message "show great care about what you post or we'll lock you down without advance warning". I find that doesn't encourage posting and it makes people take their questions and comments elsewhere.

I believe this to be vastly unrepresentative of how things work at 40kO. The "wrist-slap" will generally involve (if the post is a double of an already ongoing discussion) a nudge towards the correct thread for this to be posted in and a locking of the excess thread. If the post is showing potential but has very little actual content it will generally be given a nudge that in the future threads should contain more content to encourage discussion. Only if the thread leads contain circular spam content would it then be locked. We do not pick on people, if it ever appears that way it's because when people spam (after mass generalisation) they will fall under a couple of categories:
Those that ignorantly do it but when nudged will quickly shape up (quite uncommon but always nice).
Those that do it ignorantly but fail to shape up, thus making a mistake, being nudged, and repeating the same mistake again and again, I've found on the board I mod these guys have been sadly the most common. This I can see how it could look like they're being picked on: they find the board, don't bother to read the current threads in place but instead spam it with poorly elaborated semi duplicates of current discussions, which will inevitably be locked and will also, inevitably, appear to be picking on a person. This is not intentional: threads are locked on their merit as a thread on the board, not their merit in regards to who posted it. Of course I doubt I'll need to go into those that spam for spams sake, even someone who has been a member of their first forum for only a matter of a month or so will no doubt have picked up the connotations that that carries with it.

Consider, also, that if a thread is resurrected, maybe that discussion isn't actually finished yet, or maybe new information has come to light (a .pdf update? A certain GW employee leaving the company?). Or, hey... maybe people just want to keep talking about it.

A resurrected thread will not, I repeat not be locked if the person resurrecting it is bringing in new input to the thread. Sadly in the vast majority of cases this is not the case. It's also preferred that if a discussion has been dead for an extended length of time a new thread be made to pose the question rather than digging up the old one, simply because it makes the board easier to navigate, however I don't believe it to be policy for the dug thread to be locked simply for that reason. It comes down to whether the input is actually new or a repitition of previously stated things.

When a thread is locked because a question has already been asked, do you link to the relevant thread before locking in order to keep keep the momentum going? I've been looking through those threads and that's not a consistent practice, so those lockdowns can very easily be dead ends for people who want to participate.

It is generally expected that, at the same time as locking such a thread, the person locking the thread will also link to the discussion that it is a duplicate of. Obviously we're all human and such things can slip our mind. Often this will easily be remedied due to the fact that if a thread is duplicated, the "copy" would only normally be locked if the original thread is still active, thus easy to find with little effort. If that proves not the case a simple PM to the locking mod asking where said thread is would easily solve the problem.

Thread locking happens a lot; as I said, those are definitely not the only six locked threads in the history of EO/40kO. They're just the ones that are displayed right now.

Yes, I agree that there is (sadly) a disproportionate number of locked-to-non-locked posts on the boards. But rather than looking at the big, evil "Locked" word by the title, or who it was locked by (because like I say, it's not surprising to see a close series of locked threads at the hands of one person due to the circumstances of a person locking a thread), look at why they are locked. On the board I moderate, on the front page (which I believe it was mentioned has something like 40 threads, I'll check on that) there are 4 locked threads. A 1 in 10 ratio doesn't sound to good but then look at why they were locked: one thread was a guy advertising his eBay auction of a 2nd hand Dawn of War game, which would have been moved to the trading forum (creating a "locked" thread in doing so), were it not for the fact that before it was noticed the auction ended and he locked it of his own initiative. The next locked thread down was one that provided some contention between the Nintendo loving populace and the less nintendo loving populace, a problem that is slowly being resolved but is proving resillient. An attempt was made to make the thread productive however it returned to the same looping argument where the nintendo players say "you just love games with violence and gore" and those that say "Nintendo makes games that cater solely for 5 year olds". Such arguments seem to be ongoing and constant. While people are entitled to their opinion, when it comes to such matters they do not weather so well at voicing them. Rather than have a circular thread that could rapidly devolve into flaming, it was locked. The next locked thread down is locked because the topic was moved, automatically creating a locked redirection thread. The final locked thread was locked because it was an advert, involving a link to a game similar in recruitment style to Kings of Chaos, which is considered an advertisement and while recruitment links are allowed in sigs, it is absolutely not allowed for threads upon such lines to be created for such links, which is clearly in the forum rules. 1 in 10 locked threads sounds like a bad thing, but when you look at why the threads were locked, in my opinion, they were locked for good reasons.

If I were ever going to lock down a thread, it'd be one where a young guy posts pictures of his not-all-that-expertly painted Eldar and it gets torn to shreds for three pages. I've seen it.

Did you report it? For a mod to moderate his board correctly he will occasionally need to be nudged in the direction of offensive posts so that he knows to deal with it. Like I say we're all human and we like to pretend we have lives, which means that sitting staring at the screen and clicking the refresh button, before pouncing on every new post to dissect it for it's productivity, isn't really the easiest or most enjoyable of options.

As for your comment regarding whether or not Admins should be able to take part in discussions, I believe they should be able to. As of yet I've failed to see a member be banned for anything that could be perceived as a difference of opinion and it seems highly unlikely that anyone that petty would even make it past trial mod-ship.

Note that I found his posting on Deep Space (rather than here) weird and unneccesary

The same could have been said of your reasoning in creating a thread on a different forum stating your hate of 40kO.