We have a great community, this shouldn’t be taken for granted
The suggestion is simple I think we should have a couple (two would probably do, maybe 3) of volunteer community moderators who can just act as much as a point of contact for major disputes, whilst also ‘gatekeeping’ for the Devs.
There’s no need I hear some say. The community gets on bar the occasional hiccup we’ve been able to patch ourselves together with minimal dev time. Well, any dev time spent dealing with trifling community issues is a waste. That time is better spent on development, marketing, or serious issues. This might also be able to free up the devs to ‘enjoy’ the community spaces more if they wish and not feel they’re there to ‘police’ it so much. The community is also growing, and is likely to continue growing. Occasional hiccups will happen more frequently and have the potential to grow bigger. We also have an increasing likelihood that it’s not just community disputes but active and persistent trolling or just general internet stuff. We should be proactive, whilst we’re able to not be trying to make up for lost time or having to heavily handed overreact, if we have a good open discussion of the development of tools to safeguard our community whilst there’s no crisis we can build better ones for an potential crisis. Community is increasingly international with players across all timezones, the devs are all (to my knowledge) in one timezone, I think it would be sensible to have a bit of coverage about the world.
So what are the specifics I’m actually suggesting? Well I think this should be as much a community input and a start of a conversation. But I think my main points would be: Lighthanded, this isn’t in response to a specific issue more future planning, there’s no need for draconian powers. Maybe the ability to put some on mute for an hour, but might not even need anything else. Figurehead, with little actual powers they’d often just have a different colour in chats and be general role models of community, someone who can just help calm things at times. They’ll be someone people can go to perhaps just get things off their chest. Gatekeeper, they’ll hopefully be able to save time for the devs just by stopping things escalating, but they’ll perhaps be able to direct things to the devs that might need it more effectively.
As a disclaimer: This is in no way in response to anything recent or any specific event in the past, i’ve been mulling this over for a while.
I also would not want to be a community moderator (I wouldn’t be any good anyway), but i definitely could nominate a few good candidates.
having been involved in many online communities and having seen the expanding userbase in PrUn, as well as having been personally involved in some trifling disputes that i’m sure are offputting for others, i’m firmly in favor of this suggestion.
once a certain threshold of users is met, some friction in the community is unavoidable. sometimes just having a sane voice of reason present is enough to keep it to a minimum. the threat of a temporary mute, even if almost never used, is often enough to keep things civil.
deciding on moderators and ‘moderating the moderators’ can become its own effort, however i think having a few around would be beneficial for the community, especially as we grow, and especially as advertisements bring in new players that aren’t initially as invested in the niche draw that has fueled most of the current PrUn userbase.
like bobemor i would not want to be a moderator (i don’t think anyone would want me to anyway), but will keep trying to help and guide new players as always. i share the concern/prediction that moderation may become more useful if not necessary in the future, so thinking ahead towards it is not a bad idea.
my usual overly verbose 2¢
We just talked about this in the weekly meeting and agree with you: It is a good idea to start having a team of moderators early! We do have some experience with working with community moderators from our other game AirlineSim and know that managing such a team can create its very own problems (for example inactive moderators, moderators abusing their powers, …) and this is why we want to start small.
Similar to what you wrote Bobemor, we can imagine a few responsibilities / functions a moderator could have:
The ability to remove abusive/illegal/spam messages from the in-game channels
Having a visible role in Discord, the forums and in-game so players know that they are there
Be open to new players asking questions and answer them whenever possible
Trying to mitigate disputes between players
Having access to an internal channel in Discord to be able to escalate issues to the dev team in a private manner
To be clear, we haven’t decided anything yet, but we like the idea and are currently evaluating…
On a related note: Is there anyone who wants to be a moderator?