Please do not merge this thread with the PvP subforum culture thread. This is a specific proposal for a solution which I feel deserves to be responded to separately from the general culture discussion.
Originally Posted by pwebranflakes
The major concern I have is opening up those players to the "PvP" that goes on in this forum lol. It's like a warzone in here; there is so much rule-breaking going on and players are constantly are being trolled and harassed -- it's really unfortunate that a few individuals are ruining it for the rest of those who like to use this forum and provide constructive (positive or negative), civil feedback. I've been working on a thread that I've been wanting to post in here that comes from the heart as a fellow player, as well as the Community Manager. I'm hoping to have it posted soon. Basically, the trolling and harassing has to stop -- it's not good for the community, and it really doesn't help the cause.
You want to clean this place up, so let me propose an idea that's been brought up before and shot down repeatedly.
I. The Problem
First, here's how things stand:
1. Commit infraction.
2. Get banned.
3. Make new account.
How can you expect people to think twice about flaming when this is all they have to do? Unless I've got a guide or something that I want to update I really don't care about access to my forum account.
II. Change 1/2: Forum Reputation
So, the much hated idea of a reputation system. Positive reputation could be handed out for posts which are accurate and helpful, particularly for being helpful to new players. Negative reputation could be given for posts which are inaccurate or rude. It is not a popularity contest, neg rep is not to be given out simply because you disagree with someone, nor should positive rep be given because somebody is funny. Rep would be attached to the post, and posts which generate neg rep can be automatically sent to mods for review.
The big argument against it is that it can be "gamed" like anything else. A few steps to prevent this are:
1. You can only pos/neg so many times a day.
2. You can only pos/neg the same person once before spreading it around x number of times.
3. Neg rep must be appealable and reviewable by mods. Given rep can be appealed and neg rep must be justified when giving it by choosing why it is given from a list of choices or entering text. Moderators can then quickly check the content of the post which generated it to see if the rep was properly handed out.
4. New accounts must wait a certain amount of time before they can pos and must receive an amount of pos rep before they can hand out neg rep.
This is pretty much exactly how DDO forums works, so I know it can be done.
There will always be people who inflate their rep through whatever means, but this actually means the rep they have is important enough to them to keep them from committing bannable offenses.
IIa. Why this would lessen flaming
People around here object to factual mistakes being spread. Nothing irritates a min/max'er more than somebody posting advice for new players that is wrong. Currently, when somebody says to me that I'm an idiot because DC's and DHC's do the same dps and I don't know what I'm talking about, it degenerates into a "No, you!" argument. On a long enough timeline the people who don't know what they're talking about will have a bad reputation and the helpful tinkerers who post what actually goes on will have a good reputation. When somebody show up in a thread trotting out the same old inaccuracies their reputation will speak for itself and others will be less likely to flame them.
Perma-bans should be exceedingly rare. The only carrot you have is the ability to edit past posts, be it for guides or personal data tracking, whatever.
III. Change 2/2: No Holds Barred Forum
You need an NHB sub-forum. Not just 10 forward, but a place that is basically unmoderated. It can come with a warning that nobody should be taken seriously and forum goers enter at their own risk. Short of crimes against general human decency, people should be allowed to vent and say whatever they want. If people are pissed because a certain gameplay element is/isn't receiving dev attention they should be allowed to go into the padded soundproof room of the NHB forum and rant away. Then you have a place to move posts like that from the general forums to keep them clean. If two people want to have a personal forum PvP send the thread there. It can go on as long as it wants, it just ceases to be relevant.
I know this NHB forum might sound a little too chaotic, but hear me out. If people are arguing about how a game mechanic works and somebody tosses a neg rep a moderator can look at the post. If it's factually inaccurate then job done, neg rep was appropriate, the system is working. If it's simply a matter of "Your build is garbage, mine is better" and epeens are hauled out to be measured then it can be sent to the NHB forum. Neg rep can be removed by the mods since it was not measurably incorrect but the conversation still doesn't get to go on in polite company.
Originally Posted by pwebranflakes
I'm primarily talking about how some individuals are treating other individuals in this forum. As you can see from the threads that are still available to post in, there are many, many threads that include "negativity" or "hostility" towards changes, additions, design decisions etc. -- after all, this is a feedback forum where all types of feedback are welcome. It's the objectionable and vulgar material/ content, the harassing comments, the name calling, and the flaming and trolling that's the problem. The moment the feedback crosses into those lines, it's not okay.
IV. Skeptic provocateurs as resources
Bran, let me describe a certain type of person, of which there have been a handful in these forums. Min/max'er is a good starting place to describe them. They tinker, they try things, they record logs, they run calculations to figure out how the game code and engine behave. They are skeptics in the purest sense, they go after knowledge through systematic doubt and continual testing. They spread their knowledge as well, usually in lengthy articles or even massive number crunching and helpful graphs.
Now, some of these people are dispassionate, but most apply themselves to their investigations of this game because they have genuine passion for STO. They also have a passion for hard numbers, which they see as the truth. When more casual players post information that is incorrect and no recourse is available, i.e. a rep system, these skeptics deal harshly with them. Then, they are seen as the troublemaker and banned when they are in fact a resource that needs to be utilized.
If somebody understands this game well enough to write a guide, post a video demonstrating a broken mechanic, or provide graphs of combat logs they should be have the developers' ear. The developers built the casino, but Rain Man is counting cards and cleaning it out. The difference is, if you ask him he'll tell you how to make the game better for everybody.
Consider the developer, who understands what he is trying to accomplish and creates something to do so. That creation will always carry some preconceived ideas, a cognitive bias, for the creator. When the creation hits the real world, acts and is acted upon by a myriad of other things, the skeptic observes.
Cultivate these devoted skeptics, recognize their contributions, side with them when they are correct, be intolerant of the proliferation of misinformation, and they will behave. Give them a forum tag if they make a good guide, and take them onto test servers to break things before they go live.