Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Update on the Wrecking Ball

Thanks to the suggestion of a Community MVP poster, I sent an e-mail to wowreportedpost@blizzard.com. I sent them the exact post I put on the forums, and received this response:

Greetings,

We moderate the forums according to our Forum Guidelines here: (http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/forum-coc.html). All forums have an additional sticky thread with a subject title along the lines of “Welcome: Please Read!” These threads provide additional information for the intended purpose of a forum.

While I am unable to comment on specific instances, masked profanity and prolific 'trolling' are common reasons for a post's removal. There is no need for such language on the World of Warcraft forums. Threads containing any masked or unmasked profanity would likely be removed at mininum.

Should there be a need to report a post in the future, it helps to include any notable trend / contextual information similar to the situation that you have described for an unconstructive poster.

-The World of Warcraft Community Team


Didn't really tell me much, at all, and I love how I can constantly say "I have read the rules" and they'll keep linking it to me. So, I took the Blue's advice to send my concerns to wowcmfeedback@blizzard.com . I sent this one (it has a couple paragraphs from the original, but many points are new):

I wish to begin this by stating I am not against forum moderation, and I actually applaud that the CM's have taken a more active role in their community. However, I do have some issues which I feel need to be cleared up.

On the Dark Iron realm forums there now seems to be over moderation where once there was little to none, and it is wrecking the community. Every other post is deleted, every other thread is deleted, and most of them are barely or seemingly completely not in violation of the forum rules that it is confusing and off-putting. People now post on the forum less; at the time of writing this e-mail, the Dark Iron (US) forums had not seen a new post in two and a half hours, where once there was constant communication.

It is actually disconcerting to read what seems like completely harmless posts that are then removed and deleted. I have read the forum rules multiple times in an attempt to understand what is going on; however, most of the deleted posts seem like such a stretch I cannot believe they have been removed. Many people have been suspended or banned, and the community has taken a great hit.

Some examples of deleted posts include:

-A post asking if someone was still on the server or had left/quit the game
-A post thanking a guild for friendly game play
-A post asking where someone had gone

To give a more elaborate example, this is how the third instance ("A post asking where someone had gone") was dealt with. The post was laid out like this:

Subject: @[Playername]
OP: Inquiry as to the location of [playername]
1P: Polite, short response
2P: Insult directed at [playername]

The first deletion was the OP. This was shortly (perhaps an hour) followed by the deletion of 1P. Then the thread was left with 2P (the insult) as its first post for almost a full day before the entire thread was deleted.

Not only is this sort of deletion trend disturbing, it goes in stark contrast to what happened only a few weeks ago. An individual was spamming the Dark Iron forums, literally, with posts that contained the same two words (if I recall correctly, they were "and again") ad nauseum in a block/wall of text. He did this in multiple threads for an extended period of time. Many people reported him for spam, as did myself. His posts were never deleted and, from that, I can only garner that he did not receive a suspension. Only a few weeks later now and it seems almost impossible to know what to say, when even nice, friendly posts are being deleted under the heading of "spam."

I understand the forums need to be moderated. I appreciate the CM's time and effort; it's obviously not a job that comes with a lot of perks and probably has a lot of pressure. Knowing that, I still wish to ask for a little bit of leniency when it comes to the forums. By no means allow people to "get away with murder," but when every other thread (or more) is being deleted, it really harms the community of players. I have heard more than one person say to me that it was not worth going to the realm forums anymore. I do not wish for them to become a wasteland.

If there is no community, there is no reason to utilize the boards.

I thank you for your time and hope you will consider what I have written, and understand both my confusion and my concern.


I have yet to receive a response to this e-mail, and I sent it yesterday. In the meantime...the forums just aren't fun anymore. If this ends up becoming the norm, I guess I'll have to find another way to waste my time in between classes.

/mourn

3 comments:

Jon said...

You should just come chill with us on the sfa forums. We have threads dedicated solely to bacon.

Button said...

What's a mininum?

Keeva said...

We had the opposite problem on the Caelestrasz forums for a while - a couple of really awful trolls who insulted my guild constantly. You can put up with so much but then it just becomes tiresome and a real drag to be insulted daily.

I reported every single one of his posts. Biohazarded the lot. It took ages, but I did it.

Nothing happened. Things continued that way for weeks. He would post his rubbish, I would bite my tongue and report it, but nothing happened... despite his posts being full of REALLY offensive language that deliberately circumvented the language rules. Constant trolling, harassment, and really offensive stuff.. but nothing happened. Meanwhile, entire other threads would be deleted because of minor, trivial things. It was frustrating.

I actually have a feeling that a certain number of people have to flag an individual post before it sets off some kind of warning signal to the CMs. One or two people flagging something must not be enough for the post to catch their attention.

Finally I got angry and emailed the "reportedpost" email address (not sure what it is, exactly). They answered within a day, banned the guy (well, they can't tell you that, but he disappeared), and asked me to report back if anything else happened in the future. Power to the people.

Writing to their email addresses is definitely the way to go if you want things to get done.