• 22 November 2013 18:42:49

    New mod author comment moderation features and updated terms of service

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    We’re so close to finishing our work on the centralisation we can almost see the light. We’re putting the final touches on the code and running mock runs of the merging work we’ll need to do to centralise the separate databases so that the down-time the centralisation will cause will be as minimal as possible.

    As I mentioned way-back-when, one thing I wanted to add to the sites before we finalised any centralisation work was an update to the moderating tools available to mod authors. It’s something that has divided opinion among mod authors over the years; some wanted to be able to directly control what posts were and weren’t allowed on their file pages while others wanted control to remain with our moderation team. Each school of thought has its pros and cons. While I’ll always skew towards the latter school of thinking, once we open up the Nexus to all games and, potentially, a lot more files I think keeping a strict moderating stance among a small, close-knit group of volunteer staff will be an untenable situation.

    Today we’ve updated all the sites with the new functionality for all uploaders who are within the mod author group. A reminder, in order to be in the mod author group you need 1,000 unique downloads across all your files for a single game. 500 + 500 unique downloads on 2 Skyrim mods? You’re eligible. 500 unique downloads on Fallout 3 Nexus and 500 unique downloads on Fallout New Vegas Nexus? You’re not eligible. The script is run once a day to add you to the mod author group and at the time of writing this article there are over 15,000 users in this group. This functionality is not available to people who are not in the mod author group at this time.

    The new functionality is two fold. To begin with mod authors can now delete comments from their file pages. There’s no delays, no moderator review and no crowding your comment topics with lots of notifications informing you about posts that have been moderated. To you, and other users, once you delete a post it’s gone. What actually happens is the post becomes hidden to everyone except the staff. We’ll retain a copy of all posts deleted by mod authors to ensure that the feature isn’t being used for nefarious means. Examples of what we consider “nefarious means” would be things like getting into a flame war with a user and then deleting all your posts while leaving the other user’s posts to try and make the other user look worse. This system isn’t being put in place to allow mod authors to cover up any indiscretion, it’s there to allow mod authors to keep their file comments clean and tidy and ensure the discussion going on in their file page comments is to their liking within the boundaries of our terms and conditions. Having said that our terms of service are still going to be enforced to the fullest extent. If you’re a mod author who doesn’t mind users treating your file page comments like it’s a 4chan thread then tough luck, our rules still apply to the fullest extent.

    When you go to delete a comment you’ll be presented with an easy to use text field to report the comment to the moderators. This doesn’t affect the actual deletion of the user’s post, that will be gone straight away, but what we most definitely don’t want happening is mod authors deleting posts and blocking users from their file pages and not actually reporting the members who they think are breaking the rules. We want to get rid of any members who aren’t following our rules properly rather than just hiding what they do out of convenience. Deleting a user’s posts and blocking them does not remove the root cause of the problem; the user, and simply allows them to go off and do the same thing to another mod author. So please use the report feature if you think user’s are breaking the rules when you’re deleting their posts.

    The second new feature is the ability to block a user completely from your file page or all your file pages. We’ve also added in a convenient link to the pre-existing forum page that allows you to block specific users from PM’ing you. This functionality should be pretty self explanatory; if you have a problem user who won’t leave you alone and you no longer wish for them to be able to access your file pages then you can block them entirely either from that specific file or all your uploaded files. Note that this doesn’t just block the user from commenting, it blocks them from your entire file page; they won’t see a single thing or be able to download your files and they will be presented with an access denied page explaining that you, the mod author, have blocked their access to the page.

    A new page has been added to the “User area” where you can view the users you have blocked and remove the blocks if you so wish.

    As far as the staff is concerned I’m not planning for the moderation team to get involved with this aspect of moderation at all. If you’ve blocked a user from your file pages then that’s that. We’re not going to deal with the justified and/or petty squabbles between mod authors and blocked users in this regard so if a mod author blocks you from their files do not come running to the moderation team about it because we’re not going to be removing any blocks. In the same vein this new functionality presents a whole new dimension of potential issues, e.g. you block a user, they PM you with hate. Naturally we’ll jump to the defence of anyone who is being abused through the PM system but you should be aware that blocking people from your pages will open you up to potential abuse and you should harden yourself accordingly to that eventuality. We naturally speak from experience on this subject. We have put a warning on the access denied page informing the user that if they PM you and they’re anything less than amicable in their message they’ll probably be banned instantly. Still, some people are really stupid. So as I said, harden that back-bone if you’re going to use that feature. Or block the user from PMing you entirely. Your choice.

    Lastly, with the help of the moderation team here at the Nexus I have just updated our terms of service with a completely new rewrite. These new terms of service incorporate as much information as possible about what we consider acceptable, what we ban for and how we operate. For most of you who are familiar with our old terms of service and how we operate there really isn’t going to be any surprises for you. These new terms of service simply get in to writing a lot of the “unwritten rules” that we’ve enforced but never properly described within our terms of service. For example, the fact we ban pirates dumb enough to speak about it in public isn’t anything new to most people here but it was never obvious within our terms of service. Now it is. If you’re confident you know our rules then you’re probably absolutely fine but, if in doubt, there’s no harm in reading them. I will say that if you’re a regular user of our Image Share section then we’ve clarified quite a few of our rules in regards to what is and isn’t allowed within the normal (non Supporter) Image Share section, including a detailed image of what exactly we do and do not consider acceptable in terms of visible flesh and body parts. That might be worth a look at. Remember our moderation of the Image Share section is not retrospective, meaning we don’t go back through all the images in the database and delete images that no longer apply to our rules, so the “he’s done it so why can’t I?” excuse is right up there in the list of excuses that we moderators really, really despise.

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