On Forum Rules and Moderation

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trooper6
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#61 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:38 pm

PyTom wrote:
trooper6 wrote:After reading Jate's post, I think it might be best to have the General Discussion be General On-Topic Discussion, and Rename the Anime Board renamed the General Off-Topic Discussion and move all the clearly social threads there....all of the favorite books can now join the favorite anime threads.
I guess my answer is - I don't want to make this a place for general off-topic discussion. I think that there are plenty of places on the internet that allow unrestricted discussion - I don't think there needs to be another one, and so I don't want to spend my resources providing one, beyond the relatively limited amount that's acceptable in General Discussion.
If you really don't want LSF to be a place for off-topic discussion--which is what the rules and moderation policy implies and which is fine and I wouldn't complain about it (though others would), then I don't think the Anime boards should continue to exist--and I think all those off-topic threads in General (like "last book you read," etc) should be shut down. As long as the Anime board and the off topic social threads in general are here, you send the message that this *is* a place for off-topic discussions and it becomes difficult when you shut down *some* threads for being off-topic while leaving up others--because then it looks like enforcement is biased. If this is not going to be a place for off topic discussions, then it really should not be a place for off topic discussions.

I think there will continuously be problems as long as some off-topic discussions are allowed while others are not.
Last edited by trooper6 on Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#62 Post by Andromeda » Tue Jun 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Although technically off-topic, I want to say that the list discussion was a valuable topic nonetheless because if we're striving for a place of professionalism in vn-making then I think it's worth mentioning that it's any company's right to keep a blacklist, to prevent their funds and time from being wasted on scammers, people who are known for flaking out, etc... Gliese Productions was struck by one (a scammer trying to sell stolen music tracks as original) a while back and we're not ashamed to say we've made a note of that person's name and known aliases... We also run background checks on everyone we want to work with, it's just business.

But sorry! I'm not trying to reopen that discussion and I do have something to add on topic!

So, about the nature of what topics are okay and not, I would like to mention that I think a lot of us see VN's as an Art, and that means that really, no subject is truly off-topic. Now, I understand not wanting forums games and silly stuff like that, those aren't going to inspire anyone to create the next great VN.

But, debate on controversial and sensitive issues on the other hand, are invaluable to VNs as an Art. The things we learn and come to feel and understand from debates and discussions on these subjects will inevitably factor into the works we create, and I think that in the understanding that we are all Creators here, it can be implicit that these subjects that are sensitive to us, or meaningful in our lives in some way, will play a part in the VNs we make. Maybe not for everybody, but for those who put any kind of deeper meaning into their works, and I want to say there are plenty of us here who strive to create VN's with depth.

I also understand the risk these discussions pose. It has already been said that they can devolve into uncivilised discourse, but there's another reason: When these discussions are out in the open, a lot of people will withhold their valuable opinions and two cents because of fear of the random bigot dropping in to cause harm, or even fear that what they say on the subject, which may be sensitive information, will get out and be abused.

That's why my constructive suggestion is this, something I've seen put to good use in other forums:

A seperate, invitation-only forum for sensitive subject matter. Of course again, implicitly in the understanding that the discussion of these matters is to deepen our understandings so that we can create better VNs (do we really need to just add "...in a VN" at the end of every topic title?). The idea is, only members that have proven their ability to be civil get access. That way those to who this matters can have these discussions, like they're asking for in this thread, and people to who it doesn't matter or who can't discuss sensitive things without exploding don't have to deal with it.

And perhaps even more benificially, this means that when some people get out of hand, if it turns out the faith that they could remain civil was misplaced; then those people can have their access revoked, rather than closing up the debate for everybody. In addition, people can state their opinions on a controversial subject without so much fear of repercussions.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#63 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 5:02 pm

And just for curiosity's sake, I just did a tally of posts in the boards.

Code: Select all

*Name                                                          Posts     %*
Works in Progress                                        74009    21.09041272
Renpy Questions and Announcements         65255    18.5957773
Creator's Corner	                                   48714	13.88207333
General Discussion	                                   41983	11.96393408
Completed Games	                                   31489	8.97344926
Asset Creation: Art	                                   22962	6.543502236
Recruitment & Services Offerent	           20202	5.7569825
Anime, Games, Japan	                           10365	2.953723573
Asset Creation: Writing	                             6262	1.784487893
Other Story-Based Games	                      5540	1.57873889
Welcome	                                                     4006	1.1415935
Development of Renpy	                             3927	1.119080798
Adult Creator Discussion	                             3918	1.11651606
Creative Commons	                                     2868	0.817296595
Adult Worlds in Progress	                             2485	0.708152733
Renpy Cookbook	                                     2077	0.591884598
Demos & Beta Testing	                             1653	0.471056929
Completed Adult Games                                1267	0.361058154
Asset Creation: Music, Sound, and Movies     1163    0.331421178
Other Visual Novel Engines                             768     0.218857666
The general discussion board is the 4th most popular making up almost %12 of the total number of posts on LSF. That does seem to imply that off-topic discussion is important to a non-trivial number of posters.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#64 Post by truefaiterman » Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:58 pm

Andromeda wrote: A seperate, invitation-only forum for sensitive subject matter. Of course again, implicitly in the understanding that the discussion of these matters is to deepen our understandings so that we can create better VNs (do we really need to just add "...in a VN" at the end of every topic title?). The idea is, only members that have proven their ability to be civil get access. That way those to who this matters can have these discussions, like they're asking for in this thread, and people to who it doesn't matter or who can't discuss sensitive things without exploding don't have to deal with it.

And perhaps even more benificially, this means that when some people get out of hand, if it turns out the faith that they could remain civil was misplaced; then those people can have their access revoked, rather than closing up the debate for everybody. In addition, people can state their opinions on a controversial subject without so much fear of repercussions.
Isn't it more comfortable to just having the threads and not entering those where you don't want to participate? If someone doesn't like a debate is free to not look at it, and there's no need to make a whole new forum with a required invitation.

Also, while the idea itself sounds fine in paper... well... Trooper talked about keeping a personal list of people to work with/without, based around ideas that he considers offensive. And this thread just got full of paranoia and conspiracies (I'm exagerating, of course, but there IS a feeling of uneasiness from a considerable amount of people posting here, as far a I've seen).

And this is because a single user organises this for personal use. If this caused people talking about ingroups in LSF, I don't even want to know how will people think if the community starts having invitation-only forums.

With that said...
But, debate on controversial and sensitive issues on the other hand, are invaluable to VNs as an Art. The things we learn and come to feel and understand from debates and discussions on these subjects will inevitably factor into the works we create, and I think that in the understanding that we are all Creators here, it can be implicit that these subjects that are sensitive to us, or meaningful in our lives in some way, will play a part in the VNs we make. Maybe not for everybody, but for those who put any kind of deeper meaning into their works, and I want to say there are plenty of us here who strive to create VN's with depth.
I agree 999% with this quote. Damn! The Non-Binary thread actually got me interested in exploring my character's sexual identities and opinions on the matter (being mostly an action and gore/horror writer, I don't even think about it that much for my stories). I'm still an idiot who is having a hard time understanding the topic itself, but now I'm genuinely aware of it for the first time. If that is not valuable for a creator, then veeery few things are.

Oh, and regarding this:
The general discussion board is the 4th most popular making up almost %12 of the total number of posts on LSF. That does seem to imply that off-topic discussion is important to a non-trivial number of posters.
Even in a professional enviroment, most people would like to have some minutes to have a coffee and talking about trivial things with co-workers.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#65 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:18 pm

truefaiterman wrote: Also, while the idea itself sounds fine in paper... well... Trooper talked about keeping a personal list of people to work with/without, based around ideas that he considers offensive. And this thread just got full of paranoia and conspiracies (I'm exagerating, of course, but there IS a feeling of uneasiness from a considerable amount of people posting here, as far a I've seen).

And this is because a single user organises this for personal use. If this caused people talking about ingroups in LSF, I don't even want to know how will people think if the community starts having invitation-only forums.

For the record, not exclusively offensive...also just incompatible with no negative judgement attached. But...BOOM! right to paranoia and conspiracy theories! And I think you are right, if there were a private board that would fuel the perceptions some people have of in-group and out-group. I think just putting all the off-topic things in one place and saying, don't go there if you don't want to deal with off-topic stuff should be good enough.
truefaiterman wrote:
But, debate on controversial and sensitive issues on the other hand, are invaluable to VNs as an Art. The things we learn and come to feel and understand from debates and discussions on these subjects will inevitably factor into the works we create, and I think that in the understanding that we are all Creators here, it can be implicit that these subjects that are sensitive to us, or meaningful in our lives in some way, will play a part in the VNs we make. Maybe not for everybody, but for those who put any kind of deeper meaning into their works, and I want to say there are plenty of us here who strive to create VN's with depth.
I agree 999% with this quote. Damn! The Non-Binary thread actually got me interested in exploring my character's sexual identities and opinions on the matter (being mostly an action and gore/horror writer, I don't even think about it that much for my stories). I'm still an idiot who is having a hard time understanding the topic itself, but now I'm genuinely aware of it for the first time. If that is not valuable for a creator, then veeery few things are.

Oh, and regarding this:
The general discussion board is the 4th most popular making up almost %12 of the total number of posts on LSF. That does seem to imply that off-topic discussion is important to a non-trivial number of posters.
Even in a professional enviroment, most people would like to have some minutes to have a coffee and talking about trivial things with co-workers.
For me, regarding "off-topic boards" I have a couple different positions.
1) This is PyTom's boards and he can do whatever he wants--though, of course, all actions have consequences.
2) While I'm not particularly interested in purely off-topic posts like "What was the last movie you saw?" and wouldn't be crushed if they were gone, it seems like those purely off topic posts are important to a non-trivial number of posters and might help new people feel more welcome. So I see value in having them even if I wouldn't personally spend a lot of time there.
3) For consistency and fairness, if off-topic threads are going to be shut down, I think that should also include the Anime boards (though I again, I'm fine with them staying and I'm fine with them going--I just think consistency is important).
4) This is the most important. Whether or not off-topic threads are banned or not, agree with Andromeda and truefaiterman, that discussions of identity topics are not necessarily off topic and are often very important to the process of the creation of VNs. I remember some really great conversations about the creation of gay/lesbian stories by people who are not gay or lesbian and the difference between doing that respectfully and doing it in an objectifying way. There was also a really interesting thread about why Yuri is not more popular. The thread about anti-heroes was also really interesting. If we are going to make VNs on sensitive topics...which people here do all the time...then having discussions about the realization of those topics in VNs...it is on-topic and also I think it is important.
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*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#66 Post by Enigma » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:50 pm

I've been looking at the thread for a while wondering if I should even post again or not, and well my descision is obvious based on this post existing.

The only thing I really have to say is that I probably am paranoid, I've had bad expirences with various types of exclusion and I had a bit of a kneejerk reaction, and regret making the post I made in the first place. I'm sorry for causing the topic to derail for a while too. Ironically I made a post about being worried about saying something stupid (well it's what I meant it to be about) and said something stupid in it.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#67 Post by trooper6 » Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:52 pm

Enigma wrote:I've been looking at the thread for a while wondering if I should even post again or not, and well my descision is obvious based on this post existing.

The only thing I really have to say is that I probably am paranoid, I've had bad expirences with various types of exclusion and I had a bit of a kneejerk reaction, and regret making the post I made in the first place. I'm sorry for causing the topic to derail for a while too. Ironically I made a post about being worried about saying something stupid (well it's what I meant it to be about) and said something stupid in it.
Eh. It's not that big of a deal. It happens. It isn't the end of the world.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Aug 17): Finished coding emotions and camera for 4/10 main labels.
*Currently Doing: Coding of emotions and camera for the labels--On 5/10
*First Next thing to do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Next Next thing to do: Set up film animation
*Other Thing to Do: Do SFX and Score (maybe think about eye blinks?)
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#68 Post by PyTom » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:00 pm

trooper6 wrote:The general discussion board is the 4th most popular making up almost %12 of the total number of posts on LSF. That does seem to imply that off-topic discussion is important to a non-trivial number of posters.
This is a little misleading, though. A lot of the threads in General Discussion are at least somewhat on-topic - the organization of game jams, game reviews, relevant con talks, relevant computer discussion, etc. A decent fraction of the rest are in the happy and sad threads, which I not only want to keep, I'd be fine with more of.

In general, I'm fine with threads that are about the members of this forum, as long as they're not open-ended without meaningful interaction ("what did you have for breakfast today?" is not a question that invites discussion.) The "Get that thing off your chest" thread is one of my favorites, since many times I see forum members helping each other there. I want to have more of that.

I don't want to have an open-ended general forum - one that allows politics and identity discussions outside of the context of visual novel development - since it's been my experience that those threads upset people without accomplishing anything meaningful. When the discussion is restricted to visual novel development, we often get a meaningful discussion - but when it leaves that area, the threads cease to be influential and wind up just causing problems.

As to the Anime forum, I'll just point out that about half the people in this thread have either an Anime or Anime-style avatar. Given that the visual novel form originated in Japan as something associated with Anime and Games, it doesn't seem like an absurd section to have. And since it's been around since 2003 without causing problems, I don't think simple consistency is a good reason to shutter it.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#69 Post by Sapphi » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:18 pm

trooper6 wrote:As long as the Anime board and the off topic social threads in general are here, you send the message that this *is* a place for off-topic discussions and it becomes difficult when you shut down *some* threads for being off-topic while leaving up others--because then it looks like enforcement is biased. If this is not going to be a place for off topic discussions, then it really should not be a place for off topic discussions.

I think there will continuously be problems as long as some off-topic discussions are allowed while others are not.
It kind of sucks but I have to say this makes the most sense. It would be helpful if people's first post was in the guestbook, and their second post was something productive. Not that we don't already have people doing this... we have many valuable and contributing members here. Just, if people did not have as many distractions, they might be more inclined to post progress (or make some progress to post), rather than hanging out and making "easy" fun posts.
Perhaps it makes sense to add "Intolerance" to the list of reasons one can report a post. While I worry a little that "Intolerance" could be used as a way to shut down an opponent, I suspect it's probably going to be used as more of a guideline - if I start seeing reports for intolerance, and a thread is off-topic, it makes sense to either bring it back on topic or shut the thread down.
We should have this! If anything, it is a way for mods to know for sure that users are feeling uncomfortable with someone's behavior in a thread, since I know there are a lot of users here who feel scared to get involved and won't speak up. There are also users who feel they need to defend those people, and sometimes their way of trying to protect others can feel overbearing, which triggers a defensive reaction in the person whose behavior is being perceived as the problem, creating friction. It could be better to ask that if people are feeling uncomfortable, that they disengage and report the behavior to moderators rather than trying to directly fight behavior they perceive as being damaging.

If a person is regularly reported for making people feel uncomfortable, it is a pretty safe bet that such a person is being too abrasive for the collective taste of the forum, and that they should make a more serious attempt not to offend.
If a person is regularly the one doing the reporting, it is a pretty safe bet that such a person is too sensitive to participate here without getting hurt, and should be advised to take a break from forum activities that are causing them stress.

This would not be a perfect system, but it would give a much more statistical picture than I presume the mods have currently when they need to evaluate forum behavior. It would also make moderation much less haphazard and prone to bias, since it would be based in feedback from the community at large. I am much in favor of it.

On a similar note...

Another positive action that would help the forum, I think, would be to accept that different people have different communication styles.

I've been thinking about this more, since trooper6 dutifully pointed out that the non-binary thread was trying to be on topic from the beginning, and since daikiraikimi wrote:
Things will only get better when we accept that we have differences, and embrace them instead of pretending we can only empathize with people who we are convinced are "just like us."
I estimate that 80 to 90 percent of fights or disagreements that I have had in my lifetime were due to communication breakdowns. And, since I have been here, I have been involved in some and I have watched quite a few more.

This was part of why I originally stressed focusing on our commonalities, perhaps somewhat erroneously (after all I do think diversity breeds creativity). I thought that focusing on what we had in common (visual novels) would help us give each other the benefit of the doubt. "You like the same thing I like! You can't be *all* bad." But of course as daikiraikimi reminded me, it would be creatively detrimental and unrealistic to expect people to shed their identities.

So given the fact that the non-binary thread was actually on topic, then I do think that thread was helpful to the forum.

The real thing unhelpful to the forum, I am now more firmly convinced, is the expectation that everybody should know to communicate a certain way here by default, and the idea that it is OK to jump on people when they don't measure up to that standard because "they should know better already so they deserve it". This cuts both ways. I have seen it here with social justice activists and I have also seen it here with a "net savvy" person who mocked a younger user by replying to her naive post with a shitpost.

In either case I find this attitude quite alarming. You may devote your life to the cause of social justice, and as a result develop highly refined communication skills which you have skillfully optimized to be as non-offensive to as many people as possible. You may devote your life to computer systems mastery and as a result develop highly technical skills with which you seek to solve as many problems as possible. It is detrimental in either case to expect that others will be as advanced in your chosen field and that you get to look down on anybody who is not.

I do share the opinion of a few people here who say they feel ill at ease to post opinions. I have sometimes felt uncomfortable about posting opinions here, and in fact if we are being transparent and honest, I have already lost a great deal of sleep over this thread. (It was my choice to participate here, obviously, so I am not a victim nor do I expect or particularly desire any sympathy.) Posting one's opinion often comes at the cost of being furiously misunderstood due to differences in perception of language. A perfect illustration: I never expected to be told that I was "persecuting" anyone in the course of this discussion. That was, nevertheless, the way at least one person (and at least a few silent lurkers :wink:) perceived me. Still, I posted here because I care about the community and I assume everyone else in the thread has the same basic motivation.

Just recently, I lost a friend because, in part, nearly everything I said to her was interpreted differently than the way that I meant it. I use this personal illustration, but what I really want to stress is that it's not just me. I know people who are even worse than me at anticipating how their words come across to others - quite a few people. Yes, good communication is important. But no, we cannot expect everyone to have it. It is something that develops with experience, and it is also something that some people never really develop, because their strengths lie in other areas.

Should some people be encouraged to be a little more sensitive to the feelings of others? Yes, of course. But it should be with patience and good will from one community member to another, rather than "You should have known this already! ARRGHGHGHGHGHGH! WHY DON'T YOU KNOW IT?!" I want to believe that when people speak up to correct another user, they are doing it out of a place of trying to spread knowledge, to teach them. So, good teachers are patient; they don't yell at their pupils for making mistakes or being slow to catch on. We should all try to be good teachers to one another. And help remind each other when we are getting a little too rabid about our sacred cows.

Back to the subject of my friend: What I found was that when I tried to have a discussion with her -- to hash out the misunderstandings that had taken place -- she actually did not trust me. She did not take it on good faith that I was trying to be her friend, and that the words I said were not meant to be hurtful. If she only could have had that faith, she would have felt comfortable enough to say, "Sapphi, that hurt my feelings." And because I really was trying to be her friend, and her happiness was important to me, I would have tried very hard not to do that anymore. As it stands, she pushed me away because she could not take on good faith that I did not want to hurt her, and both she and I have now lost a source of insight and happiness.

In sum, going forward, can we all please acknowledge that not everybody is on the same wavelength when it comes to communication, and give each other the benefit of the doubt before assuming the worst of each other? Can we not get paranoid and develop persecution complexes and conspiracy theories about this or that subgroup in the forum? Can we feel comfortable enough, when someone is hurting our feelings, to say "Please stop, it hurts my feelings"? Can we believe in people enough to expect that the majority of them will be like "Aww shit, I didn't mean to do that" rather than "Lulz I'm going to keep hurting them"? And can we trust that the mods are here to take care of the latter group?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, if we cannot assume people are innocent until proven guilty ("I will try my best not to hurt you" vs "I don't care if I hurt your feelings or not"), then I cannot see a future for this community, at least not as one cohesive whole.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#70 Post by PyTom » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:31 pm

I've gone ahead and added Intolerance as one of the report reasons.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#71 Post by RotGtIE » Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:43 pm

PyTom wrote:I've gone ahead and added Intolerance as one of the report reasons.
You said you wanted to avoid having people push for a political orthodoxy on these boards. This is the opposite of how to achieve that effect.

If anything truly represents intolerance, it's reporting people for the crime of wrongthink in an effort to have punishment inflicted upon them.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#72 Post by PyTom » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:01 pm

Sapphi wrote:I do share the opinion of a few people here who say they feel ill at ease to post opinions.
I guess the question is - how do we make people more comfortable with posting their opinions? Both in threads like this, but also in various game threads, discussion threads, etc.
Can we feel comfortable enough, when someone is hurting our feelings, to say "Please stop, it hurts my feelings"? Can we believe in people enough to expect that the majority of them will be like "Aww shit, I didn't mean to do that" rather than "Lulz I'm going to keep hurting them"? And can we trust that the mods are here to take care of the latter group?
I just want to say that that while I'd like to do the latter, it's really hard as a mod to detect such edge cases. With over 100 messages a day, it's easy to miss something subtle - and 99% of those messages don't have problems. In fact, this forum seems to work really well, most of the time, and has for the past few years. So letting us know, either by report or by PM to the administrators, will help us figure out what to focus on. (It'd think reports from uninvolved users are especially valuable, as they lend additional perspective.)
The whole point of that episode is in Mr. Garrison's speech at the end about the difference between tolerance and acceptance. And that applies here as well - we have to tolerate other forum member's opinions. We _don't_ have to accept them - to form a single forum opinion.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#73 Post by Sapphi » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:08 pm

RotGtIE wrote: If anything truly represents intolerance, it's reporting people for the crime of wrongthink in an effort to have punishment inflicted upon them.
It cuts both ways, though. If you feel like people are being intolerant of you, and pushing at you, you can report those people too. It is meant to help the mods know when someone is feeling suffocated. I am pretty sure nobody is going to be severely punished because they got a report for intolerance -- just a head's up that hey, you're making people uncomfortable, could you back off? None of us are perfect, it's not like it's off to the firing range with you because you accidentally offended someone. :P

When people feel like they are in control -- when people feel like they can actually say "You are making me not want to be here" and that voice will be heard -- then they will begin to stop being so defensive and start to be able to come out of their shells, bit by bit. We will begin to be able to have more reasonable discussions because we will not feel so tense around each other. And it will result in more growth and productivity here, with more voices and perspectives being heard.

It's not political orthodoxy because it is not based on politics. It is based on people's actual feelings. If people in the forum feel hurt and stomped on, it affects their well-being and they can't participate or make their visual novels properly. Don't you think?
PyTom wrote:I just want to say that that while I'd like to do the latter, it's really hard as a mod to detect such edge cases.
I wrote that under the premise we'd be implementing the ability to report for intolerance, so my assumption was you'd find it easier to see the places where that was going on. :)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#74 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Jun 23, 2015 10:18 pm

Sapphi wrote:I do share the opinion of a few people here who say they feel ill at ease to post opinions. I have sometimes felt uncomfortable about posting opinions here, and in fact if we are being transparent and honest, I have already lost a great deal of sleep over this thread. (It was my choice to participate here, obviously, so I am not a victim nor do I expect or particularly desire any sympathy.) Posting one's opinion often comes at the cost of being furiously misunderstood due to differences in perception of language.
Thanks for sharing your feelings of apprehension with us. I can't say I've lost sleep, exactly, but I often wonder if perhaps I voice my opinions too strongly sometimes, or at least come across that way, both on this forum and in general. I believe it's the result of being typecast in childhood as the shy brainy girl who wasn't allowed to be herself, but I digress. I want to apologize to anyone I have harmed in some way. It was never intended.
Should some people be encouraged to be a little more sensitive to the feelings of others? Yes, of course. But it should be with patience and good will from one community member to another, rather than "You should have known this already! ARRGHGHGHGHGHGH! WHY DON'T YOU KNOW IT?!" I want to believe that when people speak up to correct another user, they are doing it out of a place of trying to spread knowledge, to teach them. So, good teachers are patient; they don't yell at their pupils for making mistakes or being slow to catch on. We should all try to be good teachers to one another. And help remind each other when we are getting a little too rabid about our sacred cows.
I agree. When I respond to posts, I try to step back for a bit to calm down, if necessary, and then organize my thoughts. Sometimes I slip up, but I'll always try to make amends. I think we're doing the best we can to talk and work together, even if there are a few problems now and then. It may be said, in fact, that this thread arose from that tendency. That's what I want to believe, anyway.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#75 Post by noeinan » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:55 am

Andromeda wrote: So, about the nature of what topics are okay and not, I would like to mention that I think a lot of us see VN's as an Art, and that means that really, no subject is truly off-topic....
I definitely agree that things like identity, politics, religion... Pretty much anything controversial can be addressed in visual novels, and greater understanding of these things can lead to an enriched experience of these games and/or better and more new games made by creators. Despite how controversial subjects tend to be, well, controversial, they do inspire people.

(More on this later, as it connects to PyTom's quote at the end.)
Andromeda wrote: A seperate, invitation-only forum for sensitive subject matter.
I'm a little iffy on this for this reason:
truefaiterman wrote: Also, while the idea itself sounds fine in paper... well... Trooper talked about keeping a personal list of people to work with/without, based around ideas that he considers offensive. And this thread just got full of paranoia and conspiracies (I'm exagerating, of course, but there IS a feeling of uneasiness from a considerable amount of people posting here, as far a I've seen).
But also because generally speaking it will require a lot more nuanced moderation, which is a lot more work, and has more margin for disagreement on enforcement. From a mod perspective, where do you draw the line? Do you just invite people who personally stand out to you, and who you like? But then, that's not a clear-cut rule, so how can you make sure you're not unfairly biasing against this or that group of people for personal reasons? I've stayed away from similar things in my own forums because, frankly, I prefer rules that are clear cut and easy to enforce. (Creates transparency and understanding, even among very different persons. And although you still have to use discretion sometimes, you always will, it does make the majority of work much easier.)

Also, I think that it could end up causing some hurt feelings and/or drama (which again, is more work for the mods.) I've always felt that there was, in fact, an in-group here at lemmasoft-- but not one that picked and chose members, to get invites, etc. It's just an inside group of people who are extremely dedicated, produce completed games (often commercial) and just have great reputations. Like PyTom, Uncle Mugen, Deji, papillon, Jack, etc.

But anyone who puts the time and dedication in, completes games, gets involved, etc. can be a part of that group-- I've never seen it as exclusive (even though I'm not in that group) but rather inspirational. Especially since all of the in-group folks post in these forums, they are elders to the community, and are a part of it even though they stand out.

I'm okay with that kind of "in-group", I think it's beneficial to the community, but I see it as very different than the environment that would be created with an "invite only" in-group. (Even the adult section, though it's hidden for many users, doesn't have the "invite-only" feel.)
truefaiterman wrote: I agree 999% with this quote. Damn! The Non-Binary thread actually got me interested in exploring my character's sexual identities and opinions on the matter (being mostly an action and gore/horror writer, I don't even think about it that much for my stories). I'm still an idiot who is having a hard time understanding the topic itself, but now I'm genuinely aware of it for the first time. If that is not valuable for a creator, then veeery few things are.
If you would like some informational resources, I would be more than happy to help. :) (Feel free to send me a pm.)
Sapphi wrote: Just recently, I lost a friend because, in part, nearly everything I said to her was interpreted differently than the way that I meant it.
Sapphi wrote: Back to the subject of my friend: What I found was that when I tried to have a discussion with her -- to hash out the misunderstandings that had taken place -- she actually did not trust me. She did not take it on good faith that I was trying to be her friend, and that the words I said were not meant to be hurtful. If she only could have had that faith, she would have felt comfortable enough to say, "Sapphi, that hurt my feelings." And because I really was trying to be her friend, and her happiness was important to me, I would have tried very hard not to do that anymore. As it stands, she pushed me away because she could not take on good faith that I did not want to hurt her, and both she and I have now lost a source of insight and happiness.
Sapphi wrote: But no, we cannot expect everyone to have it. It is something that develops with experience, and it is also something that some people never really develop, because their strengths lie in other areas.
Sapphi wrote: Should some people be encouraged to be a little more sensitive to the feelings of others? Yes, of course. But it should be with patience and good will from one community member to another, rather than "You should have known this already! ARRGHGHGHGHGHGH! WHY DON'T YOU KNOW IT?!"
There is a lot in this post that is important, and which I want to respond to, but I have had a very long, rough day, and my brain isn't processing this properly right now. If it's alright, I'm going to try to remember to go over this post tomorrow when I've had time to rest and can trust my editing ability better.
PyTom wrote: I don't want to have an open-ended general forum - one that allows politics and identity discussions outside of the context of visual novel development - since it's been my experience that those threads upset people without accomplishing anything meaningful. When the discussion is restricted to visual novel development, we often get a meaningful discussion - but when it leaves that area, the threads cease to be influential and wind up just causing problems.
[/quote][/quote]

I do think those discussions are meaningful, but I also don't see a problem with making sure the OP is framed in a visual novel context. Like, if someone posts "I want a more nuanced understanding of this because I'm making a game about it, please help!" that would be fine, even though it is educational on a topic, because it is for the purpose of a visual novel.

I *don't* think doing this will keep controversial subjects from blowing up. But trying to do that is an exercise in futility in any case. Things will always blow up, and often it's not even the controversial threads you would expect. All it takes is one person who posts something rude and derails-- however, I do think having that requirement makes things easier to moderate and that it's not that hard to just preface your post with how it relates to a game.

The mods are not censoring and deleting posts about visual novels that *do* relate to identity, sexuality, politics, religion, or other subjects, and as such I have no complaints in that department. I don't mind making sure my wording is vn related if it means I can still talk about those subjects, which very strongly relate to my visual novels and my art, and get advice, support, find partners, etc. etc.
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