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What do & don't you like about CFC forums?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Narz, Sep 19, 2017.

  1. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2002
    Messages:
    26,244
    Location:
    St. Petersburg, Florida
    I almost exclusively post in Off Topic so I'm speaking mostly on the rules enforced there.

    Dislikes :
    1. No swearing.
    2. No discussion of sex or drugs
    3. No personal discussions (everything has to be somewhat universal/abstract, we can discuss suicide bombers & their motivation but not suicidal feelings of any individual on the boards nor how to deal with them)
    4. Can't bump old threads even when have something new/interesting to contribute
    Likes :
    1. Fairly stable community, somewhat in decline but still pretty vibrant
    2. Staple threads : member photos, rants/raves, etc
    3. Generally smart, thoughtful posters
     
  2. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    14,155
    3 of those dislikes aren't true for CFC's OT, there are just limitations in place for them.

    Sex and drugs aren't entirely off-limits. Members are just expected to abide by the rules when doing so, which limits how in-depth you can go. Legal drugs aren't banned from being talked about and two of the OT moderators have gone in-depth about them in the past. Sex of course walks the thin line of inappropriate language and content. You can't ask members of CFC for tips on how to give a girl a good tumble nor can you make posts bragging about your latest conquest, but the general subject of sexual conduct isn't banned from being mentioned.

    Personal discussions are permitted within reason. "Look at me" threads are rarely allowed and particularly intimate topics are generally discouraged mostly because these often stray into targeting or inappropriate content. Members who are suicidal, in particular, are discouraged from airing this publicly in OT because there is very little anyone here can do about it. Even if a member is licensed to provide counseling, they probably aren't licensed for the suicidal member's area. Beyond this it has also happened in the past that some members have encouraged the suicide of others. The staff team is woefully unqualified for a mental health crisis like that and airing these things publicly often leads to severe conflicts. If you feel someone can help you out (general you), you can always PM them. General calls for assistance also aren't banned... you can make a post in one of the serial threads asking for someone to get in touch with you because you're going through a tough time. Members have made posts like that before and those are OK as far as I am aware. At the very least, they haven't gotten dinged since I came onto the team half a year ago.

    Note that I am not unsympathetic to that 'ban'. I've been tempted myself at times to make posts laying it all out in the open and 'confessing' to mental health crises like being suicidal. After the initial despair passes or after the urge fades away, I'm glad that I didn't do it. Perhaps that isn't true for others, and perhaps CFC OT's approach is flawed, but from my perspective as a member and now as a staff member it seems to be the ideal option.

    As for necroing threads, it's also not banned to make a thoughtful contribution to an older thread that has become relevant again in today's media. The issue that many of these necro posts have is that they aren't thoughtful contributions and they aren't to threads that are currently relevant. A new development in an old news case that's a year or two old, for example, is a valid bump. Someone answering a "what did you eat on Thursday night" thread after the last post was in 2007 isn't. This is primarily because the majority of posters in those threads are no longer around. The members of today will be responding to antiquated content as though it were recently posted even though it wasn't. In those instances, you're better off creating a new thread. The previous content in that thread isn't pertinent to the subject.

    (There's also the chance that the thread being bumped was held to different moderating standards or got missed in the past by moderators, so a bump might lead to current members reporting old content or emulating the behaviour in old posts.)
     
  3. Thorvald of Lym

    Thorvald of Lym A Little Sketchy

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Messages:
    7,880
    Location:
    A Palace north of Oslo
    I do not like that systems administration has made major changes to the site without public awareness, let alone consultation. The Xenforo move is the most recent, and while I think in the end it was a net positive, there could have been much better communication regarding what changes we should have expected. I was lucky enough to have joined a Xenforo board elsewhere a few months prior so I wasn't totally adrift, but a lot of people were left foundering in an alien interface that even the admins didn't fully understand. I'm also peeved that after the Forum Games fiasco back in '09, no-one at least cautioned that Social Groups wouldn't be translatable and we should have been backing up the logs.

    Speaking of Forum Games, every day I still hurt that nearly the entire history of DRAW Your Own Story was erased overnight because one day, without explanation, we were booted out of OT into the 'disposable' forum. The dump file was later provided on request, but instructions never followed as to how to actually read it, and given the meltdowns of ImageShack and Photobucket in the years since, even if we could get the thread logs, most of the comics are now probably lost.

    CivFanatics is still leagues away from the collapsing supernova of DeviantArt when it comes to staff–user communication, but there is substantial room for improvement.
     
    choxorn, CivGeneral and Valka D'Ur like this.
  4. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    6,109
    Location:
    Columbus
    In general I like the discussions, and of course the wide variety of Civ-related information and content. It's the latter that really keeps me coming back, but the non-civ-related topics are interesting enough to dive into occasionally too. And there also have been some cool community-organized events over the years, ranging from succession games (not always even in Civ), to meetups, to sending a camera or stuffed animal around the world (albeit unsuccessfully). Even people I've mentioned that to who aren't involved in Civ or online forums at all have thought the last one was an interesting idea.

    I mostly agree with Thorvald of Lym about there not having been enough community involvement in the XenForo change. A good amount of links and threads were broken that might have been avoided had it been done a bit more gradually, and organized a bit better than (mostly) one big thread. And I'd like to see more effort by administration to keep the site vibrant in general. Narz's first like is IMO accurate. But I suspect there is room for a more active administration to help with keeping CFC vibrant, interesting, and relevant in the age of Steam. Moving to XenForo was a necessary step to keep pace technologically, but (unless you could moving off of TeleFragged's servers when they shut down, which was a necessity) it's the only major change I can think of in recent years. I've been thinking of starting a thread on that topic for a week or two, but real life has distracted me.

    On the balance I think the no swearing rule is a positive. While it can be moderated effectively, there are other Civ sites that allow it, moderated it lightly, and their off-topics have become cesspools that I have no desire to wade into, and which don't seem to add any new members. So while occasionally it might make a point a little stronger, on the whole I'd rather have the current system than try to walk the line and wind up with toxic sections of the site.

    I am glad that old threads aren't locked automatically after a number of months, as I've seen at some other sites. Especially in the Civ sites, useful bumps of old threads do happen. Necros of staple threads, like Fifty's "Whatcha cooking tonight?" also are allowed, even if they've been inactive for months.

    All in all though, I really like CFC (and everyone who's responded in this thread has been a member 10+ years, so that's probably true of all of us). I just hope it remains relevant, perhaps especially for the newer Civ games where there's more competition for the community.
     
  5. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2008
    Messages:
    14,914
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    The moderation team is really uneven, and any time they get a good mod, that user immediately goes inactive upon promotion.

    RIP illram
    RIP .shane.
    RIP FP
     
    choxorn and Lone Wolf like this.
  6. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Moderator

    Joined:
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    I'm going to assume that your list of good moderators does not in fact imply that the others are bad. :shifty:
     
  7. Owen Glyndwr

    Owen Glyndwr La Femme Moderne

    Joined:
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    14,914
    Location:
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    Eh, for me it varies from mod to mod, but more commonly and more generally, from discrete moderator action to discrete moderator action. Usually my problem with a specific action taken by a moderator comes directly from a problem with the rule being applied itself, or (as indeed the rules apparently don't actually exist as "rules"), a moderator's specific interpretation or application of that rule.

    Which is all really a jumbled way of saying I think the rules are dated and dumb, applied arbitrarily as the mods see fit, and really need to be reworked so they can exist as capital-R Rules, rather than a set of guidelines that may or may not result in punishment depending on which mod happens to be reading your post or responding to a report, and how that mod happens to be feeling about you at that specific moment.

    Ironically enough "good mods" for me tend to be the ones that want to "live and let live" and take a very lax approach to enforcement of the rules, only stepping in when there is a very obvious interpersonal problem that needs to be resolved. But I would rectify that with the above by saying that's simply an indictment of how poorly the rules serve as a guideline for and reflection of what constitutes good conduct.

    I'll end by saying that in my nearly ten(!!!) years here there have been very very few mods whom I would go so far as to call "bad mods", as opposed to mere "mods who pull some really irritating crap from time to time", and none of those mods are around anymore.
     
    Thorvald of Lym likes this.
  8. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

    Joined:
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    I like the fact there's a high level of transparency when it comes to moderator action. It's fairly rare from what I've seen, and this is good, since many other sites just have a "take it or leave it" approach.

    I do not like the language filter, since I think words alone shouldn't be censored, however, when in Rome....
     
  9. Mathalamus

    Mathalamus Emperor of Mathalia

    Joined:
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    Gender:
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    Location:
    Calgary.
    i echo the same sentiment, and add to it:

    1. this forum seems to be stricter than the other forum i am part of. this is a good thing, because people tend to get away with a *lot* of stuff that would get them instantly banned here.
    2. the moderators here, when you get a warning or infractions, they give full details of what, when, why, where, and how you got that warning. i'm lucky to get even a vague warning on that same other forum.
    3. the forum has fully diversified from its original purpose, being a forum for civ games.

    what i dislike:

    1. the new style. when it switched over, i had no idea what to do with any of it. i also disagreed that it *needed* any change at all.
    2. inconsistent moderation of some subforums. i believe that there should be no forums or anything that are more lax than the others. i would want them held to the same standards everywhere.
    3. the rule against PDMA prevents things from being more transparent, and, can easily be circumvented by a host of other methods, rendering it pointless.
     
  10. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2013
    Messages:
    9,064
    What I like:
    - The website offers great tools that combine forum and mod database in an interesting way.
    - The community (outside of the OT forums :p) is amazing, and especially the modding-part of the community is very willing to offer help for those who need it.
    - The rules as they're written down are sensible and easy to understand. A bit too strict for my liking, but in line with the child-friendly policy of the site.
    - The moderators as individuals are, as far as I can tell, all trying to do the best job they can, which most certainly isn't always easy, especially with people like me in the OT forums. Most of the time, even when I'm being really annoying, they keep their cool.

    What I dislike:
    - Really only one thing, but that thing is freaking annoying. I feel like there's 0 consistency with how rules are actually enforced. There's stuff that is okay, then there's stuff that is not okay, and then there's a huge grey area where it just seems to depend which moderator reacts first, and how they feel at any given day. My personal view is of course subject to perception bias, but I feel like I've gotten infraction points for things that were really, really similar to stuff that I had reported before and resulted in not even a warning. Even the moderators acknowledge that in one of the infraction review threads when one of them called Vincour a moderator who gives out infractions more easily (or something along those lines) - but don't seem to think of it as a problem. When challenged privately, "moderator discretion" is simply named as a get-out-of-jail-free card for anything that can be interpreted as being against the rules in some way but wasn't really a big deal to begin with, and issuing an infraction review is such cases seem pointless.
     
  11. Synsensa

    Synsensa Warlord Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2006
    Messages:
    14,155
    The rules are written to allow for moderator discretion, especially in circumstances of trolling which are often based on people intentionally acting in a way that is technically within the letter of the law but ultimately leads to the same disallowed result. That's a large reason why there's a dedicated blurb in the rules thread about "bush lawyers". There are people who take pleasure in treating the forum's infraction system as a literal court of law where you have to submit rule clauses and in-depth justifications at the discretion of the one being infracted. There are others who take pride or pleasure in following the rules while still finding a way to be disruptive. In those instances, moderator discretion is essentially necessary if the behaviour is to be stopped or at least steered in a direction that isn't as public and loud.

    As for the appeals, I'm not sure I see what the hesitance is for in making use of that process. You specifically name me and 50% of my appealed infractions have been overturned. It is hardly a situation where the moderator is given immunity and everyone is just sat there patting themselves on the back. Any type of overreach or margin for error/interpretation is addressed.

    My approach to infracting is more heavy-handed but also far more narrow than you might expect from other OT mods (excepting @Arakhor as he's the nice one of us all :p ). I try to stick to "letter of the law" infractions as much as possible and rarely infract for contextual behaviours unless I get approval from at least one person above me on the totem pole. The contextual behaviours where I infract instead of PM are the appeals you see overturned.

    When deciding in a report on how to handle it, moderators look at the 'fair play' doctrine used in OT as well as the context of the thread/users themselves. There's a balance to be struck between draconian and laissez-faire and it's a thin line that can be easily crossed. In situations where both parties are responsible for what's going on or if they've already resolved it peacefully themselves, the moderators will likely let it go unless there's something particularly egregious. Continued or replicated behaviour is taken into consideration. The tone and agenda of the reporter is also partly taken into consideration when applicable (ex. someone reporting another member en-masse). At least half of reports result in infractions or context being filed away in the back of moderators' minds for the future (i.e. "this is behaviour we need to address if it continues").
     
  12. HorseshoeHermit

    HorseshoeHermit 20% accurate as usual, Morty

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,131
    Location:
    Canada
    My number one gripe is that the rules for 'staying on topic' are enforced to a hilariously impractical standard, and are all but strangling of genuine conversation.

    I like the way that trolling and inflammatory speech is 100% shut down.
     
  13. Snerk

    Snerk Smeghead

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    5,760
    Location:
    Norway. You'll never leave
    I agree that the staying on topic rule is sometimes enforces way to hard. Nobody benefits from that.

    I also dislike that the mafia/notw subforums are currently dead.

    But the people are all ace. Except Vincour, he smells like cheese.
     
    Synsensa likes this.
  14. Lemon Merchant

    Lemon Merchant Smarticus Pantsidae Moderator

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    In general, I like the moderation on this forum, and while I personally don't care if I get infracted or not, I do have a couple of gripes:

    1. The on-topic rule seems to be enforced haphazardly. While I agree that wildly divergent topics in a thread need their own thread, I've seen some very promising conversations shut down for this rule, and other divergent ones allowed to continue to the point of being ridiculous. I think it would be better if the mods could steer us into creating a new thread, or if there is time, create the new thread and force us there while letting the old thread continue.
    2. The word b**ch is snared by the autocensor. This word is in common usage today, even on television. My belief is that if you hear it on the telly, you should be able to hear it here. I find it hilarious that the word can't be used, but dickhead can be.

    Oh, and one good thing: I like that the moderators post in OT. Having them post like the rest of us makes them human.
     
    Owen Glyndwr likes this.
  15. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    It's in common usage as an insult or slur. Since nobody really discusses pedigree dog breeding on the forum, I can't think of any non-inflammatory use of the word (other than, perhaps, as a substitute for the verb meaning "to complain"). Therefore, it makes sense to include it in the autocensor.
     
    Sonereal likes this.
  16. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    "Stop *****ing" seems to be generally accepted as a non-slur alternative to "stop complaining".
     
  17. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    There's no need to use profanity.

    One can easily get his/her point across without using profanities.

    This is another reason why CFC is such a great Civ community (as compared with other communities such as one symbolized by a pale extraterrestrial, another by a cyan canary, and another by a contraption linking a coal-powered locomotive's wheels)

    Thank the mods.
     
  18. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

    Joined:
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    Unless I'm totally delusional and have a flawed memory of it ever having been banned in the past, I'm pleased to see that ***** has been taken off the list of banned words.
     
  19. leif erikson

    leif erikson Game of the Month Fanatic Administrator Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Location:
    Plymouth, MA
  20. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    9,064
    ...and there I was thinking the Civfanatics Admins had done something reasonable for once!
     

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