Madness discussion

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Madness discussion

Postby SBN » Wed Apr 02, 2014 11:32 am UTC

Now that the Madness is over, I'd like to have a discussion about it. Clearly there are a wide range of opinions about it. My opinion has changed since last year, and I now believe it is bullying. But, I also know that there are things I don't understand, and that others see it differently. Therefore, I'm hoping to get some honest, unfiltered answers from both moderators and users.

Moderators (Anyone with moderation experience, not just here):
Why did you become a moderator? What's it like? Is it really stressful? The Madness is often said to be stress relief for the moderators, why is that necessary?

Do moderators in other places need stress relief? Do they get it? How?

Can someone give a brief history of the Madness? When did it start, what have the various years been like?

And, of course, everyone, what are your opinions about it? Do you like it, hate it, put up with it, avoid it? Why? Would you change it? If so, how?

Thanks in advance for what I hope is a good discussion.

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EDIT: Hi everyone. If you're just starting this discussion, please read the whole thing before replying. There is a lot of important and relevant information throughout the thread, and we'd rather not fall into a cycle of rehashing.

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EDIT II: A discussion FAQ:

Spoiler:
1) We acknowledge that locking the time thread was misguided and had unforeseen consequences. We apologize for the slip up and will strive to prevent future lapses.
2) We cannot exempt specific threads from the Madness word filters. Our sysadmin davean can, but has only done so on one occasion when , we believe, Randall himself intervened doing so stuck his personal fancy. Simply put, this is not a solution available to the Mod Staff. For Serious. No.
3) In the future, we will supply rough start/end dates for the Madness (better granularity is not really feasible when Boston and Sydney need to be awake and organized at the same time)
4) We will continue to make the Madness Announcement in image form (as we have done in the past) so that it won't be filtered.
5) There will be a "Real Madness Issues Only" thread in SFI for the duration, but it will be filtered (see above). Users are requested to use the board's Report feature or PM relevant section mods when actionable issues arise.
6) Blame Red Hal for the awesome new features we introduce next year.
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EDIT III: Please consider this thread under a 'soft' lock. See here.

Thanks,
Az

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Dracomax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:21 pm UTC

Personally, I like the Madness, but I think it needs a few tweaks. Yes, I get that it isn't for me, but I think there are a few issues that need to be ironed out to avoid hard feelings and feelings of bullying.

MODS:

First, having a clear start and end date. The fact that we don't know when it is starting or when it is ending is a problem. I get that the original intent was that "nobody knows the exact day or hour," but I think that needs to change. First, it is hard to know when it will be over. That means that all those people who follow your advice of "if you don't like it, take a break for a week" don't have to keep rubbing their faces in it until they find a day it isn't happening.

Second, I kind of think there needs to be at least on (not already crazier than a screendoor on a submarine) thread where people can post. First, so that if there are genuine issues that need to be discussed, there is a way to do so without adding an extra 10 minutes to every post as people try to decipher what the other guy said. and second, to give people a "safe"place to go. then lock it once the reckoning is over. it makes a nice record of the event each year, too, so you can look back on previous years and figure out what worked and what ended up legitimately making people upset.

Third, and possibly most importantly, You need to be explicit when mod/admin actions that would normally be taken, such as bans, threadlocks, etc. are just part of the reckoning. One of the major reasons that the Time thread freaked the heck out was that they had no idea if it was permanent or not. it might be fun to you, but to the guy who got hit with something, and isn't sure if it is reckoning, or not, it isn't fun. at all. Maybe you need to change your sockpuppet's name to something like "Reckoning steve" or something. I don't know. but if it is an action that could plausibly be non-reckoning, make it clear which it is. please.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:30 pm UTC

To address those in order:

In the future, we can give you a very rough estimate of start and stop, but the problem is that the actual implementation of the madness is spread across three or four moderators, and is highly dependent on when those mods are active and feel like babysitting the initial kickup. Likewise for the end: the filters are cleaned up by a script run by one particular moderator, and if they're not active...then the madness will continue until they wake up.

Shielding particular threads from wordfilters is not actually a thing we have the power to do. It requires direct access to the server, which is why only the Time thread is so shielded: Randy and davean took an uncharacteristic interest in it just as last year's madness was starting.

Third: the use of jokey thread-enders is usually a sign that people are playing around. That being said, locking the time thread has been acknowledged as overkill.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:44 pm UTC

Thread lock messages from banned users are madness actions. Being restricted or banned through membership in usergroups like "Sticks in the Mud" are madness actions. It starts a few days before the end of March and wraps up sometime on April 1, and "take a break for a week" has *always* been sufficient because it's never lasted more than a week.

If someone wants to paste in the good responses to some of the other questions that have already been posted in the announcement thread, that would be helpful.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Dracomax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 12:51 pm UTC

Belial wrote:To address those in order:

In the future, we can give you a very rough estimate of start and stop, but the problem is that the actual implementation of the madness is spread across three or four moderators, and is highly dependent on when those mods are active and feel like babysitting the initial kickup. Likewise for the end: the filters are cleaned up by a script run by one particular moderator, and if they're not active...then the madness will continue until they wake up.

Shielding particular threads from wordfilters is not actually a thing we have the power to do. It requires direct access to the server, which is why only the Time thread is so shielded: Randy and davean took an uncharacteristic interest in it just as last year's madness was starting.

Third: the use of jokey thread-enders is usually a sign that people are playing around. That being said, locking the time thread has been acknowledged as overkill.

I appreciate your response.

replying to your points in order:
Even giving a date would be helpful. Something like "it won't be active before 0:00:00 GMT 24/3/2014, and will end before 0:00:00 GMT 3/4/2014, where the actual end date is "sometime on 3/3/2014" to give people a better idea of when it ends would be appreciated.

Okay. I understand that. Is there any way you could convince somebody who does have that access to create a thread? I think having a refuge would really help some people. if not, I understand, and it doesn't bother me. Still, can't get what you don't ask for.

and finally, The problem with jokey thread enders is that it is easy to misread them as being spiteful, or just done with whatever issue has made the mod's life difficult enough to take action. Jokes and sarcasm on the internet are not always read that way. I don't think closing the Time thread, in and of itself, was overkill. I think the fact that the way it was closed could be (and was) taken as a spiteful closing of the thread—combined with the Time enthusiasts feeling like they are not particularly well liked, for whatever reason—left many feeling like they had been punched in the guts. It also didn't help that many of them did not recognize the sockpuppet. Making it clear that it was only a limited time thing, and only for reckoning purposes, would have gone a long way towards assuaging the fears and uncertainty that made it "going too far." I know it feels like it might "Ruin the Joke" but when you are plying with mod powers, you have to be aware that you are playing with mod powers. No joke is worth the hurt feelings for doing it poorly. and closing threads are not the only thing you can do.

Word filters are obviously a joke, as is renaming threads(so long as derogatory language is avoided). bans, temp or not, closing threads, moving them around, etc. are things that when they happen even playfully, have the potential to be serious, and need to be treated as such. After all, having a cop pull you over as a prank wouldn't feel to good either. Having a cop dressed like a clown pull you over while driving a shriner car with the flashy light siren thing on the other hand...
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby mrob27 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:00 pm UTC

Dracomax wrote: First, having a clear start and end date. The fact that we don't know when it is starting or when it is ending is a problem. I get that the original intent was that "nobody knows the exact day or hour," but I think that needs to change. First, it is hard to know when it will be over. That means that all those people who follow your advice of "if you don't like it, take a break for a week" don't have to keep rubbing their faces in it until they find a day it isn't happening.


Belial wrote: In the future, we can give you a very rough estimate of start and stop, but the problem is that the actual implementation of the madness is spread across three or four moderators, and is highly dependent on when those mods are active and feel like babysitting the initial kickup. Likewise for the end: the filters are cleaned up by a script run by one particular moderator, and if they're not active...then the madness will continue until they wake up.


To address this particular one, I believe there is an open usergroup (called "Sticks in the Mud") that you can apply to join, and if you're in that group the board will prevent you from posting during the entirety of the Madness. It might be useful for people who can't resist the temptation of checking out the fora every day, but know that they might flip out. Kind of like giving your keys to a designated driver before going out to the club.

I over-reacted so much this year (to the 4-hour locking of my favorite thread) that I was thinking I should ask to be put in Sticks-in-the-mud. But I also love the wordfilters and think they're extremely funny, so much so that I started posting like a pirate (on top of all the normal Time thread crazy jargon) using software of my own creation to filter my own posts. (And others on the Time-thread complained about it, so then I stopped)

(For those trying to navigate the user interface: The group's page (containing the user list for that group) has no apply button, but if you go to User Control Panel > Usergroups, there are buttons next to each group and an action choice and Submit button at the bottom. It took me a couple hours to find a message explaining this because I couldn't find a message explaining how to use the Advanced Search effectively :roll:)
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:03 pm UTC

Let's clear the air a bit:

The staff realizes that the time thread lock missed the mark on "funny". It cut too far into schadenfreude and caused some of you quite a bit of distress. We do see that issue was real, and are sorry that it happened. We'll be sure to avoid that sort of incident next year.


And I think that should be the only time we have to break out the "official" voice.

As to the Origins and Nature of Mod Madness:

What is Mod Madness about? It's about the Mod Staff taking a break from the other 362 days a year -- the days when we're here taking out the trash, picking up the after you, fixing the broken pieces, quieting the spats, listening (mostly) patiently to your complaints (and the infrequent rants and accusations) and generally keeping things running so that you can do *your* thing. In turn, *our* thing is to make the forum a stranger place for a few days -- which is also why it coincides with, and acts as, the forum's response to April Fools.

How did it start? Some guy suggested it in 2009. The first year was a bit unstructured, but the last 5 years (including last week) follow a basic recipe (precedent here):
1) Turn on word filters for +/- 3 days ending on April 1st.
2) Loosen the permissions for more moderators can edit custom titles
3) Lock the occasional thread -- typically the ones that doing so would be funny, or cathartic.

And that last one is where we ran into trouble this year. One year ST locked all of Mafia because the word filters make the game (and any other turn/time based game) rather complicated. One year all of SB got locked -- but that's mostly because half the mod staff, myself included, got demoted as part of the prank (as I said, 2009 was a bit unstructured). So, are we going to explicitly define and publicize what can and can't be done? Probably not.

Now, can we be more clear about the duration? Sure, within the limitations Belial has already mentioned. On the other hand, much like in any community, there is knowledge that you learn over time, and by paying attention.

To the charge of bullying:

Can the filters be annoying? To some people, absolutely. Are we doing this intentionally, while fully aware that some people feel that way? Yes and yes. Are we, the ones with the power doing this to you, the ones without? Yes again. So if your complaint is that we are doing things to you that some of you don't like, and won't stop when you ask because we think it's funny, you have correctly identified the situation.

But does that make it bullying? No. Why not? Because there is no harm. No, really, that's the only important bit. While it's at least worth mentioning that our pleasure isn't derived from your pain, and that we're all fooling around in the same nigh-unreadable quagmire, the real core requirement for bullying is harm. Pick all the analogies you want, but the basic fact here is that we're making an internet forum less readable for three days. There. Is. No. Harm. If you really, truly feel that we *are* harming you, then ... well, ok. We're prepared to live with that. Mostly because we think that, in claiming real harm from some word filters, you've lost perspective on the matter.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby SBN » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:21 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:But does that make it bullying? No. Why not? Because there is no harm. No, really, that's the only important bit. While it's at least worth mentioning that our pleasure isn't derived from your pain, and that we're all fooling around in the same nigh-unreadable quagmire, the real core requirement for bullying is harm. Pick all the analogies you want, but the basic fact here is that we're making an internet forum less readable for three days. There. Is. No. Harm. If you really, truly feel that we *are* harming you, then ... well, ok. We're prepared to live with that. Mostly because we think that, in claiming real harm from some word filters, you've lost perspective on the matter.


Except. This is the part of the world we share. You know nothing about me, outside of this world, and I know nothing of you. You can think that my perspective is off, but you can't tell me whether something hurts me or not. Someone with power used that power to cause hurt, and then belittled me for feeling hurt, and expected me to watch others being hurt. Or not, I don't know if it hurt them or not, that's part of why I hope to hear from users from all parts of the forum, and from the individual moderators.

The specific thing about locking the time thread that I didn't like, was that it felt like you were trying to use get back at the people there because they are somewhat protected, and that it felt like you were trying to use us a weapon against the rest of the forum.

It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way. Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:23 pm UTC

Dracomax wrote:Okay. I understand that. Is there any way you could convince somebody who does have that access to create a thread? I think having a refuge would really help some people. if not, I understand, and it doesn't bother me. Still, can't get what you don't ask for.

Convince? davean? No.

Welcome to the community, son.

EDIT: It's worth noting that in years past, we've asked to have Dear SB exempted on the whole and the request was declined because (more or less) phpBB don't work that way.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:27 pm UTC

SBN wrote:Except. This is the part of the world we share. You know nothing about me, outside of this world, and I know nothing of you. You can think that my perspective is off, but you can't tell me whether something hurts me or not. Someone with power used that power to cause hurt, and then belittled me for feeling hurt, and expected me to watch others being hurt. Or not, I don't know if it hurt them or not, that's part of why I hope to hear from users from all parts of the forum, and from the individual moderators.

The specific thing about locking the time thread that I didn't like, was that it felt like you were trying to use get back at the people there because they are somewhat protected, and that it felt like you were trying to use us a weapon against the rest of the forum.

It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way. Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?


I'm not saying that you weren't hurt by the thread lock. And I certainly did not derive pleasure from the pain it caused. In fact, I just said the exact opposite of that. In purple and everything.

However, if you feel hurt from word filters? Well, I am entirely Ok with having caused that degree of discomfort.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby mrob27 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:27 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote: Thread lock messages from banned users are madness actions. ...

Dracomax wrote: It also didn't help that many of them did not recognize the sockpuppet.

Whoh :shock: really?!?

*relieved* :D I spent an hour researching anfurny's background, and was totally confused. He had posted to the "Post in this thread and get banned" thread, and I didn't understand how he could still be around making posts after that. He only posted rarely, and it was odd that he'd happen to be around to volunteer to be the fall-guy for pulling this particular prank. I shared all this insight on the Time thread Facebook group, and nobody else knew what was going on either.

I saw the humor in his post and thought it might have been one of those joke-then-lock messages. I took the words "Go, read the rest of the forum." as intended — take a break from Time for a while and see what other craziness is afoot. But as my post (the one immediately prior) was the first usage of Unicode U+200D in the entire Time thread (and that's saying a lot! :P) I started to come up with "it's my/our fault" theories. When I finally took a breather and realized I should be giving my keys to a designated driver, I saw how ridiculous that was.

So yeah, any sock-puppetness went totally over my head. :roll:

Azrael wrote: And I think that should be the only time we have to break out the "official" voice.

Yep, it's more than enough for me! And thank you for acknowledging that and thank you for taking action on it. It must have felt awful :( to those who realized that they had gone a bit over the mark.

I wonder sometimes if the Time thread folks should ask for their thread to be [safespace]. The discussion of the principle that [ Only I can judge if something is hurting me ] has come up lots of times in that thread over the past year.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:30 pm UTC

mrob27 wrote:*relieved* :D I spent an hour researching anfurny's background, and was totally confused.


...you mean a forum that's been around for 8 years might have some inside jokes that people who have been around for about a year might not get? :shock:

At this point, I think most of anfurny's recorded posts are after we was banned for being an unfathomably pompous jackass. EDIT: Ok, not even close in number to "most", but This was his last real post, you can note he was booted a few posts down from there. The "bust out Anfurny" as a punch line really came about from Post in this thread and get banned. Which, in all honesty, is probably the pinacle of "unless it's funny" that the mod staff here will ever achieve.

Oh, right "unless it's funny" is worth a history lesson:

SpitValve wrote:... Sometimes mods edit things because you've broken an explicit or implicit rule. Sometimes they do it just because it's funny. Note that every rule in the mod's "code of conduct" has "unless it's funny" appended to it.


Not exactly cannon, but hey.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Dracomax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:46 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
mrob27 wrote:*relieved* :D I spent an hour researching anfurny's background, and was totally confused.


...you mean a forum that's been around for 8 years might have some inside jokes that people who have been around for about a year might not get? :shock:

At this point, I think most of anfurny's recorded posts are after we was banned for being an unfathomably pompous jackass. This was his last real post, you can note he was booted a few posts down from there.

...that's kind of my point. when you use an in-joke to do something that might be taken the wrong way by people who aren't part of the joke, you need to be very, very careful, because it can and will be taken the wrong way.

Really, I'm asking for clarity, because I truly beleive most of the issues this year are because of misunderstandings rather than any malice.

also, in response to the "only you can know if you have been hurt" bits...

While it is true, it is also kind of irrelevant. If we take that as the case, and expect nobody to do anything hurtful with that point of view, nobody could ever do anything, simply because anything they could do might hurt someone, and there is absolutely no way for anyone to know before it is done.

We have to deal with 80% in the middle, rather than the extremes. We look at what the majority of people would consider hurtful, try to avoid that, and if someone is hurt, then we apologize that they feel this way. but you can't let it dictate what you do, or you would never do anything.

In the end, we do the best we can, we try to be better when we screw up, and then we move on. That's life.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:48 pm UTC

Dracomax wrote:We have to deal with 80% in the middle, rather than the extremes. We look at what the majority of people would consider hurtful, try to avoid that, and if someone is hurt, then we apologize that they feel this way. but you can't let it dictate what you do, or you would never do anything.

In the end, we do the best we can, we try to be better when we screw up, and then we move on. That's life.


And that is what I mean by having some perspective. Thank you.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:49 pm UTC

SBN wrote:It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way.
This is the sort of offensive bullshit you need to stop right the fuck now if you want to have some kind of productive discussion. When you compare us to people who torture animals to death for fun, you do not dispose anyone to taking your concenrs seriously. If we enjoyed fucking with people with no concern for their own feelings as much as you think we do, you would have been permabanned by now.

Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?
Instead of doing something we and most others enjoy and encouraging the few people who mind to take a break, we should force everyone to take a break? In what twisted world is that the superior option? You don't like costume night at the local pub, so rather than drinking at home that night you're lobbying to close the place entirely?
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Dracomax » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:53 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
SBN wrote:It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way.
This is the sort of offensive bullshit you need to stop right the fuck now if you want to have some kind of productive discussion. When you compare us to people who torture animals to death for fun, you do not dispose anyone to taking your concenrs seriously. If we enjoyed fucking with people with no concern for their own feelings as much as you think we do, you would have been permabanned by now.

Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?
Instead of doing something we and most others enjoy and encouraging the few people who mind to take a break, we should force everyone to take a break? In what twisted world is that the superior option? You don't like costume night at the local pub, so rather than drinking at home that night you're lobbying to close the place entirely?

I appreciate that this is near and dear to your heart. But honestly, you are coming across as having as much of an attitude as SBN. I mean no disrespect, but there is a very strong "I like it, and I don't care what you say, no changes will be made" attitude running through, and your replies feel a bit too heated to read and feel that youa re honestly listening to concerns. While SBN probably went a bit too far in his hyperbole, you are supposed to be better than that as a mod.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:55 pm UTC

gmalivuk wrote:
SBN wrote:It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way.
This is the sort of offensive bullshit you need to stop right the fuck now if you want to have some kind of productive discussion. When you compare us to people who torture animals to death for fun, you do not dispose anyone to taking your concenrs seriously. If we enjoyed fucking with people with no concern for their own feelings as much as you think we do, you would have been permabanned by now.

Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?
Instead of doing something we and most others enjoy and encouraging the few people who mind to take a break, we should force everyone to take a break? In what twisted world is that the superior option? You don't like costume night at the local pub, so rather than drinking at home that night you're lobbying to close the place entirely?

I don't fully understand why this thread isn't even locked yet. Some people are truly convinced that anything they don't like counts as bullying against them.
Let me count up the exact number of fucks I have to give about how very hurtful this entertaining April Fool's day tradition has been for the n00bs.

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Dracomax wrote:you are supposed to be better than that as a mod.

Oh yeah? Where is that written?
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:58 pm UTC

Dracomax wrote:you are supposed to be better than that as a mod.

Draco, here's a more refined answer for you: No, no we aren't.

You might want us to be. It might even be more effective in the general case (i.e. honey vs. vinegar). It might be more classy if we were.

But we are people with distinct personalities, not perfectly programmed robots, and when someone mis-assigns feelings, motivations, behaviors or the like to us in order to paint us as terrible people, they're going to get called out on their nonsense.

This goes back a bit to your earlier post and your stance on derogatory language: This forum is not the Disney version of life. People will be harsh, and that's ok.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby mrob27 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:59 pm UTC

Azrael wrote: Oh, right "unless it's funny" is worth a history lesson:
SpitValve wrote: ... Sometimes mods edit things because you've broken an explicit or implicit rule. Sometimes they do it just because it's funny. Note that every rule in the mod's "code of conduct" has "unless it's funny" appended to it.

Not exactly cannon, but hey.

Yep, I found that quote. It took over an hour though, and a semi-bored curiosity :) It's in one of the several places where the rules are explained, or one of the several "FAQs and tutorials for newbies". Can't remember off the top of my head which one, just not in xkcd Forum Rules which had hitherto been the only one I had read.

Edit: Okay, it's this one, which is linked from part 4 of Explanation of Rules post of xkcd Forum Rules.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:01 pm UTC

Yeah, and it's probably a perfectly reasonable idea to toss a quickie note (it's not really a rule) about that and Mod Madness into that thread.

mrob27 wrote:Edit: Okay, it's this one.

... sorry to have left you searching, but that link was in the quote attribution for SpitValve when I posted the quote.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby mrob27 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:09 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:Yeah, and it's probably a perfectly reasonable idea to toss a quickie note (it's not really a rule) about that and Mod Madness into that thread.

mrob27 wrote:Edit: Okay, it's this one.

... sorry to have left you searching, but that link was in the quote attribution for SpitValve when I posted the quote.


Yes, and even better, the newbie thread and site FAQ thread are linked from part 4 of the Explanation of Rules post of xkcd Forum Rules.

I definitely fell into the Newbie trap. I only joined this forum to comment on xkcd 1047 (in which my name and software are mentioned) and kinda thought I'd only be making a few posts in one thread. So I kind of shot myself in the foot on that, somewhere around the point where I started actively taking part in a community. :roll:

EDIT: Which would be when I made that first post!. The blame for this is all on me, really! :D

Edit again: All right, even my memory is wrong. Apparently I joined this board in 2011, almost a year before xkcd 1047! I wonder why my first 1047 post got held in the mod queue? ... Hmmm, it looks like my first actual post wasn't until xkcd 1047 went live, so that answers that.
    So yeah, I have like a whole year of lurking when I could have been familiarizing myself with the xkcd fora rules. I'm a wicked big xkcd fan, so it would have been worth my time :roll:
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:19 pm UTC

Dracomax wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:
SBN wrote:It's a little frightening to me that this is fun to you. A bit like pulling the wings off of flies. I have no great sympathy for flies, but I'm concerned when I see someone amusing themselves that way.
This is the sort of offensive bullshit you need to stop right the fuck now if you want to have some kind of productive discussion. When you compare us to people who torture animals to death for fun, you do not dispose anyone to taking your concenrs seriously. If we enjoyed fucking with people with no concern for their own feelings as much as you think we do, you would have been permabanned by now.

Why not just shut the whole thing down for three days and take an actual break?
Instead of doing something we and most others enjoy and encouraging the few people who mind to take a break, we should force everyone to take a break? In what twisted world is that the superior option? You don't like costume night at the local pub, so rather than drinking at home that night you're lobbying to close the place entirely?

I appreciate that this is near and dear to your heart. But honestly, you are coming across as having as much of an attitude as SBN. I mean no disrespect, but there is a very strong "I like it, and I don't care what you say, no changes will be made" attitude running through, and your replies feel a bit too heated to read and feel that youa re honestly listening to concerns. While SBN probably went a bit too far in his hyperbole, you are supposed to be better than that as a mod.
You're damn right I have an attitude. I have a strong attitude against being called or likened to a psychopathic bully who inflicts pain and tortures animals to death for fun.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:25 pm UTC

So.. I always hate the "Don't complain, someone else has it worse than you" sort of arguments, so I'm going to try and not do that.

Because.. well, is Mod Madness a form of moderator abuse? Yes. Yes it is.

That being said... have you seen what most other places have as moderator abuse? People getting banned for holding different opinions. People getting banned for being from the wrong nation. People getting banned for not supporting a particular sports team on a quilting forum. People having their PMs rooted through and drug out at later times. People having their IP address tracked to a home and then getting "pranked" via pizza delivery, threatening mail, phonecalls and so on.

And that's just the grotesque, overt, sometimes illegal abuses.

You can come here all day long and talk about homeopathy and crystals that re-align your chakras to focus your chi so as to discuss how the lizard people are running the British government to fool the populace into thinking that there aren't four simultaneous days. And we won't ban you. We'll mock the shit out of you, sure - but that's for having beliefs that you can't back up with peer-reviewed studies and running a thread to try and convince everyone of The Truth. But if you have those beliefs and don't open a thread to try and "Wake up the sheeple" and just have it as a belief? We'll... probably ignore it, and only remember it when you say something a little odd that makes sense when we recall you hold those beliefs.

I haven't been here for seven (holy fuck, seven?!) years because I enjoy clicking "Disapprove post" on Chinese Spam. I'm here because I like the place, and I like spreading a little weirdness around.

So, yeah, was locking the time thread a bad idea? Apparently. I was wanting the Time users to spread out and start talking elsewhere so everyone else (including the Timers) could play "Is it Timish or is it Madness?" and spread absurdity far and wide.

It... uh.. didn't quite work.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:28 pm UTC

Ahem. SBN, The intent of the locked thread was not to cause distress. It was specifically, as stated by SexyTalon, to disperse Time-Threaders into the rest of the forum so as to cause maximal chaos.

We are well aware that intent is not magic: the fact that we did not intend to distress the lot of you does not stop you from being distressed, which is why we have apologized for missing the mark, several times.

But at the same time, Intent IS Intent. What I mean by that is, just because intent is not relevant to the final effects does not mean you can attribute whatever intent you like to us and make statements about our character based on that. Which is pretty much exactly what you're doing when you accuse us of being like people who derive pleasure from torturing animals. That's not a statement about effects, it's a statement about what we intend, who we are, and why we do what we do.

So if you want to talk about our intent, we can talk about intent. But as we are the authorities on the topic of our own motivations, that conversation will consist entirely of us telling you you're wrong, and to shut the hell up.

OR we can talk about effects, in which case you can keep your animal torture metaphors to yourself and we can actually have a semi-productive discussion. Your call.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby SBN » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:45 pm UTC

I'm sorry. It was a metaphor, and I didn't really expect it to be taken so literally. I'm also not trying to create a "Stop the Madness" movement. I am, oddly enough, trying to understand other points of view, while trying (badly, apparently) to express my own.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:47 pm UTC

Apology accepted. Carry on.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby waveney » Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:57 pm UTC

It was bullying.

There is a big differance between something for all to laugh at and being laughed at.

Bananas was fun, I nearly got round to adding a Banana to my Avatar, the next build of Sandcastle Builder was duly called "I love Bananas" and a boost was soon added called "Bananananas".

Having the OTT locked by people who don't participate in the OTT's own madness was hurtful.

I personally disliked the word filtering - particularly when it breaks links and makes things uninteligable. It drove me away for weeks last year.

Sock puppets can cause confusion and bad feelings - another fora I am involved wth bans them outright. (Ok a couple of moderators have one - but that is kept VERY quiet).

On that fora, it is common for there to be some really silly postings for April fools day, but nothing hurtful, nothing that can't just be a laugh - e.g. a serious posting about a cluster of galaxies, illustrated by a picture that has the USS Enterprise in the middle of the cluster.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:03 pm UTC

waveney wrote:It was bullying.

Oh well if you say so then that's what it is.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:07 pm UTC

Sock puppets can cause confusion and bad feelings - another fora I am involved wth bans them outright.


We don't ban sock puppets, but ban sockpuppeting.

Meaning - you are free to create all the accounts you want. Pretend to be different people, too, if you want. We don't care. What we don't want you doing is using them to get around section bans - if you're thrown out of Serious Business, creating a new account to continue posting in SB will get all your accounts banned. Creating more accounts to agree with your primary is also right out.

But if you want to post something to Dear SB or a safespace thread or even just to ask an awkward question in Sex, Love & Relationships - no one's going to say a thing about it. People make accounts here with their primary internet name all the time. People may not want the fact that they're gay, or trans, or in to being an adult baby or whatever to be attached to their primary name. And that's fine.

That's why they aren't banned outright. Short version - so long as you aren't using them maliciously or disingenuously, we don't care. People have reasons to hide things and we usually have no reason to pry.

But yes, as far as Anfurny is concerned, my assumption was that people would look at the post history, realize he was banned for being a pompous asshole, compare that to how every other permanently locked thread has ever been locked (that is, with a clear "This is this mod doing it, this is the reason why it's locked, etc and a colored name being the last word in the thread) and .. understand it was attached to the announcement that had been up for a week.

So, no, as was said elsewhere by others, I continue to fail to see how a 4 hour lock constitutes bullying.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby rat4000 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:09 pm UTC

I love mod madness, because, to quote myself, I appreciate the reminder not to take the internet seriously.

I have no idea how any part of it could be seen as bullying. The lock was fairly obviously part of the madness, in the way in which someone tackling you while you're playing football is fairly obviously part of the game, even though they might have just spontaneously decided to assault you. Therefore, it was fairly obviously temporary. If a short-term removal of your favorite place of the internet can be seen as really literally harming you, you don't need a discussion, you need to consider seeking professional help.

Moreover, even if someone was seriously harmed by it, and even if I am wrong about how atypical this makes them, the lock would still not constitute bullying, because bullying is about intent. If someone bullies you, they want to harm you; they want to laugh at you, at your pain. The intent of the mod closing the thread was, assuming good faith, to laugh with you, and cause some mild discomfort; this is not bullying, it's socializing.

Also? Good faith should be assumed. I don't have an argument for this except that I've been sharing an internet space with these folks for a number of years, but honestly that seems like enough.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:10 pm UTC

'you guys doing this thing you've done annually for five years or so to entertain each other and yourselves hurts me an you're hurting us on purpose' that's what bullying means

Sorry that you guys aren't important enough to me and the other mods to tailor each individual user experience for you.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby mrob27 » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:15 pm UTC

Agreed fully, @SecondTalon.

Thanks for reminding us there needs to be more of a sense of proportion here.

SecondTalon wrote:I was wanting the Time users to spread out and start talking elsewhere so everyone else (including the Timers) could play "Is it Timish or is it Madness?" and spread absurdity far and wide.
It... uh.. didn't quite work.

I was hoping the filters could turn the Time-ish jargon into normal words, and turn normal words into something else. Then turn the filters back on in the Time thread. That would have maddened everybody. But you can't ask the mods for something that specific, and I agree in retrospect, it wouldn't have worked... probably.

I'm realizing I haven't set a good example — and in light of the fact that some people still think I know Randall Munroe, (and I have to tell them I don't), and probably a bunch more who just assume and never tell or ask, I have to be an espacially good example of being a well-educated citizen in the fora. I haven't done a good job on that, for example not reading the newbie threads because I "thought I already know forum etiquette".

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Azrael » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:16 pm UTC

mrob27 wrote:Then turn the filters back on in the Time thread.


See various previous responses: We do not have the ability to do so, nor will our requests in that vein be granted.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:21 pm UTC

I've been here since 2007, and am not particularly involved in most of the inside jokes or IRC or meetups or such. I feel part of this community in my own capacity, and as anyone can tell by my post count, feel participating in this community is worth my time.

As a community, you (OP and those offended) need to understand that you aren't the only members that participate, and most importantly, the community doesn't cater to you. This place is full of kind people who have a deeper understanding of how to be empathetic than most strangers, but you have to meet them half way. Mod Madness is a community thing; the mods are part of the community, and most community members enjoy Mod Madness. They also provide warning as to when it will occur. If you do not enjoy it, simply duck out of the forums for the week.

I find this very akin to living in, say, New Orleans, and not finding Mardi Gras particularly up your alley (which is perfectly reasonable!) and rather than simply giving it wide berth, protesting it. You are part of this community; act like it by respecting the things that it gets up to. If you found something offensive or troubling, I urge you to appreciate that A ) You were warned what was going on ahead of time, B ) The moderators have apologized for what they felt was overstepping (I don't feel they did, but meh), and C ) You are having a discussion with the community about a long standing event - this inherently indicates that the community is listening.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:37 pm UTC

I feel it's important to draw attention to something felstaff said in the other thread. Namely that the mod logs represent about 114 hours of our work put into the time thread.

It got glossed over, but I want to bring it up again and explain why that's significant.

When we recruit mods for specific forum areas (as opposed to big picture folks like myself and our erstwhile prelate team) we do it based on the fact that that person is already participating in that area. There's a really good reason for this: we don't want to ask anyone to patrol areas that they wouldn't normally visit for their own enjoyment. It becomes too much like a job then, reading through thread after thread that you don't care about just to see if someone's fucking up. We aren't always able to tailor that fit exactly, but we generally don't want to make someone have to invest a lot of moderator time in a part of the forum they don't personally enjoy at least a little.

Why am I telling you this? Well, consider that the Time thread is, in a lot of ways, a separate community. Very few of the moderator staff participate there regularly (except lately, when everything got unsettled) and we don't draw a lot of enjoyment from it. It wouldn't hurt us in any direct way if it just didn't exist.

And yet. We've still invested 114 total hours in making that space we don't use habitable to the Time-denizens. That is (at a moderate wage) upward of a thousand dollars of free labor that we gave to you because, even if we don't directly care about your thread, we still think you should have it and that it should be kept clean and shiny.

Maybe keep that in mind when you find yourself assuming we're bullies who just want to make your life difficult for the fun of it because we don't like you.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Whizbang » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:38 pm UTC

I don't get the whole Bullying argument. But, I've never been good at identifying bullying. My priest approved life partner says she witnessed all sorts of bullying in High School. I can't say I can recall witnessing a single event of bullying. I must be blind or uncaring or something. Probably the latter. Anyway, the point is, the Bullying argument totally makes no sense to me. Do you mind clarifying why you feel it is bullying? Preferably by citing definitions of bullying used by psychologists, or the government, or the PTA or something?

'Cuz from where I sit, temporarily preventing someone from doing (or in the case of the word filters, make it slightly more difficult to do) something they enjoy is a far cry from making them do something they don't like or will bring them pain or discomfort.

This is how I see it:
I have an ice cream stand. It's awesome. Everyone loves my ice cream. Even better, IT"S FREE! Everyone gets a cone! Every day! I've got, like, 100 flavors of this stuff, and you can have all you want! Except, for a few days each year, I only serve Cotton Candy flavored ice cream (I got it on sale), and sometimes I won't let some people have any when they complain about there only being Cotton Candy flavor.

My less colorful and analogous stance:
Just because someone offers you a product or service for free does not mean you are entitled to it.

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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Adam H » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:00 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:I find this very akin to living in, say, New Orleans, and not finding Mardi Gras particularly up your alley (which is perfectly reasonable!) and rather than simply giving it wide berth, protesting it. You are part of this community; act like it by respecting the things that it gets up to.

Meh. People can absolutely protest Mardi Gras. Who cares? Being part of a community doesn't mean you can't try to improve it. And I think that's all the madness-haters are trying to do, though they seem misguided - I love the madness and I think most or at least many forumites do.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Belial » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:01 pm UTC

People can do most things.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:02 pm UTC

Belial wrote:People can do most things.

You can dance, if you want to.
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Re: Madness discussion

Postby Red Hal » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:08 pm UTC

You can leave your friends behind.

To answer the original questions:

Moderators (Anyone with moderation experience, not just here):
Why did you become a moderator?
Because I was invested in the community I ended up helping to moderate, and I believed in it.

What's it like?
Fucking* terrible. Whatever you do, someone will complain. Warn someone for breaking forum rules? > Be prepared to become involved in lengthy discussions via pm about why exactly that person wasn't breaking the rules after all. Become vaguely internet-popular? > Be prepared to spend a significant amount of time battling spam bots.

Is it really stressful?
It can get that way, especially when you make a change to something that has been established for a while. Even if you hold a referendum and 95% vote in favour, expect the other 5% to kick up a stink for the next couple of years, expect to have fallings out with people you considered your friends, expect to have people post in other Fora about how *unreasonable* you're being, and expect to have the joy sucked out of your involvement on a daily basis.

The Madness is often said to be stress relief for the moderators, why is that necessary?
See above. It's a chance to take time off from the serious face, from reading posts you vehemently disagree with but not reply to because they don't break the rules, from having otherwise rational people accuse you of being a Nazi because you changed their 500-character URL into a bit.ly link to make the page more readable ... it's a chance - in short - to behave more like humans than indentured servants.

Do moderators in other places need stress relief?
Yes

Do they get it?
Some do, depending on the forum

How?
I've heard that masturbating furiously helps. Allegedly.


Can someone give a brief history of the Madness? When did it start, what have the various years been like?
Already dealt with by others

And, of course, everyone, what are your opinions about it? Do you like it, hate it, put up with it, avoid it?
I view it as a necessary mild inconvenience that - if you let go of your attachment to the sanctity of the written word for a while - can actually be really enjoyable and a chance to just dance to someone else's beat for a while.

Why?
Because I've been there, man >>1000-yard stare<<

Would you change it?
Yes

If so, how?
I would make it even more capricious and devastating to the chance for normal conversation. I'd include changing the colours of the board to make text nigh-on unreadable, redirecting one particular thread (at random) to another, add in javascript to make the whole board 'do a barrel roll' everytime someone types "duck, you sucker", wordfilter usernames, ROT13 the entire board, set up a "hunger games" with two posters drawn at random from each forum who had to compete for a custom title, with the losers being banned for a week to simulate death, I'd set attack ships ablaze off the shoulder of Orion ...

*Sorry for the Sophomoric swear word.
Last edited by Red Hal on Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:25 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
Lost Greatest Silent Baby X Y Z. "There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."


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