Management of the Forum Discord + Staff Involvement

seaturtle

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There's been a discussion in the Forum Discord about how the server is managed. A few users have brought up some really good points so I'd like to use this thread to go over them so we can discuss potential changes to make the server work better.

Right now, the Discord server is run with similar rules to the forums.:
✧ Personal attacks, flaming, racism, sexism, religious prejudice, homophobia, and other types of insulting language are not allowed.
✧ Keep it PG-13. Keep the environment reasonably appropriate — any material that is highly inappropriate, offensive, or explicit is not allowed under any circumstances.
✧ Do not link to illegal content (torrents, episode/movie sites that do not have rights, ROMs/emulators, et cetera).
✧ Please keep your forum-related advertising to the #forum-advertising
✧ Respect the decisions of the Marriland Forums Staff.
✧ For your own security, please do not give out any very personal information on the open chats (phone numbers, email addresses). For your safety, they may be removed by any staff that see them.

Warnings and Bans
While we sincerely hope that we will not have to issue any warnings, our policy here is that if you break our server rules and receive three warnings, you will be removed from the Discord. It is also of note that your warnings here do not carry over to the Marriland Forums, and vice versa. If you have been permanently banned from the forums, you will not be granted access to the Discord.
Right off the bat, this makes it a lot harder to manage the Discord with respect to the forums. Having similar (but different) rules and then a completely different warning policy means that people can do anything on the Discord without any sort of forum consequences. When both platforms have the same users, this doesn't make a lot of sense. Plus, weighting something minor like small insults the same as posting NSFW content with one strike isn't fair (plus those strikes don't expire). A potential solution could be the following:

- Rewrite the server rules to mirror the forum rules (where applicable, things like double posting obviously don't matter)
- For members who are on the forums and the server, server infractions result in a forum warning. Since the rules would be mirrored, the same consequences could be given.
- Members who are exclusively on the Discord can follow the old three strike policy since they aren't on the forums.

Something else that should be addressed is the presence of staff members on the Discord server. For the sake of moderation, having active forum staff is important to the server. Otherwise it's easy for chaos to break loose before a staff member can pop in to resolve it. There aren't any requirements for staff members to actively police the Discord, largely because when the Discord was created we didn't want to force people into managing it. Our primary platform is this site, so having a secondary requirement to moderate the server wasn't something we wanted to enforce. However, with only a few staff members who are active on the server, it's hard to police.

A few different solutions were brought up. A simple one is to push for staff members to be more active in the server, but the issue with that is that it requires staff members to do something that's a lot different from their current responsibilities. Another solution is to have Discord activity be a requirement or criteria when looking for future staff members. There was also the idea of bringing on Discord-only staff members, whether as some sort of mini-moderator role or as full moderators on the server without a forum title.

Lastly, a related subject was brought up concerning how staff members' inactivity on the server makes it easy for it to feel like the staff isn't connected with the community. A few people mentioned that some of these feelings carry over to the forums as well. This is something that I want to bring up so we can work through it together, because if the staff and members feel disconnected it's going to lead to a growing rift between the two parties.

Please, please remember that while we need to be honest and upfront with problems and feelings, everyone here is also striving to make this site the best it can be. Also remember that everyone is a person- even if you have the best of intentions, it's easy to hurt or frustrate others accidentally. We all want the same goal here, so let's work towards this together.
 

Biohazard

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I think that having Discord moderators would be an great idea. Since most activity actually happens on the server, it would be great to have Chat moderators because the moderators we have here currently, don't really much to moderation on the server or are even inactive there. Chat moderators would also have a deeper contact with the normal members in the community. Only few current moderators that we have on Marriland are in contact with the community here. Most moderators are pretty much ghosts, and that's not a good thing. Chat moderators would fulfill that role much more since most of Marriland activity happens on the server.
 

shhmew

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want to say i am happy this is being discussed. it is clear to a lot of people how poor the management of the marriland discord is currently. but i don't blame staff for that, because an official chat is a relatively new thing, staff never had to deal with it before. and people on staff did not expect to have to handle issues there when they became staff so it feels awkward to essentially merge two platforms forcibly.

i'll speak from experience a little bit. when i was on staff, i did not really want to enforce rules on discord, so i mostly didn't. because it was never stated to be a requirement and staff didn't seem so strict about it anyway, they seemed to have more of a "well it's off site so it's not rly officially connected to the forums" type of mentality. so i treated it as its own thing and didn't focus a lot on it. however. it is clear the discord is now a HUGE part of our community, where plenty of activity is generated from plenty of members that we have right here on the forums. you can't deny it is very much connected to the forums and our community - and the community is the most important and integral part of this place no matter where we are. treating them so separate doesn't make that much sense at this point. if, as a moderator, i had been told it was part of my duties to at least keep an eye on the discord, i would have done a lot more backreading and just treated it as part of the job. because i care about the community. because i am passionate about this place. that's it.

does that mean you have to constantly backread and catch every little thing that happens? no...we are a team for a reason. it's kinda like how in my irl job, my department is actually two departments merged together. we are all supposed to know how to do work in both areas, but we all stick to one or the other for the most part, with only 1 or 2 being happy to go back and forth naturally. in forum terms, we have "power" over both areas and know how to handle both should we need to, but of course we have our preferences and default to where our expertise and skills suit us best. because we are a team and cover each others weaknesses. there is no reason for someone to get a headache over trying to handle everything in one area if they don't prefer it, because we have people who can cover us and know how to handle the area much better, but it is important they know HOW to, and are there and ready to act if ever they are needed. i guess that's the best way i can describe it.

the discord is a huge part of our community now, like it or not... if you want to be in a position to care for Marriland, the discord is a part of that now

no it's not fair

no you're not getting paid for it

so you gotta enjoy it

and find satisfaction in it..

that's all i rly have to say rn
 
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theDINOsaurus

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I think this conversation has brought up a time for us to really evaluate the relationship between the forum environment and the discord. As long as the discord has the Marriland name and is advertised as the forum server, there's a deep connection between the two of them. As of now, the discord staff is the forum staff. Some staff members chime in there now and then, some are regulars, and some are basically never there. The job is too large for just two people to keep an eye on things due to the fast-paced nature of instant messaging, and depending on their schedules there could be long periods with no staff present. There's nothing that can be done about the latter issues in some situations, but it would be a start to have more staff with a presence on the discord to help take on some of the job.

So with that acknowledged, the issue came up of who should have this job. Should it be forum staff, or should there be a separate discord team who has no forum responsibilities? Personally speaking, I'm more in favor of the former. The forums and discord are two separate homes for the same community, and as long as the discord is promoted as such I don't think it's right the have totally separate teams running them. If nothing else, there would need to be some overlap and great communication between the two to make sure everyone was on the same page. If we make warning on discord cross over onto the forums, this would be almost impossible. What if a forum staff member (for some reason) needed a warning? A regular member who happens to be on discord staff wouldn't effectively be able to handle this. It would become a bit of a power struggle if the higher-ups on the platforms were different, and I worry that it would cause a rift between the community on discord and the forums themselves, which I don't want to see as someone who values both greatly.

If forum staff is going to moderate the discord, on the other hand, there's a clear need for some kind of change, either in the addition of a staff member chosen for their suitability for this purpose (works well as far as time frames available, active on the discord, interested in filling this capacity, etc) or in increased discord presence from current staff. I do understand that not everyone enjoys this kind of format. The slower forum environment also works better with busy schedules. But like Katey said, this has to be a team effort - no one expects one staff member to be available on discord 24/7, and that's sort of the problem we're facing with the discord now. With enough of a team paying attention to the flow of conversation on discord when they're available, there would be plenty of moderation to keep things in line.

Basically, it reflects badly on the whole community, including the forums themselves, if the discord is ignored and left to do its own thing. Someone who has a bad experience there will probably have it affect their opinion on our forums as well. The tone of the discord affects the tone of the forums and vice versa. They're both under the Marriland name, and they both need to be managed by someone.

That's all I've got for now. :happyazurill:
 

Mystical

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All right, I'll write a lot but will underline and bold the really important parts.

I think the rules being the same here and there is important, and it's important that there can be a standard procedure of how things, like discussions on the discord, are handled. For example, there was one where only one forum staff was present and they simply didn't know how to handle the situation. It just cooled off on its own, but what if it hadn't? And regarding discussions, how do you define and regulate when exactly a person is crossing the line? What's the way to act when someone is feeling uncomfortable? Should they just keep quiet because the other person is not actively and explicitly flaming them?

Another point I'd like to give my own opinion of is the suggestion of having discord staff. Part of the deal, as I see it, is that there seems to sometimes be a very different mindset between staff and the members. So remember the Student Council? They were a group of students who, by merits and by election, represented the students and their interests and acted, or at least should have acted, as a bridge between teachers and students. I think that's something we need, and I think it would be helpful on discord as well. A role or position that acts like a bridge between regular members and the staff. They'd need to fulfill certain requisites to be given this role and if they can't fulfill them, or break them, then they can't hold that position. They can act as moderators on discord too, and help moderate. Not necessarily have the power to ban, though of course they can call official staff when they need to. But they'd help regulate the conversation so it doesn't get too heated, and they'd act as a neutral party (not taking sides, this is important, I think). So they wouldn't necessarily be forum staff, but discord moderators.
 

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it's... kind of a weird conundrum, really. if this forum were bigger, there would be more of an incentive to have separate discord staff i think. i say this because forum staff can do forum staffy things while discord staff can focus on discord staffy things and we'd all live happily ever after because there's no actual need for the two sides to communicate much beyond say, when there's a troublesome member on discord that also needs to be brought to the attention of forum mods.

but that's unfortunately not the reality of how things stand now, to the best of my understanding.

i do want to be sympathetic to those who aren't big fans of using discord. i can understand why, for some people, it's just not their thing. live chat goes super fast, and by the time you go do something else and come back you've already missed 9042094024924 messages and it's a lot to keep up with, not to mention keeping up with suggestions and the like. but because of this forum's more cohesive size and population, it's important to build that sort of relationship with the community, and discord just comes with the territory, like it or not.

so my opinion is that things should be the way they are, however greater emphasis should be placed on forum staff to interact with the community on discord a lot more. it's where everyone goes to mingle after all, and the forums move pretty slow anyway, so why not just chill with your fellow members and get to know them and all? idk that's just me.
 

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A lot of what I've said has already been said and I have a busy day today but for now at least I just want to pop in and say that I also think the forums/Discord should have the same group of staff. As Christy said, both have the same community (some people on Discord aren't on the forums and vice versa but it's still the same community because it's mainly the same people on both) and are separate homes for that community, and they're very connected to each other and promote each other. Some people join the forums first and then decide to join the Discord to get to know the members better, while some join Discord first to get to know the people before deciding to join the forums. Others have been here for a while and are a big part of both platforms.

A lot of the things Bubba proposed (warnings carrying over and having the server rules rewritten to mirror the forum rules) are good ideas IMO, but require the staff to be the same between both, because otherwise inevitably at some point a dispute will arise between the two teams. And as Christy said there could be situations where one team isn't suited to take care of something that concerns someone on the other team.

Overall, I agree with Katey that Discord is a huge part of the community and although it's perfectly fine for people who are on staff to have different areas of expertise being on staff means that you need to care for both because they're both part of the same community now. A lot of information and conversations from the forums/Discord tend to carry over to the other platform and having separate teams between the two would make it very tough to handle those, at least IMO.

Tl;dr: Having the same team is the best for both IMO. Not everyone needs to be available 24/7 or be involved a ton with both platforms, but they should be at least PRESENT on both and know how to handle situations on both if need be, and there should be some people who go back and forth more than others. Basically this paragraph from Katey:

does that mean you have to constantly backread and catch every little thing that happens? no...we are a team for a reason. it's kinda like how in my irl job, my department is actually two departments merged together. we are all supposed to know how to do work in both areas, but we all stick to one or the other for the most part, with only 1 or 2 being happy to go back and forth naturally. in forum terms, we have "power" over both areas and know how to handle both should we need to, but of course we have our preferences and default to where our expertise and skills suit us best. because we are a team and cover each others weaknesses. there is no reason for someone to get a headache over trying to handle everything in one area if they don't prefer it, because we have people who can cover us and know how to handle the area much better, but it is important they know HOW to, and are there and ready to act if ever they are needed. i guess that's the best way i can describe it.
 

Thundawave

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I agree that it's hard to keep up with the current system as our server continues to grow. Looking back on recent staff discussions, most of the actual "keeping the place clean" kind of moderating has occurred there rather than on the forums. When Bubba initially brought up changing the Discord policies with the staff, I was concerned about how we were supposed to handle members who weren't part of the forums. The solution he just proposed in this thread about sticking with that only for non-forum members takes care of that concern though.

This past year or so, we haven't put in as much emphasis on staff doing classic moderation because we were more focused on keeping the community lively through events and engaging discussions. However, seeing the Discord and how difficult it can sometimes be to get staff's attention because of either availability or willingness issues, it's clear that we need to keep a closer watch in general and potentially get more staff with a Discord focus. I'm not big on Discord-only mods because of the small size of our community and potential inconsistency with enforcement, but I can get behind finding new staff that have Discord as one of their focuses.

Concerning my own activity: I'm fully aware that this current period is a bit of a dry spell for me, as I've been focusing on making sure I have a future irl (which I finally secured for the time being!). Throughout the past few years and most especially since mid-July of last year, I've struggled with feeling incompetent because of the difficult job search and other personal reasons, whether or not it's shown on the forums. The feeling has probably bled over to the forums in the past few months, as I've continued to doubt myself in my ability to serve as staff on this site. The art contest nuke and censor fiasco haven't helped out either. I've periodically had to ask myself and fellow staff how I've been doing because I could feel myself withdrawing to just the people I'm closest to. I've even questioned how both my personality and moderation style seem to be practically the opposite of what people here are or want. I've avoided being the community mediator or the one carrying out the collective decision at times because all I've gotten back are comments about being a robot, being on a power trip, or lacking empathy the moment I step in for anything. But even through my low points, I still love this site enough to keep on doing the work I want to do here, accommodating my schedule to provide the time needed. I love the work, but do people want me here?

When it comes to Discord activity, constantly chatting on large servers isn't really my thing, as I highly prefer smaller environments with closer friends. It feels artificial and fake to me to force myself to respond to discussions that I simply can't springboard off. Still, I agree that I might not be jumping in enough when opportunities present themselves for me to talk, which I absolutely can work towards.
 

shhmew

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I've even questioned how both my personality and moderation style seem to be practically the opposite of what people here are or want. I've avoided being the community mediator or the one carrying out the collective decision at times because all I've gotten back are comments about being a robot, being on a power trip, or lacking empathy the moment I step in for anything. But even through my low points, I still love this site enough to keep on doing the work I want to do here, accommodating my schedule to provide the time needed. I love the work, but do people want me here?
i feel you gurl. i had very similar feelings on staff that eventually pushed me off and, to be transparent and honest... i regret letting that affect me to the point of leaving. You are already a step above me by sticking around through thick and thin, and still being able to keep your offline life in order. Literally, you've been on staff longer than anyone else at this point, consistently. Of course, if you wanted to leave you would leave, and there isn't anything wrong with that either, but you didn't leave because you have passion and tenacity for this place. That's so important!!

Maybe some people will see that as a tangent, but I think it's CRITICAL for staff and members to be open and supportive with each other!! Like you said, all staff gets most the time is criticism and sharp comments that get to them more than members realize.

The core issue rn for the forums, even on topic to the current discussion, I think is the huge rift that has existed between staff and members, and how no one has been able to relax or feel comfortable. Members have felt very shut out and staff have felt very pressured and cornered. It is awkward for sure and not easy for any one person to fix. But we've been working on closing that together, I think, I can see steps have been taken, on both sides.

i think i explained this already in my last post but i guess my opinion on this matter specifically is ideally not to bring on people JUST for discord. reminds me of the sectional positions actually, which... did not go that well, i think for our community it is just more effective to have every mod in the same position with the same powers, but let their preferences + strengths shine where they will
 

seaturtle

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I think that having Discord moderators would be an great idea. Since most activity actually happens on the server, it would be great to have Chat moderators because the moderators we have here currently, don't really much to moderation on the server or are even inactive there. Chat moderators would also have a deeper contact with the normal members in the community. Only few current moderators that we have on Marriland are in contact with the community here. Most moderators are pretty much ghosts, and that's not a good thing. Chat moderators would fulfill that role much more since most of Marriland activity happens on the server.
I personally think that using chat moderators to fix the current issues instead of trying to resolve them with the current staff isn't the best path right now. Instead, focusing on how the current staff can improve and working from there feels like a better solution to me. I also disagree about most of the activity being on the server- there's definitely a lot of activity on the server and we need to have staff to manage it because of that, but the forums themselves have a ton of activity too and we don't want to neglect that.
it's kinda like how in my irl job, my department is actually two departments merged together. we are all supposed to know how to do work in both areas, but we all stick to one or the other for the most part, with only 1 or 2 being happy to go back and forth naturally. in forum terms, we have "power" over both areas and know how to handle both should we need to, but of course we have our preferences and default to where our expertise and skills suit us best. because we are a team and cover each others weaknesses. there is no reason for someone to get a headache over trying to handle everything in one area if they don't prefer it, because we have people who can cover us and know how to handle the area much better, but it is important they know HOW to, and are there and ready to act if ever they are needed. i guess that's the best way i can describe it.
I think this is a fantastic example!! Right now you could say the Discord "department" is understaffed, and because of that the people who tend to prefer the Forum work will need to kinda pull some extra hours until we can get the extra help that the Discord needs. Ideally people shouldn't need to do heavy modwork in areas they don't love, but situations aren't always ideal and sometimes you've just gotta deal with that (like you mentioned later in your post heheheh). Ty for the great post.
I think this conversation has brought up a time for us to really evaluate the relationship between the forum environment and the discord. As long as the discord has the Marriland name and is advertised as the forum server, there's a deep connection between the two of them. As of now, the discord staff is the forum staff. Some staff members chime in there now and then, some are regulars, and some are basically never there. The job is too large for just two people to keep an eye on things due to the fast-paced nature of instant messaging, and depending on their schedules there could be long periods with no staff present. There's nothing that can be done about the latter issues in some situations, but it would be a start to have more staff with a presence on the discord to help take on some of the job.

So with that acknowledged, the issue came up of who should have this job. Should it be forum staff, or should there be a separate discord team who has no forum responsibilities? Personally speaking, I'm more in favor of the former. The forums and discord are two separate homes for the same community, and as long as the discord is promoted as such I don't think it's right the have totally separate teams running them. If nothing else, there would need to be some overlap and great communication between the two to make sure everyone was on the same page. If we make warning on discord cross over onto the forums, this would be almost impossible. What if a forum staff member (for some reason) needed a warning? A regular member who happens to be on discord staff wouldn't effectively be able to handle this. It would become a bit of a power struggle if the higher-ups on the platforms were different, and I worry that it would cause a rift between the community on discord and the forums themselves, which I don't want to see as someone who values both greatly.

If forum staff is going to moderate the discord, on the other hand, there's a clear need for some kind of change, either in the addition of a staff member chosen for their suitability for this purpose (works well as far as time frames available, active on the discord, interested in filling this capacity, etc) or in increased discord presence from current staff. I do understand that not everyone enjoys this kind of format. The slower forum environment also works better with busy schedules. But like Katey said, this has to be a team effort - no one expects one staff member to be available on discord 24/7, and that's sort of the problem we're facing with the discord now. With enough of a team paying attention to the flow of conversation on discord when they're available, there would be plenty of moderation to keep things in line.

Basically, it reflects badly on the whole community, including the forums themselves, if the discord is ignored and left to do its own thing. Someone who has a bad experience there will probably have it affect their opinion on our forums as well. The tone of the discord affects the tone of the forums and vice versa. They're both under the Marriland name, and they both need to be managed by someone.

That's all I've got for now. :happyazurill:
I think that logistically, it's possible to work out some sort of Discord staff and Forum staff balance and policy, but I don't think it'd be ideal with how things are set up right now. If we were to make a Discord-specific mod role I feel like we'd need to separate the teams, but I think that with all the crossover between the platforms that would be super messy. Maybe if the Discord community takes off and begins to grow and change from the forums that can be an option down the line, but as things are right now I don't think it's realistic. Going forward I agree that looking for moderators who can put time into the forum is probably the best course of action.
All right, I'll write a lot but will underline and bold the really important parts.

I think the rules being the same here and there is important, and it's important that there can be a standard procedure of how things, like discussions on the discord, are handled. For example, there was one where only one forum staff was present and they simply didn't know how to handle the situation. It just cooled off on its own, but what if it hadn't? And regarding discussions, how do you define and regulate when exactly a person is crossing the line? What's the way to act when someone is feeling uncomfortable? Should they just keep quiet because the other person is not actively and explicitly flaming them?

Another point I'd like to give my own opinion of is the suggestion of having discord staff. Part of the deal, as I see it, is that there seems to sometimes be a very different mindset between staff and the members. So remember the Student Council? They were a group of students who, by merits and by election, represented the students and their interests and acted, or at least should have acted, as a bridge between teachers and students. I think that's something we need, and I think it would be helpful on discord as well. A role or position that acts like a bridge between regular members and the staff. They'd need to fulfill certain requisites to be given this role and if they can't fulfill them, or break them, then they can't hold that position. They can act as moderators on discord too, and help moderate. Not necessarily have the power to ban, though of course they can call official staff when they need to. But they'd help regulate the conversation so it doesn't get too heated, and they'd act as a neutral party (not taking sides, this is important, I think). So they wouldn't necessarily be forum staff, but discord moderators.
Mod work on the forums is relatively easy, lock this thread for revival and double check the rules to make sure that you're doing the right thing. Discord moderation is different, and as one of the staff members who's been more prevalent on the server I can tell your right now a lot of the time I don't know exactly how to approach a situation to resolve it. It's hard. Not only are the problems in real time, there's often not many staff members available to discuss the best way to proceed. With a forum issue, we can take some time to discuss that line and be sure we're doing the right thing, but on the server most of the time it's felt like I'm alone and scrambling to put out a fire. From what I've seen, it looks like anyone else who's been engaged in resolving a problem feels the same way. Simply having more staff members available to discuss situations as they come up would be very beneficial for the server I think, to make it a team effort instead of a solo effort.

Having the same rules + consequences on both platforms will help with that too I think, since the actual punishment will happen on the forums and the staff can discuss it beforehand. What needs to happen on Discord can be left to dissolving the situation and allowing the chat to continue, and consequences can be worked out among a staff discussion where we can take more time to be fair.

I don't like the idea of a student council, simply because staff themselves should be the student council. We're not teachers, we aren't getting paid, and I don't see the need for some third party when ideally we should just be focusing on bettering the relationship between staff and members in the first place. We're really just members who have the ability to manage things on the forums, and our goal is the same as yours- the growth and success of our site. If the staff members are not accurately representing the regular members, we should be trying to change to fix that instead of making it someone else's job. This has been a struggle for years, but I think we're in a position right now where we can actually make change and fix the problem instead of just going on and hoping the site doesn't die in the process.
so my opinion is that things should be the way they are, however greater emphasis should be placed on forum staff to interact with the community on discord a lot more. it's where everyone goes to mingle after all, and the forums move pretty slow anyway, so why not just chill with your fellow members and get to know them and all? idk that's just me.
I think this is a good mentality to have, even if someone isn't able to be active on the server a lot, knowing your community and who they are/what they want for the site is so important!! Even with the best intentions, if you don't know what your members want your decisions are going to be based on what you think is best and not what the community thinks is best which is a big problem, I think.
 

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My thoughts are probably all over the place since I've been doing a bunch of other stuff in the process of making this post, sorry about that^^

I agree on server activity and forum activity being a lot more even than people may see, but disagree on focusing on current staff improvement over possibly implementing Discord-specific or chat moderators (though that's not to say staff improvement is unnecessary, I definitely agree that it is important). I mentioned this in the Discord when we were talking about it, but I help run a couple servers on Discord (one is about 30 people, the other around 90) and keeping track of them is a LOT harder than you would first believe, to the point where I think having current staff try to adapt to moderating both is a bit too much to ask, especially considering the forum server houses 200 members and is still growing. I think adopting systems that some Reddit subs have adopted would work the absolute best moving forward, in that we have forum-specific staff, and then Discord staff, that way neither side would have to maintain both at once. Of course, I think a Discord staff would have to be about the same size as the forum staff, maybe with one fewer person depending on exactly how active these people would be. Obviously members who are a lot more active on Discord would translate into fewer people needed, but ultimately I think it's too much to ask to have current staff try to undertake both media, as it's already led to communications issues between members and staff in the past.

As for confusion as to what is rule-breaking and what isn't in the server, I think the solution is the same thing: Discord-specific staff. If the forum staff isn't having a good time with enforcing rules on the Discord, I would believe that the most likely reason for that is that they're so used to moderating the forums, and are trying to moderate Discord in the same fashion, which just doesn't work. Discord requires a much broader sense of rule enforcement, since most times it can't be discussed. The rule of thumb that I normally use is that if I wouldn't say it to a stranger, it probably isn't appropriate (of course, there are certain channels in my other servers that circumvent this, but such is not the case in the forum server).

That being said, I don't think it's a good idea to simply mirror forum and Discord rules in order to better mediate Discord discussions. Discord is far broader a medium in that conversation can be had about anything at any time, whereas it's a lot harder to do that in a forum setting due to real-time conversation just not existing at all. I think it's better to have a specific punishment escalation for Discord, separate from the forums. It makes no sense to me for punishment to carry through both platforms, since they each house completely different discussions. You could have someone who brings valuable discussion to the forums but is a complete ass on Discord, and vice versa; that doesn't mean that if someone isn't good on one platform that they should be punished on both.

Now of course, we already have the aforementioned "three strikes" policy, but that's something that simply doesn't work. There is no...I guess official?...way denote to a user in the server that they are being punished, and everything simply seems like a slap on the wrist (this coming from someone who has **possibly** been on the end of this situation in the somewhat recent past; I only say possibly because I can't say for sure if that's what it was or not). While it may not be the best solution, a muting system would likely have a lot more impact in regard to user warnings than simple strikes that do nothing to let someone know they aren't being good. These don't have to be super long; in an active conversation normally thirty minutes to an hour is enough to get the point across, and longer intervals in less active conversations. Obviously repeat offenses will be punish by escalations in these times, and eventually lead to a server ban, and more egregious offenses lead to harsher punishments out of the gate. We can employ a system that's similar to the forum's system for punishment, but using the same system that crosses over platforms isn't going to work, for the same reasons that I think current staff moderating both platforms wouldn't work; too much crossover and you just make a huge mess and a lot of unnecessary work for staff, and a much more confusing system for members.
 

seaturtle

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-snip bc length-
Your idea about splitting the Discord and forums and having two different staffs with different rules is something that I've thought about a bit, but I think overall it's not ideal for the current situation right now. In the case of Reddit subs and Discord servers, the users who frequent the sub vs the server are usually different. Are there some people on both? Yes, but the communities are different. In our case right now, the Discord server functions more like a chatbox for the forums than as a different community. Maybe if the community on Discord branches off more from the forums, making it into more of a sister platform and having different staff would be a good idea. I just don't think it will benefit our community right now.

Tools like muting can be utilized if a user won't stop in the Discord, but if we're going to be using the "Discord is an extension of the forums" mentality I think that forum warnings will have the most success when used as consequences. I actually think that's less confusing, just make it clear that the server isn't a separate entity and is still subject to the same rules and conditions as our site. It's different than traditional Discord servers sure, but if it's what works best for our community right now I think it's the best way to go.
 

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- I agree with the idea of using forum warnings as punishments for forum members on the Discord. After thinking about it for a bit, it seems crazy to have two seperate warning systems in place for forum members. I guess my question is if warning point related bans or whatnot would apply to the Discord as well? Like, if someone got banned on the forum, would they be banned on Discord? I think it's definitely something to think about.

- Keeping the current three-strike system for non-forum Discorders is a good idea as well, since you can't warn someone who isn't on the forums. :hmmazurill:

- In terms of the problem with staff activity, the solution to me is to pick up some more staff and set up some sort of infomal schedule for keeping an eye on the server. I agree with shhmew's idea of having staff specialize in what they'd like to, with some focusing on Discord and some focusing on the forums. That being said, I definitely think it'd be cool for all staff to poke their heads in once in a while.

- If you're worried about keeping the staff connected with the community, what if you guys did a group AMA of some sort? It might spark some of the conversation you're looking for.
 

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I guess my question is if warning point related bans or whatnot would apply to the Discord as well? Like, if someone got banned on the forum, would they be banned on Discord? I think it's definitely something to think about.
My personal opinion is that the ban should carry between the forums and Discord, since it's still the same community. At least for most offenses anyway. Most of the minor offenses that are only possible to break on the forums (multi-posting) wouldn't lead to a ban anyway in most cases so I don't think we'd need to worry about whether or not those ones would carry, but for others such as posting NSFW stuff I think they should carry over because they weren't acting as a responsible member of the community, which entails both the forums and Discord.
 

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I guess my question is if warning point related bans or whatnot would apply to the Discord as well? Like, if someone got banned on the forum, would they be banned on Discord? I think it's definitely something to think about.
My personal opinion is that the ban should carry between the forums and Discord, since it's still the same community. At least for most offenses anyway. Most of the minor offenses that are only possible to break on the forums (multi-posting) wouldn't lead to a ban anyway in most cases so I don't think we'd need to worry about whether or not those ones would carry, but for others such as posting NSFW stuff I think they should carry over because they weren't acting as a responsible member of the community, which entails both the forums and Discord.
People who are perma-banned from the forums are already not whitelisted to post in the rest of the server, so I think just making it apply to anyone who is banned would be the best idea. If you're banned for a week on the forums, we can remove your Member role from the server so you're unable to post (but can still view the server). Once the ban is expired you can ask to have it re-added so you can post again.
 

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If you don't know how to act or you feel like you're sometimes alone on the server then definitely add more staff. Fine, no third party, but maybe a different sort of role or mods with different skills. If it doesn't take as much effort to moderate the forums, like you're saying Chris, but the current staff aren't available on discord then there's definitely an inbalance. I think, and from what we talked in the server, that having mods with experience on how to moderate on discord and that have different time schedules helps.

I do think if you don't want a third party then we (staff + normal members) need to drop the mentality of us vs them away. We have the same goal, don't we? We're all a community so let's act like it.

Edit: ok Reso already stated the need for more staff.
 
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there is no question we need more staff. no matter how you look at it, only having one brain on the mod team is actually a little scary no matter who it is and should be addressed quickly... I think staff knows this and will act accordingly

and we do need more people who know how to moderate chat environments because, it is indeed different from moderating forums. very different. For example I've been asked to moderate Twitch chats before because of my experience moderating forums, but it's just not the same at all, skills in one doesn't necessarily translate to the other. That doesn't mean we can't get better, current staff will (and already are) gaining experience moderating in discord and learning a lot as they go, but maybe some new staff can be people who are already skilled at keeping up with the discord and handling situations that get out of hand. I just think they shouldn't be restricted to only discord, they should still be Marriland moderators with power over the forums and input in the mod boards like any other mod. just like how those who have no experience or skills at moderating the discord still have powers over there, if they are needed. there's no issue with having more sets of eyes watching and setting an example - as i explained in my initial post.

Cleb you do clearly have experience moderating discord chats and it's interesting reading your viewpoint, but i also think as bubba pointed out our community and the forums/discord dynamic are a little different - just because they are SO closely related - maybe it doesn't directly translate. But I don't know, I am not well versed in discord moderating.

also if non-forum ppl get punished differently on the discord than members, perhaps they can have a different role to distinguish them. like "Visitors". would that be too much work? i know we have a lot of ppl haha. but staff already ask everyone when they join if they are a member, before giving them access. (i'm not entirely sure why actually, since currently all policies etc apply the same for everyone.. maybe it's to make sure they aint banned on the forums ?)

i am still honestly a liiittle conflicted with if warnings should carry over between discord and the forums, since it is off site, but again since the community is p much exactly the same and SO closely related, it does feel like a literal extension of the forums and it would make sense if punishments between both were logged the same, at least in its current state. like if someone was flaming OUR MARRILAND MEMBERS on an official discord i aint want them to just stay clean/get off without any punishment on the forums yknow
 

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we are all supposed to know how to do work in both areas, but we all stick to one or the other for the most part, with only 1 or 2 being happy to go back and forth naturally. in forum terms, we have "power" over both areas and know how to handle both should we need to, but of course we have our preferences and default to where our expertise and skills suit us best. because we are a team and cover each others weaknesses. there is no reason for someone to get a headache over trying to handle everything in one area if they don't prefer it, because we have people who can cover us and know how to handle the area much better, but it is important they know HOW to, and are there and ready to act if ever they are needed.
I suppose this is what you mean, but I understood it more as just everyone moderates both sides, with working with what you know best, but not that there would need to be more staff members. I agree there doesn't need to be a clear distinction, but some do need to have more experience and availability for discord.

I'm not big on Discord-only mods because of the small size of our community and potential inconsistency with enforcement, but I can get behind finding new staff that have Discord as one of their focuses.
Fair. I missed this too.

I've even questioned how both my personality and moderation style seem to be practically the opposite of what people here are or want. I've avoided being the community mediator or the one carrying out the collective decision at times because all I've gotten back are comments about being a robot, being on a power trip, or lacking empathy the moment I step in for anything. But even through my low points, I still love this site enough to keep on doing the work I want to do here, accommodating my schedule to provide the time needed. I love the work, but do people want me here?
I have seen an example of you moderating, and think more than acting like a robot or being on a power trip is simply maybe not knowing how to act to keep both sides in control and being fair and not be too strict. I mentioned an example on discord that applies. Could bring a snippet of the conversation here if anyone wants to see it (may do it anyway, just to have it here).

The core issue rn for the forums, even on topic to the current discussion, I think is the huge rift that has existed between staff and members, and how no one has been able to relax or feel comfortable. Members have felt very shut out and staff have felt very pressured and cornered. It is awkward for sure and not easy for any one person to fix. But we've been working on closing that together, I think, I can see steps have been taken, on both sides.
This is really a good thing, and yes I too think progress has been made. My opinions and view of things differ from the majority, I think, but I have actually been very comfortable on the server lately. So yay.
 

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also if non-forum ppl get punished differently on the discord than members, perhaps they can have a different role to distinguish them. like "Visitors". would that be too much work? i know we have a lot of ppl haha. but staff already ask everyone when they join if they are a member, before giving them access. (i'm not entirely sure why actually, since currently all policies etc apply the same for everyone.. maybe it's to make sure they aint banned on the forums ?)
This is actually a really good idea, but the implementation would be a little hard since we'd have to comb through all the server members and assign "Forum Member" vs "Visitor" to everyone manually. I think the best way to do it would probably be to change the current "Members" role to "Visitors" and then let create a new "Forum Members" role that people can claim by messaging a staff member with their forum username (where we could log it in a staff channel so we're 100% who's who with Discord name changes and stuff, that would be easy with IDs and mentions). We'd probably have a bunch of people who fall into the cracks and don't ever send us their username but if they're not active on the server that probably doesn't matter anyways.

Anyone who doesn't claim the "Forum Members" role would be stuck with the harsher 3 strikes rule until they verify they're a forum member.
we are all supposed to know how to do work in both areas, but we all stick to one or the other for the most part, with only 1 or 2 being happy to go back and forth naturally. in forum terms, we have "power" over both areas and know how to handle both should we need to, but of course we have our preferences and default to where our expertise and skills suit us best. because we are a team and cover each others weaknesses. there is no reason for someone to get a headache over trying to handle everything in one area if they don't prefer it, because we have people who can cover us and know how to handle the area much better, but it is important they know HOW to, and are there and ready to act if ever they are needed.
I suppose this is what you mean, but I understood it more as just everyone moderates both sides, with working with what you know best, but not that there would need to be more staff members. I agree there doesn't need to be a clear distinction, but some do need to have more experience and availability for discord.

I've even questioned how both my personality and moderation style seem to be practically the opposite of what people here are or want. I've avoided being the community mediator or the one carrying out the collective decision at times because all I've gotten back are comments about being a robot, being on a power trip, or lacking empathy the moment I step in for anything. But even through my low points, I still love this site enough to keep on doing the work I want to do here, accommodating my schedule to provide the time needed. I love the work, but do people want me here?
I have seen an example of you moderating, and think more than acting like a robot or being on a power trip is simply maybe not knowing how to act to keep both sides in control and being fair and not be too strict. I mentioned an example on discord that applies. Could bring a snippet of the conversation here if anyone wants to see it (may do it anyway, just to have it here).
Whenever we bring on new staff members, we will be keeping Discord experience availability in mind. Hopefully that + having current staff members keep an eye on Discord will put us on the right track and help us learn how to moderate the chat environment more. I think what we're lacking most (besides just raw numbers) is experience, which is something that we'll get as time goes on. Being open with the community while we work on that will hopefully make it less of a painful process.
 
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Dynobot has the ability to auto-set roles, so a distinction between non-members and forum members with manual verification would work, and I have no issues with it. With that distinction I wouldn't mind a bit more crossover between rule sets, since there are clear advantages in terms of ruleset to being verified, though the only thing to be careful of is potential spambots joining the server (it's generally *very* uncommon; I've only had it happen in one of my servers once but they can get very annoying if there isn't anyone to dispose of it early on).

I don't think the relation between the forum and Discord communities have any real correlation in regards to how similar things should be across both. Yeah it's basically all the same people, but it's also true that there are some that are only really active on the forums, and others who are only really active on Discord, though I'm not well versed on forum activity anymore so you'd have to let me know if that idea isn't correct. If that is in fact the case though, I think that makes just enough difference between the two that there should still be specializations put in place, albeit not necessarily enough to seemingly segregate the Discord from the forums.
 
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