Moderation of the Forums

For a long, long while, I’ve stayed away from these forums. I only came back a couple of days ago when I got a link from a player in the game. I had a look at a post, and then I thought I might try to get re-involved.

The reason I stayed away for a long, long while?

When the forums were initially launched I was quite optimistically enthusiastic, especially because CCP seemed to be keen on encouraging open and honest discussion on basically anything related to the game. And for a while, I was quite active.

I became very disillusioned in 2018 however by some fairly harsh and overreactive moderation and by CCP’s seemingly indifferent attitude to a discussion, despite the fact that they’d previously stated, several times, that they wanted open debate to happen on the forums.

This isn’t quoted text but I’ve formatted it like this to emphasise that what I’m writing in the three paragraphs below is NOT to open up the debate again (about the thing that I’m about to mention), but merely to offer some context to the paragraph immediately above this.

Specifically, and to explain my disillusionment, but NOT to open up the debate again - and this is important because otherwise, they’ll just shut this thread down too:

in 2018 I saw a post (not one of mine and not from anyone I knew in or out of game) about offensive and misogynistic pilot names. I thought they made some valid points and I contributed to the discussion, along with another 81 posts from others.

A moderator then told the original poster if they didn’t like offensive and misogynistic pilot names, rather than discuss whether this was okay openly on the forum, they should ‘file a support ticket’ and they then summarily shut down the discussion and more, removed the post from the listings so that, without a link, you can’t even find it.

I then made a supportive post, partially to support the original poster who I thought had been treated fairly badly after making some pretty reasonable points. This thread was also shut down summarily by the same mod and again with the same high and mighty, indifferent and dismissive attitude.

As a result of all this, none of us will ever know if CCP did anything about the important issues raised (because of course support tickets actions are never revealed) no further discussion is possible because the debate has been shut down, and the issue gets well and truly kicked into the proverbial long grass.

After all this, and feeling quite depressed by the whole debacle I deleted my browser forum bookmarks and I just stopped participating, which is a pity if CCP really wants them to be here for all players, but it is what it is.

At that time I literally couldn’t see the point of being involved in sterile discussions that avoid difficult issues, and especially if all the promises by CCP that the forums were a place for open discussions were essentially worthless.

I haven’t visited the forums since then until I was given that in-game link.

Which brings us to this post.

Yesterday, a disabled person posted something on the forums about the way that the CSM is run.

In the post, they talked about issues related to disability (and also race), and the way that as it is, a potential exists for the CSM to be institutionally prejudiced, by virtue of the fact that the way that it runs at the moment might potentially exclude certain people from full participation.

It wasn’t the greatest post in the world, and they were quite angry, but it did raise valid and discussion-worthy points. However, rather than actually deal with these in a positive or productive way that might actually change things for the better, a moderator simply shut down the discussion.

When the original poster pointed out in a follow-up post that the reasons that they raised the issue was that they were disabled, along with some other points, after allowing people to mock them for a while (which is a rather depressing feature of the selectively hands-off moderation on these forums) rather than deal with relevant and discussion-worthy issues that had been raised, a moderator simply shut down the discussion, again.

The moderator then also, and this is partially why I was motivated to post this, implied that if they tried to further discuss the issue any further they might get banned.

I’m not sure how the original poster feels (and just to be clear and for the record, I don’t know this person in-game or out) but to me, it felt aggressive and given that this was towards a disabled person quite upsetting. For the record, and for transparency, I am a disabled person myself. Again this has fed into why I am posting this.

I am NOT trying to reopen the debate here, but I do think it is worth considering how moderation happens.

To be clear, I am NOT accusing all CCP moderators of being biased. I have no evidence that this is the case, and aside of this, in the absence of any empirical evidence, making a statement like this would be unjust and unfair to a group of people who do a difficult and complicated job.

Having said this, to me, it does feel, sometimes, that there is an issue with the way that some things in the game are seemingly shut down rapidly without any discussion and other things are allowed to flourish with very little intervention from CCP.

The rules cited by CCP in terms of what can and can’t happen on these forums are:

“The purpose of the EVE Online forums is to provide a platform for exchange of ideas, and a venue for the discussion of EVE Online. Occasionally there will be conflicts that arise when people voice opinions. Forum users are expected to courteous when disagreeing with others.”

In both, the instances mentioned above, people were being polite and they were discussing issues that directly relate to the game, the development of the game and/or to people playing the game.

In the latter example, as I explained, the poster was mocked (in both their posts) by others, yet seemingly nothing was said about this despite the fact that CCP says in it’s own rules that it expects people to be ‘courteous’.

CCP also says:

Negative feedback can be very useful to further improve EVE Online if it is presented in a civil and factual manner. All users are encouraged to honestly express their feelings regarding EVE Online and how it can be improved. Posts that are non-constructive, insulting or in breach of the rules will be deleted regardless of how valid the ideas behind them may be. Users are also reminded that posting with a lack of content also constitutes non-constructive posting.

While I understand that reading negative and non-constructive posts is difficult, (and for the record, insults are really not on) I think the moderators and CCP are missing a trick here.

What’s important when things get discussed is not effectively silencing debate because someone is ‘non-constructive’ (“Posts that are non-constructive … will be deleted regardless of how valid the ideas behind them may be.”) but responding to the core of what is being discussed.

Deleting posts “…regardless of how valid the ideas behind them may be” just misses any opportunity to positively respond to a possibly negative situation and improve things.

No one wins in this situation.

CCP and the moderators end up looking officious, heavy-handed and censorial, the issue at hand doesn’t get discussed and/or dealt with and people on all sides just end up feeling frustrated and angry about the situation, which then festers.

For what it’s worth, I’m disabled, I’m on the autistic spectrum and I have special needs. It has taken me a long while to get to a point where I can confidently and articulately express myself and make a point. Not everyone is as lucky as me.

Part of the reason that some people might write ‘non-constructive’ posts might relate to how they feel about the issue and/or to their own abilities to convey their thoughts into words and/or also because they may have tried to do this previously and have been rebuffed by others here, elsewhere online, and in real life.

Ignoring this reality, shutting down discussion and simply posting a whole bunch of text relating to the forum rules and regs helps no one and takes these forums and CCP and the players nowhere.

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We dont talk about such things here. Well, its better not to. :no_good_woman:

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Every post that is closed down, the ISD’s or mods or whatever you wanna call them, post the rules and sometimes they’ll bold what rules were broken, or otherwise they just flat out list all the rules.

RANTING is one of the things that is not tolerated, and that was basically the topic at hand that you are referring to. While yes it is open discussion, there are rules in place to keep certain discussions out… If you really have an issue with what someone says, there is a flag button, press it. and report them.

If you think you can do a better job than the ISD’s, please volunteer to be one…Thats exactly what they are volunteers.

inb4 lock

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I agree, ban the forums

The obvious solution is hiding in plain sight!

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I read the whole post you wrote and it strikes a chord with me. It is a challenge to post in a public forum for many people, in particular those who are trying earnestly to broach an otherwise difficult topic or subject. Many people don’t communicate their thoughts well which doesn’t make things any clearer or easier for others to weigh in on.

I always try to give someone the benefit of the doubt and allow them to re-phrase or restate their points.
Unfortunately the rules are fairly clear and I fear your thread will be closed for discussing moderation.

Don’t give up on the forums so easily, there are some good people here…

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What? comment quality is absolutely abysmal and I never see anything done. The amount of useless off topic/ passive aggressive or outright insulting comments is staggering.

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Indeed. Those posts were a rant. Angry and disrespectful ones at that.

I don’t think anyone, CCP and ISDs included is shutting down discussion of the topic that dude brought up. The ISDs were just doing their job at keeping this a civil and productive place for discussion.

The dude can try again, perhaps with a more balanced and less inflamatory tone and I am sure the discussion will be left to go on. CCP’s moderation is rather hands off, all things considered. But just because you are angry doesn’t mean you get to ignore the forum rules and the basic niceties of civil human interaction.

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Discussing moderation on the forums is also prohibited.

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This is the part I always find strange, that they’ll shut down perfect reasonable discussions but players hurling tirades of insults at others often get a pass.

You may not, but I will. They are biased. It’s pretty clear that there are certain players that get to break the rules on a regular basis. ISDs will be players too and so they’ll have their own opinions about the game and that will reflect in the way they moderate posts and who they apply the rules to.

This is not something new either. I had discussions years back with some members of CCP both via email and face to face, and to be honest they seem to have no interest in dealing with institutional bias within the community team. It was my hope that the new community developer would bring change but that seems to have stopped as quickly as it began. There’s not much we mere mortals can do about it if CCP have no interest in fixing it.

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If you have an issue with a moderator/s you should take it up with CCP, not discuss it on the forums.

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I have. CCP are not interested. The forums are where players can discuss things that they like or dislike about the game, and this is one thing I dislike. CCP may ultimately shut this discussion down but it won’t make that view go away.

Honestly, I’m surprised CCP manage to keep their PEGI rating with some of the abuse that goes on within these forums. I can only imagine it’s because noone’s bothered to report it yet.

And let me be clear, I’m in no way abusing or harassing ISDs, I’m simply suggesting that natural bias is in play. That’s inevitable when you have volunteers from the playerbase dealing with moderation and have fuzzy rules open to wide interpretation. CCP should be tightening those up and making it clear what is and is not acceptable behaviour regardless of viewpoint or affiliation.

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Most posts are closed because salty posters cannot stand the fact that they actually lost an argument…

So it MUST be a troll post right?

Because they lost…

I for myself have rarely even flagged a post not saying asked for a delete or something…the reason is that I can stand other opinions,not accept them but i can endure them…a skill not everybody in this forum has…most of the reactions to different opinions by some people are bad…

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  1. We have already clearly established bias within ISD - see other threads

  2. As to this issue - if you give ISD the excuse to shut down a thread so that a valid topic is not discussed - what do you expect will happen - not that appealing will do you any good either (refer to 1 above)

If this was for me(i’m not sure) again…

It’s not ME flagging…

btw…

You are aware of the fact this thread can easily be closed because of discussing forum moderation? :slight_smile:

They don’t need an excuse to shut this thread down, it breaks the forum rules. Surprised they’ve not shut it down already.

As for shutting down perfectly reasonable threads, it maybe they’ve been trolled so much that it becomes easier to shut it down than to clean it. Doesn’t stop a new thread if it’s kept civil.

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Naturally :smiley:

Erm, that’s pretty much what I just said… maybe just better written though :slight_smile: