Newly Adopted Community Forum Guidelines

Discussion in 'Customer Service' started by Huss, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Huss

    Huss Administrator
    Staff Member

    Aug 1, 1995
    New York, NY
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    In order to provide the best possible user experience (in anticipation of an exciting World Cup and to facilitate further growth), and in preparation for the launch of BSX (yes, the new BigSoccer is under development), we present the following clarifications to our guidelines.


    MISSION STATEMENT
    =================
    BigSoccer will be the #1 Internet destination for soccer fans to gather online.

    BigSoccer was created and is maintained by soccer fans, for soccer fans. We are a unique combination of community gathering place, information resource, and online retailer for soccer fans the world over and, in particular, those based in the United States and other places where outlets for soccer fans are limited.

    We will be a leading Internet retailer of soccer and soccer related products, with first rate customer service and consistently low prices. We will sell authentic soccer gear from around the world, featuring as many clubs, national teams, leagues and brands as it is economically viable to carry inventory.

    Our community will be the most active, vibrant and diverse community of soccer fans on the Internet. Our community is a source of soccer information, news, results, rumors, supporter’s gatherings, travel information and valued friendships. And yes, our community is a source of entertainment. Though soccer brought us together, our users share many common interests. BigSoccer shall always foster an environment where all of our interests can lead to an ever-growing community and new friendships.


    MODERATOR’S STATEMENT
    ====================
    Our community will be liberally managed with a community orientation by a volunteer team of dedicated and responsible Moderators, in a manner that all our content is appropriate to all our audience. We neither condone nor permit racism, personal attacks, or other behavior that in the offline world would violate a person’s civil liberties or might be considered hooliganism. Our Moderators will be held to the highest standards of behavior, such that they may be an example to all the members of our community.

    BigSoccer publishes and regularly updates the Moderator Rules and Guidelines statement. This statement shall be kept posted for public (re)view in the Feedback board. Moderators who are seen to violate the guidelines should be first reported to a forum co-mod, and then to the SuperMods, who are the ultimate arbiters. Users who make false accusations shall be considered trollers.

    That being said, the word "Trolling" is used too freely on BigSoccer. Unless someone is really going out of their way to stir things up (as judged on a forum by forum basis by the community's mod, consistently with these published standards), they should be able to post whatever they want, so long as they do not make personal attacks, violate the TOS, etc. We recognize this leads to a consistency problem, but dissenting views are not necessarily trolls. A bit of chest-thumping never killed anyone. Higher level general boards for each league and country exist for this very reason and that is where the bulk of inter-team posting should take place. Some Mods have also elected to create "Supporters Club" or "Team NSR" sub-forums, where 100% pro-team sentiment can rule the roost.

    It is recognized that the volume of posts on BigSoccer has increased dramatically over the years, and it is not possible to field a mod army large enough to handle all possible issues on a timely basis. Further, all Mods are volunteers and, importantly, members of the community themselves. They have a thankless job for which they do not want, nor should they be expected to, give up their own pleasure in using BigSoccer. Therefore users have as much responsibility as Mods in policing the boards and acting appropriately.

    Becoming a mod is explained below.


    USER'S STATEMENT
    ================
    The users of BigSoccer are its lifeblood. They created the community, and have played a key role in shaping its growth and development since our founding in 1995. BigSoccer is defined and driven by you.

    BigSoccer Users have as much responsibility as our Admins and Mods. They have a responsibility to be decent BigSoccer citizens by behaving appropriately and following the letter and spirit of the TOS (Terms of Service).

    In particular, personal attacks, racism, etc. will never be tolerated here. Obviously there will always be humorous banter as well as lively and sometimes heated debate. The TOS and common sense will dictate what will and will not be tolerated. Name calling happens, but it's not necessary, and yes, we believe you can tell the difference between calling someone an idiot in jest, and calling someone an idiot. Mods will remind you of this. We do not believe the line between humor and attacks is hard to see.

    Users should help to "moderate" the boards they frequent. Please alert your Moderators to problems they might have missed. The best method for this is using the "Report this post" button that can be found on every single post and thread on BigSoccer. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you feel a Moderator has responded inadequately, you should first contact the co-Mods. If you are still unsatisfied, contact the SuperMods, who supersede forum Moderators and who are the ultimate arbiters throughout the site.


    ANNOUNCED FORMAT CHANGES
    =================

    Our intent is not so much strictness, as it is an improvement in signal to noise ratio.

    REPUTATION - We believe reputation to be a valuable tool to provide quick feedback without cluttering the boards and to get a sense of a user’s standing in our community. Likewise, we feel rep has been abused by clique lovers. Therefore: All rep will be reset to zero. All Mods will be instructed to immediately crack down on rep boosting threads. Your rep score display will be available on your profile page but not on each post. Reputation values will also be reduced, with Mods and Admins given bonus rep power. We reserve the right to remove rep functionality at any point (frankly, this would be our next and final step).

    POST COUNTS - Are one way of measuring a user's standing in our community. So is join date. However, neither of those two data points is meaningful in and of themselves. Therefore: Post counts will be available on your user profile page, but will not be on each post. Join date will remain on each post. User titles will be modified to roughly reflect the range of your post count. All Mods will be instructed to discourage "add to your post count" threads.

    RIVALRIES - We recognize that rivalries are a necessary evil, as they provide a forum for "looser" behavior without cluttering up and ruining the main boards. Some users have abused the creation of these boards. Therefore: World Rivalries will be moved into its own category, at the bottom of the forum list. We reserve the right to move any other rivalry board to this category. We reserve the right to eliminate the rivalry forums at any point. We urge our users to use these forums as fun playpens for witty banter and spirited rivalry (this naturally seems to work better with clubs than countries). We reference the User Statement above.

    MODERATORS - Mods are necessary. Good Mods are indispensable. We will add more of the latter. We urge you to nominate the best member(s) of your favorite boards. We will be publishing an updated set of Moderator guidelines, with a focus on doing their jobs fairly while keeping the site fun. We will work hard to train our Mods to be like referees: their hands invisible unless the players need them - stern, unbiased and consistent when called upon. Polls will be opened in each forum to rate existing Mods. Please be honest and polite. This is for the good of the community. Mods will be instructed to crack down on censor bypasses (in exchange, we will remove some words from the censor). Mods will be instructed to crack down harder than ever on racism and personal attacks, as well as the items noted above. They simply will not be tolerated as they make the site less enjoyable for everyone. Mods will be instructed to be more liberal and community minded than ever. A good community polices itself, and we trust our users.

    NEW MEMBERS, INNOCENT MEMBERS, AND TROLLS - New members will not be permitted to start threads until they have made an unspecified number of posts as replies to existing threads. This will help to curtail socks, spammers, and lots of innocent threads that often illicit uninviting responses from our old-timers. Please be nice(r) to our new members. Forum bans will be used more liberally by the SuperMods for repeated troublemakers.

    CARDS AND BANNING - Forum bans will be used more liberally by the SuperMods for repeated troublemakers. While Red Cards will not be eliminated, they will largely be replaced by forum and site bans. Forum bans will escalate. A first violation will last for up to 72 hours. Subsequent violations will increase the forum ban by days, weeks, months, or years. Forum bans can also be made permanent. Yellow cards will remain as a warning sign to both the poster and the community.


    THE MODERATOR POLL
    =================
    As noted above, within each forum the dedicated forum Moderators must start and sticky a poll about themselves.

    1) The poll question: Please rate us, your forum Mods (<modnames>) and how we moderated this forum, <forumname>, in 2005.
    2) The poll will be accompanied by this post: Please rate us, your forum Mods (<modnames>) and how we moderated this forum, <forumname>, in 2005. These polls have been created at the request of the BigSoccer Admins in an effort to improve our community and clarify our newly revised community guidelines for the coming year. Please be honest, civil, and fair in your responses. After one week, we will attempt to respond and address your praise and criticism. A little background about us...I, <mod1> have been a mod of this forum since <month year="">, and have been a member of BigSoccer since <month year="">. I also moderate <any other="" forums="">. <mods may="" elect="" to="" put="" some="" personal="" info="" here="" such="" as="" age="" occupation="" location="" or="" other="" interests="" at="" their="" discretion="">
    3) Poll answers: A, B, C, F
    4) Please use the thread as an opportunity to provide feedback. Please note all comments are public intentionally. Your vote, however, will not be public. Your comments can address both the way the board is moderated and the way individual Mods moderate.
    5) Mods may not respond for 7 days. This should allow everyone time to cool off and answer maturely.
    6) SuperMods and Admins will review all results and bring up problems and praise situations in the SuperMods boards.
    7) Mods will be urged to bring up points of praise and concern on the Mods board for further discussion as well.


    MORE MODS
    =================
    1) We urge all members of the community to nominate members from within their forum to be Mods. The application is simple and should be PM'd to Huss as well as each of the forum's existing moderators. It will then be reviewed by the SuperMods and Admins.

    Screen Name
    Real Name
    Age
    Occupation
    Location
    What you want to mod
    Why you want to mod
    What you feel a Mods role should be
    What you feel your contribution to BigSoccer has been

    2) We will be adding 1-3 more SuperMods to provide more time zone coverage and/or localized regional SuperModding (i.e. a particular subset of forums).


    BSX
    =================
    A new and expanded BigSoccer coming soon. Happy 2006 BigSoccer!

    One more thing... The [R] rule exists. Please put an [R] in any thread title involving results.


    More guidelines here:
    http://www.bigsoccer.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2860
    </mods></any></month></month></mod1></forumname></modnames></forumname></modnames>
     
  2. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    A good read and one that points to what will hopefully be more success for BS over the coming years. Of particular note is the new direction being taken in regard to reputation and post count. Everyone knows that the former has been a big issue to most, so hopefully this will finally crack down on the problems that it has created. Moving details like reputation and post count to the profile page will hopefully take the focus from these numbers to the quality of the overall posting. Good move.

    Having been on both sides of the moderating line, I am aware of how things work. One thing that I would ask you to consider is more openness in terms of the decision making in regard to punishment. Far too often we have seen Moderators being targeted by posters for action that either had nothing to do with them or that was supported by the Moderating Fraternity. Additional information to posters would help to explain how and why an action has happened, reducing the potential tension that can occur. Additional SuperMods is also long overdue in terms of having the required powers throughout the day.

    In summary, things are looking good.
     
  3. Samarkand

    Samarkand Member

    May 28, 2001
    I have always thought that a Yellow Card/Red Card/Forum Ban thread would be a good idea for a number of reasons. This (or these, if you want to make them separate) thread would be for the Mods who gave posters either card or ban. Here they would say Poster X got a yellow/red/ban for saying "This" on the following thread.

    Firstly, it would help everyone to see what exactly constitutes a red/yellow/banning offense; secondly, it would also help ensure consistency across the forums. So if insulting a Mod, for instance, which might go unnoticed on one thread but results in a yellow on another, it would require an explanation why, thus ensuring even-handedness and consistency. Lazy Mods and over-sensitive Mods would have to justify their actions or lack thereof.

    And finally, it would guarantee serious schadenfreude for others.:D
     
  4. hiddink_magic

    hiddink_magic New Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Wendouree
    With the WR board and the bannings consider something along the lines of having the mods crack down hard on every thread and post. That way it would stop the unnecessary arguments and the trolling. Something like what Alex_1 is doing. He/she is cracking down hard on the thread in there called the dumbest post thread volume 13.
    Great job that Alex is doing.
     
  5. antifan

    antifan Member+

    Aug 14, 2004
    The Scottie
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If it's a valuable tool to provide a sense of the user's standing in the community, then why move it to the user profile where very few people will see it? Was anyone really that bothered by the rep cliques? Flushing everyones rep just because a few people boosted theirs artificially seems like a poor solution to a non problem. You could have just locked or deleted the rep threads in the first place.
     
  6. Sakuragi

    Sakuragi Member+

    Mar 23, 2005
    Club:
    Club América
    Nat'l Team:
    Mexico
    Good call.

    I agree with most of the points that have been set, especially the rating of the moderators. As we all know, there have been some moderators who have misused their moderating powers by pure ignorance. With this new implementation, moderators will now be able to have a clear indication of their moderating skills and their overall performance within the bigsoccer community. This, indeed, is a good step in improving our bigsoccer experience for the upcoming World Cup.

    Cheers.
     
  7. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Read on. Yeah, there were a lot of "circle-jerk" rep cliques just for the sake of repping. The system was abused and a lot of honest people got mad.

    I'm glad that they're finally taking action.
     
  8. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'd like to see this work. It'll be a fun experiment.

    I don't like it because I have a feeling the trolling/socks will still continue, just as a reply instead of a new thread. Maybe if the "magic number to start a new thread" is changed on a regular basis, that will help curtail socks.

    I do like it because it forces new members to actually search for a thread and not post the latest incarnation of some thread that's on the second page.



    General comment -- You mention the SuperMods, but i'd list them in the new guidelines.
     
  9. hiddink_magic

    hiddink_magic New Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Wendouree
    There is another way you can try with the rep system. You could make it so that only the mods and admin staff can neg rep and all of us give only positive rep. That way it won't be abused by the so called idiots who misuse it.
     
  10. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So the people that abuse it by giving positive rep can still give positive rep?

    Bad idea.
     
  11. hiddink_magic

    hiddink_magic New Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Wendouree
    They can only give positive rep. It has worked before on other sites. Bigfooty did this just last year but then decided to take it away because there were still a few idiots misusing it.
    There were threads about giving rep and that got out of hand because of the trolling and the other stuff that was happening. However, the admins and mods have to work together to make it work right. If the guys work as a team and crack down on the idiots then it should work out really well.
     
  12. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    I'm sure that a lot of thought has gone into these changes, so nothing we say now will change things. They are good ideas, so let's get behind the admin and try to make things work like they were intended.
     
  13. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    I don't understand the benefit of not displaying post counts on each post.

    Maybe if there was an explanation as to why those are being stripped I'd be more understanding, but for the time being I think it's pretty stupid.
     
  14. hiddink_magic

    hiddink_magic New Member

    Feb 27, 2003
    Wendouree
    Send Huss a pm he will explain more about it.
     
  15. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    This is the thread to talk about it, isn't it?

    What's the use in PMs if others come with the exact same questions later?
     
  16. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    If it was left then people would start to look at post count as opposed to previously checking reputation. Since post count is fairly useless as an indicator of quality, then there is no need for it to be clearly visible. That's your answer.
     
  17. Th4119

    Th4119 Member

    Jul 26, 2001
    Annandale, VA
    That's a bit of a stretch for an assumption.

    Looking at post count to judge quality? I doubt many people would do that in general, but why is it Huss' deal if people do or not? If Joe Poster thinks someone sucks at posting because they've got 32 posts, what's the big deal?

    You say there's no need for it to be clearly visible, but is there such a need to revoke it as well? I'm curious and I know many others are to know how many posts people have. It's a point of reference and while it doens't determine quality why trash it?

    I think you're wrong about people looking at the count for quality purposes. On the off chance you are right about it, I don't see where the people in charge need to step in. Why can't people make their assumptions any way that they want to?
     
  18. Californiaspurs

    Californiaspurs New Member

    Dec 22, 1999
    Santa Clara County
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Very well thought out changes.

    As an old timer on these boards I was becoming disillusioned.

    The worthwhile posts and threads were getting hijacked by destructive people who were loaded with "rep" gradually drowning out the worthwhile and interesting contributors who maybe had one or two green decals.

    I love a bit of creative banter, but the old system just wasn't condusive to encouraging stimulating discussion and exchanges. It encouraged dysfunctionals with too much time on their hands to manipulate the boards to such an extent that it was becoming tiresome to wade through all the repetitive cliques, and space wasting sockpuppets and sockpuppet thread starters.

    Ultimately, the quality contributors seemed to be in decline, and interesting, thoughtful, or genuinely witty posts appeared to be diminishing.

    The people who run this site are on the ball with indentifying some of these issues and making the appropriate changes.

    I had a good day today after a tough few weeks in business, and to see the changes here at Bigsoccer was the icing on the cake. Well done. Keep it up.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. NUFCBayern

    NUFCBayern Moderator
    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2004
    Columbus, OH
    Club:
    FC Bayern München
    Agreed. Poster A who has 53 posts could know just as much about soccer as Poster B who has 3,214 posts. What's the point of having it visible? It's trivial. Good idea, Huss.
     
  20. maturin

    maturin Member

    Jun 8, 2004
    Just a couple related questions:

    1. Currently, I seem to have one reputation point but I can't see who it came from, what post I got it for, or any comments that may have come with it on the My BigSoccer screen. Is there a reason for this?

    2. What is the point of eliminating the post counts if you just add another indicator of it (i.e. BigSoccer Level III)? Someone can still know by virtue of my level that I have more than 1000 but fewer than 1500 or 2000 posts, and really I don't think many people pay much attention to small numerical differences anyway.
     
  21. Hucsman

    Hucsman Football Ayatollah

    Jun 26, 2005
    México
    I like the changes, looking good. However, I still have a question, this whole "BigSoccer Level x" thing is supposed to indicate the expected quality of a given poster's comment, however, premium members can modify that (from what I'm seeing in this very thread).Couldn't premium members have both their custom message and a "quality meter"?

    Edit: Also, I think that "BigSoccer Level x" is lame. Couldn't you have noobies be, say "Waterboys" and the vets be "Bigger than Maradona" or something a tad more entertaining?
     
  22. antifan

    antifan Member+

    Aug 14, 2004
    The Scottie
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I would agree with you, but since you're only a level III, i'm not sure i trust your opinion. ;) :D
     
  23. LordR

    LordR Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    Germany
    I like most changes, but you should've cut down the reputation to the maximum of 1 box, red, grey or green, but kept it visible everywhere. So that one could see if someone has a red box, he's a troll or a moron and shouldn't be taken too seriously, while someone with a green box is a decent poster you can start a discussion with.
     
  24. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From my perspective, Todd, it will cut down on knee-jerk posts like "You only have X number posts so you must be an idiot" and "You are a loser because you have XX,XXX posts."

    I think it will force some people to read the words only and not use rep or post count as part of the interpretation of the post.
     
  25. nach0king

    nach0king Member

    Jul 6, 2004
    Dallas Proper
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Nat'l Team:
    Scotland
    The post count idea is a good one.

    The rivalry change is just more wussification, but that's what happens when you call users "customers" I guess.

    As for rep, I couldn't give a ******** what my rep is. If people would rather count a number of green dots than read a post based on its merits, that's quite frankly their loss.
     

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