Right, on to Part 2 (more detailed comments regarding Off-Topic Discussion, and Moderating) as posted in their forum. Not much discussion occurred between my first post and now, so will give it a few more days before summarizing.
Should an Off-Topic section be brought back? Heck Yes. But there are caveats that go with the suggestion (some of this will reference my earlier master post):
-> In a publicly-viewable forum (Guests), the OT section should not be available. Again, this is to keep things friendly to the Search Spiders. Verified and above should be able to see it, though I feel that there should be an option to squelch access to it if you’re not at all interested.
[I’d like to point out here that getting to Verified status only takes the purchase of US$1 worth of L$ from the LindeX exchange site. I understand that there are barriers to even this, but I just noticed that Verified PayPal users can now link their account (which IMHO may be safer than leaving CC info with LL). Also, anyone who decided to undergo that interesting and amusing ‘Age Verification’ thing *should* be considered as Verified for the sake of forum access.]
-> The OT section should be either very lightly moderated, or not moderated at all (this assumes my earlier point, which hides the forum to Guests). However, the REST of the forum is strictly moderated (or as close to that as possible). This is going to meld into the Moderation comments, stay with me here.
My reasoning behind this is straightforward – As has been mentioned multiple times here, we’re going to have these discussions *regardless* of an OT section occurring or not. Lets put it back, but with controls and clearly defined rules both for regular and OT sections. However, strict moderation will either require more Linden staff or some sort of assistance elsewhere.
An excellent example of a vB forum implementing some of this is the Notebook Forums: [url]http://www.notebookforums.com/index.php?index[/url]
Guests will notice that OT is marked Private and not available. I have an account there, and can see OT when I’m in (currently browsing a US economy thread). [Side note – they appear to have gone through an overhaul much like what’s discussed here, and is looking the better for it. Their Rules thread/post is VERY strict and is not what I’d recommend here (due to lack of staff), but could be adapted.]
OK, my feelings on Moderation (please don’t shoot me ).
I do think external moderation can work; Y’all did not have an issue with some of us ResMods during the initial couple months (I will make no comment as to my own success; Go look at my post history and decide for yourself – and it would be nice to hear counter-feedback from those who were not around back then). However, there will be a bit of give-and-take in order to allow this:
-> External Mods should preferably be *external* (i.e. outside contractors) with no SL accounts at all. This may not be possible due to the way this forum integrates, so alternatively hand out Linden accounts with no SL login capability or create a new ‘last name’ for this purpose that still has no SL login possible. If they did have accounts prior to this, they would need to submit to temp or permanent ban during their tenure as mod.
-> Barring that, an existing ‘Resi’ *waves to Torley if still watching* can be nominated to help. However, he/she will need to submit full RL data including address, etc (like what is submitted for the Age Verification) and possibly accept whatever additional vetting is required for a MG person to interact on the TG.
[I originally had the option for your avatar (and any of those linked to your IPs) both banned and deleted from the database; Discussing it with a friend of mine (who some may remember as Racer Plisskin, also retired) made me remove this based on issues with creating problems in the Asset DB. I include it here for completeness and expansion/discussion on keeping the Mod from ‘conflicts of interest’ with the world being discussed around them. Also, if its not blatently obvious, I’m quite willing to submit to this despite the sacrifices involved and my deep ties here.]
-> Oh, one last thing – we’ve unofficially had Moderation by Residents as far back as Beta. After all, who’s ‘Nada Epoch’ in the Scripting Library forum? And the old Groups forums had the ‘creator’ of that group also be the Mod for it. We know its possible, and it did work well in those instances, so it should not be an issue to re-work it when done carefully.
Though I did not intend to discuss banning, I touched on some of it above, so my thoughts:
-> I will not – and cannot – discuss existing bans in place due to certain ‘conflicts of interest’ created from an early (and possibly ongoing) program around the permaban system. You’ll need to poke Robin or perhaps Andrew for more info – ask about ‘Resident Review.’
-> I agree with the earlier mention of having a forum ban not mean an SL ban – but an SL ban should include the forums (though the read-only sections would still be available as a ‘Guest’ if that’s enabled). I also agree that it should be tiered into via multiple suspensions – perhaps two weeks, then 4, then 8, then permanent.
OK, that’s pretty much the remainder of my overall comments on this subject. From here on I will answer questions (If I can) and otherwise probably fade back onto my weblog until I hear anything different over here.
Robin and Kat – Again, best of luck to both of you, and forward my thanks again to Torley for keeping me sane during the ResMod attempt.