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Here is the link to the deluxe edition:
We're sending out emails about it now to relevant groups.
For those who have preordered the Curse of the Crimson Throne hardcover, will we get the opportunity to upgrade our order to the deluxe version? There's only a few days left before order spawning.
We're hoping to have the product page up for the Deluxe CotCT limited edition later this afternoon. If you already have the hardcover edition on preorder, you will want to go ahead and preorder the Limited Edition ASAP and then request customer service cancel the first order. Putting something like "Upgrade/Cancel Curse of the Crimson Throne" in the subject line would be helpful so we can make sure those are all cancelled before we create subscription orders and auth on Thursday.
Ross Byers wrote:
The question is: James, when are we getting The Great Golarion Baking Show?
Sidenote: the way our forums and store is integrated is not usual. Everything is custom software due to Paizo having a vast amount of really crazy corner cases and unique situations to work with and maintain*. Its really easy to think "Wow this thing would be super simple, why can't they just do XYZ?" when the reality is that every day fixes or feature I think ought to be simple can take a couple days or a week or a month of a developer's time and can easily break completely unrelated features. Because we are also a store, we are very cautious about features that could have privacy implications. This is not to diminish any suggestions or imply every little thing is going to be way more labor intensive than expected, but assuming a particular thing is easy or simple is a very perilous road to head down. Once you assume a particular bug or feature is simple, easy or fast to fix, its a very quick jump to assuming we won't implement it because of laziness or malice.
cough cough Dungeon & Dragon magazine transition options cough cough
Our moderation policies and forum guidelines have been an ever evolving process over the last 15 years and I assume we will continue to grow them over the next 15. This thread has provided some useful points for Paizo's own internal discussions on moderating forums, some areas we can build a bit more robust policies on and perhaps additional clarity of some of our public guidelines. Thank you again to everyone who came to the discussion in good faith and wanting to improve the paizo.com community.
f - There seems to be a correlation of the banhammer with the lgtb topics. Paizo choose to include controversial topics in their published materials but it seems that is can't handle discussions about it (And I'm not talking about the occasional jerk that rant about how a trans character in WoTR will send everyone to hell or something), specially if the poster opinion doesn't align with the moderator at hand. You are free of course to not want some topic to be discussed, but if that is the case make it a rule and make it clear for everyone.
While it's not an issue to discuss aspects of what LGBTQA inclusive subject matter has been included in Paizo products, or every to critique how Paizo handles the subject, the conversation, like the rest of our forums, needs remain civil.
Threads that cover LGBTQA subjects will most like continue to see occasional posts removed or other moderator actions and that for a couple reasons.
For some folks (in general in our society) LGBTQA issues are very important topics, often it's because a person is or knows someone who identifies on the LGBTQA spectrum and/or is passionate about ensuring equality for groups, or because they have a very deep rooted (usually religious) objection to LGBTQA identifying persons. Subjects that elicit strong emotional reactions do skew towards heavier moderation because it can be really hard to maintain your decorum on issues you feel are vital to who you are. Discussions of any subject that has this much social history and this much passion behind it usually see more moderation because the conversations tend to skew towards escalation when people's core beliefs about the world or about themselves are at stake.
Additionally, the Paizo community has a number of very diverse beliefs about how to handle LGBTQA issues, how they should be included in our products, the various interpretations of how they are being included, etc. While we don't want to exclude anyone from the conversation, we also are not interested in offering a platform for people to vocalize beliefs regarding LGBTQA issues or persons who identify as LGBTQA that are harmful to those community members who identify as such. A noble goal but in reality, this is a very tricky thing! Some folks may feel that threads or posts repeatedly questioning the existence of inclusion of LGBTQA character in our campaign setting is incredibly harmful, while others might not understand why or how that could be painful. The LGBTQA community is a very broad and diverse group in and of itself. Within the various sub-communities of each branch there can be widely different opinions and feelings on what is offensive or not. Diverse, evolving societal standards and continued intersectional education in how we talk about LGBTQA issues means it can be a complex subject to navigate.
So we have a complex social issue where passion runs high. That alone is enough for a given subject to result in more than "usual" moderation efforts being applied. But then we also have the fact that LGBTQA issues/subjects are something that a many folks on Paizo's staff in particular are interested in or involved with. A number of us identify somewhere on the LGBTQA spectrum or we have close coworkers/friends & family that do. This means we are typically already in those threads where these subjects come up or when we see comments made about these issues our attention is focused on the conversation. Posts/threads that cover LGBTQA subjects/issues have a higher visibility with staff which, when combined with the above two points, means there is indeed a correlation between LGBTQA threads and forum moderation.
Overall, I think it's healthy for both the community and for Paizo to have discussions, conversations or debates on how we are doing with regards to LGBTQA inclusiveness. We don't ban people for talking about things, or even critiquing how we're doing with it. It's vital to making sure we don't stagnate socially or accidentally alienate a part of our community.
We want to foster a environment that is welcoming to people who want to be here. However, if we feel someone is actively working against that goal, when someone is actively driving away other community members and is not willing to or able to stop, it is our job as moderators of the forums, to remove the ability to continue to post from that user's account. This is never a decision that should be made lightly. Often before removing the ability to post members of the moderation team will consult and get a second or third opinion. Moderation is not an easy task. While we try to ensure we are doing our best, we can, do, have, will make judgement calls that we might not agree with in hindsight or that reviewing the situation will have us seeing in a different light.
We strongly encourage individuals who wish to remain in the community to let us know via email, where we can review our decision and follow up in a manner that respects the privacy of all our community members, keeping in mind that review does not imply reversal.
Obligatory reminder to treat each other with respect while engaging with each other on our forums. Its okay to disagree with each other and to debate opinions or ideas, its not okay to be abusive. Additionally, sarcasm often does not translate well to text and dismissiveness is not helpful for fostering mutual respect or thoughtful conversations.
Buri Reborn wrote:
It seems topics can be discussed at length for a good long while. When one or two posters come in and start a ruckus then the moderation swoops in, nukes everything and we get a vague post. It is very convenient timing. Say I'm wearing a tin foil hat all you wish. I've seen it happen again and again. Topics don't seem to be the issue. Individuals are.
If I recall correctly, we average more than 5,000 posts per day . We do not have the capacity to monitor every new post that is made on our forums. Often times we don't see what's going on in a thread until community members flag it or because its in a thread or on a subject that holds personal interest to someone on the moderation team or another staff member.
If you feel like we are missing something, please use the flagging system to bring it to our attention.
As we've repeatedly noted, it is not our policy to discuss what moderator actions have been taken with other community members. Ashiel was not banned "because of another person flaming nearby, simply because it was the same thread," and Ms. Raital Lateral was not banned for "for simply asking why was Ashiel banned." This vastly oversimplifies the factors at play for both accounts.
At this point, individuals here attempting to assert why a particular user was banned are out of line. That's a conversation Paizo can have via email with the direct community members affected. Folks trying to insert themselves into that conversation publicly need to stop. Paizo will not discuss other community member's account history. Further discussion trying to define moderation of community members (past or present) will be removed.
Ok, its 3pm on a Friday. I have some operational and customer service tasks that I have to take care of before I leave today and I do not believe this is a thread that should remain open for commentary without a staff member addressing things. If you've got a comment or question or whatever just burning a hole in your keyboard, I would encourage you to type it out in a text editor, spend the weekend decompressing and if you still want to post it on Monday, this thread will be reopened then.
Klara Meison wrote:
And not letting the community see the whole picture supports fair, balanced and informed conversation?
In addition to running contrary to our policy of not disclosing moderation actions with other users, I think its a dangerous to assume that merely seeing the removed posts of a thread are going to give a whole picture of any given situation, including this one.
In photography we talk about whether a photograph is objective. It's not. It includes what the person behind the camera crops out, its affected by the compositional choices, of the film choices, the lens choices. It can't show what happened prior to or after the picture was taken.
We like to think 100% transparency will solve all communication problems, and that if we can somehow accumulate all the facts we can prove someone was objectively right or wrong, but 100% transparency will not satisfy everyone's perception of fairness, there are always pieces of the situation that are not evident to everyone and even complete visibility of posts will not clarify the whole picture. I also feel that both parties (those defending Ashiel and Paizo) have pieces in this situation which are not being disclosed, rendering the public nature of this all feel rather disingenuous towards folks in the community observing.
David knott 242 wrote:
Of course, the forum moderators have an option with Paizo staff that they do not have with the rest of us: They can walk over to that person's desk and call him or her to task in person.
That is not an option for anyone on the moderation team to enact. We can have conversations with coworkers, we can remind them of our forum policies, we can discuss things with our manager or escalate it internally, but it is not with the purview of the moderation team to "take coworkers to task".
edited for clarification.
Bennybeck Wabbittracks wrote:
If I had a complaint dont you think I would express what happened? After I explained what happened they gave that response. When I questioned that type of attitude the manager got mad and became more dismissive. I responded that Customer Service shouldnt work that way. listening to a complaint is important, and was told that I could take my business some where else.
If this was via email, you're welcome to forward it to email@example.com and we can include this in our ongoing discussion of responding to community members. Giving a perfect response every time is an unrealistic goal, but having some additional context here might help us in the future address concerns like this better.
f - There seems to be a correlation of the banhammer with the lgtb topics. Paizo choose to include controversial topics in their published materials but it seems that it can't handle discussions about it (And I'm not talking about the occasional jerk that rant about how a trans character in WoTR will send everyone to hell or something), specially if the poster opinion doesn't align with the moderator at hand. You are free of course to not want some topic to be discussed, but if that is the case make it a rule and make it clear for everyone.
I just want to note that I am not ignoring this one. There's some stuff in here I absolutely want to address, but I didn't want to hold up other answers while I work out what I want to say.
c - I also know that some of the banned people have clashed with the moderation in the past and would not be surprised if they were have been banned in other situation.
This absolutely happens. The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
d - Having said that, I do find it quite unbelievable how the situation developed. We had one forum member grossly misunderstanding what other people were saying and creating a lot of confrontation where there was none. And the result is that the guy that was creating the problems is still active while the others (that quite honestly, acted very civilized in face of the undeserved attacks) were banned.
Online situations can escalate really quickly. Moderation is not a precise science. I'm reviewing what happened with Chris. Its not likely that we'll have anything resolved one way or another prior to the weekend. I have my own pressing customer service duties that need attention, and while I feel this situation needs resolution, I also have obligations to customers and my coworkers that I need to balance. Additionally, any followup that we do feel is appropriate will occur with the folks that were affected. I know that is not what a lot of you want to hear, but its imperative from our end that we maintain our users' privacy.
e - Quite frankly, I see here a lot of jerkish behaviour being allowed, as long as the jerk at hand defend certain positions that seems to be OK for the moderators. I know that you guys doesn't like the "paizo defense team" title, but forum members like Gorbacz would have been perma banned long time ago if he were not so fan of paizo. Not that I'm the nicest poster ever mind you, but I've seen the behaviour being allowed against nicer posters than me.
I think there is definitely validity here. The RPG community is small and Paizo has for quite some time, emphasized a more communicable, accessible and friendly atmosphere with our community. It can be easy to read a lighter or less harsh tone into someone's words when we've met them or have a longer history with them. Our goal is to do our best to recognize our biases and work from a neutral perspective, but that's hard. An area I think the moderation team can spend some time reflecting on for sure.
I removed some additional posts. Its okay to ask the thread to get back on topic, its not okay to phrase it behind personal attacks or insults. Text is sometimes a hard medium to convey tone in and its easy for sarcasm to come off as meanness.
P.S. A joke here or there isn't a problem, but lets try to not let it become a distraction in the product discussion thread.
Bennybeck Wabbittracks wrote:
I had a problem with a moderator once. I called the supervisor and was told that the moderator was wonderful and they would back their decisions. Real open to customer feedback right?
While the moderation team is open to feedback and upper level management is willing to listen to escalated issues, this is not a guarantee that everyone will be in agreement with the results, or that decisions will be reversed.
The first step in most cases is going to be to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and this is because more than just Chris or myself monitor that email. It allows us to hopefully resolve any misunderstanding or issue quickly and efficiently. Bypassing this is, in many cases, like a cashier giving you the wrong change at a register and instantly demanding to speak to a manager. The quickest and most expedient route to resolution is to let us know, via email, that there is a issue.
If a community member feels that they have reason that they need to bypass the community inbox, my recommendation would be to send an email via email@example.com, provided the person sending an email feels comfortable with that option. This allows Paizo to ensure that the correct people are alerted to the issue. If its something that overlaps with PFS, for example, we want to loop in Tonya. If its a gross misunderstanding or a technical issue, we can resolve those before it continues to escalate.
Bypassing those two options and heading straight to our Chief Operations Officer, Jeff Alvarez is something I would recommend only for seriously egregious issues.
I've unlocked the thread. Expectations from our end are that if you have things to add to this discussion you remain civil to both Paizo employees and to other community members per our community guidelines. If you feel a post goes over the line, use the flagging system. I have faith in the community that we can keep this thread from devolving into something that would need to be permanently locked.
Chris has asked me for an assist here and as a back-up member of the moderation team at Paizo I am stepping in.
First, I’d like to thank everyone who is coming to this thread to participate in in the discussion of our moderation practices. While there will never been total and complete agreement between every community member as to what ideal forum moderation looks like, I appreciate that you are here, wanting to engage with us. I can read the passion behind your words and I know that what’s driving this discussion is a desire to see a healthy and enjoyable gaming community. I can relate to this feeling because its the same feeling that drives my own goal of helping foster a welcoming and inclusive place for gamers to socialize, learn and grow.
Discussions directly calling into question our moderation practices can be difficult to process and respond to, they deserve to be addressed in a thoughtful and respectful manner and I’d like to ask for y’alls continued patience as we do our best to respond to your concerns.
I've gone through the thread and there are some things I'd like to address for the sake of transparency and/or to clear up potential misunderstandings.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
and I hope that Customer Service does what it can to get to the bottom of it.
Klara Meison wrote:
I am hoping customer service would carefully review this issue. Really, that's the only thing we could hope for at the moment.
Customer Service is not part of the moderation team. While Customer Service can assist with clerical issues (fixing bbcode typos/errors, moving threads, removing spam, etc) and are empowered to remove egregious posts, the Customer Service department is not part of the chain of command that would sort out complaints about user bans or post removal. When I do assist with moderation, its not due to my role as Customer Service Manager, it’s as my role as part of the moderation team. While many of the reasons I am in Customer Service are the reasons I am part of the moderation team, the one role at Paizo does not beget the other. For those of you who do wish to escalate concerns via email, firstname.lastname@example.org is the correct chain of command. If you are not comfortable with that, you can send emails to email@example.com and they will forward it to the correct person(s); however, Customer Service Representatives will not address moderation issues other than to pass feedback or concerns along.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
I would hope that no Paizo moderator would ever deliberately make a deletion or lock without giving the standard clarification as to why.
It is our moderation policy, for the majority of issues, to indicate when a post or posts have been removed. If a thread, post or series of posts has been removed without notification, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org will likely have the best results. Reviewing threads that may need moderation, removing posts and crafting a thoughtful and helpful moderation comment can take time, its possible we erred and forgot to leave a note before getting pulled in another direction, its possible we’re still writing a response, it could be someone deleted their own posts or a forum-code bug ate it. “I think posts were removed in this thread, but I don’t see a moderator note, can you help clarify this for me?” is going to get a much better response than a call-out thread or accusations of censorship or simply assuming nothing can be done.
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
So like if one of Ashiel's posts had big bold letters saying (USER WAS PROBATED FOR THIS POST) and then gave a little explanation as to why I'd find it a lot more acceptable.
It is our policy that we do not discuss moderation steps taken with a user with anyone in the community but that user. User privacy, including issues relating to leaving the community voluntarily or otherwise, is very important to us. We believe that overall, it is healthiest for the community to maintain this policy as is.
Forums are asynchronous by nature. No consideration need be given to the work/sleep cycle of forum participants. And that's a feature, not a flaw.
We’ve got a worldwide community who are posting at all hours of a given 24 hour cycle, and asking a portion of those folks to post at a time convenient for our moderation staff feels dismissive of their issues. However, the kind of discussion occurring here can easily become a pile-on. By posting these complaints late at night and copying and pasting text from another user’s email correspondence I have to wonder what the end goal is.
In my experience Paizo ask that any discussion of moderation decisions be made by email.
It’s something that’s entirely situationally dependent. Email is generally going to get the best results. While we do not want to stifle conversations or feedback on how we (as a company or as individuals) are doing, we are also not in the business of allowing our employees to be dog-piled for doing their jobs.
It is sad when people are banned; that said, it is sad when people argue on the forums as well.
With regards to this thread. The original thread title has been edited to something less baiting. Some posts, replies to or discussion of these posts have been removed. Removal reasons include: tit-for-tat personal arguments or insults, discussion of the account status of other paizo.com users, commentary on PFS volunteer attitudes, debate or guesses on how many or which posts will be removed, if or when the thread will be locked and a couple sarcastic one-liners that did not help the conversation.
Some posts that I would normally have removed may have been left in as I feel they provide context and transparency to the discussion. This includes the original post which quotes an email conversation between another community member and our Community and Digital Content Director. Posting private conversations that occurred between other users is not something we would usually leave on the boards, but at this point the discussion is happening and I feel removal of the thread or post would have a negative impact on the conversation and the parts of our community wishing to review or take part in this topic.
Regarding a theme come up a couple times within the context of this issue, we are specifically not inclined to list out “things your post will get removed for”. So much of messageboard posting is, as has been pointed out, highly contextual. Trying to list out each specific instance of what one post has been removed for and codifying a hard and fast rule off of it would result in a list a mile long.
Forums and online communities are in a state of constant flux and growth. All of us together, employees & community members, are growing and learning together. The paizo.com forums handle an insanely high amount of post-traffic and a very wide variety of viewpoints, lifestyles and beliefs. We are not interested in censoring, stifling or otherwise preventing people from engaging in discussion within the paizo.com community. However, this does not mean we will not or should not remove posts (or posters) who are unable to engage in the community in a civil manner or in accordance with our Community Guidelines.
I would like to make it clear that we are more than willing to engage with folks about our moderation policies, about our theories behind it, and suggestions on how to improve it. We are willing to revisit moderation decisions including bans and thread/post removal. This is something we have done in the past and no doubt, will need to do again in the future. It’s okay to disagree with us, and to voice said disagreement, however that disagreement, if its going to take place on Paizo’s forums, needs to happen in a manner that fosters the emotional growth and connection of the community.
Lastly, despite the public nature of this thread, decisions we make regarding specific instances of forum moderation remain, from our end, between the individual user and Paizo. I am reviewing with Chris the last couple days and trying to suss out what happened. This is ongoing and the process is not yet complete. Any additional changes or contact regarding specific users will not be publicly disclosed by us.
I'm going to go ahead and leave this thread locked until either Chris or I are back in the office tomorrow morning. It is really, really easy to have a thread like this go quickly off the rails and I think in this case that would do a huge disservice to the portion of the community that wishes to engage in discussion on this topic.
Since its been about four hours since I temp-locked the thread, here's a quick update: I'm probably about 1/2 done with a response and can no longer subsist on furikake puffs and my morning coffee is wearing thin. I need actual lunch. At some point I will unlock this thread. I do not have an eta at this time.
Hi folks, we're not opposed to having discussion on the forums (its called website feedback for a reason), but we do need the conversation to remain civil. Its ok to disagree with each other, its not okay to be disrespectful towards other community members, both past and present.
I'm going to temporarily lock the thread so I have a chance to review some of the recent posts which appear to be heading a bit off the topic's track.
Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Beginning to see why some forums have policies against posting homework problems.
gary: hmm they already get named. all i am thinking of is a little Off-Schedule or Monthly
christopher: Special Deliveries
katina: Flex shipments
christopher: Surprise Packages
gary: "is paizo's time of the month"