Discord moderators: you need to do a better job

  • The Discord channels are unofficial - although Scirra staff occasionally drop by we don't run any Discord channels ourselves and we have no powers to moderate (as far as I'm aware anyway).

    One of the keys to keeping a good community is good moderation. If people are being unreasonable/jerks/trolls, they need to be punished or banned. We do this on the forum, e.g. we occasionally lock any particularly bitter or flamewar-style threads to cut off unhelpful discussion, and ban the worst offenders. This doesn't mean the forums are perfect, but it generally prevents things getting too ugly.

    This doesn't appear to happen at all on Discord and things regularly get really ugly with apparently no reaction from the moderators at all. Just today I was on the Discord and someone was directly and personally offensive to me with language that would qualify as a ban on the forum. All I can do is block them for my account, but apparently they can still hang around and keep saying stuff like that with no consequence. That sets a really poor tone for the channel as a community space and can easily degrade even further in to a toxic environment. This also reflects poorly on the wider community.

    The last few times I've been in the other Discord have been totally miserable experiences to the extent it makes my job worse and more stressful. I'm going to stop going. The moderators need to *seriously* step up their game and clamp down hard on the kind of things that go on in there, otherwise I'm not coming back.

  • Please also rename the Discord to either "Unofficial Construct Community", or "Construct Community (unofficial)", to indicate that it is not run by Scirra.

  • The discord server is far healthier than these forums because you can voice your concerns and talk about obvious and real issues related to the software without being ignored, glossed over, argued with or worse - banned for trying to help.

    You personally acted in a way that seemed like trolling on the discord to the point where someone snapped and did resort to foul language. People are doing their best to be helpful and forthcoming with threads with up to a dozen people reporting on a widely known issue, simply to be met with "You are wrong, there is no problem", this results in frustration.

    The tone of the channel is active, welcoming, friendly and accepting. Newcomers and pros get to help each others and share creations. People get to discuss things how they really are instead of a bent up, untrue sugar coated vision. This is extremely helpful so users can scope their creations accordingly and achieve their best potential instead of trying something that's not gonna work and falling flat.

    The software is good and the channel lets people get the most out of it. I have only positive things to say of the people who frequent there.

  • Character attacks don't belong in an argument at any time, but I think the community there would likely bring anything important back into the forums anyway, so it makes sense that it is treated as more free speaking/critical (as it is much unofficial, so less commercially damaging to Scirra) for existing Construct users to discuss.

  • The following is a response to

    Ashley by the Discord Moderators:

    The discord server is far healthier than these forums because you can voice your concerns and talk about obvious and real issues related to the software without being ignored, glossed over, argued with or worse - banned for trying to help.

    You personally acted in a way that seemed like trolling on the discord to the point where someone snapped and did resort to foul language. People are doing their best to be helpful and forthcoming with threads with up to a dozen people reporting on a widely known issue, simply to be met with "You are wrong, there is no problem", this results in frustration.

    The tone of the channel is active, welcoming, friendly and accepting. Newcomers and pros get to help each others and share creations. People get to discuss things how they really are instead of a bent up, untrue sugar coated vision. This is extremely helpful so users can scope their creations accordingly and achieve their best potential instead of trying something that's not gonna work and falling flat.

    The software is good and the channel lets people get the most out of it. I have only positive things to say of the people who frequent there.

    We strongly share the same opinion with huZba and are quite frankly shocked that you're actively trying take action against your own community by calling for more authoritarian methods and using rules based on your feelings (e.g. recently introduced "anti-trolling" rule).

    One of the main reasons for our Discord server was to give discussions mostly started on the forums more freedom, by moving them to our server. Based on what many members of the Construct Community could notice is that by introducing things like the before mentioned rule, you've essentially decided to remove any valid criticisms based on your feelings, whether you want to address a certain issue or not. This behavior of yours has led to frustration among the community and punished individuals leaving the forum to join a place which supports free speech and the freedom to voice their concerns without being afraid of falling under a vague rule. This could explain why you've started to experience more and more unpleasant times on our server, that is your own fault and nothing on our side could've prevented this from happening.

    Our server has rules and systems in place which allow members (including yourself) to report users for breaking one of our rules. As far as we're aware, no one made use of our mentioned reporting command or tried to communicate with us about this at all, so we had to assume that everything sorted itself out as it usually does inside our server. Heated debates on the Internet are a frequent occurrence and allowed on our Discord, however direct personal insults as displayed by one individual against you will be taken action against (1st strike has been issued accordingly). We're also making it very clear that our server is not official, in order to make this even clearer we've taken action and added a reminder to our rules channel.

    This topic could as suggested by your own rules be considered as "trolling" or "trashtalking" behind our backs and we (The Construct Community) are deeply disappointed that you would take this approach instead of doing it in a more direct way. We very much appreciate Scirra being part of our server but if Scirra considers this to be impossible under our current ruling system of law & order, we'd like to thank you for being with us for the time being and wish the best for the future!

    ~The Construct Community (Discord)

  • I deal with thousands of bug reports and have a well-honed routine approach to try to get to the bottom of the issue effectively. Sometimes this can be frustrating for all parties, yes. However it is by no means an excuse for abusive behavior. This is not about my feelings, or trying to control people, or trying to be an authoritarian dictator who controls everything. This is about setting basic rules for civilised behavior.

    For example, we have new guidelines for conduct in bug reports, because some people's conduct is completely awful and unacceptable. Take a look through those guidelines. Do you think any of them are unreasonable? No. They are simple, basic, reasonable rules that anyone should be able to abide by.

    Unfortunately some people are unable to abide by these basic rules of civilised conduct. Those people are no longer welcome on the forums. Some of those people may decide that they've been unfairly treated and in order to cover up their abhorrent behavior, try to portray me or anyone else at Scirra as silencing debate or ignoring problems. This is complete nonsense. These people are defending their right to be abusive. These people must be removed from the community. As I said: this is about setting basic rules for civilised conduct.

    I am happy to discuss our rules in more detail if anyone has questions about them. However if you disagree with the principle of setting basic rules of conduct, then please, leave, go and use someone else's software, and please go and post regularly in their community instead!

    There is a major difference between any frustrations that come up in dealing with a bug report, and downright abusive behavior. It is also the responsibility of the moderators to have some degree of proactivity. On the forums we do not sit around idly waiting for flamewars to kick off and then turn up when people start reporting posts. We are proactive in identifying poor behavior and dealing with it before it becomes an issue, not after. Anyone who runs any kind of online community should have a similar approach.

    I must emphasise I'm not trying to take control here. It is also ridiculous to suggest I am trying to remove criticism. There are literally hundreds of critical posts on these forums, and more are posted regularly. This is obvious to anyone who regularly reads the forum. We still allow this despite how tough it can be to plough through reams of criticism on a daily basis. It is rare that we close these threads entirely, and even when we do often it's long after everyone's had plenty of time to say what they want. We always have a good reason to take action. Pointing at such examples and saying we're shutting down conversation is misleading and is arguing in favour of a community that tolerates abuse.

    All I am asking for is to have basic, enforced rules about civilised behavior. If you dispute this, then I will do everything I can to distance ourselves from that part of the community. Note this is not an attempt to take control. You are of course free to run an independent chat room as you see fit. I mainly want to encourage you to improve the community. Failing that, we will remove ourselves from it.

    Having said that, I have one minor request that I believe is reasonable. Please rename the channel to include the term "unofficial". I am sure you would agree that you aren't trying to pretend to be an official part of Scirra.

  • My takeaway from this thread is that Scirra is upset they can't control the discussion off-site, have worked themselves into a hole in terms of community trust, and are unhappy that a clearly unofficial forum for discussion (seriously, it's said it's unofficial since day 1) provides a better and more welcoming outlet for open and honest discussion of known issues than the official forums, with its vague and draconian rules designed to shut down discussion Scirra doesn't like, where it's much easier for them to shut down such discussion, or sweep it under the rug.

    This thread provides a very clear and compelling reason to keep the Discord unofficial and independent, as well as illustrate why it's great resource for Construct users interested in helping each other and solving issues without the constant spin or misdirection in the process of doing so.

  • We only shut down forum threads where people cannot abide by basic rules of civilised conduct. There is plenty of discussion on the forums that I don't necessary like, but tolerate because people abide by our basic rules of conduct.

    Do you mean to defend people's right to be abusive to Scirra staff? How is that even up for debate? It is so completely unacceptable that I strongly encourage anyone who thinks that to leave. Go and use someone else's software if you really think that.

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  • Since I have administrated and moderated a community of thousands in the past, I figure I should provide some observations and insights on the matter for both sides.

    As communities grow, there is always a development of a perception that there is a superiority if there are only a few people running the community- there lacks diversity in judgement, simply by the limited number of people in charge and it is easy for users to target that dynamic.

    One way to solve it is by creating more moderators and developing a system of checks and balances, so that doing more regulation work can be enforced.

    The problem with this approach is that it will stifle the communities expression and give the impression of a suppression-like mood. It will put more walls between people and essentially drive people out of the community since they can easily find other channels elsewhere to communicate more freely. I've seen communities decline because of this.

    Places like Discord offer places where communication can be more free and timely- where it often is more about lifestyle and person to person interaction- it is more intimate than a forum and can be a place where you feel more included and part of a family. This obviously can become more heated and spontaneous because of the realtime nature of it, but that's life and humans have emotions, so it is better to learn how to deal with your emotions and how to interpret other's emotions than to simply suppress them, etc..

    Anyways- I'm concerned that Scirra might be going down a path of more regulatory measures, based on this thread post. I could be wrong though- I could be taking all this out of context since I don't visit the discord channel..

    I think a better way to handle this would have been to find some people to act as moderators/middle men, as such discussions coming from a limited set of people from Scirra can appear unfavorably for them. If they do go that route, then I'd expect to see more enforcement of rules, etc, and the community to decrease in size. Worse case scenario is they begin to only allow paid subscribers access to the community forum.

    Also, the past talk of wanting to create ways to engage the community- If they do this, I expect more official events and things like that, which in turn stress more regulatory type tactics, which will in turn also lead to impressions of misjudgement and bad decision making, etc. I see it happen all the time in other communities, and the results are predictable.

    Another point I want to mention is that longer lasting users tend to have more gripes or reasons for expressing themselves, and put more effort into being heard, etc. So if Scirra is tired of listening, then it will eventually leave them with a community that is younger and less experienced, and satisfied with new flashy things that haven't been tested yet, etc..

    Scirra doesn't have to respond to everyone, and everyone's requests won't be answered- there's only so much time and people have to choose where to spend their focus, etc.

    Also, pushing away people won't solve anything anyways, there will always be new users that haven't learnt how to communicate that well, or don't have as much life experience or foresight, etc.. so I think it is healthy to encourage people to get it out their system, and maybe there'd be more good that comes from it. Yeah some people will utterly hate something, they probably have good reason to hate it. Others will love stuff.. It's a balance, and we don't need to be suppressing either side, because it just suppresses both in the end because everyone loves and hates different things at different times.

    I generally think that banning people should be avoided unless it's harming people. People act crazy from time to time- and that's just human nature. It happens. It's better to take those instances and try to be the better person in it and grow your character and be an example for others, and by doing so others will learn how to better themselves rather than just ignore others and shun them.

  • Do you really think "don't be abusive to the staff" is some kind of heavy regulation?

    You know, the forum is really only a fraction of what we deal with. You don't see things like when someone digs up a Scirra staff member's personal social media account and spews a ton of vile abuse at them. It is totally unacceptable and makes everyone's lives harder. We have zero tolerance for that or anything that remotely approaches it. It simply can't be allowed. We have the right to go about our jobs with a basic level of treatment. This is the kind of backdrop to why I am really serious about enforcing this.

  • Do you mean to defend people's right to be abusive to Scirra staff? How is that even up for debate? It is so completely unacceptable that I strongly encourage anyone who thinks that to leave. Go and use someone else's software if you really think that.

    With all due respect that was never the case and never will be. And not only to Scirra staff but to anyone. We have taken action for the personnal attack you received, and are always taking action as soon as anyone is attacked and/or harrassed. If you had read our rules, you'd know that we don't allow that.

    Please, I nicely ask that you calm down, and stop putting words in other people's mouth. He said that the discord server allowed for some discussions to continue outside the forums if they were closed. I don't know what you exactly mean by "people [who] cannot abide by basic rules of civilised conduct" but you know that in a forum discussion it's rarely only one or two members and some other people might wanna keep on discussing the topic without seeing the discussion closed because someone else couldn't keep things respectful.

  • Ashley, I wasn't focusing on any specific rule in particular, nor did I have in mind any specific rule when I wrote my post. I was simply giving my thoughts on aspects related to moderating a community and what I have noticed in communities I've been a part of in the past.

    I was speaking generally about rules as a whole, not necessarily what the rules are.

    This brings up another point though, regarding interpretation, and how words can be misconstrued. I'm not sure if I need to go into that subject though, as then it becomes an issue of which interpretation is more relevant or appropriate, etc.. And everyone has different viewpoints on that.

    Without knowing your situation you mentioned, I can only judge based on my interpretation and understanding from what I experience personally. I can only assume that since you put yourself in front of so many people, you're more likely to be targeted by others in various different ways because everyone has different mental states. Do whatever you need to do to control your own sanity though- I just hope it serves good example.

    I think that's the main thing I was getting at in my post- that there will always be a preconceived notion of superiority due to the few in charge over the vast collective- and how you behave will always be scrutinized in detail because everyone's attention is funneled towards your way since you sit at the top. I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong- I'm just sharing my experience and viewpoint.

  • Do whatever you need to do to control your own sanity though

    Yeah, well, towards that I'm going to close this thread now. All I want is for me and the rest of the Scirra staff to be able to do our jobs without receiving abuse. That's not up for debate, and I'm not prepared to discuss it any further. It should not need any further explaining. It is the sole point I want to make here: there is a minimum standard of behavior that is required. If you can't do that, then you should leave.

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