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 Post subject: Cleaning Up The OTR
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 5:39 pm 
MTG & RPG Moderator
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Joined: Jan 10, 2014
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Evening folks. As many of you may have noticed, this area of the forum has fallen into something of a disrepair as of late. It's gone largely without moderation for a long time (due, in large part, to some unfortunate issues with coverage) and for that we apologize. This has in turn led to a notable rise in spam posting and thread derailment that makes the OTR unsuited for its intended purpose - that is as a general discussion forum for miscellaneous, non-gaming related topics. We've decided that it's time to rectify that. Starting for now, a team of moderators including myself, GobO_Lazarus and GobO_Kiki-Jiki will be cracking down on these issues in an effort to return this forum to it's originally intended purpose.

Now there are a few important points to make while we do this. Firstly you should know we're not going to be retroactively punishing the spam that's already occurred. Dropping in and throwing around disciplinary action against people who were following what was, at the time, community standards would be unfair to say the least. We will be locking or merging offending threads and removing problematic posts, but no punitive action will be taken against the posters for thing done before this announcement. Consider this a fresh start for the OTR. That said we will be taking actions to penalize that sort of behaviour going forward, with appropriate warnings and, if necessary, bans. It would be in everyones best interest in such things don't become necessary.

Secondly, let's talk a little about what we mean by spam posting. The OTR, unlike every other forum area, does not have a prescribed focus. Thus, at least theoretically, any discussion imaginable falls within its domain. However, in practice, our intent is still to foster actual, substantive discussion. Off-topic does not mean no topic. A thread must demonstrably be about something, and must have a serious attempt at some form of actual discussion on the topic in order to qualify. This doesn't mean that you have to behave seriously: Jokes are, of course, welcome, as long as they aren't disruptive and derailing. And of course, as we all know, conversations can drift on into areas they weren't originally intended to go, which is fine and healthy. The GobOs in charge of this process will be the ultimate arbiters on whether these criteria are met, but we will attempt to give leeway where appropriate so as not to become disruptive ourselves.

It is worth noting that substantive doesn't have to necessarily mean important: A discussion of your favorite TV shows are just as valid as one on the dangers of nuclear proliferation in the modern age. You're free to discuss your personal life, your hobbies, a cool book you read, an interesting fact you learned, or any other topic that you think is interesting. Just don't make threads about nothing, or that aren't designed to foster discussion.

Also, where possible, don't make redundant threads. We don't expect you to dig through the OTR's entire back catalog just to see if your threads subject has been brought up before but try to avoid making threads about, say, that cool book your just read when more general-purpose threads such as the What Are You Reading? thread is still sat on the front page. Doing this will help cut down on clutter and allow more threads and discussions to remain seated on the front page.

As part of this whole initiative we'll be cracking down on thread derailment as well. There's no point making sure all the threads have a valid point if they're all just getting sidetracked by the second post. While it is natural for conversations to drift somewhat, please try to at least remain tangentially focused on what is being discussed. If the discussion happens to remind you a certain fact or point then bring it up, but respect that others may want to discuss the topic at hand and don't get try to get in their way. Effectively if things drift, feel free to follow, but don't try to pull the subject away because you'd rather talk about other things.

Finally, as with many other areas, we allow a single 'General Chat' thread in the OTR, where you can just talk about whatever little things on your mind without having to satisfy the previously mentioned restrictions. What Do You Want to Talk About? 2: Electric Bugaloo currently serves that function though we wouldn't be opposed to a new general thread being created if that one begins to become too large as to be unwieldy. Now the CoC would still apply in the general thread but we'll be more then willing to be a little more lax about low-content posts in that thread then we would elsewhere in the OTR. However, outside that thread we'd expect the above guidelines to be followed, and will be taking the appropriate actions to ensure that they are.

Thank you all for your cooperation in this endeavor. Hopefully by keeping the above guidelines in mind we can help build a cleaner, more interesting and more welcoming Off-Topic Room.

Code of Conduct. Read It, Learn It, Live It.

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