On Forum Rules and Moderation

Forum organization and occasional community-building.
Forum rules
Questions about Ren'Py should go in the Ren'Py Questions and Announcements forum.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Kailoto
Veteran
Posts: 232
Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:36 am
Completed: No VNs, but a few novels. :D
Projects: Artificial, Seven Deaths (inactive)
Skype: I'm on Discord! (Kailoto#5139)
Location: Seattle, the Emerald City
Contact:

On Forum Rules and Moderation

#1 Post by Kailoto » Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:02 am

Hmmm... Well, PyTom did say to bring the discussion to another thread. I am hesitant to post this, since I tend to shy away from more controversial topics (it's just in my MO), but I don't think I'll be able to sleep easily tonight if I just let it hang. And since it’s a topic I feel I have a lot to say about, I figure I’ll take a leap of faith and go first.

I've been on internet forums ever since 2007, which doesn't sound like much until you consider the fact that I was eleven at the time and have pretty much grown up with them. I've held all sorts of positions, from lurker to administrator, and have been part of forums of every purpose and size. Most of those forums are dead now, either closed down by the owner or devoid of activity, and the ones that still live have long passed their heyday. And despite my relative inexperience in other matters of life, I think I can speak with some semblance of authority on the topic of forum communities.

And I use the term community because it's a very important trait of forums; unlike other platforms, it's not merely a place to share ideas or network with others. Forums, despite usually being built around and for the sake of a certain topic, consist of the people that frequent them, which is why an inactive forum is a dead one. Larger sites can accommodate an equally large turnover rate, but smaller forums can't sustain themselves through new users. I can usually measure the lifespan of a forum by seeing how many veterans remain, because the less a forum retains users, the more it starts to decline in activity and quality.

The only way to retain members in the long run is through the community itself. People, on the whole, develop an attachment to a place through knowing people there and having shared memories and experiences with those people. This is true for both physical places and cyber ones. And the only way people will develop those memories is if they are given the opportunity to do so.

A forum like this will always have some activity because there's an alternate purpose to it; people come here to find help with their visual novels and the Ren'Py engine, or to organize and share projects. It may be the main purpose of the forum, but it's a shallow one when it comes to building a community, because the specific people don't really matter and are all interchangeable. The forum is designed to provide a service, not a sense of togetherness. To put it this way: I have been active here for a short while now, and while I have had interesting discussions and found people that I can respect or find understanding in, almost all instances of bonding and camaraderie have taken place outside of the forum, in emails or chats. Unless it’s tacit, the forum itself is all but devoid of friendship.

And part of that, from what I've learned through the years, is that there's no place for silliness here. For people to talk about their likes and dislikes, to ask for help with their problems, to share the things they find interesting. General Discussion, which is for "forum organization and occasional community-building," usually has only one or two active topics at a time, and more often than not, they are threads dedicated towards sharing people's happiness and sorrows. The amount of posts in those two threads alone overshadow that of every other post in every thread on the first page combined - by nearly five times. Take out the one about sharing your photo? Ten times.

While I get that a lot of threads can seem pointless, they aren't. They are part of what makes a community feel welcoming - the feeling that you can mess up or be silly or generally be "new," and people won't judge you and your actions won't stand out too much. And yeah, some threads are controversial and polarizing, but that's what moderators are for. I’d rather get into a serious debate that has to be broken up and re-railed than never have that debate in the first place.

I don't mean to claim that anything is wrong with this forum as it is. I love it dearly, even though I have only been active for a short time. But I love it because I love visual novels and I love talking to people about them; I’m afraid of the possibility that if you take that away, there isn't much left. It all feels too sterile, too clean and professional, which is a real shame to me because I've seen what forums can do, and it's what keeps me fixated on them in the age of Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. There's nothing wrong with this forum as it is, but it can be so much more.

But perhaps I am looking for something that doesn’t have to be found. And even if nothing changes I’ll still be here tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after next – and perhaps that is all that really matters when it comes down to it.

Let me end this post with an anecdote. I used to be a part of an online Mafia forum, where people would get together and role-play Mafia online. The site was fairly advanced, designed specifically to accommodate the playing of Mafia, and had a thriving and active community, with hundreds of players in tens of games running at a time. There was no place for idle discussion, as the moderators would clean up anything not related to Mafia, but the site was designed that way, so no one complained. I played through quite a few games there, before I started to tire of Mafia and went inactive for a while.

More than a few months later, I decided to revisit the site, mostly out of nostalgia. It was exactly as I remembered it - helpful design, lots of players - except I hardly recognized anyone there. Most of the people I had played with had long left the forum and gone inactive for their own reasons, and the few that were still there were the ones really dedicated to Mafia - most of them moderators. I considered joining a game, but didn't have the same passion for the game as I used to. I haven't returned to the site since.
Things I've Written:
Sakura (Novel, Self Published, 80,000+ words)
City and Girl (Novel, First Draft, 70,000+ words)
Loka (Novel, Third Draft, 120,000+ words)


A layabout writer and programmer with lots of problems and even more ideas. Hyped for Persona 5.

User avatar
Kinjo
Veteran
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:48 pm
Completed: When the Seacats Cry
Projects: Detective Butler
Organization: Goldbar Games
Tumblr: kinjo-goldbar
Deviantart: Kinjo-Goldbar
Github: GoldbarGames
Skype: Kinjo Goldbar
itch: goldbargames
Location: /seacats/
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#2 Post by Kinjo » Sun Jun 21, 2015 8:24 am

Very well-written post. I would like to go next.

My first experience with forums also goes back to 2007, starting at MFGG where I learned to make games (under a different name). They had a lot of good community-building activities there, such as monthly minigame, art, and music competitions. They also had an entire subforum for "community-building" and while it did make the forum extremely active it ultimately it was kind of a mess at times and has since been toned down simply for more serious general discussion.

My other primary experience was (and still is) with /seacats/, which I've written a lot about elsewhere. Sure, the main purpose was "solve each other's murder mysteries and discuss theories" but none of that would have had such a lasting impact if not for the teaparty threads where we just asked each other "how was your day?" where we got to know each other as friends. But I think this mainly worked because of the community's small size.

Like Kailoto, I enjoy participating in serious debates, and it's a given that a controversial issue is going to get heated when two conflicting opinions arise. Sometimes I would like to express my views on things but I know they typically don't align with the majority here so I'm left staying silent most of the time. But I also know I'm not the only person who feels this way and would hope that this forum allows for discussion between people of any viewpoint. That is, to my understanding, the purpose of discussing things in a public forum.

Friends don't have to agree on everything to still be friends, although it's always still advised to not talk about controversial topics together in order to maintain a friendship (and also never to play Mario Party). That said, I appreciate the strict adherence to rules and the focus on visual novels in topics because it does emphasize what brings us together rather than what sets us apart. But the rules also feel too imposing at times as though we're only following them out of tradition.

And I also notice that, naturally, like-minded devs tend to hang out together on social media, and in our case that usually happens by enjoying the same genre or type of visual novel. It's no surprise I'm friends with a lot of mystery devs. They're my target audience, and I'm theirs, too. One advantage of off-topic threads would be a sense of community among people who aren't necessarily into your game, and might actually make you want to try theirs.

So I guess I agree, the forum could use some improvement but I'm not going to mind either way. I think I've made decent arguments for both sides. That's just my input.

User avatar
SundownKid
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2294
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Completed: Icebound, Selenon Rising Ep. 1-2
Projects: Selenon Rising Ep. 3-4
Organization: Fastermind Games
Deviantart: sundownkid
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#3 Post by SundownKid » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:16 am

I feel like an off-topic location isn't incredibly necessary, everyone has their Twitter handles and such on their profiles and if you want to hear personal stuff it would probably better to follow them on social media. I started using the forum for the purpose of learning Ren'py, rather than simply wanting somewhere to socialize.

On the other hand, the forums technically aren't "official" but rather "unofficial" so I don't see a problem with putting an off-topic section in that isn't just about anime-games and Japan. I think the main issue is that it's nice to have a positive, constructive community and allowing people to air their gripes is a lot of times negative.

User avatar
PyTom
Ren'Py Creator
Posts: 15105
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:58 am
Completed: Moonlight Walks
Projects: Ren'Py
IRC Nick: renpytom
Github: renpytom
itch: renpytom
Location: Kings Park, NY
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#4 Post by PyTom » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:18 am

Kailoto wrote:A forum like this will always have some activity because there's an alternate purpose to it; people come here to find help with their visual novels and the Ren'Py engine, or to organize and share projects. It may be the main purpose of the forum, but it's a shallow one when it comes to building a community, because the specific people don't really matter and are all interchangeable. The forum is designed to provide a service, not a sense of togetherness.
That's not a bug, it's a feature.

A few years ago, we went through the exercise of trying to decide what this forum should be about. And what we came up - rule 0 of the forum rules - is to promote the creation of visual novels and story-based games by providing a place for the creators of those games to teach each other, improve their skills, forge collaborations, and promote their work.

And that's the goal of this forum - we don't exist to provide a community for the sake of providing a community - discussion for discussion's sake. Rather, there's a pre-existing community - english-writing creators (and to a lesser extent, players) of visual novels - and the forum exists to serve them. If we serve that community, we succeed, and if we don't, we fail - even if the forum is still quite active.

I also consider people's attention to be a consumable resource - if too many posts are uninteresting to people, they'll stop reading every post (in a forum). And when they stop reading every post, it's a short jump to reading no posts at all. So even in an off-topic forum, I want to have few enough posts that people can read them all. We tend to leave alive off-topic threads that are about forum members and their lives, while killing ones that are about people's opinions on unrelated topics, forum games, etc.

Similarly, controversy threads tend to drive people off, especially when the controversy is unrelated to VNs and hence can't actually be resolved - so we tend to shut them down or bring them on topic, so as to not consume a ton of attention while getting nothing done.
Kailoto wrote:I've been on internet forums ever since 2007, which doesn't sound like much until you consider the fact that I was eleven at the time and have pretty much grown up with them. I've held all sorts of positions, from lurker to administrator, and have been part of forums of every purpose and size. Most of those forums are dead now, either closed down by the owner or devoid of activity, and the ones that still live have long passed their heyday.
I'll just point out that this forum has been around since 2003 and is still growing - so I think we're doing something right. That doesn't mean we can't improve, but it does mean that to improve we need to consider this forum and its idiosyncratic purpose, rather than using other fora as examples.
Supporting creators since 2004
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"Do good work." - Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom
"Silly and fun things are important." - Elon Musk
Software > Drama • https://www.patreon.com/renpytom

User avatar
trooper6
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 pm
Projects: A Close Shave
Location: Medford, MA
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#5 Post by trooper6 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:58 am

I'm actually okay with this forum not really allowing people to discuss anything but VNs. Every forum is different and that is a fine enough rule for this one. It does make some things a little more difficult. For example, I oppose sexism, racism, etc. and don't want to collaborate with people who hold those views. People can hold those views...I just don't want to work with them. However, because we don't have off-topic threads, it is harder for me to identify who those people might be ahead of time. So I have to really pay attention to those posts that start veering off-topic for hints and clues. I have found people on these boards I would not want to work with. And I keep a list. But because these boards make it hard to know who each other are, because they hide people's toxicity, it makes it hard to avoid people who might be toxic. However, that is just how the boards are...and I accept that.

But...

If we are a forum that is exclusively about the creation of ENVs without off-topic-ness then I think the Anime, Games, and Japan thread should be removed. We don't have a Hollywood, Games, and the US thread or an Art Nouveau, Games, and France thread.

That thread is a) off-topic and b) reinforces the idea that EVNs are primarily related to anime and Japan. And...it makes me uncomfortable and I think limits the community.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Jul 7) Finished Emotion Matrix for Joint Customer Sprite.
*Currently Doing: Print Matrices, & decide emotions to use for Joint Sprite, think about blinking and lip flap. Maybe also about TransitionConditionSwitch?
*First Next thing to do: Code in all the sprite emotion and camera movement for Close Shave Sprite Sections
*Next Thing to Do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Other Next Thing: Do SFX
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

User avatar
Rinima
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1073
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:31 pm
Projects: Chloe, Love you like an Energy Drink
Organization: Harmonic Dreams
IRC Nick: Rinima or Charlie
Deviantart: Emlindes
Location: England
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#6 Post by Rinima » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:02 pm

If I may offer a solution to the feeling like this is a 'professional' forum rather than one for general nattering about visual novels and life, may I suggest that there be a list available for people to look at that are aimed at general natter for people that want it e.g. fuwanovel.
Pronouns: They/them or He/him

User avatar
trooper6
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 pm
Projects: A Close Shave
Location: Medford, MA
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#7 Post by trooper6 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:41 pm

I like how Rinima called this a 'professional' forum for EVN makers. I do feel that this is meant to be the vibe here...and I am totally fine with that.

There doesn't seem to be any other place for people who want to do non-anime inspired general nattering can meet, however. I mean fuwanovel is all about english translations of JVNs. That place is all about that JVN aesthetic.

But...I suppose if I want a place for Western aesthetic VN talk...then I'd just have to make it.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Jul 7) Finished Emotion Matrix for Joint Customer Sprite.
*Currently Doing: Print Matrices, & decide emotions to use for Joint Sprite, think about blinking and lip flap. Maybe also about TransitionConditionSwitch?
*First Next thing to do: Code in all the sprite emotion and camera movement for Close Shave Sprite Sections
*Next Thing to Do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Other Next Thing: Do SFX
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

Caveat Lector
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 am
Completed: Colette and Becca
Projects: Rainbow Love (HIATUS), The Haunting of Blackbird School, Cry of the Roses [TBA]
Organization: Velveteen Rabbit Productions
Deviantart: Velveteen-Rabbit-CL
itch: caveat_lector
Location: My chair
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#8 Post by Caveat Lector » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:58 pm

I'm just going to jump in and say, I'm on-board with pretty much everything Kailoto says 98%. And even if we disagree with one another, isn't the important thing having that freedom to disagree? I could understand the mods getting nervous about a topic on, say, Israel or the issue that rhymes with "asmorshin", since those kind of issues, moreso than any other political or social issue, are the kind that you only bring up at the dinner table if the utensils are plastic, so to speak. But when it comes to basic queer-related identity issues, or even just goofy and silly threads, there is basically no reason to disallow these topics just because they MIGHT be off-topic, because they MIGHT be mildly controversial at best and mildly confusing at worst.

You say controversy threads drive people off. How so? What precisely defines "controversial"? A thread about non-binary people being non-binary, and not everyone understanding what those terms mean? If, theoretically speaking, I were to start up a topic that said "Do videogames cause violence?", I can imagine how that would stir a lot of emotion and debate, but it would still fall within the confines of being a political and social topic that's also relevant to gaming. So does that make it "non-controversial"? When I first came here, I was very nervous about outright spelling out what my first original project was going to be about because the rules said "no discussing politics if they're not relevant to videogames", and since the topic involved teen-related GLBTQIA+ issues, I was afraid that directly and openly talking about the issues of this game would cause any topics I started up related to it to be shut down. I would've felt easier discussing it if I had known a lot sooner there were plenty of GLBTQIA+ users who also enjoyed talking about portrayal of GLBTQIA+ issues in fiction!

No controversy can be resolved overnight through a single debate. None of us are saying that. And obviously, as mentioned, there are certain topics that just could not be approached with any civility at all, and would either need one person to moderate it constantly or get shut down before it even takes off (I'd rather have the former, tbh). And of course, the mods can do whatever they want. But as has been said, part of creating and building a community is through sharing emotions and experiences with people--and we're all tied to some sort of "controversy" (real or perceived) through one means or another, aren't we? And besides, if the most "controversial" we ever get is wondering what terms like "non-binary" or "genderqueer" mean, then I think we're pretty damn tame compared to the rest of the internet, and can be trusted, overall. If somethings looks like it's about to get out of hand, step in with "cool it or I'm going to have to start locking topics"--I'd EXPECT you to do that as MODS, I'm not promoting anarchy here!--, and of course encourage constructive discussion. But debate IS part of discussion very often, and not always major political or social debates, even very basic and simple ones like "chocolate or vanilla?".

The only real reasons I keep seeing to not change things is "because it's non-productive", "because it's not relevant to VN's or videogames"...then, as suggested (trooper6 nailed it on the head while I was writing this up), why don't you just simply shut down the subforum on anime? It has nothing to do with VN development or videogames, therefore it's not relevant. Topics about our favourite sad scenes or music pieces or anime series have nothing to do with VN's or videogames. Why is that subforum allowed to stay up yet things like "Which GoT house do you belong to?" are not? Just because some anime happens to be adaptations of VN's? Just because anime is part of otaku culture, and hey, VN's are part of otaku culture, too? Well, Game of Thrones has a TellTale game adaptation, and TellTale games are kind of like VN's, so why not allow a GoT topic to stay up? See what I mean? There's a lot of potential for loophole abuse there. If we cannot come up with a loophole that says "actually, this is technically related to VN's and videogames, you know, if you squint real closely at the fine print", then it gets shut down. But just about ANYTHING can be loopholed and exploited, it's just a matter of whether the mods declare that to be a valid loophole or not. And apparently, anime discussion is. And I'm glad for the anime subforums, I just don't see any reason to declare everything else to be "off-topic".

As I said in the previous topic where this issue was first brought up, there are forums specifically focused around one thing (sports) but also have subforums dedicated to other things that aren't directly related to the main theme or topic of the forum (cooking--which would fall under an "everyday life" subforum, for example). Those forums still run just fine. They don't suddenly turn into "yet another" social media website just because a forum about Harry Potter allows a subforum about videogames, or because a forum about social anxiety allows the occasional forum game. If a forum topic gets out of control not just once but several times, then either the forum has a tendency to attract major jackasses, or the mods are doing a pretty terrible job (and both tend to be tied together--trolls and overall jerks LOVE forums with little to no mod intervention). And from all appearances, it seems that the mods do know when to step in, and most people around here are generally nice, so I don't think we're in danger of either of these things happening anytime soon.
Reader Beware!


The Haunting of Blackbird School: In Progress

Colette and Becca: Complete

User avatar
SLASH-7
Newbie
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 12:20 am
Projects: Parallel Percent
Organization: RK5
Tumblr: Slash-7
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#9 Post by SLASH-7 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:11 pm

I'm not very involved with the forum community, but I do very frequently read through the threads. I'm primarily here to soak up information which would be very difficult to obtain otherwise, so I thank you all for that. Which leads me to say that the current structure is not really in need of improvement. Little sparks like this shouldn't be seen as a problem that needs to be solved, we just need to be a little more conscious on when to agree to disagree, or when our personal opinion is going to very obviously derail a thread.

User avatar
trooper6
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:33 pm
Projects: A Close Shave
Location: Medford, MA
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#10 Post by trooper6 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:15 pm

I just want to add one more thing to my post so it isn't only framed negatively. Not only does not having off topic threads make it harder for me to figure out who I don't want to work with, it also makes it harder for me to figure out who I do want to work with because I can tell their politics mean they won't be dismissive of who I am...or because they show themselves to be a good communicator in disagreement...these are all good things to know for potential professional collaborators.

And I have noted, from those few times when we have gotten into "off topic" (as well as on topic) places, oh! That person understands trans identities...that is a person I could approach to collaborate in my trans dating sim! I keep a list of people want to work with as well.
A Close Shave:
*Last Thing Done (Jul 7) Finished Emotion Matrix for Joint Customer Sprite.
*Currently Doing: Print Matrices, & decide emotions to use for Joint Sprite, think about blinking and lip flap. Maybe also about TransitionConditionSwitch?
*First Next thing to do: Code in all the sprite emotion and camera movement for Close Shave Sprite Sections
*Next Thing to Do: Code in all CG and special animation stuff
*Other Next Thing: Do SFX
Check out My Clock Cookbook Recipe: http://lemmasoft.renai.us/forums/viewto ... 51&t=21978

User avatar
PyTom
Ren'Py Creator
Posts: 15105
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:58 am
Completed: Moonlight Walks
Projects: Ren'Py
IRC Nick: renpytom
Github: renpytom
itch: renpytom
Location: Kings Park, NY
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#11 Post by PyTom » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:18 pm

trooper6 wrote:However, because we don't have off-topic threads, it is harder for me to identify who those people might be ahead of time. So I have to really pay attention to those posts that start veering off-topic for hints and clues. I have found people on these boards I would not want to work with. And I keep a list. But because these boards make it hard to know who each other are, because they hide people's toxicity, it makes it hard to avoid people who might be toxic. However, that is just how the boards are...and I accept that.
I think the idea of keeping a list of people you dislike isn't terribly healthy, either for you or for the forum. In the latter case, I'm glad it's hard, since it keeps external disputes outside the forum. The thing is, this is a technical form - even if some of those technologies involve art and writing, rather than just code. And the person who answers someone's question may not be a perfect person - but their insight and willingness to help makes them valuable despite that, while the limited scope of the forum means there's less opportunity for your dislike of your views, or their dislike of yours, to matter.
If we are a forum that is exclusively about the creation of ENVs without off-topic-ness then I think the Anime, Games, and Japan thread should be removed. We don't have a Hollywood, Games, and the US thread or an Art Nouveau, Games, and France thread.
The only reason that still exists is that it was one of the original forums, and is "mostly harmless" - there are very few posts and zero drama. So it sticks around.
Supporting creators since 2004
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"Do good work." - Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom
"Silly and fun things are important." - Elon Musk
Software > Drama • https://www.patreon.com/renpytom

User avatar
Sapphi
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1685
Joined: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:31 am
Completed: Boku no Taisetsu na Yumeko
Projects: Twelve, PAW ★ PRINTS
Organization: Kitsch-soft
Location: Illinois, USA
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#12 Post by Sapphi » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:29 pm

Thank you, Kailoto, for starting this discussion. As I was merely lurking the other thread, I thought I would let someone who had been actually involved make the first post.

Some background: I've been here since 2009 and I've been witness to several threads that spiraled way out of control. I've also seen some people banned. I've lately grown weary of participating in the community here. Part of that is personal (not related to the community) but part of it is related to the nature of the forum as I perceive it. I don't think my view will be popular, but since we're all chiming in, here it is:

I think we should direct most personal chat to social media or private messages, and have the serious discussion of finished games take center stage. I think we should also encourage the serious discussion of visual novels that did not originate here (JVNs). The discussions should be focused on what we liked, what we didn't like, what could be improved, etc. Heck, we could even use those questions as posting prompts.

There are people here who feel they have to put a green button in their signature to ask for their work to be seriously evaluated, which I think is somewhat depressing. I personally think it ought to be the opposite (people use a button to indicate that they don't want to hear criticism). But I am heartened when I do see that green button, because it means people want to keep growing and improving. I personally believe the forum could use a change in the direction of encouraging growth and improvement. Because, after all, if you don't want to grow and improve, you shouldn't be part of a community.
Kinjo wrote:Like Kailoto, I enjoy participating in serious debates, and it's a given that a controversial issue is going to get heated when two conflicting opinions arise. Sometimes I would like to express my views on things but I know they typically don't align with the majority here so I'm left staying silent most of the time. But I also know I'm not the only person who feels this way and would hope that this forum allows for discussion between people of any viewpoint. That is, to my understanding, the purpose of discussing things in a public forum.
The problem is that not everyone here is mature enough to handle discussion between people of any and every viewpoint. Some people flip out. And then it's the duty of the moderators to do something, which I am sure is very unpleasant.

"But you just said the forum should encourage growth and improvement! Debates encourage personal growth and improvement!"

Yes, but regrettably, we can't control the pace of others' personal growth and improvement; we should focus on helping creative improvement first of all.

Additionally, when there's no goal for a debate, it becomes simply an exercise of opinion-blathering. That carries too much risk for too little gain.

The best and fastest way to build community is to be productive together. Mental gymnastics are fun, but they're also not directly productive, and since we have differing levels of maturity here, they are an invitation for someone to get their feelings hurt and for drama to ensue. (And, you can always debate with other members in PMs! I've had a lot of good discussions in PMs with members here.)
I feel like an off-topic location isn't incredibly necessary, everyone has their Twitter handles and such on their profiles and if you want to hear personal stuff it would probably better to follow them on social media.
I'm in full agreement here. There are so many alternate channels to find people on. If I want to read someone's personal manifesto, I should expect I could go to their blog and read it. If I want to hear what they ate for breakfast today, I should expect I can follow them on Twitter. If I want to ask for that same person's input on my writing or drawings, I should expect I can come here. LSF should be a place where we get down to business. Because if not here, then where?
For example, I oppose sexism, racism, etc. and don't want to collaborate with people who hold those views. People can hold those views...I just don't want to work with them. However, because we don't have off-topic threads, it is harder for me to identify who those people might be ahead of time. So I have to really pay attention to those posts that start veering off-topic for hints and clues. I have found people on these boards I would not want to work with. And I keep a list. But because these boards make it hard to know who each other are, because they hide people's toxicity, it makes it hard to avoid people who might be toxic.
I'm torn here. I do think there have been some extremely toxic people on this forum in the past, people who I would never want to work with. So toxicity is a thing, and obviously you don't want your creative work touched by someone who is going to sabotage it with their negativity.

On the other hand, if a person holds negative views of a particular group, but they have a genuinely helpful skill, I think we as a forum need to welcome that person. Obviously if they start saying or doing harmful things, we don't welcome that behavior. But I think it's a big mistake to say "I don't want to work with this person because they hold views that I oppose." We're living in a global society, and there are people on this forum from all over the world. We need to know when to set personal views aside to work together for the common good. For example, I'm a Christian, and some of my best friends are atheists. Sometimes they make fun of religion or say things that hurt my feelings. However, at the end of the day, we can accomplish more together than we can alone. As long as I feel like they respect me, as long as they're not being toxic and negative towards me, then there is no reason we should not work together.

On the topic of forum-scouting for genuinely toxic people: I don't think we should keep off-topic threads because it makes blacklisting people easier :) I think it's your responsibility, when you start corresponding with someone with intent to work together, to be upfront with that person about your vetting process before proceeding. Or, if you really don't want to be direct, just stalk their Twitter or something. :)
"It is [the writer's] privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart,
by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride
and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past."
— William Faulkner
▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬..+X+..▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
Image

Caveat Lector
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 680
Joined: Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 am
Completed: Colette and Becca
Projects: Rainbow Love (HIATUS), The Haunting of Blackbird School, Cry of the Roses [TBA]
Organization: Velveteen Rabbit Productions
Deviantart: Velveteen-Rabbit-CL
itch: caveat_lector
Location: My chair
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#13 Post by Caveat Lector » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:30 pm

PyTom wrote:
trooper6 wrote:However, because we don't have off-topic threads, it is harder for me to identify who those people might be ahead of time. So I have to really pay attention to those posts that start veering off-topic for hints and clues. I have found people on these boards I would not want to work with. And I keep a list. But because these boards make it hard to know who each other are, because they hide people's toxicity, it makes it hard to avoid people who might be toxic. However, that is just how the boards are...and I accept that.
I think the idea of keeping a list of people you dislike isn't terribly healthy, either for you or for the forum. In the latter case, I'm glad it's hard, since it keeps external disputes outside the forum. The thing is, this is a technical form - even if some of those technologies involve art and writing, rather than just code. And the person who answers someone's question may not be a perfect person - but their insight and willingness to help makes them valuable despite that, while the limited scope of the forum means there's less opportunity for your dislike of your views, or their dislike of yours, to matter.
You know what? The anime topic was one thing. The forum games issue was one thing. But this attitude right here makes me angry, so let me say this:

No one is obligated to work with or for anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
No one is obligated to work with or for anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
No one is obligated to work with or for anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.

If someone is transphobic and you happen to be trans? You're not obligated to work with them. If someone is sexist and you're a woman? You're not obligated to work with them. If someone is Islamophobic and you happen to be Muslim? You're not obligated to work with them. And hell, even if you're a cisgendered Christian man, you're still not obligated to work with them. It doesn't matter if they're a technical genius, or if their "insight and willingness" could make them "valuable", if they're the kind of person who would be likely to treat you badly for being different, or others badly for being different, that is not a difference of opinion, that is bigotry, and absolutely no one is obligated to put up with that. No one is EVER obligated to put up with emotional abuse, with listening to their minority status being degraded and insulted, just because the other person happens to hold some skills that might be of use to you.

You do not owe someone with bigoted views anything. I repeat, you do not owe someone with bigoted views anything. You are never, ever under any obligation to work with someone who is a bigot and who would treat you, your friends, your family, and anyone else badly.

And let me repeat one more time:
No one is obligated to work with or for anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable.
Reader Beware!


The Haunting of Blackbird School: In Progress

Colette and Becca: Complete

User avatar
PyTom
Ren'Py Creator
Posts: 15105
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 10:58 am
Completed: Moonlight Walks
Projects: Ren'Py
IRC Nick: renpytom
Github: renpytom
itch: renpytom
Location: Kings Park, NY
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#14 Post by PyTom » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:32 pm

Caveat Lector wrote:What precisely defines "controversial"?
Me having to step in because you felt you couldn't respond civilly to another user that disagreed with you, and had to post insulting meme images instead. That's about the point where I feel I have to intervene by deleting your post and bringing the thread back on topic.

I have no problem with people discussing issues in the context of a visual novel, but if you want debate for debate's sake, that's not what this forum is for.
Supporting creators since 2004
(When was the last time you backed up your game?)
"Do good work." - Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom
"Silly and fun things are important." - Elon Musk
Software > Drama • https://www.patreon.com/renpytom

User avatar
Reikun
Miko-Class Veteran
Posts: 546
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:57 pm
Completed: Ciikos Bridge, Helena's Flowers, The Madness
Projects: Fox in the Hollyhocks
Organization: skyharborr
Tumblr: skyharborr
itch: skyharborr
Contact:

Re: On Forum Rules and Moderation

#15 Post by Reikun » Sun Jun 21, 2015 1:53 pm

Been here since the end of 2011. I agree with Sapphi on this topic. I've made a lot of friends on this forum by finding their work here first, then following them on social media for more casual interaction. I joined this forum to learn Ren'Py and learn more about visual novels and I enjoy this forum for those topics and how we can all share resources/tips, improve, and build better games.

I think if you want to talk politics/off-topic you can definitely take it to PMs or some other form of communication. There's no reason why this forum has to be the one where you can have those discussions. It's not BAD to have those discussions, but I don't think LSF is an appropriate platform for them without linking it back to VN/story-based game creation. I think the specificity of this forum's purpose is important in helping everyone make games and improve their work.

(My dream is that one day all the effort people want to spend on off-topic threads will instead of directed to offering critique/advice to people in the demo and wip boards....)
ImageImageImage

fastest way to contact me: DM @skyharborr on twitter

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users