The MUD Connector

General Category => General Discussion => Topic started by: Molly on February 24, 2018, 8:56 AM

Title: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Molly on February 24, 2018, 8:56 AM
Even though there is generally a consensus among the Mods about what to do, when posters are acting inappropriately, it sometimes takes too long to reach that consensus, due to our different Timezones.

I think it would be helpful if there was a tool that might stop a thread from spinning out of control, while still being so minimally obtrusive to the target, that a single moderator on line would feel that they could use it, without first consulting the others.

What I am proposing is a tool called Time_Out, (which is sometimes used in Swedish schools to put a temporary halt to someone with ADH-like behavior). It's meant to give the person time to cool off, while at the same time relieving the rest of public from having to tolerate it.
 
What Time_Out would do is a temporary and very short ban, lasting perhaps 12 or 24 hours, (or even shorter). During that time the affected poster would be stopped from posting on any boards, while still being able to read everything, and to use the Private Message function. If two posters are acting out against each other, because of personal issues, (which is too often the case), both of them should be affected by the Time_out.

This is something that probably would need assistance from Icculus, since it should be totally automated, so that there would be no need for anyone to keep track of the time when the restriction should be lifted again.

So what do you guys think about it? Is it something that could be acceptable for the community?
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: sazxe on February 24, 2018, 10:28 AM
Timed suspensions have been a feature on forums for decades so whatever but lol that this forum software didn't already have it. That's TMC for you.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Tijer on February 24, 2018, 2:01 PM
As far as im aware SMF (which the forums code here is based on) has timed suspensions (except they are called bans) What i think Molly is requesting is some kind of function that pretty much sets the user in read only mode.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Thraxian on February 24, 2018, 2:05 PM
I am in support of a "time out" moderator action, and I agree that automating the release of the time out is critical to its success.

In re-reading my post in the other moderation topic (http://www.mudconnect.com/SMF/index.php?topic=81200.msg215010#msg215010), I had approached the idea of a "time out" from a topic-based mute, rather than a user-based one.  I believe that a user-based "time out" would likely be a more effective measure.  Nice thinking!
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Drizzt1216 on February 24, 2018, 2:21 PM
As far as im aware SMF (which the forums code here is based on) has timed suspensions (except they are called bans) What i think Molly is requesting is some kind of function that pretty much sets the user in read only mode.

Read-only is what all bans should be IMO, it's pretty silly that on many forum implementations when banned you need to logout to read the forums.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Tijer on February 24, 2018, 2:43 PM
As far as im aware SMF (which the forums code here is based on) has timed suspensions (except they are called bans) What i think Molly is requesting is some kind of function that pretty much sets the user in read only mode.

Read-only is what all bans should be IMO, it's pretty silly that on many forum implementations when banned you need to logout to read the forums.

The reason for that is most forums expect you to log in to actually be able to read the threads.  Ofcourse most these days let people view them without logging in, but thats why!
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Hades_Kane on February 24, 2018, 4:16 PM
I'm fine with such a feature.  Not real particular on what the specifics of it may be... seems like there's really only 1 or 2 ways to implement such a thing.

I also think that perhaps the semantics of "a 24 hour ban" vs a "time out" would be part of the reason to have something new added.  I would probably go a bit further and call it a "posting cooldown" or similar since the connotations of a "time out" (at least in the US) could easily be taken as a condescending "you're acting like a child, so here's a time out" means.  Cooldown being a bit of a gaming term wouldn't hurt, either.  I know I'm arguing semantics here, but whatever, I think it would matter in the heat of an argument where tempers may be inflamed and that people being restricted from posting may react better to getting a "cooldown period" vs a "time out" or a "temporary ban".
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Ateraan on February 24, 2018, 10:55 PM
The biggest problem I see with "time out" is what happened during the last plethora of negative posts I saw several posts shut down before a response could be given and they were shut down allowing the final post to be from someone extremely toxic leaving their post as the final one. This happened multiple times leaving the "last word" poorly spoken.

I can see this happening again with the "time out" which will effectively nullify the one sent to time out from responding. While you might say, "they deserved it" and you might be right, however, this will be a subjective decision and if it is similar to the locked threads I can see some real problems.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Teryel on February 25, 2018, 1:59 AM
The biggest problem I see with "time out" is what happened during the last plethora of negative posts I saw several posts shut down before a response could be given and they were shut down allowing the final post to be from someone extremely toxic leaving their post as the final one. This happened multiple times leaving the "last word" poorly spoken.

I can see this happening again with the "time out" which will effectively nullify the one sent to time out from responding. While you might say, "they deserved it" and you might be right, however, this will be a subjective decision and if it is similar to the locked threads I can see some real problems.

So you're saying it's important that you be able to get the "last word"?

At least he's honest about that I guess.

But if you put any thought into this, what-so-ever, you'd see that a time_out would be exactly the opposite of what you're saying. Because if it's people being toxic that are being put in time out, then people being toxic aren't going to be able to get the "last word" as you seem to be so concerned with. Additionally, if the mods are only putting people who break the rules in timeout or what-have-you, then it's not "subjective" that they deserved it, it's "objective".

However, maybe after a time out, they can come back with something more calm and constructive to say. Unless they're tweaked out of shape at being given the timeout in the first place. To whit I agree with what Hades_Kane says, and that "cooldown" is a bit better terminology.

Also, if you REALLY want to help keep people from getting ticked off, I would suggest putting exactly what rule is being broken when the cooldown, or ban even, is delivered. I have honestly and sincerely asked for what rule I was breaking in the past, and not been given an answer. This breeds attitudes of being picked on, bullied, or singled out. It's also why unilateral enforcement of the rules is important.

Point being, a cooldown, if used poorly, has a chance of escalating a situation, rather than having its intended effect.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Molly on February 25, 2018, 7:00 AM
I also think that perhaps the semantics of "a 24 hour ban" vs a "time out" would be part of the reason to have something new added.  I would probably go a bit further and call it a "posting cooldown" or similar since the connotations of a "time out" (at least in the US) could easily be taken as a condescending "you're acting like a child, so here's a time out" means.  Cooldown being a bit of a gaming term wouldn't hurt, either.  I know I'm arguing semantics here, but whatever, I think it would matter in the heat of an argument where tempers may be inflamed and that people being restricted from posting may react better to getting a "cooldown period" vs a "time out" or a "temporary ban".

Being Swedish I am not great at semantics, as I already stated. :)

I agree that the term Time_out brings out the image of a petulant child, (and to be totally honest, that has been the image in my head sometimes, when some posters go off at each other).
However, it's contra-productive to tick people off unnecessarily, so I agree the term Cool_down is definitely a better choice.

I still believe that having the possibility to put some posters on a pause, when things get overheated, would be a good thing. Hopefully, like someone already pointed out, they could use the pause time to work a bit more on the wording of their next post, instead of just hitting the send button, while temper still is running hot.

It was encouraging to learn that Cool_down is a common tool in many other Discussion Fora, that might make it easíer to implemen here, since the code for it obviously already exists. Maybe someone could provide it for us?
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Epilogy on February 25, 2018, 6:24 PM
Being Swedish I am not great at semantics

Sorry to aside, but are Swedes as good at MUDs as Koreans are at SC2?

It's just a pattern I've noticed, or sheer coincidence :|
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Tavilyn on February 25, 2018, 10:05 PM
I generally like this idea.

If the word "timeout" is not preferred - and I can see the argument as to why, honestly - why not just call it a mute? You've been muted; you're free to read whatever you want, but you can't speak. This is what most MUDs and other such things tend to call it. Either that, or nochannel, but that wouldn't really apply here.

I like the concept though. Sometimes a person's actions are such that they need to be dealt with, but it can be inferred that if they're allowed to calm down, then escalation won't occur and further troubling behaviour won't be forthcoming from that incident. I approve.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Ateraan on February 26, 2018, 4:16 AM
The proper word would be suspension. The time frame can be any amount the Moderators think is correct. 2 hours suspension, 8 hour, 24, 48, 1 week, etc.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Teryel on February 26, 2018, 4:48 AM
The proper word would be suspension. The time frame can be any amount the Moderators think is correct. 2 hours suspension, 8 hour, 24, 48, 1 week, etc.

The proper word is whatever the moderators decide it is. Suspension sounds like you've moved up from kindergarten to jr high. Shall we call a permanent ban an expulsion?
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Ateraan on February 26, 2018, 5:08 AM
The proper word is whatever the moderators decide it is. Suspension sounds like you've moved up from kindergarten to jr high. Shall we call a permanent ban an expulsion?
Suspension is the term used in most office environments, law enforcement, and websites where you are banned for a time. Ban is long term, suspension is short term.  I feel it is the proper term for this action, though I'm not a big fan of bans or suspensions except in the most extreme cases.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Teryel on February 26, 2018, 5:35 AM
The proper word is whatever the moderators decide it is. Suspension sounds like you've moved up from kindergarten to jr high. Shall we call a permanent ban an expulsion?
Suspension is the term used in most office environments, law enforcement, and websites where you are banned for a time. Ban is long term, suspension is short term.  I feel it is the proper term for this action, though I'm not a big fan of bans or suspensions except in the most extreme cases.

Except in office environments and law enforcement, you don't get banned, you get fired. Also, I've never seen a website use 'suspension'. Not saying it doesn't happen, I just usually see 'ban' used, for varying durations.

In this case, however, I think putting it in the context of 'cooldown' says to the user "Look, you're not exactly in trouble, but it looks like you need to step back and chill out. Do that, come back, and try again, and we're all cool." Less punitive and more focused on keeping people a part of the community.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Tavilyn on February 26, 2018, 10:12 AM
If we were talking about a short ban - i.e., you couldn't access the forum at all - then suspension might work.
But we're talking about an inability to speak, not an inability to access the forums entirely. This means that there is a fair difference between what you'd want to call a suspension, and a ban. They're different actions for different reasons.
Someone who's suspended, in a law-enforcement or office environment, is usually unable to do that job pending investigation or whatever. That's not the case here.

That said, they can call this whatever they want. I like either mute or cooldown, and as stated before, I approve of the notion entirely.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Hades_Kane on February 26, 2018, 11:10 AM
My bad for bringing up the semantics of the term...

Let's just move away from that before we have pages of people arguing over a damn word.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Molly on February 26, 2018, 11:15 AM
The proper word would be suspension. The time frame can be any amount the Moderators think is correct. 2 hours suspension, 8 hour, 24, 48, 1 week, etc.

The proper word is whatever the moderators decide it is. Suspension sounds like you've moved up from kindergarten to jr high. Shall we call a permanent ban an expulsion?

Obviously the wording matters, because of the associations it gives.
So "TimeOut" brings up the image of a kid throwing a tantrum while "Suspension" gives associations to Junior High school kids playing havoc.

This actually brought me back in time to the first Mud that I ever played, years and years ago.
So allow me to go off topic for a short while, with an anecdote from that time in my mudding career:


I was a total newbie to muds, and a bit older than the average player, (who back then usually was a 15-year old male highschool kid). I fell instantly in love with the genre, and very soon took a lot of place in the game, being a general Troublemaker, manipulating people, being very vocal, and mostly ignoring whatever rules there were, because they just appeared stupid to me. As a result the staff had to use every punishment available against me, alternately muting, freezing and banning me.

The game had three imps, one of whom was female. I pretty soon became very friendly with the first male imp, and I totally loather the second, (female) one. The feeling was very mutual, and she was the one usually banning me. Then the first imp usually lifted the ban, as soon as he got on line.

The third imp I actually respected, because he always stayed calm, and never was provoked, whatever antics I threw.
I remember telling him once: "I resent being treated like an immature teenager".
And I'll never forget his cool answer: "Then don't act like one."

I am not going to claim that I became an exemplary player after that. But at least it made me think a bit longer, before I threw the next tantrum.   :)

So, back to topic:
There seems to be a general consensus that a short muting period might be beneficial to the discussions.

I believe there is also a consensus about the best term for it being "Cool-Off".
So, are we ready to bring this to the next step, which would be to ask Iccy whether it can be implemented?
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Hades_Kane on February 26, 2018, 11:49 AM
Quote
So, are we ready to bring this to the next step, which would be to ask Iccy whether it can be implemented?

Yes.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Hades_Kane on February 26, 2018, 6:00 PM
Ok, update from Icculus... if anyone is familiar with SMF plugins/mods and could help with such a feature, and/or if such a plugin exists out there in the wild somewhere and we could be pointed in such a direction, then we can move forward with such an addition.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Thraxian on February 27, 2018, 2:15 AM
HK - It looks like the ability to put a "cannot post" ban with an expiration (possibly a 1 day minimum) is already part of SMF 1.1 and SMF 2.0:
https://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/SMF1.1:Ban_list

I also found a custom mod to display to the banned user when the ban will be lifted:
http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=2103

Something else I found that might be applicable deals with setting up warning levels for users.  Users can be assigned warning points when they make posts in violation of the rules (or spirit) of the forums.  Once a user accrues enough warning points, they are added to a watch list for easier moderation.  Further escalation may cause all posts by that user to require approval before being made public, or can even apply a mute that will stay in effect until their points decrease.  There is also an automatic function to reduce user's warning points daily by a certain amount, which may provide the desired cool-down period being discussed.
https://wiki.simplemachines.org/smf/SMF2.0:Security_and_Moderation#Moderation

Without knowing what version of SMF we are running at TMC, I don't know if either of these apply, but maybe these links will help?
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Drizzt1216 on February 27, 2018, 2:20 AM
Without knowing what version of SMF we are running at TMC, I don't know if either of these apply, but maybe these links will help?

Bottom left of the site shows that information:  SMF 2.0.4 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Thraxian on February 27, 2018, 2:25 AM
Bottom left of the site shows that information:  SMF 2.0.4 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines

Oddly enough, I'm not seeing that. I see the TMC copyright, but nothing about SMF version.  I even searched the page for the words "SMF", and it doesn't show up.  I'm using the http://www.mudconnect.com/SMF/ url.  Maybe another URL or a mobile version might have a different display that doesn't include the TMC site wrapper?

Thanks for the information about the version, though.  Using 2.x means that many of the items I referenced in my earlier post should be available. Hooray!
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Drizzt1216 on February 27, 2018, 2:29 AM
It might depend on what theme we're both using, not sure, but it shows there for me at least, hadn't realized it might not for everyone else.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Hades_Kane on February 27, 2018, 2:30 AM
Bottom left of the site shows that information:  SMF 2.0.4 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines

Oddly enough, I'm not seeing that. I see the TMC copyright, but nothing about SMF version.  I even searched the page for the words "SMF", and it doesn't show up.  I'm using the http://www.mudconnect.com/SMF/ url.  Maybe another URL or a mobile version might have a different display that doesn't include the TMC site wrapper?

Thanks for the information about the version, though.  Using 2.x means that many of the items I referenced in my earlier post should be available. Hooray!

Bottom of the forum says this:

SMF 2.0.4 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Thraxian on February 27, 2018, 2:52 AM
I believe you.  Honest!

I just checked - I'm using the "Forum or Board Default" theme (the dark one), and it doesn't show.  If I use the TMC theme (the light one), that line appears at the bottom.  So there you go.  The TMC2013 theme (also dark) doesn't show it, but it appears all the other ones (Glacier 2, Back n Black, and CoalBlack) do.  Oversight, perhaps?

Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Drizzt1216 on February 27, 2018, 2:59 AM
Ahh, I'm using Coalblack, I thought that was the default as I didn't remember changing it. I guess I did.
Title: Re: A proposal for a new Moderator tool - Time_out
Post by: Ateraan on February 27, 2018, 4:18 AM
So, back to topic:
There seems to be a general consensus that a short muting period might be beneficial to the discussions.

I believe there is also a consensus about the best term for it being "Cool-Off".
So, are we ready to bring this to the next step, which would be to ask Iccy whether it can be implemented?
Hate the cool-off term but that is just me. I also hate the term "cool-down" when it comes to using powers in a game because it sounds so meta-gamish in an rp enforced game.

I hesitate on the usage of a mute for moderators as I think it will be used too often and too quickly and ruin the flow of argument. I already think we are getting to a point of warning too often over minimal issues. For example the wiping of a bunch of posts in one of these threads recently that basically killed the thread. Yes, some of the posts weren't constructive, but it wasn't that bad either.