Secrets of Moderation

 Topic: Secrets of Moderation
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  Posted on August 2, 2010 23:26
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What is the point of this topic? Its main purpose is to give you, the benevolent members of Naruto-Boards, some in-depth details about this forum and how it’s managed. It’s a long read but some of the questions you’ve been asking since the start of this forum will finally make sense to you.


Question #1.1: Choosing new moderators
Arguably the most asked question on this site. So how do moderators get chosen? Why does it seem that only the popular members who are friends or clan-mates of current moderators get picked for this role? This is mainly because we are more aware of these members’ personality and characteristics; which is why they seem to have a better chance at being promoted. You may have noticed in the Ranks and Responsibility guide that the Global Moderators are these hunters, responsible for the new faces here. There are many qualities that Global Moderators look for in potential moderators including a member’s maturity, his/her willingness to help, his/her insightfulness, and much more. However, repeatedly asking a GM to become a moderator will ensure that they will not think about promoting you.

In some cases, regular moderators are asked to give their opinions about potential candidates because they interact with the members more than the GMs. After gathering all the opinions of the moderators, the GMs take a closer look at the candidates and give a ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ To pass this stage, a candidate cannot have a negative vote, and have at least 3 positive votes. The candidate, assuming he/she passed the needed requirements, is then asked if he/she wants to become a moderator! If they agree, we send them a test. Once the candidate fills the application test, the GMs grade it. To pass, one has to get 8/10. In some cases, however, we may take a 7/10 as a pass. After this, the GMs are to have an interview with the successful candidates. It’s just a friendly chat so we get to know you better. The final decision lies within the hands of the Head Moderator. It is he who decides if the candidate is worthy enough to become a mod.

To summarize, there is a long process that a member must go through to become a moderator. So why do the seemingly popular people always tend to pass the test? Does the staff really want to promote members from one clan? That is not our goal.
Let's explain some doubts.

If someone is popular, it means he/she is active and dedicated to N-B. If that person is helpful, kind, and intelligent, there is really no reason not to give that member an opportunity to fill the application form.

Also, when a moderator suggests someone from his/her clan, we obviously analyze that person just like everybody else. If the member is really great, why should we limit their freedom of choosing clans they like? Also, clans usually gather people who share the same interests. If a clan cares about maturity and intelligence, there’s a possibility that quite a few members of that clan will be promoted. Plus, clans moderators are in while joining can change, clan factor means really nothing.

When members who are ‘popular’ get promoted, there is usually some form of complaining going on. However, when someone unknown with a relatively low post count and a more recent join date is promoted, guess what, you will still find complainers! No matter who you are or what you do, no matter how much you try; from the day a member gets promoted, they will become the object of hate.

"I am very helpful, kind, and active…but why am I not a mod?" If you’re saying this to yourself, please remember that you are being helpful to create a better community - not to become a moderator!

Question #1.2: Why can't members choose their moderators?
Answer: There was a topic in the past where members wanted a ‘revolution’ where they wanted to choose moderators. But how would members choose the moderators? Via a poll? People have alternative accounts and friends in their clans so that would definitely not work. Can they choose the moderators by post count? By join date? How is that fair? If members had the final decision on this, things would become quite chaotic. Many members were bringing these opinions as well in the topic.

The main reason for that is a regular member doesn’t know all the duties of a moderator, and what skills one needs to become one (however, you may know a bit more after reading this!). The current system we have now works the best.

Question #1.3: Choosing Global Moderators and Head Moderator
Answer: If a GM leaves the staff, the other GMs chooses candidates who they think can fill the shoes of the previous GM. The major factor in these candidates is their moderating experience on N-B. Once this has been chosen, there is a poll where all the moderators and GMs vote amongst these candidates. The one with the highest vote gets promoted. For every GM that leaves, there will be two candidates who feature in the poll.

The Head Moderator is chosen only by the previous Head Moderator to continue the policy.

Question #1.4: Reviewing Moderators and Global Moderators
Answer: The staff are reviewed bi-annually, or twice a year. The normal moderators are reviewed privately by the Global Moderators and the Head Moderator with input given by the respective Section Heads of their section; or in the case of a Section Head, by their section moderators. There is a topic about each moderator, only exclusive to the GMs. They list their opinions and even have a little interview with these moderators if needed. In the end, the Head Moderator decides if the moderator passes the review or not.

A GM on the other hand, is reviewed by his fellow globals as well as the normal moderators in the form of a poll. If they don’t get enough positive votes, there is a chance that he/she may be demoted.

Question #1.5: Why can’t members review moderators?
Answer: Firstly, as rule #15 states, members are not allowed to freely discuss about moderators or moderation staff or any other things related to them on the forums. Secondly, members do not know and cannot view a full scale of a moderator's action. If a member could really review a moderator, then it will probably go like this:
Topic: Mod Review
xxxx: This guy is coo', he stickied my badass topic, he should be GM!

Topic: Mod2 Review
Xxxx1: Ughhh dis guy warned me, demod him!

...or the likes. The main reason is, members do not know how exactly a moderator is working, thus they will most likely judge the moderators based on their private and personal opinions about them, rather than the job they do.

Question #1.6: Activity of the staff
Answer: We don’t really want an inactive moderation staff so we have ways to gauge our current staff activity. Whenever a moderator needs to be away from the forums, he/she will post their leave of absence on a topic. Also, GMs and Section Heads check how active moderators are by looking at their ‘last login date’ or noticing if they posted in mandatory topics. During reviews, the activity of a moderator is checked. Someone with very limited activity after being warned about it in the past, will almost always be demoted.
  Posted on August 2, 2010 23:26
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Question #2.1: Lost accounts
Answer: Everything about lost accounts can be read in THIS topic. If you see a topic about a lost account, please don’t tell the person who made the topic to message a moderator. Moderators aren’t obligated to return a lost account; they do it by their own goodness of heart. If a certain moderator isn’t busy with other duties, he may try to help you.

Why isn’t it a moderator’s duty to retrieve accounts? The duties of a moderator are listed in this topic. You have to be more responsible for your account by never giving it to anybody or having harder-to-crack passwords. If you lost your account on this site, at least you will know to make it more secure in the future. Also, we get too many lost-account requests, and our activity in N-B will decrease because of these requests. However, some moderators may choose to return accounts. You just have to be a bit patient in the long run.

Question #2.2: Ladder Swappers
Answer: First of all, what is ladder swapping? It’s basically playing a ladder game with your alternative account, friend, clanmate, etc. and surrendering/having them surrender on purpose to gain/give "free" wins. Swapping is cheating. The penalty for swapping can range from an account reset, a temporary site ban, or a permanent site ban.
Our punishment system for swappers isn’t listed anywhere because we look at many things before judging anything. You may be asking: "How many swap games constitutes a punishment?” The answer is ONE. Just one game can be classified as a swap, but you would not be punished because of the lack of proof. This minimum number is to show you that you should not try to cheat the system and avoid punishment. There is now a zero tolerance policy when it comes to swapping. So remember, once we have the needed proof, regardless of how many games you swapped, your account will still get a reset. But rest assured, we won’t reset ANYONE without solid proof. We don’t want to reset anyone who doesn’t deserve it because we cannot bring their level back to what it was.

At the beginning, the N-A administration had different views about swapping. Swappers weren’t the moderators’ problem but that of the administrators. After some time, swapping became more popular so the moderation staff decided to put their hands into it. It was quite ho-hum at the start where we were trying to set punishments, rules, etc., but nowadays everyone knows their role and swappers are being eliminated faster than ever. Members who have swapped in the past can still be reset; our investigations have leaded us to believe that this will occur soon. If we find many swappers who belonged to the same clan, that clan will lose some experience points. In some cases, these clans will be disbanded as well. Until now, we have reset more than a 100 swappers.

In conclusion, ladder swap and you will be reset/banned!


Question #2.3: Banning
Answer: You may be aware about our latest banning system, but what you are not aware of is our protocol when it comes to this. When a moderator decides that someone should be banned, he/she makes a ‘Ban Request’ topic. In that topic, a discussion about the ban takes place. Three other moderators would have to agree on the ban for it to be passed. This guarantees that there are no abuses when it comes to bans, and every moderator can post what they think about the case. These ban topics are not deleted in case something comes up in the future. However, Global Moderators are able to ban instantly without have 3 moderators agree.

Can a user be unbanned? If the ban was unfair, he/she will be unbanned. Moderators are human; we make mistakes as well. Also, the ban length can be changed if we find out that the offence wasn’t as severe.

If you were ever banned, there is no automatic notification which says "You are banned for X amount of days;” the forum doesn't have that feature. You have to wait for a moderator requesting your ban to PM you. If you have issues, you can message the moderator who requested your ban, or you can message a GM. Please note that evading your bans (making another account while you’re banned to post on N-B) will result in a permanent ban.

Question #2.4: Reporting rule breakers and moderators
Answer: You, as a member, also have an important role in this forum. It is your job as a member, if you choose to, to report any or all rule breakers, even if it's a moderator. If there's a post bothering you, is it better to make a post and try to handle the situation yourself and risk being flamed at or simply PMing a mod and have them handle it? We hope you take the simple choice. Posting one word to the rule breaker, even if it's "reported" can cause a lot more problems. When reporting someone to a moderator, it's important to list as much information as possible. The name(s) of the rule breaker(s), what rule they're breaking and in which post, and the link to the topic they broke a rule in. If you can't give us this, it's going to make our job a bit harder. If you want to tell a member to not break a rule, please follow the rules of reporting in this guide or simply message the member, explaining what he/she is doing wrong and why. However, it is recommended that you simply message a moderator.

A question you might be thinking is, can moderators be warned too? Well, in a way they can, but not like regular members. There comes a time when even moderators break certain rules or they're just not doing their job right. Any time you see this happening; don't be afraid to PM a Global Moderator about it. If the situation is serious, what usually happens is the GM talks with that moderator and gets to the bottom of why the mod did what he/she did and eventually tells the person not to let it happen again. Don't expect that mod to be demoted just because of one or two rule breaks, but it's still important to report it anyway. GMs share their reports and doubts among themselves so when a moderator keeps breaking rules constantly; he/she will most likely lose the position. If the situation reported was really serious, GMs will take immediate action and a demotion may occur almost instantaneously. The Head GM has the final say on this.

Question #2.5: General moderation
Answer: Our purpose of moderation is to keep forums clean, solve problems, and help members. By helping the members, we are not going to do your missions or your homework; we’re here to ensure that everything in the forum is running properly. It isn't giving warnings to every rule breaker neither just observing. If everyone were able to post anything he/she wants, the forum will be useless and a total mess. There will always be people who say that moderators are too strict; there will also be other people who say that we are not strict enough. This equilibrium shows that the work we do is balanced. :]

The List of responsibilities is listed here.
Why is the staff never doing everything and no taking requests from members? Firstly, the staff members are simply members just like you, except with a title and some powers to maintain peace. They are still members with their GFX shops, guides, clans, and friends. We aren’t paid workers who are logging in at 7 A.M and logging off at 3 P.M. We are simply volunteers who maintain peace on this free site.

Why don’t moderators change every 6 months? In a way, they actually do. After reviewing each moderator every 6 months, there are usually a few demotions. However, changing whole staff will make everything unstable and continuing projects will be very difficult. If you take a look at the list of our past moderators, you will see that we have had many moderators here.

Please note that moderators have nothing to do with the game, balances and the official site; that is all up to the administrators. Also, the best way to communicate with us is through Private Messages. Moderators do not have to take requests, reports, or answer any questions via other communication channels (e.g. chatboxes, MSN).
  Posted on August 2, 2010 23:27
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Question # 3.1 Freedom ideas
Answer: Forum moderators have to protect members from flames, pornography, or racial insults. The forum is the private property of the site owners (Gametester and Mark). It’s not your home where you can do anything you want. Think about your own sites and blogs being invaded with spam, ads, pornography, and flaming. You wouldn’t allow that to happen either, right? If you are totally against that, don’t be a hypocrite here and break the rules!
It is a freedom of privacy, anyone can make a website and manage it in any way.

Question # 3.2 Spam
Some may say that spam doesn't hurt. Imagine yourself asking an important question, having a problem with something, presenting your new signature, or making a big tournament, and your topic being spammed with "lolz,” "join my clan,” "gl with it,” and so on. Spam hurts, hitting in all your effort to create a topic and all your hope to get an answer. It's fun but only for the one spamming.
Creating a spam topic (or making a topic in the wrong section) is making other valuable topics less visible for members and as we all know, there is no search function here.

Question # 3.3 Flame
No matter what excuse you pick ("but he is an idiot so I can say it aloud”), you already know some things are inappropriate. We have kids here so when you are about to post something that crosses the boundary, stop and think. Same goes for other inappropriate things, not only flames. Would you like your family or friends see this or be harassed like that?
Flaming as criticism (negative opinions) is not needed - if you just state that you hate something, your message is not helpful. The creator of a clan, signature or a tournament wouldn't know what was wrong and won't improve. If you think that your actions don't hurt, banning you from the forum shouldn't hurt you too.

Question # 3.4 Discussing moderators and their actions
Answer: This rule was created a long time ago when N-B was still young. We have this rule in place so it doesn’t cause any additional drama. For example, if a member creates a topic and starts discussing a moderator, the chances are high that it’ll turn into a flame fest which in turn, will lead to many members getting warned/banned. It is impossible to change and improve anything, and dealing with unneeded complaints, which will only hinder the final result. In other words, if we focus on our smallest mistakes and delve into them, our activity on other fields will decrease.

There is only one way to discuss moderators and their action, and that is to message a Global Moderator. If you have a problem against a GM, feel free to message other GMs or the Head Global Moderator. Reporting things to GMs works perfectly; you just don't see the result in a shiny announcement on the main page.
  Posted on August 2, 2010 23:27
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Question # 4.1 Spam in Clans
Answer: In the past, the ‘Clan’ section had a post count. The rules were limited to "do not spam, do not flame,” etc. When members kept saying "good luck" just for fast and easy post counts, wishing luck became forbidden. Some moderators thought that it was wrong to allow "hi" being posted, as well. These unclear regulations were causing moderators to decide whether or not he/she will warn for spam because of unclear rules. It had been abused by some moderators because they were able to warn someone that they didn’t like, and spare their friends from a warning. A moderator could chat with his/her friend in a clan topic, and if a member simply said ‘hello,’ he/she would’ve been warned for spam. This was never a problem for the staff because they saw this as a good solution against random members posting on their topic. These subjective rules searching for "too much of spam posts" in Clans were like searching for bigger grain of sand on the desert.

We tried to implement a solution in the past where we didn’t give any warnings in the clan area. This was highly unsuccessful because of the numerous spam posts. Even posting "join my clan" on another clan topic was not considered spam!

Once upon a time, one sub-clan turned its "clan topic" into a new spam kingdom, with an enormous number of posts daily. It was a major factor why the rules were changed so fast.
We decided that the ‘Clan’ section should not be another Spam Kingdom; free discussion had been proposed in shape of the current rules. Chatting was allowed, and “one-word is considered spam" rule began. The post count was also turned off. Slavik-sensei, the Head Moderator of the forums, accepted this policy. If members wanted to have one word conversations, they were free to do that in their own clan forums, or XAT chatboxes.

This rule was never implemented because we wanted to take away your freedom. On the contrary, it was simply that the section wasn’t moderated properly with no set of rules; using our current policy, it makes everything more fair. This and removing post count made Clans perfect place for free clan discussions, not only limited strictly to clan issues like wars and recruitment.

If a clan leader or a clan member asks you to not post on their topic, please abide by their wishes and do not. Even if they can’t really force you to not post, it will prevent any sort of drama from happening. If you see a moderator in spamming himself or ignoring spam posts, message either him, the Section Head, or a Global Moderator. The rules should be the same for everyone.

Question # 4.2 Social Area forums
Answer: You are asking "What happened to the Off Topic area?" Well, the name was changed because the previous name might confused members. Since it was called “Off Topic,” one may have thought that any type of topic was fair game in that section. This was why the section was changed to “Interests and Social Area,” and the “Off Topic” area to “Miscellaneous.” The descriptions and rules remained the same. All the old topics didn’t simply disappear because for three months, members had an opportunity to save any topic they wanted on their hard discs.

Why change something good? Because it can be better! The games section became more organized, members are finally allowed to post farewells, able to debate on a high level, able to post about world issues, play their favourite forum games stored in one area, and much more! Also, many of you may have experienced the forum going down with the infamous message "Could not connect to the database after 5 tries.” This was partly caused by the huge number of topics in the “Off Topic” section, taking up space.
In conclusion, the revamp was done to make the Boards a better place.

Question # 4.3 Fan Clubs
Answer: In the past, there was a sub-forum in the “Off Topic Discussion” called "Fan Clubs.” The place was popular, but some topics were turning into private spam kingdoms. There was an option to create stricter rules for the area and assign more moderators, but the section got deleted instead. It was a nice area and many members enjoyed the place, but the majority of the posts were unwanted spam. The section didn’t serve much of a purpose for the forum, and was deleted.

Is there a chance for this section to return? Perhaps.
  Posted on August 2, 2010 23:27
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Question # 5.1 Procedures of a section revamp
Answer: A section revamp takes a lot of time. This is to ensure that the process is top quality. First, we analyze the whole section and think of improving the organization from renaming, dividing and merging sub-forums existing there. Of course, we have to take into account other sub-forums in other sections. After that, moderators work on creating the rules, stickied topics, contests, etc. The bigger the section, the more time it takes. After this, the moderators check the current announcements and stickies to save them if needed. Once this is finalized, we have to prepare implementation procedures (basically how we move the topics from the old section to the new section) to not have section locked for too long.

During each step, we need the section moderators and especially the Section Head to give their opinions. If the change is major, the assistance of a few GMs is usually required as well.

Question # 5.2 Coming projects
Answer: As a heads-up, listed below are some upcoming projects we’re working on.
Ninja Works revamp
Other minor revamps
Mods Biographies
Official Tournaments
And more…

Project leaders: Slavik-sensei, ZelosTheHero
Support with answers: Lazy_Genius_13, Nes, Ninetailsboy

Also, there is going to be another topic opened for you to answer additional questions, the day after tomorrow or alike.
beondy, graveycakes, UKI-A28JR*tobi.
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