Management of the Forum Discord + Staff Involvement

seaturtle

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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.
As far as verification goes the only change would be that when someone joins and we ask if they're a member of the forums, we'd sort them into the correct group. I don't think that we'd need to use Dyno to give roles since we can already do that manually. I'm also not sure what you mean by rule sets? No permissions or anything would change from how things are now and later, only that a different role would be given to members from guests to make it easy to tell that they're also registered on the forums at a glance.

Regarding the relation between the communities, I really think they're basically the same community still. Do some people prefer to post more on the forums than the Discord? Sure, but I don't think the two are as different as you're making them out to be. Different people come and go from different parts of the forums, but the same general rules (to encourage the community we want to build) are in place still. There are more specific subforum rules that are accustomed to the environment they're built for, but the same Official Rules apply to the entire forum still. Besides making adjustments to make the rules better suited for a Discord environment instead of a forum one like I mentioned in the first post, I don't think the rules need to be much different there either.
 

-Rosen

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As far as verification goes the only change would be that when someone joins and we ask if they're a member of the forums, we'd sort them into the correct group. I don't think that we'd need to use Dyno to give roles since we can already do that manually. I'm also not sure what you mean by rule sets? No permissions or anything would change from how things are now and later, only that a different role would be given to members from guests to make it easy to tell that they're also registered on the forums at a glance.
It would just be a lot easier for Dynobot to automatically assign a Visitor role as soon as someone joins the server, that way staff doesn't have to worry about spending the time to manually assign it (and possibly keep new people locked out of posting if we're still going to keep that "cannot post until approved" setting in the server. It would just be a lot easier on you guys to auto-assign Visitor to everyone, and then manually assign account verification as needed. No use in doing more work when you don't have to.

I more or less meant pretty much what you said on your second point, though in terms of Discord-friendly rulesets I still believe the warning system would have to change and be independent of the forums themselves. Something that came to mind as a compromise on this issue is to have Discord be "separate" from the forums, and if you get banned there for whatever reason you're still able to post on the forums (assuming you're in good standing there, as it's a lot easier to break certain rules in a Discord environment than a forum environment tbh), but getting banned from the forums would also result in a Discord ban. I think this is a fair way to do things, since the forums are still the primary hub for everyone, while Discord is...I guess separate but...not?...to the forums, similar to how Skype groups were years ago.
 

seaturtle

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Manual approval means that banned users and bots are unable to get into the server without a staff member manually approving it. Can someone lie and get through anyways? Yes, but if they go to cause trouble right then a staff member is there because they had to approve them anyways. The option for automatic role assigning could be used for the current system, but I think that the inconvenience of manual roles instead of automatic ones is minimal.

I feel like any sort of compromise between keeping warnings separate and using the forum warning system for both is getting too complicated, which is something you said yourself we should try to avoid. With how minimal warnings have been between both the forums and the Discord, I feel like using the forum system is easiest, has multiple benefits (keeps everything tied to the forums which is our primary platform, allows for scaling punishments based on infractions, great functionality for record keeping, etc.), and has no major drawbacks.
 

Thundawave

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Ninja'd by Bubba, but I still have a little more to add.

When it comes to verification, we actually did have a case where having the setting was critical - a permanently banned user attempted to join the server a few months ago. If we had auto-assignment on, the situation would have become many times messier. Plus the speed at which people currently join is slow enough for us to handle. It's not difficult for us to go in and add the role.
 

Felly

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Okay, hi, gonna drop some thoughts here.

Discord rules and forum rules don't have to be the same, but should be similar. That is, there should be similarities, but they don't have to be exactly the same. The warning system should probably be the same, for the sake of simplicity and not confusing people, but I think there can be some variation in rules. Since it's a live chat, I think it can be a little more lax compared to the forums.

Forum staff should be willing to moderate Discord. I get Discord may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I feel like everyone on staff, currently and in the future, should be willing to moderate the chat. I've thought about it a bit, and I don't think a Discord exclusive staff team would really work here. (This is probably different from my earlier stance when I was chatting on Discord, but I've been doing some thinking since then too.) On a site the size of Marilland, staff should be able to focus on their strengths when it comes to moderating, but they should also be able to fill the gaps elsewhere too, whether it be on the forums or on Discord. With a smaller staff team, this is probably gonna be a pain in the ass since there's not as many people to do stuff, but I trust that there's gonna be new faces on staff eventually to help do stuff and it won't be as stressful when there's more people to divide the work up among. Thankfully, the chat hasn't needed too much moderating, at least from what I've seen, so honestly, as long as y'all are responsive when there's actual issues, then I think it'll be fine.

Roles on Discord. I don't think any additional roles, other than what we currently have, are really necessary imo. I know the server is open to anyone joining, regardless of whether or not they're forum members too, but I haven't seen too many people who are on the Discord that aren't also on the forums. They might be more active on one or the other, but it seems like most people, if not everyone, is on the forums and on Discord. That said, this isn't something I'm really gonna be fussy about either way, so if people want a role for members, then go for it.

Staff participation. This is a biggie for me, tbh. I'm not gonna say y'all have to participate on Discord 24/7 or whatever, but I feel like one of the best ways for a staff member to get to know the community is to talk to them and find where the people's interests lie. Get to know the people in the community. I love smaller communities like this because you can get to know the staff and the staff have the opportunity to get to know the members. I hate the idea of staff being disconnected from the community, and that's not something I want to see here. Even playing games with other people on the forums can really make a difference. And plus it helps for bringing suggestions to the table because I feel like people have a tendency to raise issues with staff when they know them rather than if the staff is just there doing all the work and never playing and being dull boys and girls. When I was staff in the last community I was a part of, my friends who weren't staff would approach me with stuff to bring to the attention of staff or just to discuss forum matters with me to see if it was even worth making a whole topic out of it, and it actually helped a lot because sometimes it was stuff I didn't even see myself because even though my friends and I shared interests, they also had interests in areas where I wasn't so interested and therefore didn't pay as much attention to. Staff has their strengths and weaknesses, and so do the members. Sometimes even the members can help fill the gaps that staff can't fill, so long as you're willing to listen to them.

I think I pretty much hit everything I wanted to hit, but if I think of anything else, I'm sure I'll be back. I hope I didn't offend anyone with anything I said; that wasn't my intent, but I apologize if I did. I think ultimately, however, a lot of this issue may be resolved by simply hiring more staff, even if at least one of them has Discord as one of their strengths, and it'll lessen the workload for the people currently on staff as it is. At the end of the day, I think everyone here is doing a great job, and this is just a little bump in the road that we'll get across together.
 

Varhii

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I feel a lot of my points have already been addressed here due to me being involved in the discord conversation as the topic emerged. I feel our community is in a relatively unique position when it comes to this as we're less two communities on two platforms and more two communities on one. As much as I joke that I and many others have no forum presence, we are still present on the forums a fair amount to the point where while our activity may be surprising compared to our forum output, if someone has been around for a bit before joining the discord, they will likely recognize most of us.

Anyway, onto a position that I feel is relatively unique compared to the rest of the community. Before I came back during the summer of last year, I had bopped around on various communities that I am still involved in to one degree or another. The notable thing about this is that I got involved in various chatrooms, especially on Pokemon Showdown. Looking at the OU Room, while more mod work is definitely needed in there compared to our discord server, there are currently 8 people with power in some form or another on during the time (1:30 A.M. EST) of this writing. Even if they aren't actively participating in the discussion, it does prevent tehre from being chaos as there is rarely a time when mods aren't around. While our discord is more civil, if we have any intentions to grow we need to have at least a cycle of mods that are overall on for most of the day.

I think that hiring mods willing to be an active presence on discord is probably the way to go to help this. That way they can still have a forum background and we don't have an issue with a split staff and possibly split community. As I said most everything has been covered, and after reading through the mod application thing, most of my **** has been addressed.
 

~Kilza~

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So I wanna add my own thoughts to this, even if it is covering a lot of what's already been said. With the Discord rules, it's weird when you think about it. So we have the forum staff who have to remember and deal with the forum rules. But then the forum staff also have to remember and deal with Discord rules??? It's a very weird disconnect that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Like I think there needs to be a consistency with this. Either you have a Discord staff and Discord rules that are separate from the forums, or you have forums staff and forums rules on the Discord server. And then that ends up leading to the question of whether or not the Discord servers are an extension of the forums, or if they're their own separate entity with a loose connection to the forums, since that basically affects the way we need to go with this.

Like, for me, I think of the Discord server as an extension of the forums, so it'd make more sense to have forum rules (where applicable) applied to the Discord server, with the forum staff in charge of policing it. I feel like it makes sense as well since there's a huge overlap between people on the forums and people on the Discord server, so it doesn't make sense that somebody could break a rule on Discord and not have it apply on the forums and vice versa. Obviously somebody who's just in the Discord server would face the whole "3 strikes" thing, but if they joined the forums any sort of strikes would get carried over. Obviously the warnings would need to be logged in an appropriate manner so all staff are aware of any warnings that do happen. But on top of that, there also does need to be a framework and consistency for how the warnings are issued on Discord (and the forums in general of course), since you want to make sure all cases are handled in the same and that things are fair in all instances. Because reading this definitely makes me go "uhhh that's not a good sign of the staff being organized":
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.

So now staff presence on Discord. Like, there's just 4 staff now, so let's just key in on that. Out of the four, Bubba's the most active and definitely has the biggest presence. After that, it does drop off a bit, but I'd say AT has a decent amount of activity, then he's followed up by Regine, where I think Regine would be more active if she was less busy with school. Then Rin kinda just doesn't exist on Discord outside of sometimes posting news/announcements.

So, yeah, that's kinda problematic when it looks like it's just one main guy (Bubba) running the show on Discord. I do agree that you can't just push or force staff members to be more active, though. While it's a bad look to not be active since (as I said above) the Discord server is an extension of the forums and it can come across as not being active in the community if you're not chatting on Discord, you can't exactly rake them over the coals if they're active on the forums. Combining with my thinking from above, the best idea to this problem is to just bring in at least 2-3 more people on staff who are active on Discord. With the size of the server and forums, it feels like 4-5 active staff on Discord should be enough? But that's a discussion that's better left with the staff to figure out.

Now onto the idea that a rift exists between staff and members. It feels this gets brought up again and again and again. The fact this is still an issue is very concerning, since it means that despite it always getting brought up it still hasn't been solved. It really shouldn't be an "us vs them" kinda mentality. We're a community, we need to be able to work together. Like, I do feel sorry for the staff. Like, it's a tough and often thankless job. It's not fun to get mostly criticized time after time with little to no praise going your way. Like, if a staff member decided they had enough of the criticism and it was affecting them negatively to the point they quit because their mental health was suffering because of it, would I blame them? No. Of course not. But it's definitely on all of us, staff and members, to find a way to make things better and patch that rift up.

Last thing from my own thoughts is that it was inevitable that we'd have more staff brought in since we were just at 4, but my hope is that the people who are brought in to be staff don't just solve the whole "Discord on staff" issue but are able to help repair that rift that exists between staff and members on top of improving the community in general. We need people who still have the members interests in mind and are still able to communicate with the community even when given extra responsibility, not just hide away because "well I have this power and I'm in the inner circle no need to pay attention to anybody else". New blood allows for new ideas, a new way of thinking, a new way of handling things. It also helps to lessen the load on the current staff, who I imagine are overtaxed with the amount of work they have to do to make up for the smaller staff size.

Hopefully I managed to cover everything I wanted to here. I'll also make note that having Members split into "Forum Members" and "Visitors" is a good idea just because that'd allow for the staff to more easily track whether or not somebody's on the forums in Discord.
 
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