Proposal to Amend the PA Community Rules and Guidelines

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by nimzodragonlord, April 22, 2019.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. nimzodragonlord

    nimzodragonlord Member

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    84
    I will let my attached proposal speak for itself. However, I do want to mention that this thread should NOT be a place for discussing any previous administrative action, as that would be against the Community Rules. Instead, please focus on the contents of my proposed changes and voice any concerns relevant.

    Proposed Amendment to the Community Rules

    Overview: In light of recent events regarding administrative actions taken by PA Inc., I propose the following to be taken into consideration as potential amendments to PA’s official rules and guidelines:
    1. Clarification of where the Community Rules apply.
    2. The implementation of a warning system for first time offenders.
    3. A clear set of guidelines for moderators that explicitly states when bans are recommended to be used for administrative action.
    4. Clear communication of the duration of issued bans.
    5. The adoption of an appeals system by which administrative actions may be reviewed and either upheld or struck down.
    For context: In the last month, several members of the community have been banned, either temporarily or permanently. All of said bans are allowed according to the current Community Rules:

    Despite their validity, these administrative actions have not sat well with some members of the community. This has resulted in further bans, as discussing disciplinary actions violates the rules. Further stoking the confusion, nowhere in the Community Rules do they mention the boundaries of their jurisdiction. Many people, including myself, were under the impression that they were limited to activity on the official Discord server, the only place they are officially linked outside PA’s website itself and an obscure link in the Community Chat. This situation, though justified, has taken a toll on both the community and PA Inc., with community members feeling broadsided and PA Inc. wasting valuable development time dealing with frustrating moderation action. Thus, it stands to reason that measures should be taken to prevent future issues from arising as a result of these tensions or other necessary administrative decisions.

    With this in mind, I present some solutions. I will outline possible actions that could be taken to amend the Community Rules to create a better PA evironment.

    Proposal 1: It is fair to reason that many of the complications arising from recent administrative actions have stemmed from a fundamental misunderstanding of the current set of rules and where they apply. Understanding of the community rules by the PA community can be improved by increasing accessibility by displaying the link to the Community Rules more prominently in the main menu. Furthermore, I propose that an additional clause be added specifying where the Community Rules do and do not apply, e.g., the official Discord, in-game chat, etc. Steam’s Rules and Guidelines feature this sort of clause:

    This clause will clarify the scope of the Rules and Guidelines and create defined boundaries for the PA community, which is, after all, what rules are for.

    Proposal 2: Even with increased visibility of the rules, there will always be those who do not read them with due diligence, if at all. However, this should not be cause to remove them from the community, especially since their contributions are still valuable with such a small population. Thus, behavior that is in violation of the rules should be met with a warning as long as the individual does not have previous offenses. As Curse Web states in their article on Minecraft forum moderation, “warnings can be formal or informal.” An informal warning would not hurt the player’s record, serving instead as a way to inform the player of the Community Rules. A formal warning would go on the player’s record for consideration if future administrative actions are required. Using warnings, PA Inc. may consider implementing a “strike” system which would give clearer guidelines to the communities moderators and ultimately make their job easier.

    Proposal 3: A ban is the highest form of punishment in a game. It then follows that such actions should be taken sparingly. Take, for instance, the Great Debate Community which requires at least 3 rule infractions for a ban to be doled out by a moderator as well as the support of a fellow moderator. Their Moderator Guidelines provide a clear list of actions that may be taken against users who violate the rules. While PA Inc. may not adopt a carbon copy of these guidelines, as the GDC and PA communities are very different, I would encourage embracing a similar set of rules and guidelines for their moderators to ensure a fair and transparent use of bans, mutes, and other moderation tools.

    Additionally, transparency is difficult in regards to deleting content on forums and the discord. If clearly expressing the reason for removing said posts cannot be maintained on a case-by-case basis, I would at least propose that a discord bot be introduced to indicate the contents of any deleted message, so as to be fairly reviewed by other moderators.

    Proposal 4: This proposal can be addressed quite easily after the adoption of PANet and is simply a gesture of transparency on the part of PA Inc. With the current system, a player who has been banned is not notified of the duration of their ban which leaves them to wonder whether their ban is for just 48 hours or permanent. That sort of ambiguity can lead to outbursts which only escalate the situation, something neither the player nor the moderator wants. The simple addition of a timer to the ban message would remedy this problem.

    Proposal 5: Appeals are a standard feature of justice systems both on and offline. Reddit’s Guidelines for Healthy Communities articulates the importance of appeals quite effectively:

    The implementation of an appeals system may seem daunting for PA Inc., but the size of the community works to its advantage in this case. Appeals could be dealt with quickly and painlessly with the appointment of a moderator with the specific role of dealing with appeals. As long as this moderator is free to judge the moderation decisions of the other moderators, the appeals system could work freely and fairly. Alternatively, PA Inc. could leave appeals to the general community, with a quota of positive referrals required to overturn a moderation decision or a majority vote from appointed community counselors. The appeals system does not need to be extremely complex to function fairly, and it is something PA Inc. should consider including in the Rules and Guidelines.

    Conclusion: The recent tensions in the community regarding administrative actions is indicative of underlying problems in the framework of the Community Rules. If PA is to be the best community that it can be, measures should be taken swiftly to remedy these issues. These proposals are simply my attempt at facilitating positive change in the community, and I hope that PA Inc. can give them serious consideration.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: April 22, 2019
  2. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    That'd be the banned and their mates. Not exactly compelling stuff.

    Oh, God, stop. Tiny dramas, while important to the very small number of people involved in said tiny dramas, are utterly unknown to 99.99% of the user base. Everyone has their clique, and it's very easy for your horizons to expand no further than said clique, but do not fall into the trap of confusing your clique for the wider playerbase.

    "The community" doesn't feel anything; it's a collection of people with widely differing views. The community disagrees with you. Oh no, a paradox!
  3. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    143
    Nimzo sat down and put effort into making a constructive proposal. Scrutiny and dismissal of the concerns and contents of that proposal are not the proper way to address it.


    That'd be everyone who like that post. And a bunch more who are active on discord and steam more so than they are on the forums. Spoiler alert: the PA core community is tightly knit and everybody is "mates" with almost everybody else. Mod and map makers, forum posters, frequent lobby hosts, and the very active players. Those are names that the multiplayerplayer base interacts with. That is compelling stuff.



    Dismiss it as much as you want, but it has taken a toll. Community server violations and abuses became rampant, followed up by their (hopefully temporary) shutdown for the dedicated hosts. Just when they had become so popular that sometimes more than half of all users playing multiplayer were in a community server lobby or game during active evenings. The 0.01% of players you are talking about? Last night out of the 412 players in PA over steam, at least 28 were a part of that "0.01%" How about the 5-15% of active players responsible for a large portion, if not the majority of multiplayer lobbies. Rules affect all of us, that's the point nimzo is making. Hosts and active members of all people are the ones most affected, because they have to enforce, communicate to people who join, and abide by them the most. Clear, exhaustive rules and guidelines are good for everyone, they show professionalism and promote trust and feeling of security in the mods and devs.


    This is not a "tiny drama". This is addressing a valid problem that can affect everyone playing multiplayer.


    Nimzo sat down and put effort into making a constructive proposal. Arguments in the line of "nobody cares", as well as scrutiny and dismissal of the concerns and contents of background information is not the proper way to address it.
    Last edited: April 22, 2019
    okeanos, Anonemous2, cdrkf and 13 others like this.
  4. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    173
    This is an offensive retort. People can in fact be motivated by more than personal vendettas. Whilst I recognise that you may view the original post as a personal attack, responding in kind isn't going to help change the minds of individuals who are genuinely concerned, such as myself.

    Other than that, Nik says it all. This was not a childish complaint, nor is it an attack on anyone's character. As such, it should not be treated as though it were.
    okeanos, Anonemous2, cdrkf and 11 others like this.
  5. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    The entire crux of the argument is that it's something the community wants. A foundation inherently flawed. And really, we're back to self-aggrandizing "the community" posts?

    The PA core community tends to be defined as "people that I know and talk to" which also happens to conveniently agree with whatever thought the person is having at the time. We've been through multiple iterations of this dating all the way back to Brian Purkiss. A self-selecting sample is not a meaningful representation of anything except the personal biases of the poster.

    It's hard to take an argument seriously, which is why I haven't, when someone recognises it as so flawed they need to create an imaginary community consensus to give it weight.

    If someone has thoughts, then great, but they should recognise them as their views and not conflate them with some imaginary community consensus.

    I'm all for views, but I have no time for self-appointed community representatives.
  6. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    173
    It doesn't need consensus to be important though, does it?
  7. nimzodragonlord

    nimzodragonlord Member

    Messages:
    67
    Likes Received:
    84
    Quitch, I’d appreciate it if you could read the whole proposal before dismissing it. The context is for people who are unaware of the situation, of which you obviously aren’t one. If you don’t agree with my framing, just skip it and move on to the important bits.
  8. Pwn4two

    Pwn4two Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    60
    The crux of the argument is that communication between PA Inc. and us could be potentially improved by implementing the suggested changes.

    Proposal 1: This seems like simply adding clarity to the rules and increasing their accessibility. Without context this seems like a good one to implement.

    Proposal 2: I'm not 100% sold on the strike system. I do agree that clear warnings and communication are preferable to punishment initially though. People break rules in all sorts of situations in life and most of the time not knowingly. (This isn't an excuse to break the rules, but to highlight that it's not usually malicious.)

    Proposal 3: I think this is better used for a larger community with more moderators. I'm not against this proposal but I can understand why it would be not implemented.

    Proposal 4: Transparency and clear communication help prevent misunderstandings. I agree with this proposal.

    Proposal 5: This proposal is possibly the most difficult to implement but if done right I agree that it is desirable.

    As the rules stand at the moment it seems that I could be banned at any moment, for whatever reason and have no information regarding it. I know that's not likely to happen, but it could and by the rules I'd have nothing to do about it. I don't think that's preferable for anyone that plays the game, whether they know about this conversation or not.
    okeanos, Anonemous2, cdrkf and 5 others like this.
  9. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    I have, and focused on the part I did because without it the proposal falls apart. It states the post is here because of action taken, then goes on to say the action was valid, and so the post appears to exist because "This situation, though justified, has taken a toll on both the community".

    I contest that the wider community doesn't give two hoots because it has no idea what you're talking about, and this "community" being cited is in fact a very small clique of people, especially given that the majority. I therefore don't see any strong foundation for the proposed changes within the proposal, many of which add additional administrative overhead despite the post acknowledging that the actions taken that triggered the post in the first place were valid.
  10. Pwn4two

    Pwn4two Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    60
    I don't think we know the degree to which they were valid given that it's not up for discussion. I agree that the proposals as they stand give too much administrative overhead, on the other hand I think the spirit to which they were thought up is one not to be ignored.

    I agree with you that the majority of the community will be unaffected by this and we are the vocal minority. Going along with the vocal minority is a bad idea in many cases as they are not truly representative of the general community and may even contradict the general consensus.

    The context given is what sparked the conversation, but is not a prerequisite for the logic given. The question of cost/benefit for PA Inc. understandably leans more towards the side of reducing admin overhead. There are multiple proposals with varying degrees of additional overhead and I think some could be worth the cost; namely proposals 1,2 and 4.
    okeanos, johndotsun, stuart98 and 3 others like this.
  11. xankar

    xankar Post Master General

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    1,023
    The point is that people in the community who care about the game are concerned that they have little power over their actions as a player/modder/whatever other than the "good-will" of moderators, of which do not communicate with us regarding actions taken on our accounts.

    People aren't satisfied, and if all you can do is be dismissive about because you couldn't give a hoot, then perhaps you need to reevaluate what you're doing as a moderator. Or perhaps I misunderstand the role of a moderator in the PA "community".

    The post acknowledges that the actions taken were valid within the current ruleset. Perhaps you should understand this to mean that the current ruleset favors administrative roles that are more interested in preserving its self-image and disregarding elements that it doesn't care to deal with or that rub it the wrong way.

    As for adding on administrative overhead:

    Proposal 1 requests clarification of where "community" rules apply in general. Not that you give each user who performed some violation a 10-page spiel of why they were given a strike for their posting an unfavorable meme about PA on r/anime.

    Proposal 2 requests that you communicate with those that you punish so as to educate them on why they were reprimanded. Not that you give each user who performed some violation a 10-page spiel of why their message was removed.

    Proposal 3 requests that bans be used sparingly and, depending on the severity of the ban to be inflicted, as a last resort.

    Proposal 4 requests that you inform banned users of the severity of their ban. Not that you give each user who was banned a 10-page spiel on why your actions were justified.

    Proposal 5 requests that if a user feels they have been wrongly banned then you give them your due diligence and review what evidence they present to you.

    That's it. That's nothing.

    Proposal 1 just asks you to spend all of 10 minutes to write out a few sentences on the discord or something to explicitly point out the extent of where the rules apply. Maybe even add a banner to PA's main menu page.

    Proposals 2 - 4 can be done with little more than a single sentence to penalized users along the lines of "you were given a strike for X, you have N number of strikes before you are banned" or "you were banned for 2 months because you broke rule X. If you feel you were wrongly penalized, you can send an appeal to blahblahblah"

    And proposal 5 just asks that you give a banned player the time of day.
  12. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    A further ridiculous assertion. It's no longer "the community" but rather the part of the community that cares, and anyone who doesn't agree with your position thus doesn't care about the game?

    This is tired Internet argument stuff, and you can do better than trot these strawmen out.
  13. xankar

    xankar Post Master General

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    1,023
    I'm just bringing the argument down to your level. You clearly can't look past what you want to see.

    I never said that anyone who doesn't agree with my position doesn't care about the game. I said that I am concerned about my account. I am concerned that anything I do will be held against me at gunpoint. Nothing to do about the state of the game, nothing to do about people caring about the game. The only one throwing strawmen out here is you.

    Edit: For clarification's sake, I did not make the assertion that it is an issue that "the community" believes in. I merely provided an example based on the participants of this particular forum thread, hence "people in the community". That much should've been clear, I didn't write the original post after all.
    Last edited: April 22, 2019
  14. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    I'm afraid you did.

  15. xankar

    xankar Post Master General

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    1,023
    Reread my posts.

    Edit: You're arguing for semantics that fit your point of the argument. I at least think I clearly expressed that people who care about the game also care about being able to play it. Not that people who don't agree with me don't care about the game. I don't even see how those two points could even be associated with to begin with. Specifically, people here who have clearly expressed their dissatisfaction with the current affairs. Either way, I don't believe this invalidates the rest of my post, which you don't want to respond to?
    Last edited: April 22, 2019
  16. Pwn4two

    Pwn4two Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    60
    What should happen in order for this topic to be taken seriously? Is it possible for players to give meaningful feedback? What could we/I do better to communicate with PA Inc. as players of the game we enjoy?
  17. manlebtnureinmal

    manlebtnureinmal Active Member

    Messages:
    104
    Likes Received:
    117
    What better way to make the community feel that their presence in the game is dictated entirely by the "goodwill of the moderators" by shooting down community attempts to talk about this exact topic?

    Even when this is shot down by other members of the community, and not by PA Inc. itself, it will result in an overall more pessimistic view of player importance in this game's community.

    It is a bit sobering to realize that simply saying something wrong in earshot of a PA Inc. employee could get me banned without warning one day, with no way to appeal this ban, and it personally makes me question how much I want to be emotionally invested in a game where simply interacting with the devs makes me feel like I am walking through a minefield.
    okeanos, jpscat, johndotsun and 2 others like this.
  18. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,227
    Likes Received:
    5,963
    So members of the community may speak, but only if it supports your narrative? What kind of thread do you think you'll get if those are the terms you establish?

    I'm all for dialogue on topics like this, but they sink themselves immediately through false narratives around "the community" and needless self-aggrandizement. Confusing you and your friends for "the community" serves only to damage your arguments and shows a shocking lack of self-awareness. I've been around since 2012 and seen a bunch of people who said they spoke for the community. Oddly, very few of them ever seemed to speak for me.
    Last edited: April 22, 2019
  19. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,011
    Likes Received:
    3,894
    I'll take Strawmen Dissonant wasn't arguing for $500, Alex.

    For the community to argue that these reforms aren't necessary would be damaging to the idea of community due process and recognition of the contributions of community members. For PA Inc and their moderators to shut it down without that argument even happening is much, much worse.

    The persistent community that sticks around for more than two weeks making the maps, mods, guides, and lobbies that the the rest of the community depends on is the core of PA and without them you're left just with the galactic war players and the bronze/silvers. Not a solid basis for a larger community.
    Last edited: April 22, 2019
  20. Pwn4two

    Pwn4two Member

    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    60
    This is exactly how we feel about the PA Inc. Rules.

    It devolves because that's the only aspect of the conversation you have replied to.
    okeanos, Anonemous2, xankar and 7 others like this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page