December 17th, 2018: Changes to Censor Rules and Pokémon News Subforum Move

Bluejay

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So having seen most of this discussion about this topic I am baffled at how heated it got and on how many messages it took for people to get anywhere. Anyways, a couple notes on this censor bypassing rule from someone it in all likelihood doesn't affect:

-I didn't notice the lack of a rule during the forum move and I personally don't mind the decision to re-implement it and enforce it. That should have been in the first post of this thread though, not the 11th. When I first read Typhlosion's post it felt a little confusing as to the reasoning behind the change(?) and I really didn't have much of an idea of what in the rules was actually different.
-Before this discussion I assumed there was an automatic censor already in place for members to toggle on and off and it turns out I was wrong.
-All that aside, I think the rule can be more lenient, particularly for accidental cases. Intentional censor bypassing will exist but most of the time it's for jokes with intentional misspellings, although I don't think we really lose much of anything in forum discourse by cutting that out.
-Perhaps when making a rules update post/thread it would be helpful to outline in said post/thread where exactly the changes are. It might also be helpful to note other rules and policies related to the rule change, i.e. Censor Bypassing warnings = 10 warning points.

Ultimately I think it just boils down to being more clear in outlining and explaining rules changes in more precise detail.

EDIT: Reasons such as "Marriland and other people who have had problems with lack of censors were uncomfortable with the forums and/or Discord" should have been clear from the start, not inferred!
 
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Solar

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Hi. So I'm actually the only staff member who didn't participate in these rule discussions when they were happening, just because of personal priorities at the time, and that's my fault, but I'll say a little bit now, or rather just say my opinion basically resides in these two posts:

As much as there is more of small community feel around here these days, it is important to still bear in mind that outwardly, this site presents itself as an open and welcoming Pokemon forum. The primary subject matter, the presentation, and the general atmosphere of this forum is inclusive, family friendly, and inoffensive. This appeals to younger people. This is not 4P or The Cave. Marriland was (re)created to keep the Azuriland torch burning; the decision has already been made as to what kind of place this is to be. If you want to argue the appropriateness of 'mature'-tinted language on this website, then you need to be making a case for the entire forum to be shifting it's presentation and focus.
I think that two offenses isn’t enough for warning points and it needs to be more lenient for people to adjust to the change and to account for occasional typos and such. Other than this, I am all for the change. It’s not a bother to actually say the word so it gets censored.
This is how I feel. There was a lot of excitement that brewed during the transition from Azurilland, people hoping we could have our own platform to do whatever we want. That was on the table at one point, but it's not anymore. The vision up to this point has always been Family Friendly.
And to Nick's point--I think moderating this rule should not be as harsh as initially written, and following the rule should not be very difficult, considering you may freely swear however you like as long as you spell the words correctly.

But the conversation is not closed there. From what I'm reading, people are very confused and feel manipulated by this, because our community on Discord behaves in a much freer way than is allowed on the forum. We loosened the rules on Discord, and (I believe) to some, everything just feels inconsistent now. And through all of this, there are members who are not happy with the way staff has been relaying this information and wishes things were less secretive and more transparent. There's more to it than that, obviously, but this is my re-phrase of what I believe others are feeling. If I'm wrong please tell me.

I'm not here as a staff member defending or promoting anything, because right now I'm sort of just sitting in the middle. I mostly want to help this conversation go productively.

shhmew Today at 3:57 PM
ben’s opening post said why and staff brought up different points when pressured and were being oddly secretive. the issue isn’t about the censors anymore it’s about the way the staff are reacting
This is a timely Discord post that I think is what is really happening here. I think the way we communicate and discuss issues with the rest of the forum needs to be re-evaluated. I know from my time as a member, there was something a little unsettling about people discussing a place you care about quietly in the dark, and then coming out with a surprise update thread telling you what to do. And if you disagreed, then tough cookies. This has happened today, when people have disagreed, and admins have basically responded with, for lack of a better phrase, "tough cookies".

When somebody accuses you of making them feel a certain way, even if you did not "mean it like that", it's still how the other person feels. It makes for a much more productive outcome to continue the conversation and ask WHY you made somebody feel the way you did. This applies to everyone. You may not like what the other person is saying, or how they're saying it, but you should still try to listen and communicate.

In the future I would love to see more public feedback threads when we make big discussions like this. Every time we've done this in the past, I feel like everyone is happy in the end. This conversation is a great start.
 

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I just read through all this and I'm sorry if I'm failing to understand anything, but I just had to say something. Please correct me if any information is wrong, I don't want to spread any false ideas or make useless points, as I have not read more than the thread here.

I see both sides here, and honestly feel like this wouldn't be an issue if both sides could listen to the points of the other. This should be a debate, not a fight, and debates are meant to be a way for both sides to be heard and acknowledged. Both sides have valid points and nobody should feel insulted when trying to explain their point.

This site was built off the foundation of a place presented as a family-friendly Pokemon site. We are being kindly hosted by Marriland, who is uncomfortable with swearing and tries to remain clean for his intended audience. I see that some potential new people may be upset and turned away from our little community by the language. We don't want people to feel unsettled by us or lose potential new people. The real issue isn't the censors at all, but communication.

The people here feel hurt that what they are used to is being changed, jerked back to a place they felt we had moved beyond. They voice their concerns, but it feels to many that few of the people in power really care what they think of the issue. It feels like they have to fight to get an explanation and be heard. The community deserves to be heard and listened to. Most of us are adults, and many feel like they are not being listened to, instead being brushed aside because the staff is tired and worked hard.

Staff I know yours is often a thankless job. You probably feel nobody cares to see your end of the story, full of sleepless nights and frustration. And now this feels like a personal attack, disregarding the work you've done. It may feel like people are whining about a change you feel is trivial compared to the work you've put in to create this community for those already here, our host, and those who are new. But that's not an excuse to talk down to anyone or put up walls toward them. If you truly want to be open and honest, do it. Communication is very important and those who are leaders should be willing to talk openly when an issue does arrive. Otherwise you will lose the trust of the people around you and they will be more likely to start a fight. If you aren't open people feel ignored and tend to explode after a while.

Community, you feel treated as children and ignored. The forums have changed from the place they once were. Some have been here for over ten years and have seen everything change over that time. You see this as a backtrack that is unnecessary for a forum populated by mainly adults and teens who are able to handle language and such. You feel ignored and treated as inferior, since communication isn't there. But at the same time that's no reason to be calling names or insulting the work staff has put in.

I personally believe the rule should be better explained and more lenient, with the censor option the same as it was before with a toggle. But did this really have to become this bad a fight? Just explain it, own up to the mistake that was made, both sides apologize for what was said, and move on.
Nobody should be insulted or talked down to. Please, let's all talk like adults, be open and honest, and get along.
 

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Sam's post is on the money. This isn't a forum where we call each other derogatory terms and it's all okay. Azurilland wasn't that kind of forum either. I think the community has forgotten the nature of these forums.

This isn't a new rule, either. Azurilland had the same rule: The only difference now is colloquial versions of swear words count as censor bypassing. Each and every case of censor bypassing will be looked at and assessed individually.

Also, the warning protocol has been the same for years. First instance of rule breaking: verbal warning. Second instance of same rule breaking: warning with points. I don't think the amount of points really means anything now anyways since bans have been decided on a case by case basis.
 

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I think at this point it's all been arguing about how "it should have been clearly stated initially". My personal objection is more that typos will cause me to get a warning. I'm usually careful enough to proof-read before I post, but I might miss something. As someone who doesn't use the Discord, what matters to me is that the reasoning for the "change" that isn't much of a change in the first place is explained clearly and concisely to get the point across about what it does and doesn't apply to.

I like and respect the staff (although, I will admit I don't express that as often as I should), but it's hard to trust ya'll when posts are contradictory or evidence comes out about in-fighting on the Discord. Yes, there are some users who are probably lashing out at the rule because it's cracking down on variations on swears. But I think it's best if both sides avoid sweeping generalizations. There are a hand full of folks who were just confused by the information.

I would like to thank you for the clarification on what exactly this applies to. Although a warning with points for censor bypassing twice might be a little stricter than necessary, I don't know about anyone else but two typos within a month or so sounds like something that can feasibly happen as far as I'm concerned.
 

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I would like to apologize on behalf of the entire staff for coming across as uncoordinated. Though we had suggested and implemented some changes for the opening post, we clearly did not proofread to the point that we would convey what we wished to, perhaps approving the draft too soon in exchange for getting the updates out sooner. I thank Typhlosion for taking the initiative to start the draft of the post in the first place though. As shown by our omission of the bypassing clause from our Official Rules and the disorganization surrounding the first post, we still have a lot to work on. We'll keep this in mind for future changes to more clearly convey reasonings behind updates and avoid oversights.

Once the censor list is published, we will be accepting suggestions to additions of common meme misspellings of swears and the like via PM. We have also begun discussion about lowering the point value of the Censor Bypassing warning and what it takes to receive it.
 

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I've read everything here and in the Discord (I lurk) and now I'm going to share a few thoughts.

Let's get right to the meat of it - this was poorly communicated. That's on EVERY member of staff and it's on advisory too. I helped to write the wording that AT used in his initial post and I feel guilty that he's specifically getting **** for it when I wrote a lot of it. The original wording was vague and I sought to try and help expand on the draft he posted, but evidently it wasn't nearly enough. That's on me guys, if you want to throw tomatoes or something for that I'm the target. My bad. I failed in my job as advisory to give proper critical advice to the staff and now they're taking all the heat for it.

I think in hindsight it is plain to see that there should have been more transparency about exactly what led to this decision and why it was being taken. There should also have been a more consistent communications strategy after the fact. I understand having been in the position that sometimes individual staff members can jump the gun a bit, and this leads to miscommunication and inconsistent statements. I think staff should plan their communications strategies more thoroughly in the future (and as advisory I will be more meticulous in bringing up these things internally). I think there has been some good feedback in this thread going forward for any future decisions: more detailed explanations and not just two paragraphs, more consultation. That's all fine and fair.

That said, I do want to point out that this wording and decision was agreed by all staff members (except Solar and Rin who were on leave). It is the collective responsibility of the staff that this has gone wrong and not any one individual staff member, and it's on EVERY staff member to recognise their role in this. Nobody on any side is blameless and I think both staff and community could have handled this with more decorum. I don't think pointing the finger at any individual staff member is helpful from anybody.

I also want to say I don't like some of the things said about staff that I've read. There is fair criticism to be had but let's not go beyond professional criticism into borderline personal stuff. These are guys who give up their free time to make an honest attempt to improve this place. Sometimes they get it wrong, I know, I've been there (a lot). But don't doubt their intentions and even if you disagree with the decision, voice that respectfully and trust that they aren't doing it to be oppressive nazis.

Regarding the bypass issue itself, ultimately I agree with Sam and Brett that this community was never a place you could say slurs and things to each other and it would be okay. I do think that getting warnings for mispelling swears is harsh, but Xenforo just doesn't have proper censorship options. I do not think there is really anything to worry about in terms of getting banned for repeated mispelling of swears. You'll eventually get a warning for it but because all bans are manual I don't think anything will come of it unless you are deliberately doing it repeatedly for malicious purposes - i.e. abusing the system. The staff are humans too and can understand context to these things.

As long as common sense is applied here and we don't go banning people for typos I trust things will be fine.
 

Nuuk

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gonna kinda revise my initial post, while i do think the whole censoring thing is ridiculous still.

the initial post made it seem like, what other have said, as if things were going to be more strict than before. i understand that you couldnt really swear to the extreme on AZ before, however it was more lax. what this post made me reminiscent of, was old school marriland, aka back in 2007 where rules were extremely strict and upheld to the letter and getting like 3 warnings meant a ban.

this is what i was against from the beginning. i do not want this new marriland treated as the old one, as this new marriland does not need to be treated the same as the one from 10 years ago. 10 years ago there were 400 actual members online at any given time with most of them being around 12-13. that kind of marriland needed stricter rules, where as this one, which has about 25 members online typically and an average age of 18+ does not.

i just didnt want misspellings of swear words to get me banned on a forum that i've been warningless on for 10+ years
 

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I have read over this thread and the #support channel on Discord.

First thing I want to say is that being straight up rude gets the discussion no where. Both "sides" (I find the division on this topic a stretch) behaved poorly, especially on Discord. If you find yourself getting that heated, you need to step back.

The second thing is that I think this rule change situation was blown way out of proportion. The staff came on way too strongly with how the rule was changing and the users acted like it would be the end of the world. Obviously one misspelling, or two or three, is not going to get you banned. Ya'll are wild for even thinking that would be the case. Additionally, there are certain things mentioned that would be censor bypassing that some people want. Those include:

fuq: q=ck in the minds of most. When I see that, it looks like trying to say ****. In my opinion, it should be added to the censor list
fucuckfck and other variations: This is actual censor bypassing and just shouldn't be allowed. Sure, you might find it fun to do, but it's avoidable for sure.

Third, I think the real issue that arose from this is how the staff handles "transparency." I put that in quotes because every time a decision is questioned by the users, "transparency" is mentioned. Certain things need more transparency, sure. Decisions could use more user input and the reasoning behind changes needs to be adequately conveyed. Here, those two things very obviously were subpar. However, I saw people prying for information that didn't need to be discussed publicly, like who brought the conversation up to staff. Not everything needs to be transparent. Translucent modding is just fine. However, with translucent modding you need a sense of solidarity. It's clear here that ya'll had your true reasoning for the change, but that true reasoning was not properly conveyed in the main post. Without solid reasoning that encompasses all the viewpoints of the discussion behind the scenes, people won't trust the change.

Anyway, beyond that stuff, I think a real discussion has been birthed from this. It is the following:

Is our goal to grow the forums or stay small?

It seems there are two sides to this. Some people see this change as a step toward fracturing the loyal userbase we have now. Others see it as a step to broaden our horizons. This dichotomy is due to a lack of uniformity in our perceived goals. Some people don't think this forum is meant to grow (or they don't want it to), while others (the staff) see it as a platform that could accept more users.

I am firmly in the camp of wanting to grow. I know I haven't been around much and recently stepped down from Advisory, but I still see a future for Marriland. We moved to this platform and accepted Marriland's help for that purpose. If we accept that purpose, being stricter on outside perception is a must. I support this change given that the censor list will be public and everything will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
 

Marriland

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Ok, so I wasn't going to chime in here at first, since it seemed a bit over the top, but I think it's important to clear up where I stand on this issue and also to give you transparency to my position on the matter of the censor bypassing policy.

First of all, I'm going to quote my FULL initial reply in the moderator forum thread (with permission):

Marriland said:
I'll jump in here and shed some insight to the swearing issue and what it means to me, personally and in comparison to the rest of the website and community, as well as what sort of effects it has on SEO and other pitfalls.

Throughout the entire duration of the original Marriland Forums (including the Curse days), there were word filters in place that would catch offensive language and block it altogether, censoring it with either "[REMOVED]", "flip", or "****". This was necessary because the site was always intended to be viewable by people of all ages — that was my goal when starting the site, and what I intend to keep on with the front-end of the new website when it's done. This helps tremendously with marketability although leads to much more moderation involved.

Now, there are of course two problems with this today: first, after becoming the Azurilland Forums, you have collectively decided to loosen up the language (PG-13 movies apparently get one F-bomb per movie to keep that rating, so it's kind of a stretch to say it's PG-13 language); second, Xenforo surprisingly does not have a word censorship system in place by default, and the existing solution is really underwhelming.

If I had it my way, I would not allow this and would maintain the old rules when it comes to offensive language. Currently, I really have a hard time recommending the Marriland Forums to my audience because the language is so much harsher than what I've fostered throughout my community, where I'll get praise from parents and college students alike that appreciate not having people swearing left and right. It's the internet, I know how it works and I don't have anything inherently against swearing — it's the parents, teenagers, and even kids that I try to accommodate to and give a place to feel comfortable.

But one thing that was negotiated upon when reviving the Marriland Forums was permitting more mature language, and I've had to respect your decision to keep that in place. It does affect the overall marketability of the forums to my audience and the rest of my site when it's done, so the worse the language is, the less I will feel comfortable promoting it. The cleaner the language and more welcoming of an atmosphere it is here, the easier it will be for me to promote it because that's what my audience is used to and what the site has been used to from 2003–2015.

Anyway, like I said, I would definitely love to see a cleaner Marriland Forums community, since I've gotten feedback from several of my YouTube/Twitch community that they felt uncomfortable here (and seeing a lot of messages here and on the Discord has me feeling uncomfortable as well), but that's not my decision to make.

What other sorts of consequences are there to words slipping past the filters? Or having swearing enabled regardless? So it's particularly important for search engines to avoid seeing too much heavy language. I can't say for sure, but I'm reasonably confident it has some impact on the overall ranking of the site, even if it's minor. It also has the potential to trigger parental controls for younger viewers, although that shouldn't be an issue UNLESS it starts issuing warnings for the entirety of Marriland.com, which would be very adverse and require some changes to be made since I'm reasonably confident there will be viewers of a wide range of ages viewing the rest of Marriland.com. I don't know the software, but I would expect some of it to look for misspellings and variations. Do I know this for sure? No. But a parent reading it would be able to tell the difference, and then they may get upset at me for the content I've "exposed" their teen to (radical instance, I know, but again you guys might not have an idea of how important that family-friendly image I've built over the past 18 years of the site is to me).

So, realistically, having misspellings and variations of offensive language probably isn't as much of a problem as allowing that sort of behavior in general. The censor bypassing rules in the 2003–2015 days was to restrict people from using offensive language, period, bypassed or otherwise (although things did start to change after there were toggles for seeing word filters in user settings). It's essentially irrelevant today, though, because the language and meaning is still permitted, so then it's just a matter of trying to keep things clean for search engines and content filtering software/extensions (parental filters, for instance), which should theoretically be fine with just the base words censored.

And if it does eventually get to the point where it is negatively affecting the rest of the Marriland.com domain for some reason (as far as SEO goes), I can look into moving it to a separate domain (marrilandforums.com, for instance) and then redirecting forums.marriland.com to there — it would still be part of the network, but it would just have its own domain name to keep any negative issues from affecting the rest of the site (although it would cost me that SEO from having the forums and their content as part of Marriland.com).

Sorry if that was a bit longwinded. I shouldn't be typing stuff out like this at 4 am, but the swearing issue has been one that's been bothering me a lot for the past month that I feel at least sharing my perspective might help. Like I said, though, it's still ultimately your decision, but cleaner language and friendlier attitudes make it far easier for me to promote the forums going forward.

tl;dr: I'm not a fan of the language used on the forums whether it's filtered or not, but censor bypassing probably doesn't matter now like it did in the old Marriland days so I wouldn't worry about it, other than F-word/N-word variants (or anything else you see fit, really — it's not like it affects logged in users currently anyway)
I was also encouraged to post the following snippet, which hopefully also makes my position clear:
Marriland said:
I guess I would rather make it clear that the enforcement of censor bypassing is wholly the staff's decision and not something that I was proposing in the first place.
It's a lot to read, sorry about that, but I hope it explains part of the reason why having clean language is important for long-term growth and promotion of the forums. That's not saying that's what will be the case on the forums, though, don't worry, but just why it is from a marketability standpoint.

I'm posting this here to provide transparency, since I know there is a lot of worry that this decision was mine and that by "joining back with Marriland" I'm gonna enforce "strict no-swearing baby policies for everyone" or whatever else. No, guys, that's not the case.

One main issue that I did take a hard line on is restricting the use of any sort of slurs, whether racial, homophobic, transphobic, or used to demean people (such as the "R-word"). Using these words in their original form or in any misspelled variety is something that I do take issue with, because a healthy community should not have to be subjected to people using words that have meanings that disparage a class of people. These are far less innocent than dropping an "F-Bomb" here or there, and while I have seen a few voices here say "people are too easily offended", that should NOT have to be the prevalent attitude here — "join these forums only if ur not offended". I have friends that are gay, friends that are trans, family that has special needs, and I've known so many people close to killing themselves over how people treat them for their differences. So to you, they may just be words, but to me and the people they hurt, they're painful weapons, and that's part of why I believe the staff can collectively agree that these will not be tolerated here in any form.

Ok, so now that that's out of the way, that leaves the "mlik" and "milkk" problem. As I said in the quoted post above, I don't really want to see language like that here, censored or otherwise, but I also understand that's not really in my control, and I'll leave it up to the staff to decide what is and isn't permissible here. I do think that the less swearing is on a forum, the healthier it is, because it's more accessible and inviting for a wider range of people. Most people in my community on Twitch and Facebook actually appreciate how family-friendly it is there, and they're primarily in their 20's–30's, so it's not just about "catering to babies" — there's a market for it.

Even basic swearing would be enough to trip up parental filters anyway, so unless the forums goes full Nick Jr. with their language policy, it's probably not a major issue if some minor swear words get through. So that leaves SEO, and SEO is very unlikely to be able to penalize based on misspelled swear words. Censor bypassing is not as big of a deal as it once was. It'd be a much bigger deal if the forum software could enable a toggle for whether word filtering is enabled or disabled, and had it enabled by default until a user manually disables it, but since that is not the case now, the only reason to police censor bypassing is to cater to parental filters and to SEO, both of which don't really matter.

I think this whole situation might have been better received if it were more casual, like making sure members understood why censor bypassing is potentially an issue and then letting moderators fix it if they saw it, perhaps with a verbal nudge the first time it occurred, with the moderator asking if it'd be fine if they updated the post to fix the typo and then all future instances being fine to update for housekeeping (I'm against the staff altering any posts without the author's consent beyond redacting and deleting, just so that's clear). I don't think it needs to be a warning that leads to a ban, especially in the case someone makes a typo over it.

Anyway, hopefully that sheds some light on my position on the matter, and hopefully the staff will reconsider this policy to find something that can keep everyone happy.
 

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Is our goal to grow the forums or stay small?
I guess that really is the question at this point. I personally would love to see these forums grow and become more open for many, but I understand that many would rather it be smaller and more tight-knit like it is currently. Maybe this should be a new discussion thread though? We have enough going on here as is, haha.
 

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I'm gonna post in this thread again because I'm feeling ashamed right now because of I said before. I'm gonna share my current thoughts here.

First of all, I've realized that I sounded like a jerk yesterday. I'll admit that I act like an idiot teenager sometimes, and I'm sorry for what I said. I've changed my stance on this. I've fully realized how people can be very hurt by words, and that words have power too. It's not about being weak and trying to "appeal" to someone, but being a respectful person. I agree with what Marriland said about the community here, because a community that makes someone uncomfortable with how people behave, to be blunt, is not a good community. I also think that there is not many people who want to join the Marriland forums because of how some people behave here. I don't have any problem with swear words, but as sometimes enough is enough.

I'm with Alex here. I want to Marriland to grow as a community and be for everyone. I want it to be a good community. I also want to have the option both to filter swear words here or have them available to be viewable. I just want Marriland to be a decent and respectful community for everyone.
 
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I think it's important for me to say a little something here, since I haven't yet (except for, y'know, the opening post).

First things first. It's been said by an author I admire that public misdeeds require public reparations. I want to apologize to @shhmew for throwing out her name in the Discord discussion, as has been said. Katey, I shouldn't have done that, and I'm sorry; I understand that you feel hurt and I agree you have a right to feel that way. It wasn't right or fair of me to put you in that position when I should have been the one taking responsibility for my own actions and for the actions of the staff team as a whole. I also owe @Bossvelt an apology. Man, I know you care deeply about this community, and you've had good things to say and done good things for it in the past. It was on me to be more open to your position and to communicate with you in a clearer and more respectful manner yesterday, and I failed to do that. That goes for the community at large as well, who might feel insulted by recent actions the staff team has taken.

Members like Sam, Alex, and Athena have put it well in regards to my personal motivation for taking part in this decision. I believe the forums have great potential for growth with a wider and more inclusive userbase, I would like to see them grow, and I believe this stance on censor bypassing is a step in that direction. We will, of course, continue to make adjustments and modifications toward achieving that end in the way that is most consistent with the current community. People have brought up a public list of censored words: that's a great idea. I too would love to see a censor that can be toggled at will by users. I agree, with the benefit of hindsight, that the progression of punishments stated in the OP might be too harsh and out of line with the offense in question. There have been good community responses here on ways to amend that.

It was a messy and painful road to get here, but I think there is a silver lining to be found at the end of this fiasco. I've learned a good deal about myself, the community, and working as part of the staff team. I look forward to seeing where we can go from here.
 

Mystical

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I think this is not just a problem of the staff as you are making it seem. When initially reading about this rule change and not having been on the discord server, my initially reaction was that some members were being rude and just assumed what the initial post meant. Instead of asking for clarification. Again, I don't know what went down on the discord, but I'm not too sure if it was necessary to bring it up here. Either way, I think both sides (and why does there even have to be 'sides' when this is supposed to be a community) were acting somewhat intolerant. Again, I have no idea of what happened on the discord, but from the replies I saw here, that's what I thought.

Another point that no one in this thread brought up, though, is the intentions and not just the curse/slur words themselves. We talked about this with some friends on another server. The conclusion I reached about this rule is that

1- Having a filter and that filter being optional for the different members helps. As in, when certain words are used, if the member has the filter on, and for guests, they would only see the word in asterisks. **** instead of the actual word.
2- Filter some possible mispellings of a word. That way it won't really break the rule of censor bypassing. These two would comply with what Marriland is suggesting and with his problem with his fanbase/followers.

3- For warnings themselves, I think focus more on the intentions of the word being used rather than the word itself. I'll be blunt and say that I don't like curse words or slur words. I won't die if I see them, but I would rather not see them. HOWEVER sometimes these words are used as a joke or in a casual way, and not as an insult or with bad intentions, so that's not a huge deal and I and others can just shrug those off. But when they are being used with malicious intent or with the purpose of degrading someone, then the staff should step up and moderate.

I'm aware this may be more effort for you guys on staff, but there's a simple solution for that. The report button. Basically, if no one has a problem with a post, then it's not a problem and if you see a bad word being used you can censor it (with the asterisks). But if a post is reported for slandering or a similar reasons, then intervene. Of course, if a member (meaning staff and non-staff alike) feels uncomfortable, they should feel safe and be assured that their report won't be ignored or publically revealed and staff can talk directly with the people involved or moderate the way they think is best.

That brings me to two other points, but I will post the fifth one in the staff feedback thread.

4- sometimes, non-curse/slur words can be used maliciously or cause as much or sometimes even more discomfort as the curses/slurs. For example "you are a waste of space, why don't you kys" (I haven't seen anything similar to this actually being used here seriously, thankfully, but it supports my point of not putting too much weight on the words being used but on the intentions of those words.)
 

Scherzo

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hello i'm rlly late sorry

Anyway, I think this is the opinion I most agree with in this thread:

As somewhat of an outsider, I feel I might have something worth hearing.

As much as there is more of small community feel around here these days, it is important to still bear in mind that outwardly, this site presents itself as an open and welcoming Pokemon forum. The primary subject matter, the presentation, and the general atmosphere of this forum is inclusive, family friendly, and inoffensive. This appeals to younger people. This is not 4P or The Cave. Marriland was (re)created to keep the Azuriland torch burning; the decision has already been made as to what kind of place this is to be. If you want to argue the appropriateness of 'mature'-tinted language on this website, then you need to be making a case for the entire forum to be shifting it's presentation and focus.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter how any one of us as individuals - or even how most of us as a majority - see the 'age level' of this site as being. The site's outward presentation is what matters. And if that presentation is at odds with the site's content, then that is irresponsible.

Really, it's no inconvenience to not bypass censors. You can still swear. If someone is sensitive enough that they feel the need to have a censor activated, then it is the job of the forum rules to ensure that those people do not see inappropriate language. There's no point in a censor without rules to ensure it works.

TL;DR

1) Bottom line, this forum is a 'family friendly' environment in the way it is presented, therefore it has a responsibility to uphold that.

2) Issues with guest-only censors notwithstanding: if someone (or someone's parents) decides that they do not want to see swear words, they should not have to see swear words.

[:

Edit: Am I allowed say to **** yet?

While I can see why people are against this rule, these forums (in my opinion) is supposed to be a more presentable text, rather than a casual Discord chat. And I'm not going to lie, I can kinda agree Marriland's points about not wanting to see any swearing on the forums. With Marriland representing the forums, younger users are definitely going to want to be members on the forums. Many of these users' parents will probably not support them being on the forums (I know mine didn't), and it would be a huge turn-off to them if they see a bunch of other members swearing regularly on the forums. I do like how we currently feel like a family, but there are many Discord chats that will let you swear, instead of using them on this site. With having a post button instead of just hitting enter, Marriland gives you the opportunity to take a few more seconds substitute language as well; it takes just a couple seconds to change cuss words to "oops" or "crap".
 

Thundawave

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Hey everyone! Over the past few days, the staff has come to a new consensus taking your input into account. We'd love to hear your feedback on what we're proposing now.

We're thinking of scrapping the rule about censor bypassing altogether.
We learned that bypassing doesn't affect SEO (only uncensored swear words, which our current censor system already covers), and all registered users can see censored words anyway. We've also realized how the rule causes many gray areas as to what counts as bypassing. To get rid of those gray areas, we figured that it might be best to simply not punish for bypassing at all. No verbal or official warnings.

As a result, a public censor list probably wouldn't be necessary.
A few staff members brought up that a thread with a list of censored words has a lot of negative energy in it. Other staff members were concerned about us completely flipping our initial promises to publish one. However, the main reason for publishing the list was for members to avoid bypassing. But if we're not going to be enforcing bypassing, the censors would do the needed work anyway. If you want the list of censored words for any reason, you could PM a staff member for it, and we will send it to you.

Slurs will remain completely disallowed.
The entire staff was in agreement about this. Warnings related to slur use would depend on context - whether a user was trying to be insulting, directly attacking a race/gender/orientation, etc.

Whether or not we want to ask for a censor toggle from the developer is up to you, the members.
Do you want to be able to toggle the censors for swearing? The positives of this would be that people who don't want to see curse words wouldn't see them. The forums would be more marketable to more family-friendly audiences. However, this would mean that we'd likely have to enforce bypassing once the toggle is installed - and as a guideline, it would be best to try not to bypass while we wait for the toggle. A public censor list would be more practical in this situation as well if you guys are still worried about what would count as bypassing.

So tell us what you think. Do you like this proposal? Do you still want a public censor list? Should we still contact the developer for the censor toggle? Anything else you might want changed?
 

Bossvelt

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I personally would prefer to keep it as is now.

However, if there was a toggle, I trust you guys won't just throw us to the side and prioritize the minority who want to be super squeaky clean. I would still not give ANY warnings for "censor bypassing". Obviously include any common slangs for swears to the list so we aren't just weenie hut jr. Unless someone is a completely hysterical person, I doubt anyone would freak out at a comical mispelling of a swear word, either.
 

Alex

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So, if I've put this together right, curse words are censored for guests, but once you log in, there is no censor? I don't see why we can't ask for a toggle for members but still ignore censor bypassing. As long as the words used for bypassing do not affect SEO, there is no need to enforce a bypassing rule. Having a toggle would be a courtesy for the faint of heart, and any words that fall outside of the censor are just bad luck.

I definitely think the censor bypassing rule should just be abolished fully, and like you said, a public censor list is gone with that. As long as the site doesn't get **** on for having curse words on it, I think more freedom with how we speak is better.
 

DeepSeaPrincess

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I personally think a censor toggle would be best, so that the forum would be open to those uncomfortable with swearing. I think that with that system bypassing would not be an issue as long as common misspellings were added so they would be censored too. If it's an issue we can fix it but I don't think a bypassing rule would need to be strictly enforced with an option to just not see the word.
 

Bonkenhi

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Okay so some thoughts:

Slurs: amen. No questions no ifs/buts

Censor Bypassing: honestly probably the way to go. And as you said the public list wouldn’t be needed that way either.

Toggling: This is where I had the most interesting idea tbh. What if the censors were defaulted to “on” for a new user under the age of 16, and “off” for a user 16 or over? It’s really unlikely that we’d cause any upset that way? We could even potentially have the toggle option there on sign-up idk. If we were doing a basic cover-all tho I think the consensus is that a default to “off” probably suits the majority I think.
 
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