Labor Day 2014 Forum Restructuring

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Zachary

𝓡oyal 𝓜ango 𝓒réme Frappuccino Survivor
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Sep 23, 2009
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So the last month or so has been, well, interesting. One of our three admins quit, a small portion of our community decided that staff was made up of tyrannical dictators, and the colorful language discussion boiled over into quite the colorful mess. All of these things lead to Gavin and I making some sweeping, long-overdue forum changes. Each of the changes are listed below in order of how notably they will affect day to day operations.


The Rules

For a very long time now the forum rules have been an excessively wordy, unreadable mess. This morning the forum rules were 1,182 words long. Today, we're proud to announce that ParkFans's new forum rules are less than 300 words long. Instead of running through everything, I'd highly recommend you all just take a few moments to read them, here.

As many of you have likely never actually read the previous forum rules (I can't really blame you honestly), I figure I should highlight today's most notable changes:
  1. The "Useless nonsense" rule has been abolished
  2. The "NSFW" rule has been replaced with a rule banning specifically pornagraphy
  3. The "Illegal activity" rule has been clarified to ban only the advocating of illegal activity
  4. The "Excessive strong language" rule is no more
As you can see from the list above, there's a common theme that runs between all of these changes: Removing any sort of uncertainty. For a while now, Nicole has been very vocal in private staff discussions about being fed up with the site's vague, confusing, and oftentimes meaningless set of rules. Nicole, having been put in a position requiring her to enforce them on a daily basis, can personally attest to the messy situations that have sprung up as a result.

Gavin, Nicole, and I had a general idea of where we all wanted to take the rules and, in hopes that we could iron everything out, decided to meet in person last week. At this meeting we made unanimous decisions on all of the major changes listed above. Naturally though, given how much controversy it has caused as of late, I need to specifically address the excessive strong language rule.

Throughout the site's history, staff has never been able to come together on a language rule. Conflicting opinions have been batted back and forth constantly for years yet we've never managed to come to any suitable conclusion. Last week Nicole, Gavin, and I sat down completely resolved to make a decision one way or the other. After taking into account the poll results, the arguments on either side, and the controversy involved with enforcing a theoretical rule banning it, we concluded that allowing strong language was the best course of action. While we all agree that we'd like to see its use limited greatly by those utilizing colorful language in their posts, we also agreed that banning it created countless gray areas that we weren't comfortable navigating. Those concerns, alongside the results of the poll, led us to removing the previous rule altogether.


Moderators

Along with the site's unclear rules, we had another problem: There were simply too many hands in the kitchen. Rules were being crafted by disengaged staff who never actually had a hand in enforcing them, the standards were constantly being interpreted by different people in different ways, and there was never a "one size fits all" method for having a moderation decision reviewed.

After Shane quit, Gavin and I concluded that, given that each officially covered park has a park manager and PFN already has a rather robust post reporting system, moderators were largely unnecessary as long as we had an active and engaged park manager and admin team. With that in mind, we set out to fix the "engaged [...] admin team" issue. Fortunately, there was an easy solution that would give PFN an incredibly engaged admin and vacate the moderator position...


Nicole's Promotion to Admin

I can hear you all now: "If these changes are arranged in order from most to least consequential, why on earth is this the last point?!"

Well, honestly, as I'm sure anyone who browses regularly has noticed, Nicole has already been doing far more user-facing site work than anyone else on staff as of late. In a lot of ways, she has actually been filling admin shoes without the title for some time now. Because of that, when it comes to what you all will see, Nicole's role really hasn't changed at all.

At the end of the day, all this title change truly means is that she finally has a real say in the rules she (and the rest of staff) will be enforcing. That really only seems fair, no?
 
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