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Before you consider answering or voting, please read the whole question.

As the second of three questions mentioned in this meta, I wish to ask if something is wrong. The meta question was inspired by this answer to this meta and a bundle of comments that related to them. Some of it got kind of testy. The moderators and some users are at odds over whether the moderation on this site is running as it should, and assertions of bias were made.

The process for response to this question:

  • If you think something is wrong, add an upvote to this question. If you have more to say, describe it in your answer, NOT in comments.

  • If you thing something isn't wrong, a down vote to this question is a great response, as is an answer explaining why something isn't wrong. Again, comments are really not desired, but answers with meat are.

As various answers pro and con arise, votes on them will either accumulate or they won't. What I ask you all is to NOT use the comments on any of them to answer or argue. I request that we really try to use the SE format and voting to gage whether or not something is wrong. The detail of what needs to be In Answers. I also ask of you not to personalize this, even though it's a people thing and we are all people.

The "Be Nice" rules really need to be adhered to.

Rules of Engagement:

  • I don't get to voice an opinion. I volunteered to mediate this discussion, if it becomes one, and will refrain from any input pro or con. I am comparatively new to RPG.SE, and offer my sincere thanks to all who participate here for how it supports one of my hobbies.
  • Getting personal is going to attract flags. This is a bit delicate, since mods act on flags and part of the question has to do with "are the mods doing it right?" as regards this concern. That's a limitation of how this site works, and I'll work hard in communicating with the mods to try to ensure that any chance for "conflict of interest" is mitigated and removed.

  • If nobody answers, and about ninety eleven of you down vote this question, that will send a signal of a sort.

  • If a load of answers arrive, that will send another signal.
  • More likely, it will be something in between, and I offer you my very best effort to mediate such dialogue as arises to keep it all on the level

Thank you all in advance for any help or insight that you can offer on this matter.

I offer these two posts as possibly related to a cultural/community "maybe there's something wrong" data points not directly related to the dispute that got this question asked.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The mods have told us (repeatedly) that if the problem is misbehaviour by a mod, the right thing to do is bring it to the attention of the Community Managers. The more people talk to the CMs, the more seriously the CMs will take it. B/c of this, & b/c multiple individuals (including all mods collectively) have declined to participate in this meta discussion at all, I think this meta-level airing of grievances will dilute the effectiveness of using the official channel: folks will expend their frustrations here instead of in the official channel where its effects will accumulate. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 11 '16 at 2:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW Talking to CMs is one of two possible approaches to issues with a mod. The second is taking it to meta. (What isn't an effective approach is broadly-spread sniping.) I may have erred and given the impression that the CMs are the only recourse; what is actually the core message is that illegitimate methods of "tackling the mods" are, well, illegitimate for a reason. I don't say this to discourage contacting CMs either, but rather in defense of meta's status as a legitimate avenue. We certainly don't need more misinformation. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 11 '16 at 4:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Is there a problem in that it takes 1K rep to see the up/down counts? That means only <4% of users can see how it's going. I know from chat that there are users below that number interested in/concerned with following the matter. Perhaps a daily-updated tally in the post? \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 11 '16 at 4:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 I don't think that's particularly necessary, the important number is the overall one, the magnitude of the up/down sentiment isn't all that important. \$\endgroup\$ – wax eagle Feb 11 '16 at 6:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @waxeagle except that anyone <1K doesn't know if +9 (as of this writing) means eleven people have weighed in +10/-1 or if fifty-five have weighed in +32/-23. I.e. the 'weight' of the number they're seeing. I'll leave it to more-experienced heads, though. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 11 '16 at 19:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel out of the loop here. I've read through some of the links, but all the information seems scattered and obfuscated. Suffice it to say that I sort of understand that some (a lot?) of users aren't happy with the moderation, but I've not seen any gross misuse of powers beyond maybe being too trigger happy on deleting comments while leaving up their own similarly flawed comments. Is there a better way to gleam the problem here? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 12 '16 at 5:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PremierBromanov I'm in a similar position. I haven't personally observed the abuses the mods are accused of, but I don't know if that's because I'm just not in the right places to see it, because I'm biased in the same way the mods are, or because the problem isn't as big a deal as it's being made out to be. Given the amount of distress that's occurred, investigation is definitely warranted, but I honestly don't know whether there's anything for that investigation to find. \$\endgroup\$ – GMJoe Feb 12 '16 at 6:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm seeing less and less use for this question. “Is something wrong?” appears to be, unintentionally, also attracting people who have a grudge, and isn't initiating useful discussion on even the valid points. If each of the answers below was posted as its own meta question there would be room for detailed, clear responses that have clear voting, unlike here. The current voting (judging by various comments) appears to be muddy: some upvotes are “I agree!”, some are “I think this should be looked at”, some are “I believe you feel that way”. There's nothing clear or productive resulting. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 18:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I'm not seeing a reliable reading off that thermometre. The lack of clear meaning for the votes is giving a very poor signal to noise ratio and, as far as I can see, completely confounding the results. If it's not clear, I'm saying this: at least one mod has completely lost faith in this exercise based on the SNR being really bad. The question itself changed my mind and brought me to this table, but the loss of signal has inspired me to leave the table again. Giving me garbage data would just get y'all garbage output, and my sense of responsibility won't let me act that way. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 18:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast While your desire to avoid a flame war is commendable, the existing phrasing on this question has clearly led its answers far astray from the issues that led to the question in the first place. As evidence, consider how many of the answers are gripes about how the community votes on answers, which is only loosely connected to the moderators, if at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 18 '16 at 19:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast This question is probably not salvageable. It should be abandoned for a new question (and should be marked as abandoned). I'd recommend deleting it, but that would probably lead to more bad feelings, which this whole saga has already stirred up more than enough of. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 18 '16 at 20:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure another troll through the waters for "is there anything wrong... with moderation?" will help, as basically all of these answers here, due to honest lack of context from those users I'm sure, try to chalk everything wrong on the site up to the mods (because, like the Illuminati, we control everything) - from user voting patterns to, bizarrely, "game-rec rules need to be changed! Why isn't anyone listening?". I'm not sure why people can't post individual, specific, issues to meta that can be addressed in an individual, specific way. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 18 '16 at 21:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Also, mxy has a good point. Even "what (if anything) is wrong with moderation?" is still too vague. The focus should stick to the allegations of abuse of mod powers, rather than being open to any random complaint about the mods, or any random aspect of SE site functionality that some user has decided the mods are responsible for. \$\endgroup\$ – Oblivious Sage Feb 18 '16 at 21:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk: I'm disappointed to see you misread my answer (and every other answer) as chalking everything bad on the site up to the mods, since I thought it was fairly clear from my opening that I was addressing "users and moderators". I'm also disappointed that you're apparently expecting a quick and easy fix, something one or two mods can take a week off and manage to solve all the problems. It's not that straightforward, and pointing out that not all the problems are mod responsibilities is valuable information in this kind of dispute. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 18 '16 at 23:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk I find it pretty bizarre to say we'd blame everything on the mods, when the main critique for my answer seems to be that I put too much priority on user behavior. It's the exact opposite of pointing to the mods and holding them responsible for every little thing happening here. I'm a little bit confused about what is expected. I could just delete everything but the paragraph with the heading "Moderator Behavior". Would that be better? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 19 '16 at 12:58
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Yes

I think there is something wrong.

Matter of fact I think there's 2 things wrong with this site compared to other Stacks. And as they are connected, I'm not sure which is cause and which is effect. Or Hen and egg. I cannot say which was first. So I cannot necessarily blame the mods for it, it might just be their reaction.

Community Behavior

The way I would describe the more programming minded Stacks is "professional". It isn't about liking an answer or liking the concept, it's about getting a working solution. That means people will generally respect any answer they get. They will be happy there's people out there trying to help with something they'd need to pay $1000 a days upwards to get otherwise. An up-vote is given when it leads to a working solution, no vote may be given if there is a clearly better solution in another answer and a down-vote is for singling out dangerous, incorrect and/or spam answers. Even for opinionated answers, votes are given based on how well the idea is presented. I'd never down-vote an idea that is presented well with sources and evidence that it will work, just because it's not my style. Obviously, everybody can vote however they like, but as a norm, this is how it works.

Here, I have encountered people that down-vote you because they don't like you, don't like your opinion or found your post personally not useful (compared to "this answer is not useful for the site in general"). There is no professional courtesy for the guy who spent his time trying to help the OP. You need to craft a perfect answer, or no answer. There is no in-between.

That also means, that since down-votes have been used for personal preferences, there is nothing left for the community to use for policing the site.

I have been told by a 30K member, that we need strong mods, because we cannot delete bad answers otherwise. Yes, we can, it's a privilege, look it up. If the community knew about their policing instruments and didn't use them for Facebook Likes, we would not need strong mods.

Moderator Behavior

Moderators on a Stack are supposed to be exception handlers. Doing things the community cannot do. And for the record, that means handling voting fraud, sock-puppet rings, spam and harassment. However, here on RPG.SE I find our moderators being kind of Forum Moderators of old. They constantly use their powers to police the site in ways that originally belong to the community and the communities powers. When I read sentences like "aggressively police" then every inch of me screams "DON'T". That's not your damn job. Your are the trusted exception handlers, not the community leaders.

Conclusion

Now, as I said before, I cannot figure out why this is. Are the mods policing this site so heavily because the community doesn't? Or is the community so free with down-votes because it knows that it won't need them for their intended purpose with the mods policing the site as they do? I cannot say. But I see both of it as two sides of the same problem and we need to fix that.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the only Stack site where I regularly receive down-votes because my answer isn't as good as another, even if they both provide the same general information in the answer. You have a definite point in regards to the community here vs. other SE sites. \$\endgroup\$ – LegendaryDude Feb 11 '16 at 17:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1, and I'd upvote again for your second section if I could. The moderating here is definitely much more heavy-handed than any other site I visit. I also don't know if it's due to community behavior, or the subjective nature that some questions wind up being, but it also seems pretty excessive in either case. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Feb 11 '16 at 18:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude I wasn't sure if I was seeing that, though I have on a number of occasions been puzzled by down votes. Do you think this is something to do with moderation or just a general "how this stack community is as a group" deal? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 12 '16 at 1:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be conflating downvoting sub-par answers with downvoting based on personal preference. Are these both intended to be proscribed by this answer? \$\endgroup\$ – Please stop being evil Feb 14 '16 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd also like to point out that you don't need to vote at all. If an answer is sub-par, don't give it an upvote. That's enough. No need to punish somebody with a downvote that tried to help. Safe that downvotes for answers that are actually wrong or misleading. Always keep in mind that theres 3 ways to vote: upvote to reward, no vote to say "meh, not really" and downvote to punish. I see too many people that think that downvote is something you automatically have to do if you don't want to upvote. That's not the case. The voting system has 2 arrows, but 3 options. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 14 '16 at 12:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TuggyNE I would downvote based on my perceived intention of the author. If the author is trying to be helpful and just didn't manage, I would not downvote. That's what comments are for, suggesting improvements. If the author does not react or does not seem to be inclined to react (having only posted a one-liner, or SPAM), then I can downvote. People here downvote and don't leave a comment. That's not only unhelpful, it also gives the author no chance to notify the downvoter of improvements so he can redo his vote. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 14 '16 at 20:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just in case it was being hoped for again: we're not going to make rules for how people can use their votes, nor will we make rules requiring downvotes be explained with a comment. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 15 '16 at 1:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt "People here downvote and don't leave a comment. " is fairly correct for almost whole SE. Also, about votes: site itself encourage active voting. You gave 300 votes? Here's badge. Another 300 with quarter on questions? Here's another. I think RPG.SE is not so big community for now and voting quality is more apparent comparing to "bigger brothers". \$\endgroup\$ – RollingFeles Feb 15 '16 at 4:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan They could moderate less, a lot less. So people would see the need to use their tools (downvotes) for their intended purpose of moderating this site, instead of facebook likes separating two valid SE answers. With a heavy moderation, people have demonstrated in comments that they don't even know that a down-vote is their part of moderating this site. They think it's perfectly right to have a popularity contest based on up- and down-votes and some god moderators that keep the Stack running. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 15 '16 at 8:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt That's a pretty depressing fact if it's true. But based on what observations do you assert that it is true? How do you know that people vote based on popularity instead of, as the voting help instructs, based on what is useful, not useful, right, or wrong? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 15 '16 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Reading the deleted comments, it's hard to tell: it may have been being wrong about the game in question, it may have been in retaliation for the insults you handed out in comments, it may have been people having a playstyle rivalry. Noting that the score is actually +8/-7, past experience shows that contentious voting is always unclear in motivation. So, sorry, I can't explain it any better than the comments than you were already arguing with. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '16 at 18:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt You will always have problems here if you insist on seeing downvotes as punishment. That's making it personal. Once you take users exercising the site's necessary tools personally, you will always, always feel persecuted. The voting will not change—change must come from within you. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '16 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Downvotes are a punishment on every SE. That's part of the gamification of the site. Getting green positive internet points is a reward for good behavior, being docked red negative internet points a punishment for bad behavior (good and bad according to the site's guidelines). Would you prefer another more politically correct term? \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 18 '16 at 8:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie They should not. They should change their use of the feature, to not punish volunteers doing ok. Punishing is for people that do bad things, and writing "only the second best" answer is not one of those "bad" things on SE. But this is where we end up at what I wrote above and won't repeat. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 18 '16 at 15:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Ok. Links? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 15:58
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I was a supporter of this facilitated discussion idea earlier, but I'm not now. Here's why, and what we should be doing instead:

The mods have told us (repeatedly, for years) that if the problem is misbehaviour by a moderator, the right thing to do is bring it to the attention of the Community Managers, and that the more people talk to the CMs, the more seriously the CMs will take it. We don't need to be Archivists; in fact we shouldn't. If the issue is serious, it's serious no matter how often it's happened. If it's trivial, ditto.

Because of this, and because multiple individuals (including all mods collectively) have declined to participate in this meta discussion at all, I now think this meta-level airing of grievances is a mistake. It will dilute the effectiveness of using the official channel: folks will expend their frustrations here instead of in the official channel to the CMs where its effects will accumulate.

To contact a Community Moderator: email the community team collectively at team@stackoverflow.com, or use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of every page, or pick one from the list and email them or catch them in chat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I hope you accompanied this well stated answer with a down vote on my question. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 11 '16 at 3:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast I upvoted this answer and also your question. There is something wrong. Just that the stuff I have to say will be directed to the CM team. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Feb 11 '16 at 3:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener Given the time and effort you have put into asking us all to be rational on the RAW thing, I trust your instincts on how you see a way ahead. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 11 '16 at 3:21
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The site, and its users and moderators, have several problems beyond those already mentioned. Here are the ones I've noticed. Most apply in meta or in meta-commentary on posts, but many also apply in all other interactions too.

Focusing on personalities more than behavior, judgment more than characteristics

Writing this out and thinking about it, I realized I'm not doing as well on this as I'd thought or hoped. Sure, I might avoid flipping the bozo bit on people… but it's still too easy to just express disbelief that someone could think doing XYZ is a good idea, rather than explaining why it's a bad idea. Here's why these are bad ideas:

  1. Writing someone off as a hopeless malcontent or incompetent — but not removing them permanently from the site — fosters lingering resentment and frustration, since they're still there, still doing things, still having an obvious influence. Most of the people involved have fairly significant rep, and we all know that means they're being listened to. There's no resolution, just gritting teeth harder and harder.
  2. Manually ignoring people turns out like Add the ability to ignore users, but without software support. That's still a bad idea for all the reasons given there (especially this answer).
  3. Writing someone off also breeds a cavalier attitude toward anything those users are involved in. I think this has been particularly hard on one or two mods, resulting in saying things like "the five upset people will always be upset", which can easily drift into "anyone who's upset about this is one of those five, oops I mean six, always-upset people". Once things truly spiral to this point, it's very hard to get back to a place where people can actually tell you you're wrong. And there's always a need for that, since we're all human.
  4. Writing someone off, or seeing someone written off, breeds distrust and fear. Each developing "side" is unsure to what extent the others are able to cleverly manipulate things to hide their influence, or to what extent they themselves are being ignored with rolling eyes. The smallest of cues are seized on for evidence either way, even far out of proportion to any conscious intent. It becomes difficult to take even apparently friendly overtures as anything other than an even more deeply-concealed plot. Somehow.
  5. Focusing on calling something a bad idea rather than explaining how it's a bad idea sparks defensiveness in anyone who thought (perhaps hastily, or perhaps even rightly) that it was a good idea. It's awfully hard to completely get rid of that reflex, but focusing on the facts first can defuse it to some extent.
  6. Discussing the factual up- and down-sides of an idea can lead to exploring more of the subtleties, possibly mitigating some of the problems, or at any rate allowing a deeper understanding of them.

Bad handling of critical fumbles

We don't seem to be too good either at anticipating problems in communication, recognizing them when they arise, or preventing them in the future. Not only is this not something we're good at, it's not even something we recognize ourselves as being bad at. From various reports, it's taken us two years to actually get to the point of admitting we've got a problem with hard feelings and miscommunication. That's impressive!

We're making the same mistakes repeatedly, as seen by various users bringing up old patterns of continued problems, and other users chiming in about having seen similar kerfuffles a year or two years ago about similar things. What's more, we're not learning from anyone else's mistakes either; there are thousands of years of human experience in how not to deal with interpersonal problems that we don't appear to be tapping very well at all. For that matter, there's the much more accessible pool of experience running SE sites (nearly all of which are considerably less wracked by drama than we are, even on sites with userbases of similarly infamously poor social skills) that we're also somehow not managing to draw on well either.

Those boil down to "work out an actual method to better avoid mistakes", which I've harped on a lot lately; the reactions I've seen have mostly appeared to be confusion at the idea or its benefits, or disdain for the effort necessary to do things right. (Or, perhaps, a feeling that all possible measures have already been taken, I'm not sure. I don't think that's reasonable either, though.) Well, this is what happens when you do things wrong: things get worse and harder.

Unwillingness to accept responsibility or blame

Look, reconciliation with people is hard. That doesn't mean it's something we can just skip out on. If we keep doing so, there might not be much of a site left. This is something everyone needs to do, but, unfortunately, the role of ♦ mod comes with an extra share of this. We really need to drive this until it's actually solved, not just sweep it under the rug for another three months. SE employees can probably help, although it's better if we're all trying to work together, rather than them having to come and negotiate a ceasefire with a bunch of people that aren't willing to come together.

And when we make mistakes, we need to trust others on the site not to crucify us for admitting them. This is counter-intuitive, but locking up and refusing to accept blame generally just results in others doubling down on assigning it to you. Just feeling bad publicly isn't much good, though; what's really necessary is to figure out what you did wrong and publicly starting the process of fixing that and trying to prevent recurrences.

P.S. This took me a good bit longer to get started on, and then finish writing, than I really expected. Sorry for not putting this out within two days like I said in chat.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When "work out an actual method to avoid mistakes" is suggested it does need more specifics than "do it". Beyond that though, it might also have an image problem: as phrased it's an impossible expectation, since no method can have 100% success rate. Do you mean "better avoid…", rather than the absolute, 100% that "a method to avoid mistakes" means? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 14 '16 at 21:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: Well, "better avoid", yes. I deliberately stripped the recommendations from this to leave problem statements. So a couple paragraphs going into details about ways to fix some of these got cut. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 14 '16 at 21:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I mean, that might be the source of its rejection so far. Receiving the suggestion "do impossible thing!" (regardless of the meaning that was intended on sending) tends to inspire a quick "no." :) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 14 '16 at 21:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 a lot of really good points in there about how the ripples travel outward in time and through the citizenry \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 15 '16 at 2:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ "From various reports, it's taken us two years to actually get to the point of admitting we've got a problem with hard feelings and miscommunication. That's impressive!" You should have seen me and my ex. \$\endgroup\$ – Nigralbus Feb 18 '16 at 13:54
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I'm a very casual user of the site, and yes there seems to be a problem to me. The RAW tag creates a situation where a lot of answers are either fairly reasonable or completely wrong according to whether it is present or not. I am not trying to reiterate the argument whether the tag should exist or not, but its existence has problematic consequences. These may or may not be worse than its non-existence and may or may not have solutions, I don't know.

Even worse, though, there seem to be subjective divisions within divisions, since people don't always agree as to whether a particular answer is or is not RAW. I think I've even seen this happen where people's interpretations of the text differ, such that someone in effect is saying, "this is not a RAW answer, not because it doesn't attempt to be one, but because it attempts to be one and I disagree with your interpretation of the text". To me that doesn't mean it's not a RAW answer, although it might mean it's an incorrect RAW answer. The problem isn't that people disagree, it's that their disagreements are solemnised into site policy regarding the RAW tag and then the mods want to or have to get involved. Something that ideally would be "just site content" is "site rules".

I thought RAW was originally envisaged to distinguish questions asking for help with the rules vs. questions asking how the game can be altered to particular circumstances. For example, "how can I make this fight with orcs harder?" is a different question from "RAW how can I make this fight with orcs harder?", since the former admits answers with house-rules to represent whatever in-fiction consideration means the fight should be harder, and the latter explicitly says not to give those answers because that's not what the question is about. Fair enough, I can think of at least three really good reasons to want to keep a question like that RAW: you don't want to use house rules; you want to know what the published rules say before you start house-ruling for yourself; inviting house rules would make your particular question way too open-ended.

But questions like this and this are about text interpretation, which is a different activity from roleplaying even if the text in question happens to be an RPG text, and even though most roleplayers do need to figure out rules from time to time even when their playstyle is nowhere near RAW. This example is entirely civil despite contradicting answers, so the matter clearly isn't hopeless, it just doesn't always work out like that.

This has apparently resulted in some kind of armed stand-off between certain users and certain other users, including mods. I don't pretend to have a good overview of all the details and all the skirmishes, but it most certainly is a problem in that people are regularly getting into hostile discussions of playstyle as a preamble to whether something is a legitimate answer to a question. It should not be that difficult and contentious on a SE site to figure out how tags dictate answers.

StackOverflow has questions about standards and language-lawyering that have provoked similar sorts of issues (basically, you get answers that say "This works on my machine" to questions that very specifically ask, "is this guaranteed by the C++ standard to work everywhere?", but apparently without it descending into distrust of mods, and without mods needing to implement initiatives to ruthlessly clamp down on answers that fail to address the question as asked.

Skeptics has a similar property that it's very difficult to write adequate answers, but at least there the notion of what's a sub-par answer is built right into the site concept, and they're up-front about the fact that the whole site is not for people who don't want to read and write that sort of answer. RPG tries to be for all playstyles but it does this in effect by filtering questions by playstyle and then yelling at each other over any doubt concerning the boundaries of the filter.

I feel like what people really want, and that the RAW tag only approximates, is to recommend some sort of "same page tool" before even sitting down to ask and answer a question together, as if neither roleplaying nor RPG.SE can be a tolerant compromise. Does it really have to be the case that you agree with each other up-front or you're doomed, and it's expected that all disagreements should result in irreparable schisms? This relates to what LegendaryDude says about criticisms of each other's badwrongfun being endemic in the hobby.

I'm pretty sure that from the outside it's not at all obvious:

  • why these different playstyles render so many answers fundamentally useless to those in a different camp from the writer
  • why this tag needs to be somehow procedurally different from other tags identifying the context of a question, for example particular games. After all, there aren't continual rows and policing initiatives about people answering D&D questions with GURPS rules, the temptation to disagree seems not to exist in that case.
  • why people feel the need for the tag to be aggressively policed and even aggressively meta-policed (i.e. not just the tag itself is seen to need to be taken firmly in hand by mods and others, so are discussions of it). What about this site that means the mods even have to contemplate aggressively deleting answers because a tag on the question means the answers are wrong. What other SE sites need this kind of mod activity? Is the problem genuinely that people who want to know what the D&D rules say about 0 max HP cannot get answers to that question without the protection of an enclave created by site policy and aggressive moderator enforcement? Is the problem that people have different ideas about how the site should be curated (for example that RAW answers and house-rule answers must never mix on the same question)? Is that unless the site can reach and enforce a definition of RAW, the public are so determined that this site must be perfectly curated without visible disagreement, that they won't allow questions about published rules at all (like the death of game-rec) and would rather get rid of them than allow them to exist with inappropriate answers? Is it mostly personal antipathy and playstyle advocacy, and question/answers themselves don't really have anything to do with it? I don't know, but maybe someone does.
  • why this division can't be handled by people just naturally ignoring stuff that's not relevant to them (for example, why are people so strongly drawn to answering RAW questions by saying, "the rules are ambiguous or incomplete, but of the plausible interpretations I find the following most practical", drawing accusations of presenting house rules, instead of just not answering RAW questions, or saying "the rules here aren't good enough to answer you question" and leaving that to be voted against rival answers who think the rules do answer the question).
  • why people are both upset and hostile about consequences of the whole issue.

I'm not saying this is a mod problem, I'm saying it's a situation which is nigh-on un-moderatable and therefore predictably spawns some problems between mods and users as well as between users.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is the kind of answer I was hoping to evoke more of, and makes me ask whether or not the proposed "meta number 3" from @Smurfton's original 'let's do that thing where we use words' will evoke something workable, or if we are chasing our tails. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '16 at 14:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast: personally I doubt that step 3 could be resolved by wrangling over the precise definition of the shibboleth "rules-as-written" or "rules-as-written-0nly", but that's probably obvious anyway because of how personal it has become. If it weren't for the fact that tags need to be guessable, I'd call it what-does-the-actual-rulebook-actually-say, and discourage answers and comments from caring why a particular questioner wants a chapter and verse answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Feb 21 '16 at 14:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ And personally when I read these threads I have the capacity to be frustrated by everyone, because I don't play RAW but I am interested in what the game designers have done. So frame challenges that say, "never mind the rules" seem to miss the point of the question, and simultaneously comments that say "you must back up your claim that the interpretation of rules is always at DM discretion" (you may remember the one I mean) miss the point of post-modern literary criticism that the reader is all ;-) \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Feb 21 '16 at 14:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ The efforts to try and revise an agreed "what does RAW tag mean" help section is either still in progress, or has been abandoned. I believe that the functional issue of how tags work and the various site policies are the root cause of the question arising in the first place. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 21 '16 at 14:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is full of valuable insights, thank you! This echoes a lot of what I see going on around the tag and articulates them well. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 21 '16 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I liked everything here up to the last two lines. There is one question glaringly unaddressed: If (since) this is an un-moderatable problem why are the mods wading in? I don't believe such intervention is likely to improve the situation (or has done so far). \$\endgroup\$ – Tim Lymington supports Monica Feb 21 '16 at 18:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TimLymington: depends which aspect of the situation you mean. Once people are going at each other at length in comments over whether a given style of answer is acceptable on a question with a particular tag (or, before the tag rules were spelled out, whether a particular style of answer was acceptable on a question asking about "game rules"), I don't think the mods can ignore if even if what they're doing isn't successfully solving it (and is resulting in bad blood along the way). So it probably is improving the situation in the sense that as things stand none likely would be worse... \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Feb 21 '16 at 22:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ ... Whether the intervention is the right intervention or not is where everyone and his dog has an opinion on what the mods are doing on any given day. So I'll stick with my version of the question: "what about this SE and this tag is calling for special attention", rather than "why are the mods wading in", which I feel is a little less neutral. I would hope that if the weirdness of this SE can be figured out, perhaps with the help of SE community wossnames or perhaps without, then there's a least a chance there'd be more consensus what is needed from mods. \$\endgroup\$ – Steve Jessop Feb 21 '16 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SteveJessop In the meta threads most recently raised on the RAW tag, the moderator(s) and some users all discussed why it was being raised at all, which was related somewhat to how the old "rules" tag ended up being disposed of. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 23 '16 at 18:06
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At the request of nitsua60 I've compiled my comments on nvoigt's answer into a coherent answer/comment from my outsider perspective as a relatively new member here.

I feel that mods are more heavy handed here on RPG.SE but I also understand that on RPG.SE you're more likely to encounter very low quality questions and answers due to the nature of this particular SE and the varying maturities of those who are likely to post questions and answers, as opposed to DBA.SE or SO where, as pointed out in nvoigt's answer, you are more likely to receive answers from professionals in the field of study. RPGs aren't a standardized thing so it's difficult to have standardized answers for every question.

If I had one criticism of the mods here, I'd say that moderation of comments is inconsistent. For example, many comments are deleted as too chatty, not constructive, or otherwise not adding anything useful to the conversation, but check out the comments on the answer here -- that's a pretty obviously chatty comment thread that really adds nothing to the answer or the question. This is pretty inconsistent with how most comment threads are treated, and I can't tell if it's because the comments here weren't flagged by the community because they're fun and funny and no one wants to get rid of that and thus don't get moderator attention, or if they are left alone because ... well, I don't know, subjectivity? I don't really care either way about comments, but I do wish there was a standard that was upheld across all comments regardless of their content because in light of this example there doesn't seem to be one.

Personally, I'm all for more openness and less restriction on comments, but this example points to an inconsistency when I've seen more helpful comments deleted within minutes and moderator comments stating that comments are temporary, yet the ones in this example have been there for more than a week and add no substance to the answer. This probably isn't an issue that needs to be brought to the attention of a CM, but if a newbie comes to RPG.SE and sees that comment thread on the answer for wild magic potted plants, they're going to get the wrong impression and think that that type of thing is accepted on this site when the mods have made it apparent that that is not what comments are for.

On the other side of things, if I could make one criticism of the community on RPG.SE as a whole, it's that it seems like individuals in the community here are more concerned with being right and less concerned with being helpful. That's not an indictment of everyone here by any means, just an observation I've made -- answers that aren't as good but still answer the question seem more likely to receive downvotes here than they would on other SE sites, and it's probably due to the highly interpretive nature of most P&P games.

I'll grant that my exposure on this site has been somewhat limited, mostly focusing on the dnd-3.5e, pathfinder, and dnd-5e tags. Then again, those are three of the four most popular tags on the site so it's probably a pretty good sample. I'll add that this behavior is something I might expect for a site related to a subject as contentious as tabletop gaming, where everyone seems to have their own idea of how it should be done and everyone else is having badwrongfun. It's that mentality that chased me away from the Paizo forums; I got tired of all the constant arguing.

I don't know if there is a solution to this, because it seems inherent to the nature of our favorite hobby. You can't change the mentality of a community as a whole anyway, at least not without a lot of effort and a community that is willing to change. And it probably doesn't need to change too much anyway, but I can say I'd like to see less direct arguing about rules (which I may contribute to, perhaps because of the general attitude re: how to play RPGs and in spite of the nature of the site) and more helpful information and clarification of rules, which is, of course, in the spirit of the SE family of sites.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While the amount of low-quality content on this site is indeed higher than on SO for the reasons you mention, the community should absolutely be able to manage using the tools SE provides, without the need for heavy moderation. I say this because even Arqade (including their Minecraft tag) manages without heavy-handed moderator intervention. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Feb 12 '16 at 16:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would completely disagree on the amount of low quality content here compared to on SO. I could close-, delete- and down-vote more crap on SO in an hour than gets posted here in a year. I've probably closed more NRE-Duplicates in a single tag there swinging Mjölnir than we have duplicates here overall in a year. Generally speaking, RPG.SE has very good quality posts and answers. But that does not invalidate your point. I do that with the community's tools. Close-votes, down-votes, maybe flags for SPAM. I've never seen a mod there, they are busy handling the tough edge cases behind the scenes. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 13 '16 at 10:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with the statements about inconsistent comment moderation. However, after being here for about a year or so, doing some asking and answering myself, reading questions and answers for leisure, etc etc... I dont see the downvoting for answers that aren't as good. Obviously, better answers generally receive higher upvotes, but the only time I see negative scores is when answers are straight up wrong or do not answer the question that was asked or are not actually answers. I would also agree with @nvoigt about the quality of posts. I'm a part of other SEs that are very low quality compared \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 13 '16 at 20:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ To add, I think most high-level users and mods are very welcoming and and accommodating to new users, which is doubly so when new users respond in kind to try to follow the rules. Obviously, there are exceptions. One other thing I think that gets negative scores are mean-spirited or sarcastic answers, even from users with thousands of points and even when the answer is technically right. \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 13 '16 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt Looking at the link I have a few comments. 1) This type of behavior is likely more prevalent in opinion based questions. it was even closed because of that, so that those types of situations do not occur. I don't see this behavior in non-opinion based questions. 2) Even so, I'm not seeing any of the lack of explanation. None of the answers met the guidelines according to our mods. 3) I am also not seeing a lack of helpfulness. There are several comments (from SSD especially) explaining the (probable) reasons why answers were downvoted. Did you perhaps link the wrong question? \$\endgroup\$ – Premier Bromanov Feb 14 '16 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @legendarydude Believe it or not we don't have the time to see every comment thread on the site - you could flag that one you object to and it would come to our attention for deletion. If the community wants to take more of the moderation burden - then do so. Things do get "inconsistent" if left entirely up to 3 people to do all the work; if everyone chips in with flags and such then it'll probably be more consistent and more community driven. \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 15 '16 at 17:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @LegendaryDude Have you read Why are site comments being deleted? A basic premise of the policy is that comments are not harmless (for one example link of many), and must justify their existence by being constructive, or at least being highly upvoted (and sometimes that won't save them either). \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 15 '16 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt: Note that on the professional Stacks, the general consensus is that it doesn't much matter if someone is trying to help if they don't actually do so; results are voted on, not motivations. (Even Jon Skeet has downvoted answers.) Sometimes this goes so far as to include posts that are helpful, but only to a single user, and that tend toward harming the site as a whole — e.g. answering blatantly off-topic or highly duplicated questions instead of closing. That impersonal evaluation of posts is, I think, something to aim for. \$\endgroup\$ – user17995 Feb 15 '16 at 18:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt I understand that when you vote your conscience you make decisions a certain way. But other people will vote their conscience, and nobody can make them vote according to someone else's conscience. Averaging out different ways of evaluating a post is the whole point of voting! The community will not, will never, and can't enforce one person's ideas of how others should vote, whether that's you or anyone else. You can either accept it and find peace, or you can keep on being unhappy about it and that's all you'll get: being unhappy. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 15 '16 at 18:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt You really do have to stop using game-rec answer votes as your example. You know that your problem with those votes is a large reason why game-rec was eventually considered off topic, right? The voting was bad and broken and was not resulting in quality. I really can't tell: do you have a problem with non-game-rec voting? I really can't tell, because it's all you talk about when you bring this particular personal issue up. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '16 at 15:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nvoigt You're simply determined that people must vote according to your own personal code of voting ethics. You've already been told that's unenforcable, and shouldn't be enforced even if it could be. If you have any real complaints, please do let us know. This one will always be sent to the circular file, and repeating it will only worsen the complaint's reception, not improve it. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '16 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie If you don't see my complaints as "real", I'm sorry. I'm not talking about enforcing it, I'm talking about visible people being role-models. And on other Stacks, that works. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 17 '16 at 9:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie Where is this full site of people? Shouldn't they be here, voting my post into oblivion? Am I still the odd one out when there's 20+ of us? Again: I'm not talking about anything repressive, actionable. I'm talking about letting go of those aggressive policing and being good role-models instead. I don't want you to do anything. If at all, I want you to do less. \$\endgroup\$ – nvoigt Feb 18 '16 at 8:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Not silence I'm looking at, but that the site does appear to be behaving in a healthy way: it inspires people to write answers, ask questions, accept answers, and lots of people are getting upvotes for their efforts. Site traffic continues to grow at a healthy pace, and answer votes appear to correlate strongly with answer quality. That indicates that it's working for thousands of people. The view of the site and its community painted by nvoigt does not appear to match observable reality. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 16:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 The site isn't for everyone (witness every question that gets closed with a “hey you actually should use a forum for that”). We have even had conversations with people who hated the experience; but what they hated is how the site is intended to work. Hence yeah: if the site is functioning as designed, and that design is showing a healthy community participating in its intended function, those are the people we serve. If the site was shrinking or user base showing high churn that would be a warning sign, but it isn't doing those things. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 16:32
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Yes something's wrong, but not quite what I was asking about

Intro

The vote on this question is, as of this writing, 26 up to 8 down. That tally doesn't tell us a great deal, beyond presenting the maximum number of people concerned or interested enough to vote: 341, out of a site population of two orders of magnitude larger. Some folks think something is wrong.

Discussion

This question had problems with specificity. The answers addressed more than what was behind all of this, which was rooted in a complaint about moderation on the RPG.SE site. We got answers, and a veritable torrent of comments rife with arguments and finger pointing. I asked that comment wars not be how we respond, but that appeal fell upon deaf ears. People will respond as they will. Defects in the question contributed to this.

Two things are for sure wrong**

Something Wrong #1

Something is wrong with the question. It wasn't specific enough, it wasn't narrow enough, and it lent itself to answers that addressed multiple issues rather than one.

What to do about that?

I discussed my disappointment briefly with @Smurfton, whose meta was the trigger for this to be #2 of a three part process (his original being #1), and we agreed that #3 won't be productive. I gather from other comments by a variety of users that this sentiment is shared.

Decision: no meta #3 per the original proposal.

Something Wrong #2

Not using data to inform a decision, or to determine if a decision is needed.

The original issue can be addressed by a data driven analysis that leads to problem confirmation or identification (does it need fixing yes or no?), and a solution proposal process. There are a couple of metas already with solution proposals that don't look to be data driven. (Even though there's some good stuff in them). The need to look at actual use was a complaint levied in the initial discussion before the assertions of mod bias got us distracted form the original point.

Recommended solution to what's wrong

  1. The question is beyond hope. Its shelf life has expired and early fixes to it were not applied. (No soup for me).

  2. Using data to assess, scope, and define the problem (or whether one actually exists) with RAW tag usage should assure all parties that the way ahead is based on something more than opinion. (What a concept, on an SE site ...)

I'll offer time and effort to address the core issue (what to do, if anything, about the rules-as-written tag) via on data collection and analysis.

I already posted one month's worth of data and assessment from the last year's use of the tag. Until we complete @doppelgreener's very sound suggestion on analyzing the last year's RAW questions to see what patterns of use have shown, any proposal risks overlooking actual usage and take on the form of tampering. (I am using Deming's meaning of that in terms of process change).

I will continue to present those in the thread where I already provided a link results of Mar 2015. April 2015 will be posted in a day or two. I will use pastebin per SSD's suggestion.

That's my answer to my own question.

Follow up: after the negative feedback from two of the principles in the argument, my second month's of (of 12 total) for grinding away on RAW questions was abandoned: the reasons for throwing up my hands is twofold. 1. It looked to become another source of argument 2. The badly veiled insult to both my intent and my integrity was taken as a sign that some people don't want my help.


1 per @nitsua60's comment: the most votes ever for a question on meta was 46

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    \$\begingroup\$ Regarding the concern that any alteration going forward of how the tag is used will foul the results of data gathering, there's a solution for that: a data.SE query that returns all questions that have formerly had [rules-as-written] but now don't. Combined with the current list of tagged questions, there is a complete record of its usage over the life of the tag, and retagging will not disappear any relevant posts. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 6:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, may I express profound gratitude for the amount of work you've put in, and are intending on putting in yet, on both the data analysis and on this Q&A. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 26 '16 at 7:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ On the RAW issue, I think we started going forward with abandoning using it for implicit purpose: if the question text indicates RAW, add the RAW tag; if not, remove the RAW tag or ask for clarification if that's what they meant. I can't recall the post for it, but I remember that being done a few times. Seems good. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Nov 7 '16 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener I don't recall seeing an agreed solution, but I have seen in the months since the great flail that SSD led the way with pointing out to users on a case by case basis that their using RAW was wrong, and removing the tag. Others may also have done so, and I stopped paying attention after a while. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 7 '16 at 21:03
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Yes.

I used to use a different account on here and deleted it because the moderation is just ridiculously heavy handed and offensive with it and I don't want to participate in such a climate. I've got a ton of questions I'd like to ask about various systems but there's no way I would ask them on this site as the experience of doing so is profoundly unpleasant.

As far as I'm concerned rpg.se has failed badly.

I don't remember any of the specific questions I participated in but when comments that look a bit like an answer are removed within minutes of being posted it prevents any form of interaction with the original poster.

Conversely there are questions where you might have part of an answer and because you can't use it in a comment you post it as an answer and get viciously downvoted and mocked in comments.

Which means that you are actively prevented from commenting or answering.

Your voice is silenced

That's not a community, that's a repressive state.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's been stated multiple times, on multiple different questions and answers, that comments are not the place for answering or discussion so using that as "evidence", so to speak, that your voice is being silenced is possibly what's attracting the downvotes. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Feb 18 '16 at 11:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I do think you bring up a good point about only partially answering a question as an answer though. Up until recently I was actually under the impression that answers had to answer a question in full. But upon reading through the 'How to Write a Good Answer' section of the help center again I noticed that it mentions "contributing the results of your research and anything additional you’ve tried as a partial answer". Maybe it's worth focusing on that and how being "viciously downvoted" affects user's perception of partial answers rather than tying it in with answering in comments? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Feb 18 '16 at 11:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PurpleMonkey Hmm. We do tend to forget that bit of the help. This would probably be useful to draw out as its own meta question! Not sure if I'd do it right away, or let this current thing settle a little first. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Feb 18 '16 at 12:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this would read a lot more constructively if phrased as "My voice is silenced" and "I am actively prevented...." I believe that you feel that way and have experienced these things, and would upvote your testimony to that fact. I do not believe that all feel that way and so won't upvote this post as it stands. \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Feb 18 '16 at 16:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ @nitsua60 Except that yes, we do silence the speech that DMN is objecting to being silenced. It's true—but also the site functioning as designed. People are free to feel silence if they want to say things on the site that don't belong on it, but it's not particularly relevant or indicative of a problem. If they felt silenced about saying things that did belong on the site, that would be a useful observation that might indicate a problem. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 16:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie The point about partial answers getting slammed should not be overlooked. As to comments, it took some time to get used to how comments work here. A number of "take this to chat" cues have come across as rude / intrusive when trying to clear up something. You and I have discussed that before. My wish for a flag marked "piss off, I am trying to clear something up" will remain unfulfilled, per Be Nice rules. I take the effort to delete my own comments that get responded to in questions and answers. I note that some others do, and some others don't. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 18 '16 at 18:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast We have a meta that has indicated that partial answers aren't really what we want to see here: Should I be requesting people answer the question independently? Of course that doesn't control voting, but it does mean that we openly encourage answers to be full instead of partial, and that might influence voting norms adopted by members. This isn't the place to rehash that point, but there (or a novel meta) might be. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 19:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie OK, then we have seemingly contradicting norms, and I agree that it deserves its own treatment. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 18 '16 at 20:28
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Yes.

I'm answering twice because there's another separate point I want to address.

Let's assume the moderators are acting in good faith, responding rapidly, and following all the rules. Especially answering questions like this where every answer received a moderator comment:

This answer does not meet the requirements of our game-rec guidelines, which are based on the Back It Up! principles of having done or seen done what the OP proposes with the game. – mxyzplk♦ Aug 9 '15 at 14:52

When a simple question has each and every answer breaking the 'rules' then the rules are broken and need to be changed.

Except it's nearly impossible to get rules changed around here because a certain section of the community loves having and enforcing rigid rules with no scope for interpretation.

Inflexible rules and zealous moderators make for an overbearing situation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ It's worth noting that our rules for game recommendation questions did change, which is to say that they become off-topic, much like many other SE sites I believe. Soon after that question was asked actually. Also, the Back It Up! principle comes from the Good Subjective, Bad Subjective post over on Stack Overflow. Which means it's not a policy we have any direct control over. \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Feb 18 '16 at 9:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ The difference is that the 'Back It Up' principle is applied excessively (and gleefully) on this site \$\endgroup\$ – Still Not Happy Feb 18 '16 at 10:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DELETEMENOW yes, because the old policy for game-rec agreed that strong adherence to fairly strict guidelines was required in order for those questions to have even a chance of working on an SE site at all. \$\endgroup\$ – MrLemon Feb 18 '16 at 11:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Incidentally, I've never understood your chosen username. If it was chosen as a request, then the mods aren't the ones to do that: you can request account deletion by following the instructions in the help centre: How do I delete my account? and a Stack staff member (not mod) will do that for you. If it's a dare, we won't oblige unless you first do something that's so bad that a timed suspension is insufficient, like, dunno, becoming a serial spammer; at which point it would be due to earning it anyway, not due to the name/dare. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 18 '16 at 19:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ Heh so this post is so ironic... Yes, the game-rec rules weren't being followed so game-recs are now off topic, a change the mods championed, for which people are also aggrieved at the mods... \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Feb 18 '16 at 21:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk As I saw it unfold, game rec rules were either hard to follow, easy not to follow, follow unevenly, or deemed to be taking too much moderator time (a finite resource)... all said and done, assessed as a failed experiment to allow an exception to the general rule. I found a lot of value in some of the game rec questions, and am disappointed that they aren't viable any longer. I've been dutifully VTCing the ones that come up now and again, dug up from history as Off topic, even when some produced answers of value. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Feb 19 '16 at 19:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast Yeah, I miss their potential too. All the current mods were at one time or another vocal supporters of game recommendation questions being on-topic, and I know I speak for all of us mods when I say that I still wish they could be somehow made to work. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Feb 21 '16 at 4:07

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