The Iron Boot
Join Date: Jun 2006
Re: HOS VI: Whn's the end of trolling?
All right. I don't proclaim to speak for the team, but here's what I have to say, and I hope I don't have to say this anymore.
In the past, there had been many incidents where tempers flared, discussions went out of topic, names were called and people started flaming one another. Warnings were issued, bans were imposed, threads were locked (and reopened, and in some circumstances, locked again) and the mods also had to debate among themselves about the actions taken.
We try to keep the forum in control as much as we can, and the rules are there to ensure that forum users see some form of civility, order and courtesy in here.
We (or at least, I) do not like banning anybody - giving out warnings is very much preferred, and we hope that you would take those warnings seriously. We believe in giving second chances (except to blatant spammers and spambots which will be eliminated on sight), and if you don't commit the same offence again, you're pretty much in the clear.
Now, in the past, as I said, discussions went out of topic, tempers flared and some users got overwhelmed by their emotions. Names were called, and quite a few specifically wanted shuwenteo to be banned.
But shuwenteo wasn't the only problem. The fact is that some forum users exacerbated the situation by responding negatively - with one user even stating that there is no point standing on a moral high ground - and then it became a tit-for-tat activity, with shuwenteo lashing out at other users, and other users lashing back. Some of us mods (especially those with cooler heads) saw personal attacks being bounced back and forth.
So what do we do? Shuwenteo is not well liked at this point, and she seemed to be the source for the mess that we were in, but the users who worsened the situation were also equally guilty for playing the game. If we were going to ban one, we would also have to ban the other(s).
Therefore, without anyone being banned, it was thought best that everyone be given a second chance and that we all start from a clean ground. However, some users apparently still bear a grudge against shuwenteo (which, I concede, that you have the right to personally bear), and started to post rather sarcastic responses in some of shuwenteo's threads which would potentially elicit another form of trouble.
This does not help the moderators. The best way to help the mods build a case is to report an offensive post, or one that violates the rules. To lash back at the perpetrator is a very poor way of getting your hopes fulfilled; it only helps to build a case against you.
I agree with ayjiahui that there are too many variables, too many people for the "walk away" concept to be effective. But, consider this - it's almost always the same users who play the same game. I appreciate that some of you take the time to post well-researched replies (and for the record, I approve of such replies), but when an individual insists on not engaging with you on a constructive level, you are not obliged to continue. The problem surfaces when one obliges with that individual and starts to let their emotions consume themselves.
The fact is that going out of topic is not an offence that warrants a ban according to the rules (at least, not now - but it's not prudent to believe that we are not considering it). It's irritating, I know, but the least we could do is to try to bring the topic back to its course, and the most we could do is to clean up the thread (like what vseehua did).
Whenever something goes out of hand, the mods would come together to evaluate the situation. I concede that the forum rules are not perfect - no law ever is. There are bound to be loopholes somewhere, and we are not happy about people taking advantage of the loopholes all the time as well, therefore we come together and discuss some of these issues to determine whether we have a strong ground to remove a user from ReCom. Often, we end up with a similar "ban one, ban all" situation.
None of us mods are complaining, but we hope that you can understand that our job isn't easy. When something doesn't happen, we are accused of not doing our job. However, if and when we do take action against somebody, we risk being accused to be not objective and not impartial. We want to be fair, we have to consider all factors and we want to play by the rules. Otherwise, it will be a free-for-all.
The point is that we have to reflect on our actions and acknowledge that at some point of time, we contributed to a mess. It doesn't matter who started it - the perpetrator and the people who may inadvertently join in the game are just as guilty for contributing to the mess. And just as recent as a few days ago, an inflammatory post against shuwenteo was reported. See, this kind of behaviour doesn't help the mods - it only aggravates matters.
I'm not saying that shuwenteo is in the right, or that she's an angel. No, not at all. But for those of you who have a personal resentment against her, openly treating her with ill will and lack of diplomacy in ReCom does not motivate us mods to take action against her (the inflammatory post being the case).
We want you to discuss and debate matters, and we are only too happy to see ideas and opinions being thrown in and out. Personally, I am immensely impressed by the level of wisdom that many of you have portrayed. I am convinced that many of you are so much wiser than I am. Many of you have the capability to find loopholes that I have to analyze things and word my sentences so carefully and so meticulously (yet you can still find loopholes). I commend you for your ability to think critically.
Having said that, if somebody doesn't play by the rules, surely you'd know better than to engage in the same game.
We are not trying to kill the spirit of the forum. We are trying to have a control over a situation before they go haywire.