Non-sticky reminder about new Forum Toxicity Rules

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Jamor

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Hi all, Jamor here.

I'm posting in the general threads to amplify the message, as I know it's easy to skim over the sticky posts and miss things from time to time.

I want to draw everyone's attention to the new Forum Toxicity Rules:

https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/red-alert-toxicity-levels-rising.1065125/

tl;dr version: we encourage our devs to interact with our fans to a degree that's almost unprecedented in the industry among companies of our size. We don't want you to be fed just a steady diet of biz-speak and marketing spin. We tell you as much as we can consistent with the needs of business security. The flip side of that is the personal contact between you and us sometimes acts as an open door to abuse, attacks, and general negativity that our people are not paid or trained to deal with. We want our forums to stay vibrant, active, open places where devs are not afraid to go out and interact with you openly and honestly.

As such we've got a new system of infractions for toxicity...basically behavior that while not breaking other forum rules, contributes to an abusive, negative, non-productive atmosphere in the forums, directed at either the dev team or other fans. We have seen this sort of insidious force take root in other gaming communities and will not allow it to gain a beachhead here.

Give the post a look. The rules are fair and reasonable. This is in NO WAY an attempt to stifle disagreement and debate; that is the opposite of toxicity, it improves us and pushes us to always do better. What we are going to shut the door on is zero-value trolling, ad hominems, and nonproductive negativity.

My dev team is like a second family to me, they are incredibly smart, creative, hard working people doing a very challenging job. It is my professional, moral, and, here in Sweden, legal responsibility to ensure their well-being. I appreciate your support. Stand by for cool stuff coming up with 2.0/Apocalypse!
 

Razzlie

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I have to say, in the horribly money grubby industry that this is, Paradox is one of the few large ones that actually speak and listen to their fanbase, the only other notable one I know of being Amplitude. I truly appreciate that a lot, so it feels really bad to know people are being so vitriolic towards the devs who take the time and effort to come here and talk to us and hear us out.

Most companies truly seem to think what the players have to say about their game is uneducated rubbish and only look at graphs and cold numbers, and give no respect to anything in particular said by the fans.

Unrelated to the topic, but I wanted to ask, have you guys ever taken a look at how Amplitude does polling, voting and design competitions among their fanbase and allow them to directly choose the content and nature of the game? Edit: Forgot to mention an entire ideas section where users can submit them and everyone can vote on them, and the devs mark the ideas with categories such as "goes against fundamental design/too hard to implement", "considered for implementation", and sometimes respond elaborating on why they are/are not considering the idea.

I'm not saying that's necessarily the best idea ever, but in my experience it has worked amazingly well for Amplitude. Most people find it ridiculous to think that someone would just let their fans decide what the game will be like, and that it would just be an awful mess. But I honestly think Endless Legend was for a good amount of time the best 4X on the market by far, aside from the poor combat.
 
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Sarius1997

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I have to agree with this decision to be honest. One of the great things about this forum is the great discussion atmosphere and the dev interaction. Protecting those values is important.
 
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Razzlie

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I have to agree with this decision to be honest. One of the great things about this forum is the great discussion atmosphere and the dev interaction. Protecting those values is important.

It's the only reason I even come here, PDX and Amplitude are the only two big corporate entities in the video game industry that bother treating me as more than a walking wallet.

Ever been to the Total War forums? It's really awful, and literally nothing posted there feels like it has any meaning, the absolute best you might get is something like "we're looking into this issue" or just some weirdly robotic corporate speak filtered by enough lawyers and PR team members to remove any element of actual humanity from the message.
 

LeSingeAffame

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I have to say, in the horribly money grubby industry that this is, Paradox is one of the few large ones that actually speak and listen to their fanbase, the only other notable one I know of being Amplitude. I truly appreciate that a lot, so it feels really bad to know people are being so vitriolic towards the devs who take the time and effort to come here and talk to us and hear us out.

Most companies truly seem to think what the players have to say about their game is uneducated rubbish and only look at graphs and cold numbers, and give no respect to anything in particular said by the fans.

Unrelated to the topic, but I wanted to ask, have you guys ever taken a look at how Amplitude does polling, voting and design competitions among their fanbase and allow them to directly choose the content and nature of the game? Edit: Forgot to mention an entire ideas section where users can submit them and everyone can vote on them, and the devs mark the ideas with categories such as "goes against fundamental design/too hard to implement", "considered for implementation", and sometimes respond elaborating on why they are/are not considering the idea.

I'm not saying that's necessarily the best idea ever, but in my experience it has worked amazingly well for Amplitude. Most people find it ridiculous to think that someone would just let their fans decide what the game will be like, and that it would just be an awful mess. But I honestly think Endless Legend was for a good amount of time the best 4X on the market by far, aside from the poor combat.
I don't play Amplitude games, but most of PI games allow the playerbase to include their own ideas into the game : Mods. Sure it's not as effective as having the devs directly looking into it, but it allows the player with the idea to see how it could be put into the game in the first place (which is better than just saying "hey you should totally do that"). And some mod ideas are used in updates (don't know about Stellaris about that, but in CK2 and EUIV it happens from time to time).
I also suspect Amplitude of being smaller than PI (not trying to say that PI is better, just that it's bigger and thus it might be harder to apply the same methods), which could be another reason why.
It also seems that the teams make some sort of guideline for the year, where they write down what they'll try to be working on, so they might not need as much player input as Amplitude.

But still, it might be an interesting thing to try ?
 

Razzlie

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I don't play Amplitude games, but most of PI games allow the playerbase to include their own ideas into the game : Mods. Sure it's not as effective as having the devs directly looking into it, but it allows the player with the idea to see how it could be put into the game in the first place (which is better than just saying "hey you should totally do that"). And some mod ideas are used in updates (don't know about Stellaris about that, but in CK2 and EUIV it happens from time to time).
I also suspect Amplitude of being smaller than PI (not trying to say that PI is better, just that it's bigger and thus it might be harder to apply the same methods), which could be another reason why.
It also seems that the teams make some sort of guideline for the year, where they write down what they'll try to be working on, so they might not need as much player input as Amplitude.

But still, it might be an interesting thing to try ?

Amplitude games also do have mods as well, yes. I think you're right that Amplitude is smaller, Paradox is visibly a larger and better funded entity for sure.

The last part is probably important since the bigger you get the more rigid everything becomes, where you need to plans out lots of things for a lot of time ahead, and even small interruptions can cause big effects internally. Amplitude seems pretty comfortable with picking tasks on the fly and letting the community vote on the fly for features. The last poll was a three way choice between an ingame clock so you don't lose track of time, and two different UI additions.

Surprisingly the clock won, turns out a lot of people are having problems managing their time because they get so absorbed.
 

Beagá

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I have to agree with this decision to be honest. One of the great things about this forum is the great discussion atmosphere and the dev interaction. Protecting those values is important.

Considering the abysmal quality of the Steam forums and Youtube comments, I too like a decent place to discuss things and overall these forums are great.
 

Strager

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I really have to (non-toxicly) disagree with this one. Trolling is the great modern past-time, and trying to discourage it is only going to bring an army of angry trolls down on the place. The easiest way to destroy a lively community such as this is to make things so restrictive that people are scared to post criticism or to feel so negative that they turn to negative trolling (which is a far bigger issue than the neutral and positive trolling that is so common on this board).

Instead, Paradox should strive to embrace the trolls and even actively encourage the behavior. Allow people to argue, fight, and otherwise have a civil (and sometimes less than civil) discourse - not only will this keep such arguments contained to threads where they (often) can work through their disagreements, it will keep people from reacting negatively from the inability to troll (or lashing out when they are sanctioned for doing the same).
 

Jamor

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Instead, Paradox should strive to embrace the trolls and even actively encourage the behavior.

That's a fair opinion but it's not happening. Some people like to fight and be hostile, and they can impose fighting and hostility on people who don't like it. There are plenty of places on the internet that cater to that urge. Our forums, where membership is optional and predicated on accepting forum rules, are not one of them. Disagree, debate, get passionate, but keep it impersonal...if it doesn't fit in a face to face conversation between polite strangers, it doesn't belong here.
 

Strigoi Tyrannus

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That's a fair opinion but it's not happening. Some people like to fight and be hostile, and they can impose fighting and hostility on people who don't like it. There are plenty of places on the internet that cater to that urge. Our forums, where membership is optional and predicated on accepting forum rules, are not one of them. Disagree, debate, get passionate, but keep it impersonal...if it doesn't fit in a face to face conversation between polite strangers, it doesn't belong here.
You guys should make a troll ban thread where all of the posts leading to a ban are located. All names/usernames could be censored of course. That would help people know what you consider worth a ban and could also give some people a laugh or two. Just an idea. But anyway, it must be made more clear what is worth a ban. Would hate it so much to lose my account because of two mistakes/ jokes that went too far in someones opinion.
 

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You guys should make a troll ban thread where all of the posts leading to a ban are located. All names/usernames could be censored of course. That would help people know what you consider worth a ban and could also give some people a laugh or two. Just an idea. But anyway, it must be made more clear what is worth a ban. Would hate it so much to lose my account because of two mistakes/ jokes that went too far in someones opinion.

I'd go further and actually leave the names uncensored. If you said something, own it.

But I'd say as long as you're not directly attacking people, you should be fine.
 

Miesha

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Boy am I glad this comes after the proposed FTL changes, because if this system had been active during the announcement of Hyperlanes only 2.0 stellaris, I imagine that a few hundred accounts would've been banned pretty fast.

Also good to see some active forum moderation with high severity punishments. I'm a fan of that, since I know for a fact that some people live and breathe for sowing discontent among people. Hurting others is the only way those kinds of people feel good about themselves, which is just straight messed up honestly.
 

Fourthspartan56

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I really have to (non-toxicly) disagree with this one. Trolling is the great modern past-time, and trying to discourage it is only going to bring an army of angry trolls down on the place. The easiest way to destroy a lively community such as this is to make things so restrictive that people are scared to post criticism or to feel so negative that they turn to negative trolling (which is a far bigger issue than the neutral and positive trolling that is so common on this board).

Instead, Paradox should strive to embrace the trolls and even actively encourage the behavior. Allow people to argue, fight, and otherwise have a civil (and sometimes less than civil) discourse - not only will this keep such arguments contained to threads where they (often) can work through their disagreements, it will keep people from reacting negatively from the inability to troll (or lashing out when they are sanctioned for doing the same).
This is an atrocious idea, the point of the forum should be to provide a place for people to productively discuss Paradox games. Not act out juvenile and unproductive impulses through trolling. If we did what you want then this forum would degenerate into some of the worst sub-reddits or even *shudders* 4chan and that would just be a shame. I've had good discussions here and I don't want that to be consumed in the name of internet lulz.
 

Es57

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I've already posted it on the other thread, but since it got locked, I might as well repost it.

"While I think that an instant permanent ban is not a bad idea in itself, I hope that there will at least be a way for the offender to explain himself about its conduct and why his post could be not seen as toxic from his own point of view, and possibly reverse the moderator's decision.

I may be overthinking that to the point of exaggeration, but if there is to be an infraction that can affect user accounts in such a severe way, a basic due process and proper defense rights should be allowed.

Else I fear, as some have expressed above, that an excessive wave of self-restraint could lead to the disappearance of any critics on these forums..."

TiniWiking answered the following :
- Will people get a chance to explain their behavior?
No. If you make a post that is classed as toxicity the infractions are permanent. Explaining your actions in a way that makes more sense and is acceptable after someone slaps you for it means that you could have phrased your post differently to begin with. In other words, you should have done that from the start.

You are absolutely right, communication goes both ways (much like a highway :p). It doesn't really change the fact that if you make a post, gets infracted for it, then explain yourself in the most eloquent way possible making you still broke the rules and spread toxicity. The damage is already done.

I'm going to take a purposely exaggerated example to explain my point and my concern about that.

Following your logic, If I commit a crime and get caught doing it, then why bother bringing me to a court of law, because the damage is already done, so let's put me in jail already.

But no, if I commit such crime, I will be brought to justice to be allowed to explain my behavior. Of course, if my responsibility is undeniable I will obviously be punished, but maybe my justifications, if they are considered valid to some degree, will alleviate my sentence...

Of course, toxic posting on a forum is not an offense and I'm not saying that trolls should be put on trial, but permenent ban is a severe solution and I think that the troll should be given the opportunity to defend himself, even if in the end he still gets banned.
 

Radene

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I've already posted it on the other thread, but since it got locked, I might as well repost it.

"While I think that an instant permanent ban is not a bad idea in itself, I hope that there will at least be a way for the offender to explain himself about its conduct and why his post could be not seen as toxic from his own point of view, and possibly reverse the moderator's decision.

I may be overthinking that to the point of exaggeration, but if there is to be an infraction that can affect user accounts in such a severe way, a basic due process and proper defense rights should be allowed.

Else I fear, as some have expressed above, that an excessive wave of self-restraint could lead to the disappearance of any critics on these forums..."

TiniWiking answered the following :




I'm going to take a purposely exaggerated example to explain my point and my concern about that.

Following your logic, If I commit a crime and get caught doing it, then why bother bringing me to a court of law, because the damage is already done, so let's put me in jail already.

But no, if I commit such crime, I will be brought to justice to be allowed to explain my behavior. Of course, if my responsibility is undeniable I will obviously be punished, but maybe my justifications, if they are considered valid to some degree, will alleviate my sentence...

Of course, toxic posting on a forum is not an offense and I'm not saying that trolls should be put on trial, but permenent ban is a severe solution and I think that the troll should be given the opportunity to defend himself, even if in the end he still gets banned.

Well okay, how would you "explain yourself"? Without blaming the other party for your behavior, mind.
 

jazzglands

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Would hate it so much to lose my account because of two mistakes/ jokes that went too far in someones opinion.

While that would be a very undesirable thing, the risk of it happening is something you can control. Just don't be a dick to people, even if they're frustrating you with their strong opinions about game mechanics.
 

Es57

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Well okay, how would you "explain yourself"? Without blaming the other party for your behavior, mind.
I don't know, it depends on the situation.

Of course, if I say "X is a moron", the margin of explanation is quite thin, but not everything is always black or white.
You could have said something that could be seen as toxic at first glance, but was actually not.

I'm going to take my own example for once.
I've been a member of these forums for over 7 years now, as you can see on my profile.
I don't consider myself a troll or toxic in any way, but during that time, I've reveived one and only infraction from the mods, back in 2014, I believed.

I made a snarky comment about a post that I considered xenophobic to some extent (and considering the serious thread derailing that occured there, I was not the only one).
A mod, taking my comment out of context or maybe mixing me with the trolls posting on the thread, considered it a "distasteful joke", while it was actually the complete opposite, since I was on the contrary voicing my concern about an actual toxic post by another member, maybe in a sarcastic and poorly phrased way, but under no circumstance toxic in itself.

This is an example of a post that could be considered toxic, but, with proper explanation, could be solved in a peaceful manner.
 

Jamor

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Following your logic, If I commit a crime and get caught doing it, then why bother bringing me to a court of law, because the damage is already done, so let's put me in jail already.

The standard of jurisprudence and due process required in a court of law is not the same as that which exists in privately-owned forums where membership is a privilege, not a right. Our moderators are community management professionals, they have the health of the whole community as their top priority, and no ban will be handed out arbitrarily because someone had a bad day. To earn one you will have to show a pattern of consistently negative behavior over time. People who get infractions will not likely be surprised.

I want to re-emphasize that disagreeing with us, or other members, is not toxicity. We encourage it. Toxicity is filling the forum with attacks, elitism, or trolling. No one needs that and we're not paying to host it.
 
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xxaxx

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Tbh i don't read the forums that much, but in my experience its not that much people being toxic, its more people being....tedious. Which is a hard thing to ban i guess.
 

LeSingeAffame

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But anyway, it must be made more clear what is worth a ban. Would hate it so much to lose my account because of two mistakes/ jokes that went too far in someones opinion.
If you constantly insult every person who disagrees with you, then it would hardly be a surprise. And if you don't understand the sanction, there is always the possibility of directly contacting an administrator. Some years ago I often conversed with the moderation of a game, either because of sanctions or about other stuff, and they were always open to discussion. I suppose the Stellaris' forum's team is no different
 
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