New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Open: A proposal for community standards of forum behavior

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Nalates
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New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Nalates » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:08 pm

Parts of the discussion of the new rules at MOUL fit within SD&D and some don't. So, we may need to move portions of or the whole thread to another section. Also, the rules are their rules now. This post is not to criticize Cyan or the MOUL forum but to understand how one would use the rules, enforce them as a moderator, and as a member know when one is crossing the line. Posts criticizing Cyan or the MOUL forum will likely be moved to the moderators area for review.

Zero Tolerance
III. TROLLING, FLAMING, ABUSE, HARASSMENT - Cyan will maintain a zero tolerance policy for any of these actions. You may not harass another person in any language. Making a threat against another person in the forums is also expressly prohibited. You may not use any sexually explicit, suggestive, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, belittling, bullying, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive language. This includes, but is not limited to, any speech, actions, signatures and links dealing with cultural, political, or religious beliefs. This also applies to any speech, actions, signatures and links dealing with sexual orientation. This applies to any language.
This seems to be an odd place for a zero tolerance policy. All four of the items require a high degree of subjective evaluation. I suspect one is going to have to read between the lines and decide on what the actual implementation of the policy will mean.

We have a thread on Trolling and the ambiguous nature of the term and the need for unbiased moderation.

We have a thread on Flaming with definitions taken from outside the Uru community. The complexity of defining flaming reveals various degrees of flames. The moderator's task becoming more subjective as the subtlety increases.

Abuse and Harassment have no specific threads here. If someone feels they need to be addressed, they can add them.

The zero tolerance policy is tempered, and possibly nullified, by the enforcement section.
Membership in and posting to Cyan's forums constitutes acceptance of these forum policies. They will be enforced to the best of our ability. Failure to adhere to any of these policies (even the ones you don't agree with) may result in a warning, a suspension of, or a permanent banning of your account.
While I applaud a degree of discretion, this seems to create a dichotomy between zero tolerance and 'may result'. Zero tolerance has a rather specific meaning in society that does not seem to fit.

Is this policy confusing? I think so, but...
Is there a better way to word the idea?

For constancy between the policy and the resulting enforcement I would probably have written the sentence as: Forum management will maintain a policy of very low tolerance for any of these actions.
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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by JWPlatt » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:17 pm

Just a quick note to point out that the final paragraph refers to everything above, not just the zero tolerance section about trolling, flaming, abuse, and harassment. For example, an avatar which is an extra pixel wide would generate a request to trim it, not a consequence on par with abusing other members. "Zero tolerance" at the most refers to the aforementioned abuses in that paragraph.
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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Mac_Fife » Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:50 pm

I don't believe there is any conflict here: "Zero tolerance" means that you don't tolerate it, not that you shoot a guy the first time he steps out of line. In the first instance you might edit a post to correct/remove the issue and send a PM. If the problem persists then you go through the escalation of penalties. Depending on the magnitude of the problem you might conceivably skip a step.

And the zero tolerance phrase existed in the old Rule 6:
6. Cyan Worlds, Inc. has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of players in-game or on the forums. [...]
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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Whilyam » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:27 am

The rules have been improved slightly. The allowing of discussion about MOULa "hacks" being one improvement.
However, the rules still have the simply nonsensical taboo against referring to other Uru "hacking." The rule doesn't appear to have been thought through very well. It would have been nice to see Cyan take some leadership on this.

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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Mac_Fife » Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:24 am

Well I guess the issue there is that things like Uru:CC are still commercial products with distribution/publication rights assigned to third parties. Not knowing what the terms of those agreements are, I would presume that the view is that being seen to condone hacking (even when done to improve/enhance the product) on Cyan's own website could jeopardize the relationships with those third parties.

I don't think anyone is going to claim that the policies are perfect; that's probably an unattainable goal. There needs to be a bit of "wriggle room" for everyone, to deal with special (e.g. unforeseen) situations, and trying to write out something with that sort of level of definition would probably end up being overly wordy and possibly confusing for some.
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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Nalates » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:05 am

Andy wrote up his thinking on GoMa. It's worth reading. I think it provides a working solution.

Okay then....let's play their game.....their way.....
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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Whilyam » Wed Apr 28, 2010 1:05 pm

I propose calling Uru: CC "MOULOa" Myst Online Uru Live Offline Again. :P

Seriously, even IF it were a commercial issue (which I believe it isn't the case) Cyan should have told us why. Especially considering Offline Uru "hacking" is the key to getting things working in MOULa. Also considering the "hackers" have provided so much to Cyan (autoshout code, a fix for the memorial imager hack, etc.). It smacks of being inconsiderate of people trying to help that Cyan singles the Offline Uru developers as "hackers".

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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Dot » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:27 pm

Andy's post quotes RAWA's response to Tweek's request for clarification, in particular (emphasis added):
RAWA wrote:The way the policies are currently written they could be pointed to the GoW forums generically, but not to specific posts that break our forum policies. It seems like a reasonable middle ground that allows for the people to get to the information that they're looking for without our implied endorsement of activities that compromise our other products.
OK. Common sense will suggest that Cyan knows what is a commercial issue for them better than us fans.

So let's try to put that argument to one side and focus instead on what positively CAN be done with the situation as it is.

Whilyam, you mention in your post solutions found by fans in the past to particular problems.

Now, Andy's post goes on to say:
AndyLegate wrote:Okay, so let's think about this for a moment and make a list:

1) Anyone can download MOUL:a and play for free. It is not a product that is purchased from Cyan (donations are accepted.).
2) Hacking of modifying of the stand alone Uru:CC/POTS is considered unacceptable by Cyan.
3) Hacking, modifying, improving, adding too, etc, etc, AND discussing those things for MOUL (and it's variants) IS considered ACCEPTABLE by Cyan.

So based upon that, IF I had a modification that would allow me to take a 2nd installation of MOUL:a and allowed it to load up and run as a STANDALONE, this would be okay.
A tool that allowed me to place fan built Ages into this modified MOUL:a is also acceptable.
A tool that would allow me to build Ages in a free, opensource 3D Program (Blender) and export them (GoW Plugin) for MOUL:a format would also be acceptable.

In other words, if we had a way to export or convert Ages that are built right now, and export them to a modified (hacked) version of MOUL:a that does not need to connect to the Cyan Game server to run, so that I may test/play/inspect Fan Built Ages.......is just hunky-dorry with Cyan......
So, given all the proven skills and knowledge in the GoW, would tools like this be a possibility? What would need to be done to get them up and running?

And what other courses of action might be possible within these parameters?

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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Whilyam » Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:53 am

OK. Common sense will suggest that Cyan knows what is a commercial issue for them better than us fans.
So let's try to put that argument to one side and focus instead on what positively CAN be done with the situation as it is.
I'm not sure that's true. Cyan has shown, particularly in times when they are stretched thin, to not be able to think well (look at the Liaisons, the damage done by closing UU contrary to previous agreements, etc.). This brings me to what can positively be done: COMMUNICATE. Cyan needs to break out of the reactionary customer/fan relations (CR) and practice full (or near full) disclosure. It would be very simple for Cyan to come out and explain their reasoning in plain terms. That they do not fuels the belief that they have no good reason and are using those commercial issues as a mask to hide behind (one I have heard people bring up, primarily at the GoW, and one I am still on the fence about).
See, the issue I have is: What is the commercial issue? Cyan said they didn't want things that "compromise our other products". Well, how does PyPRP compromise their products? In no way. PyPRP encourages people to buy Cyan's old products (which would likely see very few sales without it). What about Drizzle's converter, you ask? That tool does nothing either. It is distributors of the game files that harm the product. The tool publicizes the other games (for example: someone owns Uru:CC, but doesn't know about Hex Isle or Myst V. The tool shows them other games exist out there they may not be aware of).
So, given all the proven skills and knowledge in the GoW, would tools like this be a possibility? What would need to be done to get them up and running?
And what other courses of action might be possible within these parameters?
So far as I can see, no it's impossible with what the GoW people have. They need the source for the tools to make the Age-creation plugin. They need the server source to run a test server.
My opinion is not to fit something within the parameters, but to change the parameters. I see Cyan as listening primarily to the MOUL forums, which is a long-term issue for Cyan. They are listening more to CrisGer than Tweek, and that's depressing since Tweek has been involved with Cyan for well over a decade and has created quite a lot for Cyan (the MOUL site among other things) and is one of the most talented individuals this community has. Cyan would profit as a company and profit in CR from lending their ears to people also to people who disagree with them (and not just when they make topics about moderation issues :lol: )
I mentioned to Rand that Cyan needs an independent CR person, perhaps picked from the community, who would listen to people's issues as un-biased as they could be and be able to report to Cyan "Here is where we need clarification. We need to explain ourselves better here. This is the basis of the argument."

The short answer is: There is no way for present reality to conform to Cyan's parameters. There won't be until Cyan releases two HUGE pieces of code (i.e. unlikely to be done in he short term).

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Re: New MOUL Forum Rules 4-26-2010

Post by Nalates » Thu Apr 29, 2010 5:06 pm

We are off topic.

What Cyan is doing, has done, or needs to do is for another thread... Preferably outside SD&D.

This thread is intended for discussion of how to moderate a Zero Tolerance policy. Ian has written his view of some of the linking problems an a MOUL post.
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