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Author Topic: Conduct in this forum  (Read 69266 times)

pwhodges

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Conduct in this forum
« on: 08 Dec 2010, 09:21 »

Administrator Comment This thread was made when the forum had developed a habit of behaving badly. These days, the forum behaves well; but this thread still records what was then felt to be bad behaviour, and what would be again if the situation arose.

EDIT:
After this first message led to a couple of large posts having nothing to do with the WCDT, I split them into a separate topic to make it easier if anyone decides to follow them up.

Paul

Why would Jef care about what we write in the forums?

He's allowed...  And while you're a guest in his forum, how about spelling his name right?  Just because it's the Internet doesn't mean that lower standards of courtesy are any more acceptable, even if they are regrettably more common.
« Last Edit: 08 Sep 2013, 14:43 by pwhodges »
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Conduct in this forum
« Reply #1 on: 08 Dec 2010, 15:04 »

Why would Jef care about what we write in the forums?

He's allowed...

I think that answer is assumed to be a sort of Primal Truth, but it might be more effective as a deterrent if you could add in a gritty marine's vocal inflections to make it sound like "none of your business, random peon" and then a significant glance that says "this forum is a service, not a right, so respect the barest wishes of its master or at some point he'll take it away."
But most of us just assume that that's what the ellipses mean.

Quote
And while you're a guest in his forum, how about spelling his name right?  Just because it's the Internet doesn't mean that lower standards of courtesy are any more acceptable, even if they are regrettably more common.

I think acceptable is an odd term to use.  Acceptable as in "you will be in some way restricted by teh authoritehs if you spell Jeph's name wrong more than once" will work, though it isn't in the forum rules (while being nice to newbies is).  The forum rules might need to be updated.

As for acceptable in the sense of: you should self-regulate by constantly worrying about it, I think in general the perception of the general Internet is different, which unfortunately applies to QC as long as the policy is to let anyone with an email in.  So people who are, for instance, bad at spelling, or have radical political ideas, or tend towards trolling without being a real troll, are generally considered "acceptable."  People in forums tend to appreciate or tolerate such people until the forum gets to a certain size, at which point the marginal amenity of the ideas shared by such people are lower than the average disamenity of their cruditude.  Because you can only think about so many ideas at a time, and only so many thoughts will provoke common interest.

of corse, its all semanticz;;  BBut semanticz r were bothe teh intersting and the meny futre-imprtnit efex tend 2 happen.  And what any sort of discussion forum is for.




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pwhodges

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Conduct in this forum
« Reply #2 on: 08 Dec 2010, 15:41 »

"this forum is a service, not a right, so respect the barest wishes of its master or at some point he'll take it away."  But most of us just assume that that's what the ellipses mean.

Just so.  But the forums, simply by their existence, have a life apart from Jeph, and I prefer not to invoke his name unnecessarily.This part of the forum needs to be better controlled, not because it offends Jeph, but because it offends many people who are involved in running it, and at this instant, me.

Quote
Acceptable as in "you will be in some way restricted by teh authoritehs if you spell Jeph's name wrong more than once" will work

No, no, no, this is nothing to do with authority - it's simply common courtesy to spell any guy's name right, and so easy if it's there in front of you already.  You might (possibly) not care - but you can't assume that of others.

Quote
As for acceptable in the sense of: you should self-regulate by constantly worrying about it, I think in general the perception of the general Internet is different

But what is "the general Internet"?  I spend quite a lot of time in forums, and no other that I visit takes the view that careless use of language is some sort of right.  (I also work in a well-known educational institution, which tries to maintain consistency in language; note the phrasing - I am not prescriptive in language, but I do believe that allowing language to fragment unnecessarily tends to hinder communication.)  Obviously there is variation - people here are from many countries, and quite a number don't have any form of English as their native language; some may be dyslexic - all this is acknowledged and accepted.  But courtesy between individuals is the very basis of society, whether on the Internet or not; if you can only manage it by constantly worrying about it, then you probably need more practice!

Quote
or have radical political ideas, or tend towards trolling without being a real troll, are generally considered "acceptable."

Trolling is trolling.  And when did radical political ideas become marginal?  I've been a radical all my life.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #3 on: 09 Dec 2010, 00:53 »

As for acceptable in the sense of: you should self-regulate by constantly worrying about it, I think in general the perception of the general Internet is different, which unfortunately applies to QC as long as the policy is to let anyone with an email in.  So people who are, for instance, bad at spelling, or have radical political ideas, or tend towards trolling without being a real troll, are generally considered "acceptable."  People in forums tend to appreciate or tolerate such people until the forum gets to a certain size, at which point the marginal amenity of the ideas shared by such people are lower than the average disamenity of their cruditude.  Because you can only think about so many ideas at a time, and only so many thoughts will provoke common interest.


I don't really care what the "general internet" perception is.  When you're at a certain place on the internet it's common courtesy to abide by whatever rules are in place, and if you don't have the decency to abide by that then I don't want you here.  I certainly don't care overly much if you are a bad speller, or if you put forward your radical political ideas in a coherent fashion as opposed to being a goddamned wingnut, but trolling for example is against the rules of the board, and will get you ejected quickly.

As for tolerating certain things up until a certain size, if you knew the history of the board you would find it's been sliding the opposite way for some time now.  When we started this board it was founded on a relatively close-knit bunch of people who transplanted from another board.  If you didn't fit in you were IP banned quite quickly, because we just didn't want to deal with that sort of shit.  We've had to learn to relax more and more as QC (and the board) has grown, but there are certain core elements set out in the rules thread that we still expect people to abide by.  They're really not all that hard to follow.  "No porn, no gore, no trolling and try not to be too much of a dick to anyone" covers off the major parts, and I would like to think that very few people would disagree with those requests.

Jeph's also asked people not to be creepy with his characters on his forum.  I really don't think that is an unreasonable request either.  Being that they are characters he's invested a lot of time and thought in he has a connection to them, so seeing people talking about them lewdly annoys him.  I don't know about you, but if I threw a party and some jerk was talking about my sister or daughter in a crude fashion and ignored repeated requests to stop I would put him out on his ass pronto.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #4 on: 09 Dec 2010, 02:05 »

One thing that bugs the hell out of me about these situations...   you get morons in here or any forum who invoke either "this is the internet this is how people behave" or "freedom of speech" when rules are applied.

Neither of them apply on a privately hosted privately moderated forum.   Just like life "out there"  a police officer has the authority to arrest you for breaking the law,  the moderators on a discussion forum have the authority to kick you off the forum.

I run two forums and I do not put up with a TENTH of the shit I see going on here.    Woe be the  day that I ever get asked to moderate (HIGHLY unlikely) because I'll clean house.   

People need to cool their collective shit and follow some basic common sense rules here.     This forum would be a much better place if you... if they... did. 
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #5 on: 09 Dec 2010, 02:40 »

I suppose a lot of the creepiness happens because the majority of posters aren't webcomic artists. To the average viewer, these characters are just that, characters, and so the things that are off limit to people who truly do care about Hannelore and Marten and the rest as actual people, or really close facsimiles, really just aren't occurring to the average person. Since it's not internalized, people have to become accustomed to giving the proper respect and consideration, and that takes time and integration into the community.

Probably those of us new folk who were lurkers, due to the activation e-mail business, aren't as confused about the idea, but actually posting means that even well-intentioned people can say the wrong things, unless and until they get used to the specific atmosphere. It probably wouldn't be nearly such an issue had the influx been more gradual, with the atmosphere of respect for Jeph and the cast at full strength, rather than diluted, and with each gradual increment of new users becoming the old guard, as it were, to reinforce it with people who came later.

I'll refrain from recommendations or advice, since I've never administrated/moderated any sort of forum.
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pwhodges

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #6 on: 09 Dec 2010, 03:20 »

Maybe the influx of new people, combined with a period of excitement in the comic, brought matters to a head - but the problems go back much further than that.

Yes, new people need to get the feel of a place (lurking is good for that), and anyone can make a misjudged comment; but the rules and the guidance around them are intended to define the ethos of this place, and being called to order promptly is helpful in learning and understanding them (and is what has been missing here).  There is no requirement for the forum to change to accept new patterns of behaviour just because new people want that; they can argue for change once they have shown they can fit in.  But there is no sense in which new people are unwelcome here - and if any old-timers are unwelcoming, which can happen in some other parts of the forum, they are pulled up on it.

There might be some people who will feel that the rules are being changed if their established behaviour is now criticised; this is not so - the rules have always been there, but they are just being brought back into play and hopefully enforced somewhat more than of late.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #7 on: 09 Dec 2010, 03:25 »

I am by no means the right person to have an opinion about how to run the forum, I'm actually one of the newbies who played a part in creeping people out and annoying Jeph. And I sure do agree we crossed the line there. But I daresay that I like being able to discuss the comic and it's characters, in a not too constrained way.

What I really want to add to this discussion is not an opinion, just a fact. For your information; I do care about the characters! Maybe not exactly as real people, but on the other hand I have creepy thoughts about real people too. And while it's certainly creepy at times, I don't think it's insane.

How I think about the characters might need to be seen in the light of how I have read the comic. As opposed to being new to the forums, I've been reading the comic for about a year. I know that I started with reading the first 1600 strips in just over two weeks. This might set me apart from those that has been with the comic for many years, but also those who haven't read all of it.

In short: I'm no creator, I'm a reader. I still feel strongly for the characters, but also I do have creepy fantasies.
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Olymander

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #8 on: 09 Dec 2010, 03:49 »

I still feel strongly for the characters, but also I do have creepy fantasies.

And creepy fantasies are ok.  I daresay that pretty much everyone has creepy fantasies, on a rather wide variety of subjects.  This does not, however, necessarily mean you have to share.  It's the old "mind-reader" story; if everyone knew what everyone else really though about everything, society would have fallen apart long ago.  Some distance (and privacy!) is necessary to keep a harmonious association.  See Jim Carrey's "Liar Liar" for an example of what too much forthrightness and honesty can do in a society (contrived, yes, but still true).  We all have unconscious impulses not entirely under our control.  Part of conduct is keeping them in check and not allowing them to interfere in our relations with other people.  That way lies sociopathy (as I understand it).
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #9 on: 09 Dec 2010, 12:47 »

I'd just like to say that it's never been my intention to offend Jeph, or anyone for that matter; this is my favorite webcomic and I really do have a lot of respect for him, and I guess I didn't realize what a dick I was being by playing rough with his characters. I'll watch myself on that when I'm in here from now on; I don't want to see these forums shut down (almost none of my real-life friends read QC so if the forums go away I'll have practically no one to talk about it with  :-()
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Blackjoker

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #10 on: 09 Dec 2010, 13:05 »

While not trying to offend anyone or anything like that, when Jeph shows up on his own forums posting stuff from /b/ or other such things...while I realize that they're his forums it might lead to some people being a bit...confused about why they got banned or warned for making a comment about a character or something similar (which is presumably far less offensive) whereas Jeph does this stuff and so they kind of wonder what the standards for the forums are. I enjoy the comic and like having a forum to discuss this stuff in but I also think that if you get too restrictive you end up with forums like Giant in the Playground where it feels like they don't WANT discussion.
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pwhodges

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #11 on: 09 Dec 2010, 13:14 »

I have no idea how Jeph views that, but FWIW, my take on it is that he is trying to shock people into seeing how he feels about their antics (or maybe simply expressing his frustration) by going: "see how you like this,  arseholes"; not necessarily with any hope of it helping (frankly, I don't think it does).

It would probably also be useful to point out that Pintsize is not Jeph.  Pintsize is a character from the comic, and his tweets are in character (regrettable as that is).  If Pintsize were to come into this forum, I'm sure he would get banned PDQ, so don't try to emulate him.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #12 on: 09 Dec 2010, 14:32 »

I have no idea how Jeph views that, but FWIW, my take on it is that he is trying to shock people into seeing how he feels about their antics (or maybe simply expressing his frustration) by going: "see how you like this,  arseholes"; not necessarily with any hope of it helping (frankly, I don't think it does).

It would probably also be useful to point out that Pintsize is not Jeph.  Pintsize is a character from the comic, and his tweets are in character (regrettable as that is).  If Pintsize were to come into this forum, I'm sure he would get banned PDQ, so don't try to emulate him.

I wouldn't, but I meant more the stuff that was coming up during the Dora/Marten Breakup. Jeph made a thread that I think was called 'this will get banned quick' or something similar where he posted crap like that. But also, I don't see what you mean by antics. Out and out trolling maybe, but if he means character discussion or argument, that seems like something that comes with the territory of making three dimensional characters.
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pwhodges

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #13 on: 09 Dec 2010, 14:34 »

I was referring to that thread of Jeph's.

And antics:

Jeph's also asked people not to be creepy with his characters on his forum.  I really don't think that is an unreasonable request either.  Being that they are characters he's invested a lot of time and thought in he has a connection to them, so seeing people talking about them lewdly annoys him.  I don't know about you, but if I threw a party and some jerk was talking about my sister or daughter in a crude fashion and ignored repeated requests to stop I would put him out on his ass pronto.

To my mind that covers anything that could be described as shipping, for example, of which there was an insane amount at that time.  There's plenty of discussion to be had without that.  But don't worry; if things show signs of approaching that point again, it will be made clear.
« Last Edit: 09 Dec 2010, 14:42 by pwhodges »
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Elysiana

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #14 on: 09 Dec 2010, 15:09 »

I'm going to try to make this a well-thought-out post but it's been a long day and I'm preggers so you'll have to bear with me a sec.

I've been a member of numerous forums for around 10-12 years now. There have been a few where, years after I left, I thought I'd go back and look at some of my old posts, and I was REALLY horrified at my attitude in a lot of them. I'd thought of myself as having all these great points to make, and I was all ready to debate them out with people. Usually I was put in my place pretty quickly but I definitely noticed a tone that, thankfully, I've grown out of. I get along with more people now; I am less likely to jump down someone's throat for disagreeing; I've become a bit more well-versed in what kind of humor to use at what time. In short, I've become much more skilled at figuring out how different social settings work. I'm still not perfect of course, but I'll settle for "better".

As far as the forums themselves, the general makeup of each community was often very different, and of course each forum was handled differently by the mods and owners. Some were much more tolerant than others, and some were extremely strict. Some lasted for many years, others died off after just a short period of time. I don't think there was any correlation there though.

Now, this brings me to several points. First of all, people are sometimes going to be idiots when they join a forum. This may be because they're young, or because they're used to a different subculture, or because they think they're being funny but it comes off as crass, or... you name it. This doesn't mean they're going to suck forever as a forumite. It does mean they're going to need some direction; and in some cases that direction may just be "exit stage right" but not always. Some people are more pliable than others but are just having a hard time trying to fit in. Many are probably trying SO hard, in fact, that they're just making themselves look bad. It doesn't make them bad, just misguided.

HAVING SAID THAT, and this is really my main point: This is truly a Private Forum. It is owned by someone who has opened it as a privilege for those who choose to visit his site. It's not a game FAQ forum, or a software support forum, or anything else that is generally "expected" to be offered. Because it's not run by a company who has a PR rep that says things need to be a certain way, it means that Jeph himself gets to decide what is or isn't acceptable on here. If he decides one day that everyone has to include a picture of a giraffe with each of their posts, and gets ticked off when people don't, it's his prerogative. If he says "talking about my characters like that is creepy and I really don't want you doing it" you should absolutely respect that. If you met him, would you start telling him about a fantasy you have about one of his characters? Of course not, because you know he would be upset. So why is there an outcry about it on what is essentially HIS forum?

I know this is rehashing what's been said before - "forums are a privilege, not a right" - but from what I've been reading it sounds like a lot of people here have forgotten that. If someone tells you "please don't do that here" just say "fine" and move on. You'll live. You'll be alright. You may even realize years down the road that you were kinda being an asshat anyway. And if you still truly think you weren't, then maybe this isn't the forum for you.

tl;dr:
1. Some people come across as asshats because they aren't used to the "flavor" of a new forum. Often they don't mean to be. If they DO mean to be, boot 'em. Don't let them poison the forum and sow frustration.
2. Don't be an asshat. If someone tells you that you are, don't say "But but but" say "Oh crap, I didn't realize I was being an asshat." Learn from the experience.

I'm pretty much brand-new here and mostly just lurk, so please take this for what it is - just my POV, not "This is how I think you should do it." This is not the first time I've seen a discussion like this :)
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Tergon

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #15 on: 09 Dec 2010, 15:32 »

"In the past, moderators haven't been needed much in this part of the board.  Lately, people have been kind of dicks, and the moderators have decided that they'll be more of a presence, starting now."

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

And as one of the people who's been kind of a dick (I can admit it, and I've apologised for it in other areas), I say go for it.  Sometimes I know that I just need someone to tell me to shut up, and if the mods are announcing they'll do it more vigorously in the future, then I support that.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #16 on: 09 Dec 2010, 15:55 »

Thanks Elysiana & Tergon, they are pretty good additions/summations of my viewpoint.

The "On the Carnal Relations of Marten Reed" thread would be a good example for you Shadic, if it weren't moved into the trashbin.  However, it's probably not best to dwell on negative aspects of the past.  The point is, as Tergon notes, that from here on in we (meaning me, Paul and whoever else I can cajole into the project) want to be more involved in here rather than letting things run wild then coming in cussing and swinging a hammer from time to time, and I hope that in time there will be less drama involved.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #17 on: 09 Dec 2010, 16:41 »

To my mind that covers anything that could be described as shipping, for example, of which there was an insane amount at that time.  There's plenty of discussion to be had without that.  But don't worry; if things show signs of approaching that point again, it will be made clear.

While I get most of what is being said here. I do have a question about this here. The problem with this is... what do you define as "shipping". I mean, relationships are a pretty big part (though, not the largest imo) of the webcomic. Its kind of hard to discuss the comic with out discussing the possibility of future relationships in the series. I liked the Angus/Faye dynamic long before they were really a couple in the comic, and in a way, that could be considered shipping. Hell, Dora in the COMIC seemed to be shipping them. So how is that creepy of me?

And honestly some of the other comments were JOKES. For instance the post that you linked of Shadic's where he said the thing about Sven and Marten. I doubt he seriously thought that. Are jokes about it also disallowed?

Overall, if that's the way people want to run it, whatever, I just think its good to be more specific so that people can actually understand what you mean.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #18 on: 09 Dec 2010, 16:57 »

pwhodges did say "please try to keep it[speculation] realistic to the characters".

Testing my understanding, then, is it like this?
RIGHT: "I wonder if Jeph is setting us up for Dale and Marigold to become an item someday. They share a common interest, and the conflict we've seen between them is a standard part of a boy-meets-girl plot."
WRONG: anything involving Hannelore.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #19 on: 09 Dec 2010, 17:05 »

Jokes can offend. They may not mean to, but I hope that what is acceptable here will continue to become clearer.

Shipping.  Well, if a pairing is realistic for the characters as written, and in the situation they are in, then it may well be reasonable to discuss.  But the use of any portmanteau to describe a pairing is a big, big warning sign that offensive trivialisation is in play.  And when a post reads like [not a real example, of course]:

Quote
LOL what about [insert wildly inappropriate gay or lesbian pairing] oh I am so edgy LOL

a line has not merely been crossed, but is out of sight in the distance.  In the recent flare-up, there were posts that felt somewhat like that to me.

EDIT: 
Is it cold in here? has the idea, I would say.
« Last Edit: 09 Dec 2010, 17:07 by pwhodges »
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #20 on: 09 Dec 2010, 17:09 »

Fair enough. Though I will say that... realistic is a thing I've seen some people be unable to understand... :P (Especially because of projection... something that seems realistic to me may not seem realistic to someone else. I get the overall idea, I'm just hoping that some people who may have a skewed view of realism getting in huge trouble for things that make sense to them.)

Like I said. Specificity in what you are talking about is more what I was wanting, not that i think you are doing anything wrong. Best to obey the laws of the land. And best to know what those laws actually are.
« Last Edit: 09 Dec 2010, 17:12 by Emperor Norton »
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #21 on: 09 Dec 2010, 17:26 »

I've been following this thread from its beginning with my mouth shut and my ears open, and all I have to say is:

I for one welcome our new ban-hammer-wielding overlords.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #22 on: 09 Dec 2010, 19:14 »

for one welcome our new ban-hammer-wielding overlords.

I am by god trying to come up with a way to argue against the 'enhanced moderator involvement' scheme, and I can't do it. Spent too damn long hollering for it. Oh well, I'm not that good at Devil's Advocate anyway.

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It doesn't. He's not very good at it, and it's, well, kinda cute. If PWHodges stays out of the looney bin and in the moderation staff, hopefully we can keep a recurrence from occurring, whether the action is seen as abjuring or curing. The thing with a fling into what madness can bring, is that as loud as you sing, you might end up in a sling.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #23 on: 09 Dec 2010, 20:12 »

As the dude who was responsible for the Even Worse Thread's genesis, I also want to offer my sincere apologies, like iduguphergrave, and my word as vow that I will leash myself to the boundaries of good taste as firmly as possible from now on.

I think that the new moderator/staff presence will doubtless improve the forum, and probably make it a place that, eventually, will not be associated with wearing the Bear Hat.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #24 on: 10 Dec 2010, 01:13 »

Nice to get the law laid down.

As a relative newbie I decided to take a peek at the oldest parts of this subforum. Say something like pages 19 and 20 and from that point on towards more current. They are dated around 2008, starting from around the time Faye and Sven attempted a relationship in QCverse. There are several locked/emptied threads there. At some points it even looked like the locked threads were more frequent than what we have experienced lately. Anyway, quickly perusing the locked threads tells unmistakably what is not acceptable.

So, for what it's worth, the newbies might be adviced to take a look, and see what not to do. Ideally we/they shouldn't need to, but in practice it might be a good thing also to see the law applied as opposed to only laid down.

I agree with what has been said many times. These recurring problems are caused by us newbies not realizing that this is a private sector of the interwebs, and not realizing that some things should be left to Pintsize. Hopefully things will improve in the future. I will do my best not to make things worse.

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #25 on: 10 Dec 2010, 07:18 »

A lot of this forum isn’t all THAT creepy, but to Jeph it probably feels that way. I’ve never written anything that strangers have felt the need to comment on, but I can imagine that I would find the entire thing a little creepy: people speculating about where I was taking the story, talking about which character they related to and why, talking about how important the story was to them, all of that would just creep me the fuck out. And yet all of that is perfectly valid stuff to talk about in a comic’s forum.

I get the impression that Jeph is the same way. It’s all pretty damn creepy to him, and at some point it probably becomes hard to distinguish the creepy levels of “I like Hanners, the character, because I think she’s cute,” and “I like Hanners and wish to make sweet love to her because real girls won’t talk to me.” The thing about appoint Paul as a moderator, is that he’s removed from the creative process and can say “well the first statement is a normal and healthy thing to say about a web comic character you like, while the later is creepy and you should really try dating women who actually exist.” That’s the hope anyway.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #26 on: 10 Dec 2010, 09:49 »

There are grounds for hope in the fact that when our new moderator experimented with an early stage in the use of force levels, namely a quick "Please don't", it worked.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #27 on: 10 Dec 2010, 13:01 »

I've done that a few times already, but now it seems we're apologizing in this thread too, so I'l join iduguphergrave and Tergon and say: Yes, I apologize, and I will avoid crossing the line in the future.

Also, I now do think that I have a pretty good idea of where that line is. Before all this discussion about it, I really didn't, although I did lurk for a few weeks and I did read three or four threads with rules and advice.

I would also like to add that while it's great that we've got a new moderator in pwhodges, I hope we haven't lost him as a discussion partner. benji's post seemed to imply that, to my eyes at least.

And now I've written yet another serious post... I may need to change my sig!
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #28 on: 10 Dec 2010, 13:18 »

It is certainly not my intention to step away from the discussion.  There's not been so much to talk about this week anyway, and I tend to be rather sparing with my comments.  But yes, although I find I am having to adjust my mindset a little, I hope that won't get in the way of normality.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #29 on: 10 Dec 2010, 19:44 »

To be fair, I don't think idle conversation about what people think is going to happen is part of the problem, it's more the constant speculation over who's going to hook up, and the unlikely romantic combinations being shouted about to the point of obsession.

I mean, it's nice to see people having enthusiasm for a friend's work, but there is a point where it gets a bit lame/women's mag gossippy.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #30 on: 10 Dec 2010, 19:55 »

People are always going to want to talk about the comic; it was just when everyone started flaming each other in the "Perfect Shitstorm" WDC that it got a bit extreme.  And then as far as shipping goes... again, there was always going to be a bit of that, but it crossed the line in the midst of the Breakup Week.  And then we collectively grabbed the idiot ball and ran screaming over a cliff with the Carnal Relations thread.

I say that as one of the worst offenders in both cases, and I don't deny it.  The difference is, I think, that most of us knew exactly how stupid we were being, and that we'd crossed the line; we simply didn't consider that Jeph would be so sincerely disgusted by it.  As a result we're being told, in no uncertain terms, "Don't do that again."

There's no retroactive banning, nobody is being singled out as a major offender - which I again admit I would be otherwise - and everything seems pretty straightforward.  As far as I'm concerned, good luck to the mods in keeping the place under control, and feel free to give me a swift kick up the arse if I cross the line again.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #31 on: 14 Dec 2010, 07:42 »

As one of the "newbs", I'm a little confused.
I am sorry if I get anything wrong, please correct me, I'm just asking and I don't mean to offend anyone.

First of all: I get it that Jeph is crept out about people shipping Hannelore, or discussing Marten's future. I have created characters too, and if somebody else violates them, I'm not too happy about it.
I absolutely agree that you have to have a civil discussion, and there are rules you have to obey.

But what I don't get: I cannot foresee Jephs reaction. Seriously. He makes jokes that are way to crude for my sense of humour (I don't mean to criticize, it's a fact. My sense of humour is a little pussy-ish). People with the same sense of humour are drawn by it, and they may make such jokes in the forums. I don't think that's meant as offence or a figurative pissing on the carpet, it's just how they roll.
It is very difficult for me to see where the line is drawn. Where the forum went too far, where the speculation crossed it. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the discussion (as it is now) has crossed my lines, but since I don't want to spoil their fun, I just don't answer to those threads.
But where do YOU draw it? I mean, jokes that were funny in the last threads get the next ones locked, people with a crude sense of humour get saluted first and in the next second they get rebuked.

I always try to be civil and nice to everyone, and I'm being dickish, please tell me, I apologize.

But I'm having difficulties with walking on eggshells and not saying or doing or not doing anything that might or might not offend. I'm having difficulties with mods first calling people names and then beating themselves up over not getting what Jeph might have wanted them to do.

That being said, I wanted to say that I like this thread and the discussion.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #32 on: 14 Dec 2010, 08:30 »

I understand your puzzlement, and have felt the same at times.  Note also, that although I am now a moderator on this forum, I am not privy to Jeph's thoughts on this.  It helps me to think of Pintsize's antics being in character, and not to think about Jeph actually having to go and get that stuff; and I rationalize the (very  occasional) thread in which he unleashes a load of smut on the forum as being a bit of: "now see how you  like it, guys!".

But where do YOU draw it? I mean, jokes that were funny in the last threads get the next ones locked, people with a crude sense of humour get saluted first and in the next second they get rebuked.

Well, Jeph doesn't come in this forum on a daily or even a monthly basis these days, so it is up to the other forum moderators to set the line; and over the last several years, the other moderators haven't been doing it either.  So this forum was being left to get a bit wild at times, until occasionally someone would fetch a moderator who would wave a big stick and then depart.  I am the first moderator to be a regular reader in this forum, and I have been doing it for less than a week; but this does mean that there is now a regular moderatorial presence, so once we have all settled in to this, the kind of inconsistency that you've observed should go.  I would like not to have to be intrusive, but I want to maintain the discussion at a level that will not openly offend Jeph (though there may be a part of him that will always be unhappy about any discussion of his characters).  To emphasise that there is a change in how this forum is being managed, I started this thread to try to clarify things for you all.

How my style as a moderator will develop, we shall see.  I will continue to take part in the discussions as I used to, but I hope that it will be sufficiently clear when I am speaking ex cathedra;  if not, then I shall make it clear!  I want to keep this place relaxed, but also to be firm when necessary from the start.  If, in the process of learning how to do this, I am unreasonably inconsistent, or just unreasonable, do call me on it - and I shall be pleased to explain why or correct it, as appropriate.  But be prepared for me to disagree with you in the end.

Although I am the moderator that you will normally see around here, there are a number of others, so there is an independent check on me being sensible about this - and when I am asleep, for instance, other moderators may appear to deal with reported posts (I am in the UK, the only moderator in Europe in fact; the others are all in North America or Australia).

It's not all superpowers and a ban-hammer for me, either (actually, on this board moderators can't ban, only admins); what you don't see (I hope) is the pruning of spam posts that we have to do from time to time - I've dealt with over two dozen myself in the last few days.  The system people are still working on more ways to prevent spam, but sadly many of the commonest tools have been compromised.
« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 10:07 by pwhodges »
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #33 on: 14 Dec 2010, 08:58 »

The line does seem to be meandering a bit, as the mods grow accustomed to the new regime world order arrangements.  I'd like to cite a recently locked thread, if I may...

Hanners and Marten: you know you want it.  

Now, the thread started with someone (probably ironically) doing an inappropriate ship.  It was met immediately  with a sarcastic "yeah, sure", and a chorus of "No"s,  even from people who thought it would be cute, but out of character.  The thread died, the community had policed itself.  

Then a new person resurrected it, posting with the caveat "If it weren't inmpossible..."  I'm not sure about the Yogi Berra comment, the only appropriate quote I came up with was "You can observe a lot just by watching."  

I heartily disagree with est - it was certainly not  an example of a bad thread.  I think it was an example of the forum at its best.  I'm not sure est read the whole thing, like with the thread-that-must-not-be-named, where he admitted that it was put in the trash bin so the mods could look at it.  Definitely a shoot first, ask questions later attitude.  Pwhodge's comment before locking it just hearkeed back to the Yogi Berra quote.  Without the mod comments and locking, there would probably have been a "no way" response or two, or maybe no response at all, and it would have died again.  

I too feel the eggshells right now.  It's very awkward as the pendulum swings wildly about, looking for its center.  But I have faith that it will find its steady path soon, and that in the end, the moderators will learn... moderation.  

Until then, please note that his is not an academic colloquium; puns, clearly indicated sarcasm, and jokes all are welcome.  Commentary about the strip itself is the raison d'etre.  Thoughtful insight is optional.  Have fun with it, and you'll forget the lines are even there, until the next time they're crossed.  

Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

It's getting so you can't compose a decent thought around here!  Pwhodges explains himself fine, but I'm posting this anyway. 
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #34 on: 14 Dec 2010, 10:39 »

I don't think est meant that the full thread, with all its "No"s and "Yeah sure"s, was bad; I got the impression he meant the topic itself was a bad one. I think in this case it was handled very appropriately - the thread had already died, a completely-new-to-the-forum person resurrected it in their first post on the forum ever, and the mods said "Come on. We JUST went over this" and locked the thread. Case closed. Line drawn.

---

I think there's this weird assumption that all of a sudden the mods are going to start locking threads left and right and banning anyone who even coughs the wrong way, and I'm not hearing that sort of mentality from the mods at all. YES, there will be locked threads - this is done so that you know where that line is. But I don't see what's so hard about saying, "Okay, if Jeph would prefer that we not do this on his forum, then I will concede that to him and talk about other things that also interest me." I mean good lord, you pretty much have ONE type of topic that's off-limits, and I'd hope that most of you would have the decency to realize that the owner of the board would like some respect on that issue.

If the mods are consistent in their actions and use reason and a firm hand, the balance will be struck pretty quickly and you'll probably hit a point where most people won't even remember all this. But as long as people keep fighting against it, or saying "Is this the line? How bout this? What about right here? Is this too far?" then it's going to take a lot longer and just frustrate everyone involved - forumites, mods, and owner alike. Yes, it's going to take some time and you're not going to see results immediately. And since this is a transition period, there are going to be some places where the mods falter. It happens. Move on. Don't say "But you didn't lock THAT thread! Chuff!" I bet they're learning too and would probably appreciate a little leeway.

---

Anecdote time... it's scary how well this story lines up with what's going on here... At my last job (graphic artist at a newspaper) I worked with a guy who was pretty much fresh out of college, so of course he knew everything. Good kid, just hadn't met the real world yet. So when he dove in and started making ads, he thought he was doing great and everything he did came out golden. This wasn't actually the case - he made a lot of mistakes like spelling errors, getting phone numbers wrong, not following instructions, etc. The problem was that nobody told him. One day he got called into the back office by our team leader and the production manager. They told him that there had been many major complaints about him in the last month or so - directly from the clients - and that if he didn't shape up soon his position at the company would be in question. He, of course, was flabbergasted and embarrassed. He'd been working there for three months and had never heard that anything was wrong. No news is supposed to be good news, right? In fact, a lot of the clients had been really pleased with many of his ads and had told him so.

Now admittedly, the company handled the situation the wrong way. They should have informed him of the problems as they happened, not waited to let them build up and let him think he was doing a good job. If they'd told him before, he could have learned the right way to build ads from the day he started. But they didn't. That was over and done with, you can't go back and change the past, the mistake stood. Instead of throwing back his head and howling about it, the guy took the information to heart and got with the other artists and had us go over his ads before he sent them out. The more seasoned of us were able to give him pointers on why such-and-such works, why this other thing doesn't, how print is different from screen, and so on. He learned quickly, and as far as I know there were no more complaints about him - he at least never got called back in for another lecture.

The moral is that you have several choices - on a forum, at a job, in life, wherever - and it's important to figure out which ones are productive. One of them is to keep testing the line to see how much people will put up with. One is to hoot and holler because you don't like being told you were wrong. One is to say "Okay, now that I know what I shouldn't do, I'll work on avoiding that. Thanks for the heads-up."
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #35 on: 14 Dec 2010, 11:07 »

Well said, and to add another choice to the list, you can ask first. At the risk of sounding like an ass-kisser, this thread is a Good Idea because the sort of people who care about it now have access to a moderator's advice. Learning by example, the best learning style for many people, is difficult when there are so many bad examples.

This next isn't a question about where the line is, but an exploration of how pithy it's possible to make things. Can the relevant rules be boiled down to "Don't rape the characters"? Putting them into sexual situations they would never agree to (including things that one character has proposed but that the other doesn't want) seems like another way to phrase what squicks Jeph and company.

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #36 on: 14 Dec 2010, 11:38 »

That's a good starting point, but I think there's rather more to it than that.  Maybe building up scenarios which although non-sexual are still preposterous?  It's hard to say other than what I've said already in this thread (and before that, in the welcome thread) - and I freely admit that I'm still feeling the way at present in any case.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #37 on: 14 Dec 2010, 12:00 »

I recommend not overthinking it. Lay out the ground rules. When you feel that a rule has been broken, point it out. Over time, people will get a much better understanding of where the line is, and you won't feel the need to say "Well, this is okay, but this other thing is pushing it, but if you take this other tack I guess it's alright, but only as long as you don't do this."

Some people will cry, "But you didn't SAY we couldn't do that!" and you have the right to tell them, "I'm saying it now." You certainly can't be expected to lay out every last possible topic that might be taboo before it gets brought up, but when something does come up, a well-placed "Alright guys, this isn't appropriate, can you please back off" can do wonders.

I wouldn't worry too much about it. There will be some butting of heads but it'll sort itself out.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #38 on: 14 Dec 2010, 12:13 »

I don't think est meant that the full thread, with all its "No"s and "Yeah sure"s, was bad; I got the impression he meant the topic itself was a bad one.

Yes, this is what I meant.

and as for the confusion, it's pretty simple. There is a rules thread, which we have paraphrased in here.  So long as you abide by those rules I very much doubt you will ever get banned.

Can I please get an example of something that was lauded in one thread and then admonished in another?  Was it by moderators, or just general forum people?  I am curious!
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #39 on: 14 Dec 2010, 15:34 »

Thank you for taking the time and putting so much thought in your answers.
You've cleared up some of the confusion, and I think we'll have some cool discussions 'bout the comic that keeps pulling me back here.

pwhodges, I absolutely look forward to a moderator who's awake when I am :)


and as for the confusion, it's pretty simple. There is a rules thread, which we have paraphrased in here.  So long as you abide by those rules I very much doubt you will ever get banned.
I did read them before I started posting. Please don't make me spell out the "BUT THERE'S NOTHING ABOUT ... IN THERE" argument. It's a weak one, but please don't pretend that these rules would help deciding if and what would or would not offend in the Dora/Marten Breakup Discussion. And I know it won't get me banned if I express some creepy opinion or whatever, but I like a civil discussion, and I'd like to know if the mods or Jeph are not comfortable with it. I don't want to get threads locked or deleted because of my posts, and I don't want to be insulted before I even know what I did wrong.

Can I please get an example of something that was lauded in one thread and then admonished in another?  Was it by moderators, or just general forum people?  I am curious!
I don't want to point fingers, but if you want examples, take threads in October/November and compare them with the most recent Weekly Comic Discussions.

And, I don't think it's important if moderators or forum people were "thin-skinned", I was complaining about an atmosphere where people think it's necessary to shush someone whose post might possibly be offensive, while a lot "worse" examples are around.

I didn't want to be nitpicking, I just expressed how I felt about the current course of action. I expect it to get better, and I expect that most members of the forum will be grateful for an improved moderating style; but I feel that crude humour and creepy jokes will always have their place in this forum.

Edit: wrote.. more... text.. (maybe expressed myself better. I'm learning!)
« Last Edit: 14 Dec 2010, 17:37 by xerada »
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #40 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:06 »

Fuck the "walking on eggshells" mentality, people. As long as you're coherent and back up your crazy theories with links to specific comics (or at least references to situations that actually happened in the comic), and are very careful to direct any insults at the ideas and theories of others instead of at them personally, you literally have very little to worry about.

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #41 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:11 »

I gotta say: this recent moderation has made this forum far, far less fun to post on, and far, far, far, far less fun to read. I have never posted anything "objectionable" and yet I feel the moderation horribly hobbles and stifles the spirit of discussion I have previously so much enjoyed. Everyone seems to be looking over their shoulders, and pwhodges is sitting over the entire place like a hen-mom... well-meaning to be sure, but it really feels like being babysat and having to watch your language about the uptight babysitter. It honestly makes me feel uneasy to read the forum now.

And I'm fine with moderation in theory. But geeeez, pwhodges. I've seen you go off on people for indulging in some totally harmless speculation, and obviously non-serious/playful speculation at that. These characters are not real people. It is silly to demand everyone treat them with the kind of respect even real people (like say, celebrities) aren't accorded when discussing their lives.

And I seriously don't get Jeph. Yes, one can feel a sense of ownership and protection for one's characters. But also, if one is to be a creator, one is just gonna have to put on one's grown-up pants and deal with the fact that readers will not always think of the characters the same way you do. I am sure Jeph himself participates in that sort of thing with the media he enjoys--that he's discussed characters and plotlines of movies/books/comics with his friends or on his blog in ways that might go against the creator's vision of them.

But also--this forum is tame! Seriously, seriously, seriously tame. Most other webcomic forums I visit have much more of the so-called "offensive" material.
« Last Edit: 15 Dec 2010, 05:24 by JackFaerie »
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #42 on: 15 Dec 2010, 05:35 »

Everyone seems to be looking over their shoulders,

And after a while they'll realise there's no bogey-man there.

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I've seen you go off on people for indulging in some totally harmless speculation, and obviously non-serious/playful speculation at that. These characters are not real people. It is silly to demand everyone treat them with the kind of respect even real people (like say, celebrities) aren't accorded when discussing their lives.

Most things on the Internet are harmless,  but that doesn't mean that they are wanted everywhere.  But remember, I am still learning how to do this - both in terms of judgement, and in terms of how to express what I think about something.  And sadly, but naturally, we can't all agree all the time anyway.  But I can agree that you have never posted anything that doesn't fit here just fine.

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And I seriously don't get Jeph. Yes, one can feel a sense of ownership and protection for one's characters. But also, if one is to be a creator, one is just gonna have to put on one's grown-up pants and deal with the fact that readers will not always think of the characters the same way you do.

He is how he is, and he pays the bills for this place...  <shrug />

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But also--this forum is tame! Seriously, seriously, seriously tame. Most other webcomic forums I visit have much more of the so-called "offensive" material.

That's irrelevant here.
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"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #43 on: 15 Dec 2010, 18:31 »

The conversation in here is starting to get a bit ridiculous. Please read what has been said so far before posting, because people seem to be missing to point entirely.

Seems to me that about the only thing Jeph has a real problem with (other than what's laid out in the rules) is people putting his characters into sexual situations. Speculation and general talk about what has happened in the comic and what you think about it and what you think is gonna happen is fine. I don't understand how telling people not to write slashfic or lust over comic characters "stifles" any kind of conversation other than undesirable creepy bullshit.
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jeph

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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #44 on: 16 Dec 2010, 01:57 »

I gotta say: this recent moderation has made this forum far, far less fun to post on, and far, far, far, far less fun to read. I have never posted anything "objectionable" and yet I feel the moderation horribly hobbles and stifles the spirit of discussion I have previously so much enjoyed. Everyone seems to be looking over their shoulders, and pwhodges is sitting over the entire place like a hen-mom... well-meaning to be sure, but it really feels like being babysat and having to watch your language about the uptight babysitter. It honestly makes me feel uneasy to read the forum now.

And I'm fine with moderation in theory. But geeeez, pwhodges. I've seen you go off on people for indulging in some totally harmless speculation, and obviously non-serious/playful speculation at that. These characters are not real people. It is silly to demand everyone treat them with the kind of respect even real people (like say, celebrities) aren't accorded when discussing their lives.

And I seriously don't get Jeph. Yes, one can feel a sense of ownership and protection for one's characters. But also, if one is to be a creator, one is just gonna have to put on one's grown-up pants and deal with the fact that readers will not always think of the characters the same way you do. I am sure Jeph himself participates in that sort of thing with the media he enjoys--that he's discussed characters and plotlines of movies/books/comics with his friends or on his blog in ways that might go against the creator's vision of them.

But also--this forum is tame! Seriously, seriously, seriously tame. Most other webcomic forums I visit have much more of the so-called "offensive" material.

Wah wah wahhhhh.

This is my website. I DON'T have to put up with people doing shit I don't like on it. I don't care how other forums are run, I don't care if it's SO AWFUL that you now have to STOP AND THINK BEFORE YOU POST.

If you people can manage to post less shittily for a while, I guarantee the moderation will seem less "stifling" because we won't need to do as much of it.
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Re: Conduct in this forum
« Reply #45 on: 16 Dec 2010, 02:28 »

And with that, I think this thread has covered all it needs to, and that to let it continue would just invite having its content diluted.  But for completeness, here is a helpful comment from Jeph in another thread:

For what it's worth, I don't care if people overanalyze things. I mean, I think it's stupid, and they're wrong 99% of the time, but that's kind of what forums are FOR. It's the stupid arguing, the creepy character-fetishization, and the "I hate character X no matter what and will drag this into every single discussion" idiocy that I have a problem with.
« Last Edit: 16 Dec 2010, 04:47 by pwhodges »
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )
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