On Forum Rules and Moderation

Forum organization and occasional community-building.
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trooper6
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#76 Post by trooper6 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 11:40 am

PyTom wrote: 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.
So you *do* want off-topic discussions...just only ones that you personally feel comfortable with and not ones that you don't personally care about. You like threads that are about forum members and invite discussion..but not if it invites discussion of the forum members' identity (which usually only results in the suppression of discussion of non-normative identities).* Well...it is your message board, you can run it however you please.

One of the reasons I think there are so many anime avatars is because this site (including the presence of the anime board) gives the impression that copying JVNs is what EVNs are all about and so if you wanted to do something else, it isn't all that clear this place will be welcoming for you as a community (as a place to get coding tips sure, as a community? Not so sure). It helps limit the sort of people who are seen as belonging. It creates "anime fan" as a norm and marginalized non-anime fans...creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. As a non-JVN person who comes to what is now the EVN through Western traditions of Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, IF, and Adventure games, I often feel like this is not a place for me socially...one of the reasons why the board I participate in most frequently I'd the Ren'Py Questions thread despite having only learned Python by learning Ren'py and by no means being any kind of expert.

Now, I'm a big kid, and I don't mind being in a place where I'm a social outsider if I can get good coding tips. And I enjoy helping people out with their coding questions. And I'll still give back in the cookbook section...but note, one of the reasons I do participate in the social discussions on identity, is because those threads are some of the few threads where I do feel welcome...and where I get to meet some of the few other people who make me feel less alienated here.

Now, I may be the only person like me in this community, which means further alienating one outlier through an inconsistent policy of allowing off topic threads that are anime related or "about the forum members" but not about who their identity, is probably no big deal, especially considering that I can take it. I'm not a delicate flower. And maybe that is the end goal of the policies, I don't know. My feelings of not feeling like I belong here as not a modern anime otaku...exacerbated by there being no space allowed to have off-topic discussions about non-anime things (which would allow me to see that there are others who share my interest here that I could collaborate with, be friends with, have community with) has a parallel with the identity discussion.

*I want to go back to the thread that spawned this thread and say why I think the suppression of identity can be damaging. I said not talking about identity usually results in the suppression of minority identities. Why do I say this? Because majority identities are always assumed to be here. If you are part of a majority identity you get to assume that in a generic place where no one is "talking about identity" that most (maybe all) of the people are like you.

The thread that spawned this one had two points: I am non-binary and want to make a game with a non-binary character but I'm afraid no one would like it...I'm afraid I'm the only one here. 1) Am I alone here? 2) Would anyone play a game with a non-binary character (i.e. would something that speaks to my experience be rejected by the members of this community). A person who has a binary gender never has to ask those questions. So what is the result if we never discuss off-topic controversial topics like gender identity? The binary normatively gendered person feels comfortable and represented, the non-binary person doesn't know if they are safe, doesn't feel represented, and feels isolated. If we never "talk about race"--then what we end up doing is only talking about whiteness by default. Identities are attached to people--words are attached to people. Suppressing discussing of identity is a move that doesn't suppress those identities that are always assumed to be there: (in this case, American, heterosexual, white..etc) it just suppresses the identities (and the people attached to them) who don't fit the norm and makes it harder for them to actually feel seen and part of the community.

We have a spot in out profile to give our location...so people who are not based in the US can see...oh hey! there is someone else from the Philippines here--this place doesn't seem like it will be covertly hostile to folks from the Philippines...and I have someone I can ask about local Philippine VN related stuff...like how to deal with payments if Pay Pal isn't in the Philippines. (I have learned from Uncle Mugen the answer is Western Union). But if your identity flag is not location of gender/sexuality/race/religion/etc...there is no flag for that to let people know they aren't alone (not that there should be)...but people often flag in those identity discussions. Taking those out...takes out a space for people who aren't in the majority to know they aren't alone.

In other words, being "neutral" isn't neutral is reinforces the status quo and alienates those people who are already marginal. RotGiE has expressed feelings of being a alone because he is libertarian/conservative. But he might not be alone. There might be a bunch of people he could find community with and make an Ayn Rand VN with...but we can't talk about politics so he feels marginal and like an outsider. And this is not unrelated to creating games or feeling like this is a home and a community rather than just a place to grab a coding tip and leave.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#77 Post by Mad Harlequin » Wed Jun 24, 2015 1:00 pm

trooper6 wrote:My feelings of not feeling like I belong here as not a modern anime otaku...exacerbated by there being no space allowed to have off-topic discussions about non-anime things (which would allow me to see that there are others who share my interest here that I could collaborate with, be friends with, have community with) has a parallel with the identity discussion.
My desire to learn more about the people here, and share more about myself, is what brought me to post in the non-binary discussion in the first place, so you're definitely not alone. Now, I enjoy anime, and, more generally, am interested in Japanese culture and language, so I'm happy to discuss those things, but I would also love to talk about other matters of interest. (And yes, that extends to potentially sensitive subjects.)

So I completely agree: perhaps discussions unrelated to VNs are meaningless as far as they relate to the construction of VNs, but otherwise, they have plenty of meaning.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#78 Post by Quelcezot » Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:25 pm

trooper6 wrote:The thread that spawned this one had two points: I am non-binary and want to make a game with a non-binary character but I'm afraid no one would like it...I'm afraid I'm the only one here. 1) Am I alone here? 2) Would anyone play a game with a non-binary character (i.e. would something that speaks to my experience be rejected by the members of this community). A person who has a binary gender never has to ask those questions. So what is the result if we never discuss off-topic controversial topics like gender identity? The binary normatively gendered person feels comfortable and represented, the non-binary person doesn't know if they are safe, doesn't feel represented, and feels isolated. If we never "talk about race"--then what we end up doing is only talking about whiteness by default. Identities are attached to people--words are attached to people. Suppressing discussing of identity is a move that doesn't suppress those identities that are always assumed to be there: (in this case, American, heterosexual, white..etc) it just suppresses the identities (and the people attached to them) who don't fit the norm and makes it harder for them to actually feel seen and part of the community.
I think this is very important. Although I wish I'd chosen my words more carefully in the earlier thread, I think that discussion of identity is something that should not be shied away from.

There are a large number of visual novels out there that imitate the Japanese VN aesthetic, in fact one of the wonderful artists I'm working with uses a very nice style that's reminiscent of Japanese anime / manga.

However there is also a sizable niche, and with noteworthy crossover, of visual novels that focus on gender issues or include minorities as protagonists.

To me this indicates that due to the capacity of visual novels to be introspective, for many creators it is the medium of choice for expressing their inward feelings and who might even be nervous trying to "explain" how they felt in other mediums. Players are often asked not only to follow a character, but experience their every relevant thought. It's the perfect medium for sharing actual experiences and ways of thinking.

As PyTom seems to like the idea of more threads like "Shout For Joy, Share Your Happiness", I think supporting a thread - even if it was just one like that - which focused on people describing their own identities and what that meant to them would send the message to people who saw it that identity was something that is respected and reflected on here.

I think it would have all the benefits that "Get that thing off your chest... Now..." or "Shout For Joy, Share Your Happiness" have now for building the community.

I don't consider the current status quo as negative, but I think there is an opportunity here to grow a niche in this forum and expand the overall variety of projects that are alive and well here.

A lot of the posts in this thread, some of my own included, have focused on negatives, but I think that this discussion we're having right now is a very positive thing that can have very practical and positive outcomes.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#79 Post by ThisIsNoName » Wed Jun 24, 2015 3:34 pm

trooper6 wrote: As a non-JVN person who comes to what is now the EVN through Western traditions of Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, IF, and Adventure games, I often feel like this is not a place for me socially...one of the reasons why the board I participate in most frequently I'd the Ren'Py Questions thread despite having only learned Python by learning Ren'py and by no means being any kind of expert.

Now, I'm a big kid, and I don't mind being in a place where I'm a social outsider if I can get good coding tips. And I enjoy helping people out with their coding questions. And I'll still give back in the cookbook section...but note, one of the reasons I do participate in the social discussions on identity, is because those threads are some of the few threads where I do feel welcome
Can I just address the elephant in the room here? You keep talking and talking about how you feel alienated by not being allowed to talk about identity, yet the thread still exists. There is literally nothing preventing you from posting there.

You talk about how you don't feel welcome, yet you shut anyone down who disagrees with you and tell them that you're putting them on a list.

You keep talking like you're the victim, yet you have no problem pushing others around like they owe you something.

You say you're a big kid, but act like a child throwing a temper tantrum because you aren't at the center of attention.

You want to know why I don't feel welcome? Almost every time I post, I've been shut down by someone I wasn't addressing. It's gotten to the point that I'm very much on the edge of whether to delete my profile and start somewhere else that people actually listen and try to help each other, instead of only telling each other why they're wrong.

If you truly feel like you're being suppressed, I suggest you do the same.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#80 Post by noctos » Wed Jun 24, 2015 5:46 pm

I've taken a few days to watch this thread and to think before I post, and I believe I'm ready to participate.

My view of this is divided. My knee-jerk reaction to the on-topic/off-topic discussion was to fight for off-topic discussions, because I find them both valuable and enjoyable. I think community building is a vital part of any forum, and I'm extremely fond of the "Get that thing off your chest... Now..." and "Shout For Joy, Share Your Happiness" threads. (I'm not ashamed to say that I read every single post in those threads during my first month here) For me it's a natural impulse to want to get to know people I share interests with. I'd be very sad to see every off-topic discussion go.

However, after reading some of the other members' opinions, I'm starting to understand why some would like the forum to be more on-topic. I like the idea of being able to discuss controversial topics in context of visual novels, and growing as creators because of it. I also think off-topic threads being centered around community building is a good idea, like PyTom said earlier. I understand that LSF is meant to be a productive forum, and it's really helped fuel my inspiration and will to work on my projects.

The thing about off-topic discussion is that it helps ease people into the community. I'm very new here, and still anxious every time I post. (I've spent an hour typing this out, and debating on whether to post it or not) For me it's scary to throw myself into a forum when I'm new and clueless. The off-topic threads helped me form a picture of what the members are like, lowered the threshold for me to post, and generally worked as a nice introduction to LSF. It's hard to jump straight into Ren'Py threads, art discussions and visual novel problems when you don't have much to say. I can't speak for every newbie out there, but I wanted to participate right from the beginning, and posting in off-topic threads first boosted my confidence.

I guess at the end of the day, I'd like off-topic, community building threads to stay.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#81 Post by Sapphi » Wed Jun 24, 2015 7:26 pm

ThisIsNoName wrote: You talk about how you don't feel welcome, yet you shut anyone down who disagrees with you and tell them that you're putting them on a list.

You keep talking like you're the victim, yet you have no problem pushing others around like they owe you something.

You say you're a big kid, but act like a child throwing a temper tantrum because you aren't at the center of attention.
How do you define "shut down"? I personally did not perceive that trooper6 had shut anyone down in the course of this discussion. In my opinion they were actually being quite reasonable and level-headed, even if I did not agree with everything they said. Moreover, they have added some good points to think about.

I am also curious to understand why you perceive that they feel like other people owe them, or that they actually want to be at the center of attention. Is it because they said "I don't feel welcome"? Since there are several other users in the thread who have expressed the same sentiment.
ThisIsNoName wrote:You want to know why I don't feel welcome? Almost every time I post, I've been shut down by someone I wasn't addressing. It's gotten to the point that I'm very much on the edge of whether to delete my profile and start somewhere else that people actually listen and try to help each other, instead of only telling each other why they're wrong.
I hope that you will not perceive my questions as shutting you down (I am not asking sarcastically - I actually want to understand what led you to your conclusions). But I do agree there is a strong tendency in this forum to pounce on people, and it has been that way for a long time. I wish it was not like this, but I question whether or not it is actually any worse than any other corner of the 'net. The internet enables people to be bolder than what they actually would be in real life. Just look at the social media outrage machine... The lack of body language and facial cues means we tend to make a lot of assumptions about others that don't necessarily match up with reality. (Which goes back to my previous point about why we should try not to assume people are out to get us by default.)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#82 Post by ThisIsNoName » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:25 pm

Sapphi wrote: How do you define "shut down"? I personally did not perceive that trooper6 had shut anyone down in the course of this discussion. In my opinion they were actually being quite reasonable and level-headed, even if I did not agree with everything they said. Moreover, they have added some good points to think about.
It had to do with what I posted before. I meant it as a response for daikiraikimi and for others in general, and trooper6 responded by ignoring everything after the first sentence, and posted with a personal experience. It wasn't meant to add discussion. There's nothing I can "discuss" about something I haven't experienced, and it intentionally puts me at a disadvantage. He had no intention of trying to understand what I meant.
Sapphi wrote: I am also curious to understand why you perceive that they feel like other people owe them, or that they actually want to be at the center of attention. Is it because they said "I don't feel welcome"? Since there are several other users in the thread who have expressed the same sentiment.
It's because of the passive-aggressive language he was using. Things like "Now, I may be the only person like me in this community" when he has had several people doing nothing but agreeing with him or "So what is the result if we never discuss off-topic controversial topics like gender identity?" when no one said that we never would, it just needs to have context. Maybe it's just because of my history of being manipulated, but it's something I notice right away. He's trying to manipulate people's emotions rather than letting his arguments do the talking.
Sapphi wrote: I wish it was not like this, but I question whether or not it is actually any worse than any other corner of the 'net.
For me it's not so much that people will pounce on you, but that it's the same few people time after time. It just gets frustrating being on a forum where it's perfectly acceptable to tell someone they're faking PTSD but if you so much as say you don't want to read something that refers to characters as POC, you're nothing but a bigot.

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#83 Post by noeinan » Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:53 pm

Okay, got some sleep and I think I'm ready to follow up on my post from before. Some of the new comments also tie into what I was going to say, so it works out well.

In context to your story, Sapphi, I can't comment on it because I don't have your experience. It sucks that you lost a friend, I also had that happen recently. I'm going to be responding to your posts, including ones containing the story, but as a heads up I am not making a judgement on your situation at all, and will only be addressing these points as they relate to this thread.
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.
Thread context: Some people were hurt by others comments, and when they brought up how it was hurtful, the other person stated that they were being misinterpreted.

This tends to avoid acknowledging that the other person was hurt, and instead talks about why they should not be held responsible for the other person being hurt, why they should not have to care, and why they should not have to stop hurting that person.
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.
Thread context: People were hurt by others comments in this thread, and others piped in to say that they were not showing "good faith/trust" via assuming the other member purposefully hurt them.

But the truth is, whether or not someone meant to hurt you is irrelevant to whether or not you were hurt. If someone steps on your foot by accident, your foot is still in pain. If they respond with "why don't you trust that I didn't mean to hurt you" that would be ridiculous, because of *course* they don't think you purposefully stomped on their foot.

But "on purpose" isn't the only way that people get hurt, and because of that the compassionate thing to do is not to accuse the other person of assuming you are malicious-- it is to apologize for hurting them, even by accident, and then try not to hurt them again.

When someone says "I am hurt" and the first response is "why are you assuming I did it on purpose" it turns the conversation away from the person who was hurt, as well as ignoring the fact that *most of the time* when someone hurts another person it is on accident. If someone tells you that you hurt them, it is not the same as saying you hurt them on purpose. They are just hurt, and want to let you know.
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?!"
ThisIsNoName wrote: You talk about how you don't feel welcome, yet you shut anyone down who disagrees with you and tell them that you're putting them on a list.
Thread context: People were hurt by comments in this thread, and commentors stated that them saying they were hurt is akin to shutting down other people's opinions, or accusing them of not magically knowing how not to hurt them.

When someone is hurt, and says they were hurt by something you said, just like the previous example, it does not automatically mean that they think you are bad for not knowing how not to hurt them. (Unless, for example, you were told that they were hurt, and then kept hurting them-- because then the person who is hurt already *knows* you know you are hurting them, and you are consciously continuing to do so.)

If someone cannot say that they are hurt without being accused of all these things they didn't do, it creates a hostile environment. If I say "I'm hurt by what you said" and the person immediately responds with "I didn't mean to, so it doesn't matter that you're hurt!" and "Why are you so mean, you're accusing me of hurting you on purpose when I didn't mean to" and "You just don't want anyone to disagree with you, and by saying that you were hurt you're shutting down different opinions!", well, that, as someone who was already hurt at the start of this debacle, does not make me feel safe. It makes me feel that no one cares if I'm hurt, and that if I talk about it I will immediately be accused of character assassination.
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.
4. We cannot expect everyone to have the same level of communicative ability-- however, it is a plain fact that lacking this ability will lead people to getting hurt.

If a lack of ability hurts another person, you can either learn to not hurt them, or you can not learn and continue hurting them. If someone is just refusing to try to learn, well, they are choosing to just hurt someone on purpose and shouldn't be bothered with.

But what of the cases where the other person just doesn't have the ability to learn? Or at least doesn't have the ability to learn in their current state? Does that make them a bad person, because they want to learn but can't? No, of course not.

However, should the person being hurt have to put up with being hurt over and over again, just because the other person wants to do better? No. It's a simple case of both people not being able to serve the basic needs of the other person. And in a relationship, if you cannot do that, the relationship is doomed and no matter how good of people you both may be, no good will come out of continuing a relationship.

There is this idea that as long as both people are good, everything will work out-- but that's not the case. Sometimes things don't work out because people are just not compatible. The person being hurt doesn't deserve to be hurt continually, even on accident, and the person who is doing the hurt doesn't deserve to be trapped in a relationship where they can't do right by the other person, making them both miserable.

In an altercation, there doesn't have to be a "right" person and a "wrong" person-- only the facts of who is being hurt, and who is doing the hurting (which doesn't make you a bad person, if you are doing your best not to hurt them), whether the dynamic is fulfilling its function of enriching both people's lives, whether people are compatible, only those facts matter when evaluating a situation like that.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#84 Post by Sapphi » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:23 pm

ThisIsNoName wrote: It wasn't meant to add discussion. There's nothing I can "discuss" about something I haven't experienced, and it intentionally puts me at a disadvantage. He had no intention of trying to understand what I meant.
ThisIsNoName wrote: It's because of the passive-aggressive language he was using. Things like "Now, I may be the only person like me in this community" when he has had several people doing nothing but agreeing with him or "So what is the result if we never discuss off-topic controversial topics like gender identity?" when no one said that we never would, it just needs to have context. Maybe it's just because of my history of being manipulated, but it's something I notice right away. He's trying to manipulate people's emotions rather than letting his arguments do the talking.
Though I can't speak for trooper6's actual intentions, I do know what you are getting at. I know that people can be particularly nuanced and subtle, and they can use that in aggressive ways. I myself have been the victim of a staggering amount of passive-aggressive jabs in my life - verbal "kicks under the table", people being "nicety", the works. The thing is, if you perceive someone is using those tactics and you call them out in the way that you did above, you sound more than a little paranoid to most of the people at the table, and you take most of the blame as being the person who "just can't get along". Been there, done that.

If you perceive someone is being manipulative in the course of a discussion, I would suggest you actually state it more like you did above after I asked for clarification (explain exactly what is disagreeable) rather than making (seemingly unfounded) accusations about someone's intent and motivations. Because most people, in the moment, aren't going to think long enough to ask you for clarification.

(And sometimes, people do kick each other under the table by accident.)
ThisIsNoName wrote: For me it's not so much that people will pounce on you, but that it's the same few people time after time. It just gets frustrating being on a forum where it's perfectly acceptable to tell someone they're faking PTSD but if you so much as say you don't want to read something that refers to characters as POC, you're nothing but a bigot.
The thing is nobody claimed anyone was faking. I read "you're using that term inaccurately". Since PSTD is a psychological phenomenon and is defined a certain way in the books.

And since trooper6's post was in the "What Breaks Your Immersion?" thread, and since it is true for them, then that's a valid point to bring up. It's a valid point to consider, as a creator, that you could be alienating readers with the views you express. It is a reality. Whether you as a creator want to worry about that is up to you. Trooper6 even said as much in the concluding remarks in the post.
daikiraikimi wrote:This tends to avoid acknowledging that the other person was hurt, and instead talks about why they should not be held responsible for the other person being hurt, why they should not have to care, and why they should not have to stop hurting that person.
This is true, and was part of my motivation for supporting the ability to report for intolerance. People, if you hurt someone and they tell you to back off, then back off. You are not doing that person any favors by trying to push at them to get them to see that they're being (debatably) ridiculous. They can't properly take in or evaluate what you are saying if they are already upset, and pushing at them to "get it", to make them a better person, to help them, is only going to make them even more defensive and unable to hear what you are saying. You don't back stray cats into corners to convince them that they would really be better off sleeping in front of your fireplace. Let them come to you.
But the truth is, whether or not someone meant to hurt you is irrelevant to whether or not you were hurt. If someone steps on your foot by accident, your foot is still in pain. If they respond with "why don't you trust that I didn't mean to hurt you" that would be ridiculous, because of *course* they don't think you purposefully stomped on their foot.
Unfortunately, some people do. People who have been hurt on purpose in the past, who are traumatized, almost always do.
When someone says "I am hurt" and the first response is "why are you assuming I did it on purpose" it turns the conversation away from the person who was hurt, as well as ignoring the fact that *most of the time* when someone hurts another person it is on accident. If someone tells you that you hurt them, it is not the same as saying you hurt them on purpose. They are just hurt, and want to let you know.
This is true as well -- someone saying "what you said hurt my feelings" does not automatically equate to "you're evil and I am summon everybody to jump on you".
However, should the person being hurt have to put up with being hurt over and over again, just because the other person wants to do better? No. It's a simple case of both people not being able to serve the basic needs of the other person. And in a relationship, if you cannot do that, the relationship is doomed and no matter how good of people you both may be, no good will come out of continuing a relationship.
Oh, I agree. And I've ended relationships for that very reason.
If two users on the forum can't get past a communication gap, and continue to misunderstand each other so badly that they simply cannot be productive together, then of course I would not recommend that those people work on the same project where they have to communicate all the time. I wouldn't expect those people to closely associate, but I would expect them to try to find ways to tolerate each other's presence in the community.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#85 Post by trooper6 » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:40 pm

Note: I'm trying to stay on topic to try and fight derailment.
noctos wrote: The thing about off-topic discussion is that it helps ease people into the community. I'm very new here, and still anxious every time I post. (I've spent an hour typing this out, and debating on whether to post it or not) For me it's scary to throw myself into a forum when I'm new and clueless. The off-topic threads helped me form a picture of what the members are like, lowered the threshold for me to post, and generally worked as a nice introduction to LSF. It's hard to jump straight into Ren'Py threads, art discussions and visual novel problems when you don't have much to say. I can't speak for every newbie out there, but I wanted to participate right from the beginning, and posting in off-topic threads first boosted my confidence.

I guess at the end of the day, I'd like off-topic, community building threads to stay.
I wanted to thank you for sharing this noctos. I'm not the type that needs "Favorite movie" threads to be eased into a community, but I have read a number of people on the boards express just what you have: that off-topic community building threads are important to them feeling comfortable posting. And I recall reading posts from people wanting more of such threads because they still felt LSF was not warm enough. There was one poster, whose name I can't recall, who wanted mentors assigned and really was calling out for more non-professional contact. While I think mentors are a bit much, I have noticed a pattern among newer members asking fore more casual off-topic discussion spaces, not because they want to talk about topics in general, but because they want ways into this community.

I don't know what I think about it...but I hear it. I think the standard response if often, just stick around and you'll fit in...there doesn't need to be more of chatty space. And I think if you are *creating* a VN, there is definitely truth to that. I mean, my strongest sense of connection to LSF came when I started making my VN and then I got hooked into the Renpy Questions board as a place where I like to frequent. I'm sure others get hooked into Asset Creation: Art the same way (or any of the other creator threads). But what if you aren't a creator? Or aren't a creator yet? What is you are primarily a VN fan? Is there a board for you to go and get hooked into a conversation? And when a bunch of people say the same thing--that they need these chattier threads to feel comfortable...I think it is something to consider seriously.

Hm...I wonder if creating a general VN Fans board might help the non-creators feel like they have a place they feel they can get hooked into?
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#86 Post by noeinan » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:44 pm

trooper6 wrote: As a non-JVN person who comes to what is now the EVN through Western traditions of Choose Your Own Adventure Novels, IF, and Adventure games, I often feel like this is not a place for me socially...
With regards to this, I was just thinking that maybe we could make some kind of compromise to make the "Anime, Games, and Japan" section more inclusive?

It seems to me that said section is really about "Entertainment and Culture" but has a Japanese focus. However, it also just says "Games" which doesn't specifically relate to Japan. Then if we take Anime, if you take it out of Japanese context then it becomes "Cartoons/Animation" and Japan is really about Japanese culture than anything.

I understand wanting to keep the forums dedicated to a specific topic, vns, but also that so many different things relate to vns. I personally don't mind including a disclaimer at the top of a post saying "non-binary characters in vns" instead of just "non-binary" by itself. (Which, yeah, the first post already did that.)

But I definitely get that this space is *very* anime dominated. I've been involved in anime/manga since I was literally 5 years old, and that's how I came into this community, so it doesn't bother me. But reading trooper6's post, I can see this is definitely something that makes them feel like an outcast here. And actually, I've seen other people post things like that before.

Making a new section on "Western Cartoons, Games, and Culture" would, I think, not be an ideal solution because it basically sets up a false dualism, where the only two topics are Japan vs. Western. (And there's a lot more to the world than that.)

However, making it a forum to talk about the entertainment we consume, which inspires us to make vns, and games which don't necessarily relate to the other two sub-forums (visual novel engines vs. story telling games), and culture in different parts of the world.

I think that could limit the scope enough to make it easier to moderate, but also provide a more open environment for the non-anime crowd. In addition, I think it would be a great place to share resources which will help create vns. For example...

-Talking about American cartoons, like Kim Possible, or Adventure Time, or Danny Phantom, or Bravest Warriors, and how they inspire story telling. (Also live action films, like Dr. Who, Game of Thrones, etc.)

-Talking about various non-anime style games, like strategy games, first person shooters, or whichever. How they inspire features for mini-games, GUI, or just got you into game development.

-Making posts to teach people about cultures in different parts of the world, share resources, etc. This would make it easier for people who want to make games set not in Japan-- for example, I have a lot of research to share about the Ottoman Empire, because one of my games is based off of that. This would be a good place to ask those kinds of questions.

It's not going to remove the Japanese, anime-centric nature of this forum, because honestly that is a cultural thing and can't really be changed by mods in a day. However, it will allow people to post in the formerly Anime section with media that isn't strictly of Japanese origin. Those posts may not be the majority of posts, but at least it will be better than "off topic is only okay if it's about Japan." (And a lot of people who admire Japanese culture also have non-Japanese things they like, so it will enrich their experience as well.)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#87 Post by ThisIsNoName » Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:49 pm

Sapphi wrote: The thing is nobody claimed anyone was faking. I read "you're using that term inaccurately". Since PSTD is a psychological phenomenon and is defined a certain way in the books.
But that's the point I was trying to make. If you read further down, you see the Mad Harlequin was the one using an out-dated definition. If they'd done the proper research, they'd know that the absolute worst thing you can say to someone who has PTSD is "I don't believe you". How hard is it to just let something like that slide?

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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#88 Post by Sapphi » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:20 pm

trooper6 wrote: Hm...I wonder if creating a general VN Fans board might help the non-creators feel like they have a place they feel they can get hooked into?
We do have the "Other Story-Based Games" board... though I think the name is a little... bleh. It makes the discussion of visual novels that didn't originate here sound like an afterthought. It's also filed away under "Other Topics", way at the bottom of the list.
ThisIsNoName wrote:
Sapphi wrote: The thing is nobody claimed anyone was faking. I read "you're using that term inaccurately". Since PSTD is a psychological phenomenon and is defined a certain way in the books.
But that's the point I was trying to make. If you read further down, you see the Mad Harlequin was the one using an out-dated definition. If they'd done the proper research, they'd know that the absolute worst thing you can say to someone who has PTSD is "I don't believe you". How hard is it to just let something like that slide?
Yeah, and this is a good illustration of my point, too. People can do very hurtful things on accident. Mad Harlequin thought she was doing somebody a favor by "correcting" them. It turns out she was not actually helping. Nobody accused each other of bad motives in the thread; there was simply a correction and the thread moved along.

You could make the case that it was irresponsible not to have been current on the definition. But the thing is, if someone believes they know what they're talking about, they aren't necessarily going to do any more research to make sure they are current. And if someone is bold enough to correct someone else, it means they truly believe they know what they are talking about. Who would correct someone in public if they actually believed they were wrong?
ThisIsNoName wrote:How hard is it to just let something like that slide?
In my opinion, sure - it was a bit pedantic and perhaps unnecessary. But that still doesn't mean it was done to hurt on purpose, and I'm pedantic at times too, about other things, so it's hard to judge. All in all, it just looked like misguided helpfulness to me. (The nice thing about misguided helpfulness is that if you inform someone "Hey, that's not actually as helpful as you think it is", then it's likely that person, who was only trying to help in the first place, will feel glad that you've showed them how to be more helpful.)
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#89 Post by PyTom » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:25 pm

At this point, I don't think we really need more or less off-topic discussion, although I do think that trying to increase the amount of interaction on General Discussion isn't a bad thing. I think the chance of opening a new forum to encourage more off-topic chat is basically nil.



When it comes to the idea of hurt - it's not just enough for someone to say they've been hurt, it's the nature and reason for the hurt that matters. When someone steps on your foot out of negligence, an apology is likely warranted. When a Physical Trainer pushes someone to the point where it hurts to help them gain stamina, that's not something they need to apologize for.

From my own life, it hurts every time I see a Ren'Py bug report pop up on my email. It reminds me that I'm fallible, and it makes me feel bad for the hurt I've caused people who encounter that problem. Often times, my first reaction is denial. But the thing is, those bug reports are necessary, since they make Ren'Py better.

Criticism hurts. Being challenged hurts. Having your art redlined hurts. Being told your writing needs proofreading hurts. Being told your work is offensive to someone hurts. But the thing is - on a forum like this, those things are why we're here. They're not the only reason we're here, but if we don't allow them, we lose their benefit. That isn't carte blanche to go around randomly hurting people - but it does show why simply saying something is hurtful isn't enough reason for us to disallow it.
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Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#90 Post by ThisIsNoName » Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:36 pm

Sapphi wrote: (The nice thing about misguided helpfulness is that if you inform someone "Hey, that's not actually as helpful as you think it is", then it's likely that person, who was only trying to help in the first place, will feel glad that you've showed them how to be more helpful.)
Except that Mad Harlequin didn't even acknowledge they were wrong. Kisa flat-out said that they thought it was offensive, yet Mad Harlequin kept pushing just to prove they were right.

It prevents anyone else who is suffering from PTSD from seeking support on the forum, just in case someone wants to "help" them, too.

I know you're trying to keep the peace, but I don't think the solution is to simply let the louder members "help" the quieter members into oblivion.

Anyways, it's pretty obvious I don't belong here.

The mods can go ahead and delete my account.

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