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DanJ86

Should the SSMB Guidelines be Updated?

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More of a question than a request, although personally, I do find some of them a little vague and could perhaps do with being rephrased. I'm talking specifically about the Guidelines page, assuming the layouts are not totally different for other people, you can find it along the tabs in this order under SSMB:

Forums - Calendar - Guidelines - Staff - Online Users - Status Updates

Here is how it starts off:

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Welcome to the SSMB Rules, these rules and guidelines will help the forum run nice and smooth and all that shizzle, so make sure you read and follow them, yeah? Note that these rules also apply everywhere on the board, so that includes status updates.

  • One account per member. If you make multiple accounts you won't be respected for it. You will also be banned by the staff. If you are making another account to evade a ban your chances of ever being allowed back will rapidly diminish like a weed in the face of Roundup®.

That seems fine, I don't get the Roundup gag but the point still stands.

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  • Post quality is important for your reputation and the reading pleasure of other members. Type in understandable, decent English. Be sure to check your grammar and punctuation so people don't think you're an idiot. If you can't think of anything to post that's at least a sentence then we'd rather you didn't post at all. Making a post that's just one word is really lame and we'll strike you if you do it.

This might've been written before the like and reputation functions were active. I could be wrong but it might be a little misleading for new members. I've seen posts get many of 'likes' despite only having four words. The use of the word 'idiot' doesn't sit well with me either. Yeah it's a joke, I get that. But it is possible to make jokes without hurting feelings. There is a wide, wide range of people out there, from having learning difficulties, a mental illness or two and simply not having English as there first language. Then there is those that post while using a phone or other mobile device, some of those things are fiddly and you are more likely to make a mistake on them.

I make mistakes all the time, even though I try to read through my posts twice before submitting. It's fine to ask a person to fix mistakes if they didn't mean to, but what if they aren't able to see the mistakes themselves?

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  • Spamming will put you on the staff shit list and will ensure a swift trip to banville. The staff care about SSMB, you know, so if you spam it with image macros, videos and other idiotic messages you will end up striked very quickly. Then banned if you don't quit it. This also includes acting like a moderator yourself and posting in bad topics about the fact that it will end up being locked

Spamming? Image macros? Videos? Other idiotic messages?? Isn't this a common practice in Status Updates? Which these same guidelines have already stated that these rules are also for status updates. I already know that the status updates are a place to say and post silly stuff within limits, but that'll be misleading for new members. I also think 'Spamming' is a subjective term, it could have different meaning for different people, it's useful that it gives examples though, but are those enough?

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  • Trolling is done by terrible people. If you see trolling make sure you report it to staff. If you troll someone yourself by deliberately trying to make them angry or upset, you're not welcome here. There are other places online if you want to tease others like a preschooler. The staff have a zero tolerance policy towards trolling. You will be banned for it.

'Trolling' is another word I think is subjective, it does give examples but not as many as the 'Spamming' one. It's a bad sign when I had to explain to a member that was insulted by another one, that being a total insulting cock was against the rules and that member should be reported. My personal definition of a troll is a bully, a person that insults others when they disagree and generally sucks the fun out of everything. You're definition might be different.

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  • Make meaningful topics. Before you make a topic, search the forum to see if someone already beat you to it. Put some effort into your topic so other people are more likely to want to respond in it. Forum game threads, request threads and list threads are prone to spam so don't go making any of those bloody things. Also, please don't make advertising topics; if you want to get attention for something, put it in your signature.

Hmm, this seems pretty straight forward too. Although you can't really promise that people are more likely to respond to a topic with lots of effort put in. But that's just me nit-picking. Especially as I always put a lot of effort in my threads and they rarely last long. XP

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  • Feel free to be friendly and understanding towards other members. Because it's awesome. It's great when people aren't ignorant (like refusing to acknowledge when you've lost an argument), stirring drama or flaming other members. It's also great when people use the report button for bad posts and topics instead of publicly being hostile to someone else. If you see rules being broken then report it, don't address it yourself; it makes the forum look like a horrible place to hang out and it makes you look like a douchebag as well. 

This seems to cover more about the Trolling thing, not sure why it's in a different bullet point though. Perhaps it would help to explain more about the report function. I've spoken to many members that are afraid to report due to various reasons. Fear of being a bother, being labelled as some kind of cry baby or even getting into trouble if what they judged turned out to be wrong. As far as I know, you don't punish for reporting and have expressed that on many occasions, as long as you keep that in place, I don't see any reason why people should worry.

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  • No adult material. If you post porn or highly offensive content you will be out of here quicker than rabbits can go at it.
  • Banned means Banned. Trying to evade bans or getting others to post on your behalf will never be welcomed by the staff. Be an adult, if you've behaved crappily enough to get banned then take it on the chin and stay away. 

These are fine as well. Although I might've phrased that 'Be an adult' part differently. Something like: 'Be an adult and act like an adult, if you've got banned then...'etc

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  • Don't make everyone's eyes bleed. Follow signature limits. Signature limitation rules are there for everyone, to make SSMB a nicer place to read and a better place to browse. Your signature and avatar should not exceed 400kb combined. Your signature should not stretch the page. Your signature should not be higher than 600 pixels. People want to scroll through forum posts, not your huge sig.

Again, the phrasing isn't very appealing and I know for a fact that the signature size has changed. The signature restrictions say 'Maximum of 10 images - Images up to 450 x 200 pixels - Maximum of 15 URLs - Maximum of 15 lines'

But doesn't mention file size. Is it the same? Is it different?

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  • Be nice to the staff. Staff give up their free time to run the forums, so if you treat them like crap it will not end well for you. Use your head.

This one? Erm...I see no problem with it personally and I'm in no place to tell the staff how to act, as long as it's understood that this goes both ways, then I see no problem. It is true that some staff are more approachable than others, that could be just a personality thing. But...yeah, fear of the actual staff is another reason some don't report.

That's all the major points on the Guidelines page, should there be more? Probably. Maybe make some suggestions or ignore this and lock the topic, I don't give anybody orders.

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Regarding this one...

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Spamming will put you on the staff shit list and will ensure a swift trip to banville. The staff care about SSMB, you know, so if you spam it with image macros, videos and other idiotic messages you will end up striked very quickly. 

This is almost certainly a left over rule from when we were a 'serious' discussion forum and from what happened a few years back, basically some users were doing nothing but posting gifs and image macros as replies to topics. Aside from it being amazingly annoying to try and read a topic it was also a pain on older CPU's and users on mobile/low bandwidth were having a bad time trying to just read the forum, let alone reply to topics.

Honestly I think the forum mentality has this more or less right. The odd image or silly post which is actually funny is fine so long as the entire topic doesn't become a cluster fuck. It's kinda dull if the entire topic is just serious discussion and nobody wants or makes a joke which isn't all sorts of stupid.

So that's probably the reason why that one is worded like that since there was a time when people were literally flooding topics with images and macros over and over, it wasn't like one person making the odd joke post, it was a constant stream of posts like it.

Personally the only thing I think needs changing are the number of reactionary rules that get brought in every now and again and that there has to be more transparency and even handedness on what exactly is deemed ok and what isn't since it almost seems to be completely random as to if you're going to get pulled up on it or not. 

An example of this is as follows.

This reactionary rule got brought in during October, the first people to get hit about it were those being incredibly aggressive to people who liked the game, outright calling them names and some other nasty things, staff did the 'suspension and quoted a link to the new rule' when really the normal guidelines should have been enough.

Aweek ago, I got a strike for this status update and this same rule was cited, if I check the warning reason for it; it's been put down as being 'Abusive Behaviour' and that I "shouldn't be smug" in that I was right about Forces being a bad game, no really that was the term used in the warning. Frankly I don't wish to turn this into a 'remove it now' or 'why was I striked', but look at that status update I made... now look at the last status updates since Polygons review or the review topic in general it's been full of people making similar jokes and from the face of it, no action was taken.

The reactionary thing is something I've felt a long time about since a lot of the time since I've seen users get pulled up on stuff immediately after it's been brought up and then it slides down until it's completely forgotten, since someone has brought up the issue of community guidelines, might as well bring it up.

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3 hours ago, Mayor D said:

Aweek ago, I got a strike for this status update and this same rule was cited, if I check the warning reason for it; it's been put down as being 'Abusive Behaviour' and that I "shouldn't be smug" in that I was right about Forces being a bad game, no really that was the term used in the warning. Frankly I don't wish to turn this into a 'remove it now' or 'why was I striked', but look at that status update I made... now look at the last status updates since Polygons review or the review topic in general it's been full of people making similar jokes and from the face of it, no action was taken.

The reactionary thing is something I've felt a long time about since a lot of the time since I've seen users get pulled up on stuff immediately after it's been brought up and then it slides down until it's completely forgotten, since someone has brought up the issue of community guidelines, might as well bring it up.

This one's on me, so I'll give my reasoning. "But I'm sure Forces will be fine. Sega wouldn't lie to us again!" was pretty obnoxious and struck me as being made at the expense of members who were excited about the game. There's been a lot of mocking sentiments I've seen or gotten (legitimate) complaints lately, so I discussed it with staff, looked at recent, overall behavior, and acted from there. This is how all strikes are dealt with. Honestly had that line not been there I'd have rolled my eyes and moved on with my night, but in relation to what was appended to the Upcoming Games sub-forum, I didn't feel like letting it slide. After how the Forces review thread has gone last night, and the rate at which Forces discussion moves and the number of reports we have to sort through, I was thinking about my recent activity and realized I might have been hasty about this particular warning (I do rethink a lot of my mod actions as time goes on).

Maybe we aren't always enforcing the rules in a very straightforward or consistent manner, but it's something we're working on. We are trying to update the rules to make them more clear. While I don't think there's anything wrong with this post, in the future if you have problems with staff or any actions we've taken against you, you should probably talk to Chris so he can sort it out and make a final decision.

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