Moderator Guidelines and Rules Discussion

This forum is for discussion between the GameBanshee moderators.
User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:
Moderator Guidelines and Rules Discussion

Postby BuckGB » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:36 pm

This thread is designed to give all of us a good understanding of the forum rules, what constitutes a rule violation, and how best to enforce the rules when broken. We have a large moderating team here at GameBanshee, so I think it's important that everyone has a handy reference guide to ensure that moderating practices are consistent regardless of which one of us comes across a rule violation.

To start off, here are the forum rules. You'll notice that I've made a few minor changes to them, so please feel free to post some feedback so everyone is happy with the revision before actually going live with it.

The GameBanshee Forums are visited by thousands of role-playing fans from all over the world on a daily basis. To ensure that it remains a high quality message board for all members, we've established a set of rules that we ask everyone to abide by. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with them before posting for the first time.

Participating in any of the following activities will earn you an infraction or, if severe enough, could result in your account being banned:

• Flaming, humiliating, ridiculing, or otherwise insulting other members.

• Advocating illegal activities, including software piracy or other intellectual property violations.

• Attempting to circumvent the profanity filter or posting sexually explicit content.

• Post farming or bumping multiple threads without having something to genuinely contribute to them.

• Thread hijacking or spamming. Light spam is considered acceptable in the Speak Your Mind forum, though an excessive amount is frowned upon.

• Consistently posting new threads looking for answers that have already been made available many times previously. The forum has a great search feature, so please use it.

• Posting in a non-English language without providing a full English translation.

• Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum.

• Registering multiple accounts. If you've forgotten your account name or password, make use of the forum's recovery option or contact a moderator or the administrator.

Since our blog system is designed as a personal space for each of our members, we will only be monitoring member blogs for advertisements, links to pornographic material, illegal content, or any rules violations that are taken to the extreme.

Obviously, there may be other unique situations that aren't covered in these rules, so let common sense be your guide. Above all else, enjoy the community!

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:37 pm

Obviously there is a lot of wiggle room with each rule, so, with your help, I'd like to provide some examples of what constitutes a rule violation and what doesn't.


Flaming, humiliating, ridiculing, or otherwise insulting other members.

This is probably the easiest rule to gauge. If you think a post was specifically meant to offend another member, it's a violation. Examples: "Why would you ask something so stupid?" or "If you can't figure out that puzzle, you're an idiot."



Discussion of illegal activities, including software piracy or other intellectual property violations.

This covers any posts about activities that would get the poster (or this forum) into trouble with the authorities. Since GameBanshee is a US-based company, US law is what would determine if a post falls into this category. Examples: "Can someone email me a CD key so I can install this new game I downloaded?" or "How do I burn a copy of Microsoft Office?"

There have been several serious topics about various narcotics over the years, which I don't have a problem with as long as members aren't trying to promote their use. I should also mention that No CD cracks are not technically illegal. While they can be used for piracy, there are plenty of reasons to use one even if you own the game. Unless the poster specifically states that they don't own the game, talking about a No CD crack should be allowed.



Posting profanity or sexually explicit content.

As long as everyone is OK with it, I think we should let the forum filter take care of profanity. If the word isn't included in the filter, it should be considered acceptable. If someone is purposely circumventing the filter by posting F@CK (or whatever), however, that would be a violation. Acronyms like "WTF" or "BS" are very popular in online games and such, so I think we should let these go. I suppose they could be abused, but that's something we'd have to monitor on a case-by-case basis.

As CE brought up before, there's a time when serious discussion about sex or the human anatomy is perfectly acceptable. However, if a member goes into *way* too much detail about their sexual escapades or over-the-top descriptions of pornographic material, that should be considered a violation. Sorry guys, but I'm not leaving any examples here :) .



Post farming or bumping multiple threads without having something to genuinely contribute to them.

This covers posts that are only one or two words in length and are only designed to increase a member's post count or to force several topics onto the front page of a forum. Members should be able to bump a single thread, though, if the original posts are of great importance to everyone else in the forum. This is another case-by-case basis, really. Examples of violations would be "Hi." or "Wow."

There are times when a one word post might be legit, though. Some of the SYM games have required this and I'm sure there are unique cases when a "Hell yeah!", "Thanks!", or something similar shouldn't get the poster into trouble. I'm open to suggestions on how to better break this rule down.



Thread hijacking or spamming. Light spam is considered acceptable in the Speak Your Mind forum, though an excessive amount is frowned upon.

To me, hijacking a thread means taking it totally off course from its original meaning. Obviously there are different degrees of a thread going off course, so some discretion will have to be used here. If it's an innocent and (same) game-related post, such as the example I used earlier about a guy asking about whether or not Two Worlds was a decent game in a thread about Two Worlds items, I don't really think it should be considered a violation. Repeated "innocent" hijacking would be, though. Asking "Do you think George Bush is a good president?" in a thread about Two Worlds items would obviously be a much different scenario and would constitute a violation.

Spamming. This is one area that I think we've become more strict over the years. Since our Baldur's Gate II forum has been around a long time, I did a little digging through the archives. Here's one example of a thread started by our very own Dragon Wench. Considering that the topic still relates to Baldur's Gate II, it wasn't considered spamming then and I don't think it should be now. "Light" discussion like this keeps people around.

Here are a few examples of topics that I grabbed from our search that have seen moderator intervention for spam - here, here, here, and here. Sorry Fable, you're in all of them :) . To decide what should be allowed here, I've undeleted the deleted posts within them. I pose a few questions to all of you:

Should discussion of Revan's items in the first thread be allowed after the original question was answered?

Should Pellinore's response be allowed in the second thread?

Should Triline and Leet's responses be allowed in the third thread? Either way, I don't think the "use your brains" comment is necessary.

Should we allow game-related topics like the one in the fourth thread? To me, this is about the same as DW's thread in BG2 years ago.



Consistently posting new threads looking for answers that have already been made available many times previously. The forum has a great search feature, so please use it.

Personally, I think this rule should only be enforced if the person is asking a question that's already been answered in the last page of two of threads. The search function doesn't have as many advanced options as I wish it did and there may be times when the person needs additional help but don't want to bump a really old, dead thread. If we find that the same question is being asked a lot, then a sticky or FAQ at the top of the forum might in question be a good idea rather than handing out violations to everyone asking it.



Posting in a non-English language without providing a full English translation.

This one's self-explanatory. If a person posts a new thread entirely in German without an English translation, it's a violation.



Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum.

Those members who register here to post one thread advertising MMORPG goods or cellphones are obviously in violation of this rule. Their post and account should just be deleted.

We also have a lot of members who want to get some exposure for the mods, savegame editors, or extraction tools they've built. As long as the person isn't profiting from their work, I don't have an issue with creating a designated thread for it. A good example of this is the Dungeon Lords savegame editor one of our members built. That thread has gotten us a lot of exposure and people actually come here specifically to watch for updates. If the person goes around promoting the same tool in multiple threads, then that would be a violation.

If a member is trying to sell a copy of a game in the appropriate forum, then a simple move to Banshee Classifieds would be enough. I don't it's worth calling them out for a violation unless it's a repeated offense.



Registering multiple accounts. If you've forgotten your account name or password, make use of the forum's recovery option or contact a moderator or the administrator.

Another self-explanatory rule. If two accounts use the same IP and are obviously the same person, that's a violation. We need to make sure we can prove it, though, before we accuse the person of breaking the rule.

The only exception to this is Buck Santa. That guy is clearly a model citizen :) .

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Wed Sep 12, 2007 2:37 pm

Ok, so a member has stepped out of line and broken one of the above rules. But just how severe was the violation? For the sake of keeping things simple, I'll break the violations down into three categories. Feel free to post feedback if you have issue with how these are broken down:


Minor: Some of these offenses could probably be overlooked altogether, as they're not going to offend anyone or hinder the discussion as a whole. If the member continues to commit the same minor offense, then a friendly PM ("Please refrain from taking threads off course in the future. Thanks!") would most likely be sufficient. Continued abuse should earn the member a minor infraction, but only after the initial PM has been sent. These posts shouldn't require editing or deleting.


Standard: These offenses are pretty obvious - a member offends someone (possibly unknowingly), lures people away from GameBanshee with a link to their own forum, attempts to inflate their post count, etc. For these violations, a stern (but polite) warning via PM should be sent and the post should be edited or soft deleted. If the member is uncooperative after the PM or repeats the offense, a minor or potentially major infraction can be given.


Major: You can't miss these offenses - the member significantly offends someone else, posts a link to a site promoting piracy or pornography, or intentionally tries to cause general turmoil or rioting on the forums. Once again, a stern warning should be sent via PM, though this time an infraction should be given immediately. The post in question should also be soft deleted. If the violation is extreme in nature, the member may be banned outright. I would appreciate a PM if a banning is given, though.


Keep in mind that when a member accumulates 50 infraction points, they become banned until an infraction expires and brings them below the 50 point mark. If you don't think the member deserves to be temporarily banned, then avoid going over that threshold.

User avatar
Siberys
Posts: 6207
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:16 pm
Location: I live in that one place with the thing
Contact:

Postby Siberys » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:24 pm

• Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum.


So, as for this rule, I assume we'd take this a lot more literally than the last Advertisement rule. Such as if a person posts a link to a free, legal, and somewhat interesting to them MMORPG (such as Ogame for example) then this is alright according to the rules, but advertising, say, "beefed up hidden accounts on ogame, to save you the trouble of starting small" isn't? If so, then I like this rule, easy enough to understand and none of that supreme court like judging that sometimes was involved with the last advertisement rule.

EDIT: Oh, one sort of common sense rule that you should add, is for the blog. We have a member in there who's asking a question about the elder scrolls 4 game, and obviously since we have an elder scrolls forum, maybe a bit of clearing up on what the blog should be used for would be good.
[color="DeepSkyBlue"]Listen up maggots, Mr. Popo's 'bout to teach you the pecking order.
It goes you, the dirt, the worms inside of the dirt, Popo's stool, Kami, then Popo.
~Mr. Popo, Dragonball Z Abridged[/color]

User avatar
fable
Posts: 30676
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2001 12:00 pm
Location: The sun, the moon, and the stars.
Contact:

Postby fable » Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:48 pm

Siberys wrote:So, as for this rule, I assume we'd take this a lot more literally than the last Advertisement rule. Such as if a person posts a link to a free, legal, and somewhat interesting to them MMORPG (such as Ogame for example) then this is alright according to the rules...


Just a note of caution on this. A couple of weeks ago I asked Buck about an advert to a free MMORPG. Turned out the MMORPG was free, but server access (if I recall correctly) wasn't, and the first-time poster was essentially advertising a commercial service. They were accordingly banned.

As long as everyone is OK with it, I think we should let the forum filter take care of profanity. If the word isn't included in the filter, it should be considered acceptable. If someone is purposely circumventing the filter by posting F@CK (or whatever), however, that would be a violation. Acronyms like "WTF" or "BS" are very popular in online games and such, so I think we should let these go. I suppose they could be abused, but that's something we'd have to monitor on a case-by-case basis.


How about changing the profanity rule above from "• Posting profanity or sexually explicit content," to something along the lines of, "• Attempting to get around the profanity filter." That way, profanity is covered by the filter, and anything is otherwise okay unless it attempts to circumvent that.
To the Righteous belong the fruits of violent victory. The rest of us will have to settle for warm friends, warm lovers, and a wink from a quietly supportive universe.

User avatar
dragon wench
Posts: 19609
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2001 10:00 pm
Location: The maelstrom where chaos merges with lucidity
Contact:

Postby dragon wench » Wed Sep 12, 2007 6:43 pm

Posting profanity or sexually explicit content.


What do you think the best way would be to approach song lyrics, Buck? Maybe also on a case by case basis? After incidents with members like Galuf and Patrick who each put up quite sexually explicit material I ended up posting a reminder in Other Entertainment, but I'll delete/modify it if need be.
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]

User avatar
mr_sir
Posts: 3337
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:43 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Postby mr_sir » Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:33 am

One thing that isn't mentioned in the rules that I'm unsure about how to deal with is back-to-back posting rather than use the edit function - should we just deal with this by sending a friendly PM asking them to use the edit function or just let it slide? I'm asking because this is something that I've come across quite a lot in the Fable 2 forum and I know at one point one member had an issue with how I dealt with it, and I've been a bit more lenient with it since.

User avatar
Maharlika
Posts: 5991
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2001 10:00 pm
Location: Wanderlusting with my lampshade, like any decent k
Contact:

Postby Maharlika » Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:10 am

mr_sir wrote:One thing that isn't mentioned in the rules that I'm unsure about how to deal with is back-to-back posting rather than use the edit function - should we just deal with this by sending a friendly PM asking them to use the edit function or just let it slide? I'm asking because this is something that I've come across quite a lot in the Fable 2 forum and I know at one point one member had an issue with how I dealt with it, and I've been a bit more lenient with it since.


We have the option to merge back-to-back post: click on the box provided in each post. Under the last post of the page there is a window for "Moderation". Make sure it says "Merge Posts". The number of posts will be indicated between parenthesis in the icon that says "Go". Click on it and the posts will merge as one. After editing the posts by merging them you now have to PM the poster and inform him of the posts in question. :)

edit: Of course, since there is a limit on the number of characters in a single post, the poster would likely post back-to-back to continue. This normally happens when the poster attempts to answer a whole lot of points and posts in one given time. The thing here is that poster in question has no intention of posting just for the sake of increasing post-count and that for obvious reason, the back-to-back posts are valid. If I'm not mistaken, CE and fable would at times do this when answering multiple queries or explaining topics lengthily.
[color="DarkRed"]"There is no weakness in honest sorrow... only in succumbing to depression over what cannot be changed."[/color] --- Alaundo, BG2


Brother Scribe, Keeper of the Holy Scripts of COMM


[url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/speak-your-mind-16/"]Moderator, Speak Your Mind Forum[/url]
[url="http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/speak-your-mind-16/sym-specific-rules-please-read-before-posting-14427.html"]SYM Specific Forum Rules[/url]

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:02 am

Any comments on the rules revision, violation descriptions, or guidelines? Does anything look like it needs changing?

User avatar
Siberys
Posts: 6207
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:16 pm
Location: I live in that one place with the thing
Contact:

Postby Siberys » Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:53 am

BuckGB wrote:Any comments on the rules revision, violation descriptions, or guidelines? Does anything look like it needs changing?


Like I said, something on the blog might be nice. I realize that this shouldn't be necessary what with both a forum AND a blog, and how common sense should tell a poster what to do with his questions, and yet member Black Lab77 seems to not understand at all with this.
[color="DeepSkyBlue"]Listen up maggots, Mr. Popo's 'bout to teach you the pecking order.
It goes you, the dirt, the worms inside of the dirt, Popo's stool, Kami, then Popo.
~Mr. Popo, Dragonball Z Abridged[/color]

User avatar
dragon wench
Posts: 19609
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2001 10:00 pm
Location: The maelstrom where chaos merges with lucidity
Contact:

Postby dragon wench » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:05 pm

BuckGB wrote:Any comments on the rules revision, violation descriptions, or guidelines? Does anything look like it needs changing?


To me, everything looks fine, and strikes a good balance between leniency and ensuring that the forums remain a pleasant place for all... :)

@Sib,
Where the blogs are concerned, given that we do not yet seem to have a consensus on how they will be moderated, it doesn't seem to make much sense to add anything on them just yet. Besides, considering that they are a somewhat separate category, it seems logical they would have their own distinct posting of rules..
But, that is just my personal POV, I'd imagine that opinions will vary.
[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][SIZE="1"]Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

[SPOILER]testingtest12[/SPOILER][color="Silver"].......All those moments ... will be lost ... in time ... like tears in rain.[/size][/color]

User avatar
Siberys
Posts: 6207
Joined: Sat Apr 30, 2005 7:16 pm
Location: I live in that one place with the thing
Contact:

Postby Siberys » Fri Sep 14, 2007 8:19 pm

dragon wench wrote:@Sib,
Where the blogs are concerned, given that we do not yet seem to have a consensus on how they will be moderated, it doesn't seem to make much sense to add anything on them just yet. Besides, considering that they are a somewhat separate category, it seems logical they would have their own distinct posting of rules..
But, that is just my personal POV, I'd imagine that opinions will vary.


Oh, I know. I just mean we need something to let people know what is ok for posting in the blogs, or some general guidelines at least, just something is all.
[color="DeepSkyBlue"]Listen up maggots, Mr. Popo's 'bout to teach you the pecking order.
It goes you, the dirt, the worms inside of the dirt, Popo's stool, Kami, then Popo.
~Mr. Popo, Dragonball Z Abridged[/color]

User avatar
fable
Posts: 30676
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2001 12:00 pm
Location: The sun, the moon, and the stars.
Contact:

Postby fable » Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:08 pm

BuckGB wrote:Any comments on the rules revision, violation descriptions, or guidelines? Does anything look like it needs changing?


Well, what I wrote, above:

How about changing the profanity rule above from "• Posting profanity or sexually explicit content," to something along the lines of, "• Attempting to get around the profanity filter." That way, profanity is covered by the filter, and anything is otherwise okay unless it attempts to circumvent that.
To the Righteous belong the fruits of violent victory. The rest of us will have to settle for warm friends, warm lovers, and a wink from a quietly supportive universe.

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Sun Sep 16, 2007 8:44 pm

Done, Fable. I also added this paragraph about the blog system:

"Since our blog system is designed as a personal space for each of our members, we will only be monitoring member blogs for advertisements, links to pornographic material, illegal content, or any rules violations that are taken to the extreme."

Does that work?

User avatar
Xandax
Posts: 14151
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2000 12:00 pm
Location: Denmark
Contact:

Postby Xandax » Sun Sep 16, 2007 11:38 pm

Well, we need to get rules up for blogs fast: http://www.gamebanshee.com/forums/blog.php?b=26
Insert signature here.

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:12 pm

I've went ahead and updated the forum rules page with the new set of rules and have posted an announcement about the revision to our members. Feel free to make future suggestions in this thread if you'd like, as certain circumstances might come up that need to be addressed in the rules.

I'm going to unsticky the thread, though, since it doesn't demand daily attention.

User avatar
Xandax
Posts: 14151
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2000 12:00 pm
Location: Denmark
Contact:

Postby Xandax » Thu Sep 27, 2007 11:13 pm

I think the rule
Discussion of illegal activities, including software piracy or other intellectual property violations.

is worded wrong. it is presented as if it is illegal to "discuss" the concepts behind illegal activities, the justification/possible change of legislation such and so on - rather then just illegal to "facilitate" or admit to doing illegal activities.

It might be because English is not my primary language, but discussion seems to be the wrong word to use to me. For instance, in my one of my blogs, I discuss amongst other things piracy and that could hardly be considered in violation :)
Insert signature here.

User avatar
BuckGB
Posts: 1576
Joined: Mon Oct 09, 2000 10:00 pm
Contact:

Postby BuckGB » Fri Sep 28, 2007 7:37 am

Yeah, I see what you mean. I've switched it from "Discussion of" to "Advocating." Let me know if you think some other wording might work better.

User avatar
Xandax
Posts: 14151
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2000 12:00 pm
Location: Denmark
Contact:

Postby Xandax » Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:59 am

Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum.


There is some wording issues with this rule as well.
I would think that perhaps the first period should have been a comma, or some other thing needs rewording :)
Insert signature here.

User avatar
fable
Posts: 30676
Joined: Wed Mar 14, 2001 12:00 pm
Location: The sun, the moon, and the stars.
Contact:

Postby fable » Mon Oct 08, 2007 7:53 am

If I understand you correctly, I think the first sentence is okay, since it's actually meant to be a subordinate clause. Here's the first part:

"Participating in any of the following activities will earn you an infraction or, if severe enough, could result in your account being banned:"

I do think the second sentence should show that it's a continuation, so I've inserted a word to make the transition smoother:

"Advertising unrelated products or services, including MMORPG currency or accounts. Also promotion of game-related modifications, editors, or other tools should be placed in your signature or posted in designated threads only. If you're looking to sell off some old games or that dust-covered Sega Genesis, use our Banshee Classifieds forum."

Let me know if either (or both) of these changes works.
To the Righteous belong the fruits of violent victory. The rest of us will have to settle for warm friends, warm lovers, and a wink from a quietly supportive universe.