Transparency in Waypoint Forum Moderation


#1

Introduction

Hello, Waypoint Community. This post is a joint message from the Waypoint moderation team in regards to some questions the moderation team has received from users in the past few months, concerning how, why, and what we do in our capacities as forum moderators. Based on feedback we’ve been receiving we felt it would be good to use this thread as an opportunity to pause, evaluate, and revise, where necessary, the ways in which we work with the Waypoint community.

This post is comprised of four parts.
1. The reason for this thread
2. What we set out to do
3. How it’s done
4. What users can do

The Reason for this Thread

We hope to give some transparency, as over the life of the forums there’s been a lot of difficult events in the forums and in the games discussion spaces. Often there is overlap and sometimes Waypoint is involved directly. These events have had implications for us as moderators too. On some of these occasions, we felt it was not our place to speak on an issue without official commentary from the staff at Waypoint, given our position as volunteers.

Now, after more than a year has passed for the forums and the rules have been updated, we feel this is a good opportunity to clear up any confusion, explain some of our processes, and receive feedback on some key points we want to present to you all. We have and continue to strive to develop better communication and systems to be able to better what may come in the future.

This thread will be locked but you will be able to share your thoughts in the discussion thread (a link to which is at the bottom of this post). We’ll outline in the discussion thread what we are and aren’t looking for – all comments are appreciated, but we would rather this be used constructively.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


What We Set Out to Do

Our mission statement as moderators has been at the top of our Rules & Code of Conduct since the day it was launched and is now the first Goal in our Rules and Goals.

The goal of the Waypoint Community is to be an inclusive, fun place to talk about games and other things. Waypoint is a site focused on “why we play” and that’s the common interest that brought us all here. These rules are intended to promote that environment.

The question for us as a mod team is, consequently, how to guide ourselves towards upholding that statement while empowering and supporting users to do the same. We have had a broad set of processes in place since the creation of the Waypoint Discord that we worked out with the guidance of Waypoint staff. These have been developed and refined over time as the community has grown, but these principles for our general operation have remained intact from the jump.


How it's Done

Over time we have, as a team, developed a method for dealing with issues that arise. First, either a mod or a user flag alerts the rest of the mod team to a possible issue. Whoever is available at the time looks it over (we always wait for more than one mod to weigh in before action is taken) and we decide by consensus whether the post warrants action. If it is decided that action is needed we then work together to agree on what action the infraction necessitates.

To ensure consistent actions on a given issue we have standard processes and statements that we stand by:

  • We are volunteers. We receive no remuneration or credit for the work we do here.
  • We act collectively. The Waypoint moderation team is never an ‘I’, it is always a ‘we’. No warning is issued from one hand alone, no decision on a thread is taken individually, and we, as far as possible, act in official capacities with the broadest internal consensus possible.
  • We discuss moderation issues internally. We talk broadly on the subject at hand. Once we come to a decision, we abide by it as a team.
  • We will, in the case of threads with intense or escalated debate that cover crucial issues, sometimes close threads for a period of time to give the topic some air and to let moderators rest.
  • We come from diverse backgrounds and bring those perspectives to bear in our discussion.
  • We consider people’s perspectives seriously and do not make light of anyone’s reasons for their actions. We take this into consideration when moderating (particularly around Rules 1-3), but this does not become a blank cheque for rule breaking behaviour.
  • We operate confidentially as far as possible. We do not publicize information about disciplinary actions unnecessarily, because we believe that folks can change and that it should not be held against them outside of Waypoint community space.
  • We keep internal records of disciplinary actions so we can have a rounded perspective on people’s conduct.
  • We work with Waypoint staff in order to ensure we are acting appropriately in regards to managing the community.

What Users Can Do

As the new Rules and Goals attempt to clarify, Moderation, and the creation of a positive community capable of discussing complex topics in good faith is a joint effort. While we may supervise the community, the community also defines itself. We are involved in shaping the community and guiding it, but so is everyone reading this.

There are sometimes situations in which conversations can rapidly escalate or are unpleasant or harmful for users. We cannot guarantee all discussions will be friendly or everyone will always see eye to eye. However, the following are ways users can make our space better and possibly avoid unneeded escalation.

  • If you find a post that you feel requires attention, you can click the flag icon (located at the bottom of the post, next to the reply option) to let us know about it. We try to monitor the forums, but things slip through the cracks and that is why we greatly appreciate the assistance of everyone in the community for helping us keep things in check.
  • If there’s an issue that can’t be solved by flagging, you are always welcome to reach out to the mods directly by messaging us. We understand the hesitation in reaching out but we depend on folks letting us know when there’s a problem we’re not aware of. In those situations we’ll do our best to help you and treat the matter with care.
  • In situations where you see a new thread that should probably be locked, we advise simply flagging the post and moving on. Though it may be tempting to jump in there with your own thoughts or take the opportunity to be snarky, it only gives us more work and can accelerate a negative situation.
  • Similarly, we recommend disengaging and contacting a mod in cases where you feel frustrated by the direction a discussion is going in and feel continuing to participate may make matters worse. We want using the forum to be an enjoyable experience for all and we will try to steer things that way when necessary, however we cannot see everything and user flags are helpful to alert us to situations as quickly as possible.

Discussion link:
https://forum.waypoint.vice.com/t/rule-update-and-transparency-in-waypoint-forum-moderation-discussion/16473


Rule Update and Transparency in Waypoint Forum Moderation: Discussion
#4