Author Topic: A note to the staff of Veritas  (Read 17648 times)

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February 05, 2006, 03:44:14 AM
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Rafnul!

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Chalk this off as garbage if you want, but before I go, I want to spiill a few of the things that I've kept to myself for the last few months.  Strangely enough, I do not seem to be the *only* one who harbors these kinds of perceptions, so maybe I'm part of an evil cult, or maybe I'm onto something.  You decide.

I am not satisfied with the way Veritas is presently being moderated.  In General Discussion, posters are allowed to go off topic, and unless some great insufferable evil is performed within a thread, it is best to let them roll.  Closing a thread without closing the thought with a post explaining *Clearly* why it should be closed is absolutely unacceptable.  Enforcing rules simply because they are rules, and not factoring in the situation at all and absolutely destroying all hope for the human race by refusing to use REASON over RULES, is also a little bit annoying.  These are all just minor infractions really, nothing to get your panties in a bundle over.

However, there is one case I wish to bring into light which will forever, and I do mean forever, as far as I can see, piss me off to no end: nm]knife.  He hasn't been the greatest to other people.  He hasn't treated other people very well.  He hasn't been a very good member.  So he's banned.  You hypocriitical fools!  You treat him like a THING.  You treat him a like a problem that needs to be fixed.  You do nothing but try to counsel and "guide" him.  In fact, more or less, that's all the staff seems to do anymore.  Tell other people how to live their lives.  You're a fucking online forum, not parents.  I understand it's good to set a good example, but you are not all perfect yourselves, either.  How DARE you consider yourselves to be in the position to tell others how to live, how dare you EVER tell ANYONE that they will amount to nothing.  When I read that in the chatroom, that's what really pushed me over the edge.  That's what made me realize I was making a mistake when I was trying to "Help" nm]knife.  No, he doesn't need help.  He's a human being who has a real life, and we only see such a small part of that.  He is our equal.  We are no better than he is, and the fact that our staff frequently sees itself as better than its members TERRIFIES me.  I know what goes on behind the scenes, I know about the little chit chats about members and what to do with them.  I know, because I used to do that too, but I am telling you, nothing about that is good or is right.

If this forum is going to continue to go on living, its staff needs to get a dose of reality.  We are all on equal footing.  The staff is NO better than any of the other members.  There is nothing special about you other than that you have power over other people.  That power does not make you better, and the way you treat it like something great, it only makes it worse.  Sure, I treated moderator powers like they were a joke.  That's because they are a joke!  Moderator powers should only be used as an absolute last resort if you actually have any care whatsoever for the community.  A community is built on COMMUNICATION, not on enforcement, or on rules, or on the "geat almighty staff".  Communicate with the members staff, you're alienating yourselves.

Remember, this community belongs to the members, not to the staff.

- Rafnul
« Last Edit: February 05, 2006, 03:46:55 AM by Rafnul »

February 05, 2006, 08:20:02 AM
Reply #1

Adept

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*applauds*

I agree, but I'd also like to add (and this is the only thing I can add really..) is that mod powers should also be used to manage the forum such as moving topics to correct areas, locking a thread when the discussion has resulted into flam wars (and a note should be given for any lock. Creature blamed me for the outreach thread being locked for gods sakes because I was the last to post...) and stickying or unsticking a thread for sheer organization.



February 05, 2006, 09:53:17 AM
Reply #2

Creature

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Holy crap! So I am not the only one who sees this happening.

Having been a regular on a couple of forums I've seen this sort of thing happen many times.  Recently I've been seriously considering writing an essay on the topic.  The idea of having moderators is not a bad one, in an ideal world.  The problem comes in with the fact that moderators and admins are real people.  It is in human nature to enjoy power.  Sometimes that enjoyment can be taken to far.  When a moderator/admin starts to enjoy closing thereads, deleting topics, baning members and the like, that's a red flag, ladies and gentlemen.  Another red flag is in the case that Rafnul has pointed out, when a mods/admins start believing themselves to be better then members.  They become nobility, a higher class.  A striking example from another forum illustrates this real well.  The forum rules on that forum state briefly that flaming is not allowed.  The next sentence states that flaming an admin or a mod will result in instant ban.  Double standard, anyone?  If you flame a "peasent", lower class member, you will get a warning first, perhaps several if you do it repeatedly.  If you flame anyone from the "upper class" I get banned without a warning.
It does pain me to see the beginings of this at Veritas.  If you like you can conduct the following experiment (either in this or another community you notice the social strucuture in): go to the chat and misbehave a little bit.  Nothing major, just enough to get the mod's attention. (Note: I am NOT advocating creating serious disturbances. Just something minor, like post three or for lines of text in a row to make Memnoch talk) When they say something to you about this, instead of dropping down to your knees and starting to apologize, joke around w/ them, light hartedly.  If you do this, there is a very good chance you'll observe the following phenomena:

#1: if you are generally disliked by the mods, you will get a reprovement instantly, and may even be threatened with a ban in the first sentence.  As in, instead of saying "Flooding is not allowed, please don't do that." you'll get a "If you flood again you will be banned".  If you are one of the people that are "liked", your first few offences will be ignored and when you are warned it will be very mildly.

#2: you will observe that the mod that warns you has absolute zero sense of humour. In fact, if you try to mildly, jokingly talk back, they will be outraged!  How dare you question their authority!  They will treat you like a strict parent would talk to their mischevous child.

#3: now another phenomenon you will likely observe is commonly called "brown-nosing".  This is one of the elements that keeps the class structure in place in an online community and upholds the untouchability of the noble class.  While you are talking with the mod, some of the other members (non-mods) will start "warning" you to be nice to the mod, "I would listen to him/her if I were you!" "I wouldn't mess with him/her"  This phenomenon is not isolated to chats, forums, online community, or even to human society.   You can observe this behavioral trend in nature among pack animals in its purest form.  Let's say there's a dog who's new to the neighbourhood and transgressed in some way in the eyes of the leader of the local pack of dogs.  Now, the leader dog is this huge, strong alpha male, who is surrounded by a following of smaller weaker dogies.  Those little doggies, by themselves, will probobly not have the guts to aproach the new dog in a serious way.  They may bark once or twice but will likely stay away.  But with the big dog they gain courage.  When the big dog starts barking at the newcommer, the little doggies join in.  They stand up tall, fur stands up on their backs and bark away like they're going to tare the newcomer apart... all the while staying a few steps behind the big leader dog...

This problem of class structure at forums, is not in any way unique to Veritas. In fact, Veritas is only begining to have this problem. I love this community, and I would not wish to see it go down this road.

By the way, another goross and disgusting element of the forum class structure, one that thank the Gods I have not seen happen at Veritas so far, is the "oldies" vs. the "n00bies".  There are "oldies" and "noobies" at any forum that has been in existance for quite some time, but not every does it become a problem.  The problem arises when the "oldies" elevate themselves above the noobies, start talking down to them, and generally treat them as the lowest kind of excrement.  This, in my opinion, is even more disgusting then the mods vs commoners problem.

Adept made a very good point:

Quote
mod powers should also be used to manage the forum such as moving topics to correct areas

This is the real and most important duty of an admin: to keep the forum functioning, to orgonize it, enhance it, to take ownership of technical issues and make sure they get resolved.  This is what is supposed to make up 90% of the admin's duties.  Not just creating a whole bunch of rules for the sake of creating rules and then go on a power trip and deleting a whole bunch of posts 'cause you don't like the poster's attitude.  I'm not saying our admins do that, yet, but i've seen admins of other forums stoop to this kind of thing, and I don't want the same thing to happen here.

Not to say that moderation is not needed at all, but believe it or not, unmoderated forums do survive and can even thrive.  A prime example of this being the Blade II forum that used to be on the official web site.

Quote
and a note should be given for any lock. Creature blamed me for the outreach thread being locked for gods sakes because I was the last to post...

Yes I did.  :redface:

Quote
Remember, this community belongs to the members, not to the staff.

*does a standing ovation*  Immortal words, my friend!
<Kanifer> America invented MTV. 
<Shadowarrior13> Kanifer, shut up.
<Shadowarrior13> We don't want them knowing that.

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February 05, 2006, 09:57:55 AM
Reply #3

Forg

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I find it very interesting, Rafnul, how you seem to have such strong feelings about things you don't fully understand. In the case of locking posts and other such things, the reason is usually clear when this operation occurs. If not you are, of course, welcome to pm any staff member to ask. But we cannot possibly appeal to everyone's level of understand, although you are not limited to just what is shown. In addition to that, staff does not read every single thread that is produced and we are definitely not perfect so regardless of whether it is "absolutely unacceptable" to you, we do the best we can. I'm sorry to here that we as the staff who hold are selves in such high regard, can not satisfy you.

In the case of nm]knife, there is not much to be said. But it is very clear that you are not aware of all that went on behind the scenes, in addition to what happened in main chat. I don't expect you to be though. Regardless of that, I think his banning was the right choice, the negativity that was harbored wasn't helping either party.

I agree that veritas most defintily belongs to it's members, and as staff we are just here to act as members, helpers, and organizers, nothing more. And this is why there is not just an admin, there is a team of members. Every opinion is intended to be heard (though it's not always the case). That's really all there is to it.

These are my opinions and do not necessarily reflect that of the entire staff.

So on that note, I bid you farewell.

-A member of great almighty staff
« Last Edit: February 05, 2006, 10:05:34 AM by Forg »
Be your own light, your own refuge. Believe only that which you test for yourself. Do not accept authority merely because it comes from a great man, or is written in a sacred book, for truth is different for each man and woman." -- Buddha

February 05, 2006, 10:10:45 AM
Reply #4

Creature

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Oh yeah, I for got to add the thing about nm]knife.  I wasn't in the chat when what you are talking about happened, but the thing abut him is that he does ASK for "help".  And then he rejects the help you try to give him and swears at you.  He approached me via PM out of the blue about 2 problems that he should have taken straight to a psychiatrist (yes, not a psychologist, but straight to psychiatrist). Then when I gave him my opinion and tried to encourage him (again, because he ASKED for it) he did a combination of the following:

1) tell me to "stop" or sometimes to shut the f*** up (except he didn't use astrisks).
2) curse at me in Bolgarian (language is close enough to Russian for me to understand some of it)
3) left in the middle of conversation

The above happened many times.  When he didn't leave and I had to cut our conversation short (perhaps after an hour or so) because I had to step away from the computer, he throws a hysterical fit, "YOU'RE LEAVING ME AGAIN. EVERYONE ALWAYS LEAVES!"

Knife is a very disturbed person.  He is also very rude and disruptive.  In this case, whatever staff said or did, I'm willing to bet it was justified.
<Kanifer> America invented MTV. 
<Shadowarrior13> Kanifer, shut up.
<Shadowarrior13> We don't want them knowing that.

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February 05, 2006, 10:35:15 AM
Reply #5

Faijer

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It's been my observation that the people who dislike the enforcement of rules the most, are the people who are most likely to break them, or who have reacted badly upon breaking them previously. I myself have broken the rules several dozen times, even been banned on one occassion, but I understand the need for the rules that are there, and each rule serves a purpose.

I've yet to see a mod truly acting in a deliberately vindictive way against any member, much less see the entire staff backing such a person. When people post crap about crap, when they start insulting people left, right and centre, when they start posting about constantly depressive stuff and have no consideration for other people, they have to be dealt with accordingly. It happens in real life all the time, both convicts and mentally unstable people being given the appropriate treatment.

Why does it suddenly become special because it's online?

Oh, I know, it's a double-standard. Online, you can be who you want, and you can start arguments, threaten people, and make yourself whoever you want to be with little fear of repercussion. That anti-fear of repercussions makes people lose sense of rules and regulations, and somehow they disassociate real society with online society, thinking that because they can be cocky and arrogant online, that somehow it's more right than it is offline

 Of course, being an arrogant moron offline is likely to get you beaten up, and being nothing by depression is likely to alienate your friends. Are these results anything like what happens online?

People here moan about not being able to post a lot of lines in a row and flood the chat when it could be avoided. My response would be: Would you like someone phoning you every 20 minutes to ask you another question, rather than asking them all in one phone call? Not a truly analagous situation in some people's minds, because they argue that it's easier to ignore lines than it is a phone call. But Creature speaks of double-standards, so should we not take into accound all the double stanards?

If you accept the rules, abide by them, and try to be generally friendly with everyone, then there should in theory be no problems. Problems are caused when people stop doing those things, and the problem is not with the rules, its with the people who break them, because the rules were already there, or put there as a rule to everyone, why should only those who break them be allowed to do it, while the rest of us are willing to follow the rules?


Quote from: Falcon
I've noticed that most mods no longer post anything of relevance to a topic, or they just don't post at all. instead all of the higher up, respected members are answering question and it's basically has been left up to the mentors, who have no control other than the mentors section and the mentor chat room.
The moderator's jobs are to keep the forums clean by applying the rules. They are under no obligation to post. As far as I've seen, they've been doing their jobs by deleting useless posts (yes, useless), locking chaotic threads and banning the required members. It is the mentors, and teachers, but most importantly the members are supposed to be the people who post in threads and discuss. This is a community, not a school.

Quote from: Falcon
Poor knife, he's human, but you treat him like a dog that has been bad, telling him off and trying to correct his way, is that reallty the way to go about it, no.
There is a significant difference between trying to control and influence someone (like you with Grace for example), and trying to help someone through psychological issues. From what I understand and saw, knife was disturbed and needed help, and the staff did their best to help him. If he went to a psychiatrist, you would probably think it was okay, but you probably don't even know how the staff treated him, and are probably unaware of the fact that some of them know what they're doing when it comes to councilling.


It's easy to moan about the problems, but as it has already been stated, the staff are, after all, human. How can you people moan when you actually do very little constructive to help the situation (since bitching doesn't count). You expect everything to be handled for you and for everything to be perfect because you want it to be. As already stated, following the rules and being friendly to all would mean that there aren't any problems. If you have a problem with that suggestion, feel free to say so, but make sure it's well justified (and perhaps not just blaming others).
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February 05, 2006, 10:40:59 AM
Reply #6

Forg

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I see quite a few mod/admin posts all the time. But not all of us are as free as we'd like to be, but we do contribute to the community.

On the topic of kiwi's banning, there was a lot of discussion on the matter in the staff room about this topic. We don't bring personal bannings and details to the public because they are infact...personal. To avoid embarrassment and other unsavory things. In that situation, some of us agreed that kiwi took it to far and the majority vote had him banned. It brought up the topic of sexual discussion in chat which hadn't been covered in such a manner before and changes were agreed to be made within reason. It was dealt with as we felt appropriate. But as you can see, not everyone knows all the details about things that occur (such as with nm]knife) so the staff's purpose is to concentrate that.

On a side note, I felt more flamed and attacked by nm]knife than I felt the many people that he ASKED, and TRIED to help showed back to him...
Be your own light, your own refuge. Believe only that which you test for yourself. Do not accept authority merely because it comes from a great man, or is written in a sacred book, for truth is different for each man and woman." -- Buddha

February 05, 2006, 10:59:53 AM
Reply #7

Adept

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SO, perhaps its best to be more open with the members, rather than discuss everything in the secret mod-only fourms. Not to say all must be revealed as that would defeat the purpose of such a fourm, but more explanation should probably be given.

Moderating staff should also stop talking down to members. I find it highly irritating... Any idea how annoying it is to be talked down to? "Enough Children!" "Leaving? So soon? What a pity..." . Not to say that is all the staff as that would be false. Most are good, light hearted individuals how help to make veritas a better place, others, hinder the progress...Though, they may not intend to.

Now, as for mods being inactive, I feel that a mod should be able to do more than merly lock a post when its out of hand. Even I can do that. They should have some level of knowledge and experience in a feild of study at veritas. Like, we have almost no mods in Magic. The mods Include Proph, Zake, Vitamyst and Mindwarp. Proph is gone (most of the time anyway), and so it Vita (Vita also has the majority of his posits in Psionics. there's like 4 in magic.). And zake has to manage other fourms as well.  So, why not bring in mods who can moderate AND post in the fourms?

Adept




February 05, 2006, 11:10:44 AM
Reply #8

Creature

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Talyn,

No one, I believe is saying that people should be allowed to be completely and totally disruptive, rude.  That excessive flaming should be allowed and that it's ok for a community to turn into a hostile place.  What is being discussed here is the abuse of power, and the superiority complex that can develop if allowed to.

Quote
It's easy to moan about the problems, but as it has already been stated, the staff are, after all, human. How can you people moan when you actually do very little constructive to help the situation (since bitching doesn't count). You expect everything to be handled for you and for everything to be perfect because you want it to be. As already stated, following the rules and being friendly to all would mean that there aren't any problems. If you have a problem with that suggestion, feel free to say so, but make sure it's well justified (and perhaps not just blaming others).

Talyn, we are trying to help the situation by brining it into light and discussing the problem.  Which is the most we can do.
<Kanifer> America invented MTV. 
<Shadowarrior13> Kanifer, shut up.
<Shadowarrior13> We don't want them knowing that.

"If you American types don't start doing a better job of choosing presidents, we're going to have to revoke your independence..."
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February 05, 2006, 11:12:37 AM
Reply #9

Adept

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Talyn, we are trying to help the situation by brining it into light and discussing the problem.  Which is the most we can do.

well..we could assassinate those who are guilty...but that's probably a bit too extreme



February 05, 2006, 11:26:30 AM
Reply #10

Creature

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Quote
SO, perhaps its best to be more open with the members, rather than discuss everything in the secret mod-only fourms. Not to say all must be revealed as that would defeat the purpose of such a fourm, but more explanation should probably be given.

Blasphemer!! We peasents are not worthy to hear the explanation.  What the nobles say goes. End of discussion. :)

(j/k) ^_^
<Kanifer> America invented MTV. 
<Shadowarrior13> Kanifer, shut up.
<Shadowarrior13> We don't want them knowing that.

"If you American types don't start doing a better job of choosing presidents, we're going to have to revoke your independence..."
-- Philosopher

February 05, 2006, 11:28:27 AM
Reply #11

`Remakai

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Quote from: Rafnul
nm]knife.  He hasn't been the greatest to other people.  He hasn't treated other people very well.  He hasn't been a very good member.  So he's banned.  You hypocriitical fools!  You treat him like a THING.  You treat him a like a problem that needs to be fixed.  You do nothing but try to counsel and "guide" him.

He asks for counsel and guidance, 24/7. As a community of people trying to help eachother, we tried to help him, and he responded with racism, insults and more pissing and moaning.

Quote from: Rafnul
I know what goes on behind the scenes, I know about the little chit chats about members and what to do with them.


Bullshit. I don't know what your "chit chats" were like, but with sensitive or difficult issues we tend to try and work via democracy. I don't think I really need to comment on what it would be like if each moderator was a rogue agent.

 
Quote from: Rafnul
How DARE you consider yourselves to be in the position to tell others how to live.
^-- Hipocrisy, given that your statements are just as prescriptive as most of those directed towards knife were.

Quote from: Rafnul
We are all on equal footing.  The staff is NO better than any of the other members.  There is nothing special about you other than that you have power over other people.

So you believe that any newcomer to the site is equally suited for the role of moderator? You know full well that moderators are chosen and interviewed because they generally tend to be reasonable and articulate people who are able to control themselves.

Quote from: Rafnul
Enforcing rules simply because they are rules, and not factoring in the situation at all and absolutely destroying all hope for the human race by refusing to use REASON over RULES, is also a little bit annoying.

Our reason is guided by the rules. For example, I find most of what you say to be bullshit, and find it reasonable to get rid of you. However, the rules prevent me from doing so. Objective enforcement of the rules is the only way some of us can override the desire to crush people who are stupid. However, I do agree that the rules should not be considered absolute, and that some degree of discretion should be used. This is being discussed.

As for you, Creature:

Quote from: Creature
#1: if you are generally disliked by the mods, you will get a reprovement instantly, and may even be threatened with a ban in the first sentence.  As in, instead of saying "Flooding is not allowed, please don't do that." you'll get a "If you flood again you will be banned".  If you are one of the people that are "liked", your first few offences will be ignored and when you are warned it will be very mildly.

You know who the police like? People who don't break the law. You know who the police don't like? People who do
 break the law. Repeat offenders get harsher discipline each time. At Veritas, this system takes the form of a sort of a social criminal record, hehe.

Quote from: Creature
By the way, another goross and disgusting element of the forum class structure, one that thank the Gods I have not seen happen at Veritas so far, is the "oldies" vs. the "n00bies".  There are "oldies" and "noobies" at any forum that has been in existance for quite some time, but not every does it become a problem.

Read Falcon's first post in this thread. Then note that I've forever been a crusader against this kind of detritus.

Quote from: Creature
#2: you will observe that the mod that warns you has absolute zero sense of humour. In fact, if you try to mildly, jokingly talk back, they will be outraged!  How dare you question their authority!  They will treat you like a strict parent would talk to their mischevous child.

I've explained to you the reasons for this several times. There are rules about respecting authority, which must mean that staff *have* authority, which must mean that the staff are better. ;)

To Falcon:

Quote from: Falcon
've noticed that most mods no longer post anything of relevance to a topic, or they just don't post at all. instead all of the higher up, respected members are answering question and it's basically has been left up to the mentors, who have no control other than the mentors section and the mentor chat room.

1. Read Creature's post, specificly the part where it talks about Oldies vs. n00bies.
2. Most of the mods are getting old. Old enough to have to worry about education and money. And so, not all of us have as much time as we would like. I'd love to be able to fulfill my goal of reading every single post (as Crowley does), and providing whatever knowledge I can, but I haven't been able to make time for it.

Quote from: Falcon
I also don't like the way the chat is being run, most of the mods arn't there, just online,  and when things start to get out of hand nothing happens because there not doing ther duty.

You try doing your duty when you're asleep. At least by being inactive but having hindsight we can identify potential troublemakers and deliver as effective moderation as is possible "from the grave" so to speak.

To close: Yes, I've been frank.

Cheers,

`Remakai.
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February 05, 2006, 11:33:02 AM
Reply #12

Forg

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Adept, we make public what we feel should be made public. If you need more reason behind an action that what was given, feel free to ask. But I see no reason to involve members in the rulings of why we should ban a member for flaming, raceism, or what have you.
Be your own light, your own refuge. Believe only that which you test for yourself. Do not accept authority merely because it comes from a great man, or is written in a sacred book, for truth is different for each man and woman." -- Buddha

February 05, 2006, 11:39:10 AM
Reply #13

Adept

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Well yes, but apparently, we know too little and thus we end up with this discussion. I won't tell you what you should bring into the public as I don't really know, but perhaps if the public had a better understanding of why certain things are done and whats going on, they would be less inclined to do this...Though obviously, personal maters should not be brought into public attention, but should be VERY clearly stated to said person, so they see why you locked, edited, deleted banned or whatever, and don't need to go freaking out that the mods are monsters. Clarity should be stressed and if a Moderator doesn;t have time to stress clarity, perhaps someone with more time is needed.

Oh and `Remakai, you forgot this crucial bit of info:

I WILL MODERATE YOU.

lol

Adept



February 05, 2006, 11:40:38 AM
Reply #14

Creature

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I've explained to you the reasons for this several times. There are rules about respecting authority, which must mean that staff *have* authority, which must mean that the staff are better.

"RESPECT MAH ATHORITYAH!" *bangs fist on table*
LOL ^_^

*points to Rem*

So you're better huh?  Should we start calling you "your majesty" or "your excelence" now?  Should a wrong look directed your way result in a ban?

No, my dear. You are NOT better then anyone else on here.  You are not better then a noobiest new person who only registered on the forum five minutes ago.  You are just like me or Adept or Falcon.  That "mod/admin" thing in your profile only means one thing: you have been given extra duties to perform.  It does not make you a higher class then anybody else.  Neither I nor anyone else has to respect you or your "authorityah".

As far as getting different treatment based on favoritism, I have observed this happening regardless of how many offences a person commitedd or didn't commit in the past.
<Kanifer> America invented MTV. 
<Shadowarrior13> Kanifer, shut up.
<Shadowarrior13> We don't want them knowing that.

"If you American types don't start doing a better job of choosing presidents, we're going to have to revoke your independence..."
-- Philosopher