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Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

Respectfully, if the banned user had not replied to the moderator's e-mail in such an emotionally-charged, inflammatory and aggressive manner, the ban probably wouldn't have happened. Even if the e-mail reply had some level of emotion to it (Ex. "I'm angry about my posts being deleted...") but also had some level of balance or understanding to what the moderator was trying to accomplish, it might have gone differently. As it was, the banned user is directly responsible for the e-mail reply sent to the moderator...and whatever consequences would arise from sending it.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Nicos wrote:
But I think my word where straightforward and extrapolating them to mean other things is just wrong.

Actually, I was trying to help you understand an alternate perspective. No 'extrapolation' involved. Maybe thejeff's explanation will make it clearer.


knightnday wrote:
Then it seems you've found a board for you to feel comfortable on to speak about the topic. Which I believe I mentioned above regarding finding your own path?

Diversification is a thing. I enjoy being a member of many communities and hearing different viewpoints. However, Ashiel's and Raital Latral's bans were extremely upsetting for me as Paizo is hiding behind a "Social Justice" rhetoric and claiming to make a "safe space for LGBT*" while mercilessly silencing trans posters, apparently simply because they don't have the same views on trans issues as Paizo. That line being crossed is a huge issue for my enjoyment of this website - even the usually vilified 4chan is far better at accommodating trans people in my experience.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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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.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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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.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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I've got some additional responses I am finishing up that I want to address before I head home tonight, so you may still see those posted within the next few hours.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Mashallah wrote:

Ashiel was discussing a character published by Paizo and pointing out perceived flaws in the depiction of trans people in that character, which is a perfectly valid topic. Somehow, she got banned because of another person flaming nearby, simply because it was the same thread.

Even more upsetting, however, is the case of Raital Latral, who got banned with her posts instantly deleted for simply asking why was Ashiel banned.

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.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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Some posts and replies referring to others as the "Paizo Defense Force" have been removed. This is a phrase that is divisive, and is unproductive.

Paizo Employee Customer Service Manager

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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.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KSF wrote:
Could you point to the expression of hate I was apparently defending?

I already indicated the post in question, where you made it clear that it was fine to speak badly of entire groups of people - groups based off of inherent characteristics, such as sexuality, no less - so long as you called it "frustration" rather than "hate."

That's akin to saying that it's fine to teach religion in science classes, so long as you call it "intelligent design" rather than "creationism."

That's not even getting into the idea that making such statements are fine because everyone else should just assume that there's a unspoken qualifier of "not all" attached...as though it were other people's fault for not presuming your goodwill.

Quote:
And then the original poster who asked about how that would work in terms of being applied to black people conceded that the question of power dynamics was an "interesting and fair point. Maybe it doesn't translate well," swapping a minority and a majority group like that.

Framing that as being a concession is very disingenuous.

The other poster didn't concede anything, hence why terms such as "might" were used. What went on there was someone striking a conciliatory tone so as to forestall going further down that particular rabbit hole.

Quote:
Feel free to flag my post for moderation or report it to the mods if you need to. If they decide that I was out of line, or that they need to delete my post, or that entire thread, I won't complain.

I doubt that will help; many of Paizo's staff have indicated that they approve of the ridiculous idea that you can create a more inclusive community by excluding people, just so long as they're the "right" people.


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To the staff of Paizo, you have, on multiple occasions now, claimed that you have “corresponded” with Ashiel over the last 4 years about posting appropriately on this site. Exactly what do you mean by this? Because Ashiel has stated, on another forum, that he has only 1 such record of anything, and that was for a 24 hour ban, for something he admittedly did that was wrong. Outside of that single email, Paizo has never contacted Ashiel about any such posting policies.

The only thing that I can imagine you mean by this, then, is that Ashiel has been apart of many discussion in which his, and many others, posts were removed. If this is what you mean, then why have you not taken such action with others? Hell, why have you not taken such action with myself? I have received multiple 3-day bans for my conduct here on the forums, doing such things as sniping at Mods, being outright abusive, and the most heinous of them all, being Sarcastic. No, that was not sarcasm, I was actually banned for 3 days for being sarcastic.

I have also had many of my own posts removed, maybe not as many as Ashiel, but many of them. So why am I not banned? Why have others who have been just as disruptive, sarcastic and borderline abusive, not been banned? Do you even keep records of these things?

If so, please forward all such records on Ashiel, to Ashiel, as he has no such record of them. If you don't have any records, then what are you using to back up your claims other than half-remembered scenarios? I know that, in many cases that Ashiel's posts were removed, he wasn't even breaking any rules, other posters were.

Or is that the problem? Is the problem that Ashiel, unintentionally or not, riles up other posters to cause problems, even if he himself is not breaking any rules?

I would suggest you take a good, long, hard look at any moderation incidents involving Ashiel and see who was the one at fault. If Ashiel wasn't the one causing the problem, then why is he being punished now?

I'd also like to ask why posts discussing Anevia's portrayal in Wrath of the Righteous were removed from the thread. I'm assuming the posts that got flagged for removal were either Klara's statistics post, or Rysky's response to it, and any replies. The posts before that involved a very calm and polite discussion on the Anevia's portrayal and why Ashiel disagrees with it. As far as I'm aware, nothing in those posts broke any forum rules, so why were they removed?

I would also like to see you, being Paizo's moderation team, open up discussion with Raital Latral was also banned. I'm not as familiar with what happened with her, but Ashiel provided a discord copy of their discussion. Raital claims that she was in the process of posting in the Ask thread, supplying her own viewpoint on the discussion as a trans perseon herself, when all the posts got removed, and she made her post. She added a bit about how scary it was for mods to come in and remove any discussion, effectively silencing her voice. Her post was likewise removed.

Raital proceeded to contact Paizo, I believe she made a phone call, and was directed to post in the Website Feedback forum and ask what happened. So she made her post... and it was deleted. She made the post again, and it was deleted. Then she got banned.

No discussion, no warnings, no $200 for passing Go, just banned. I cannot conceive of Raital being a disruptive poster or doing, really anything, worthy of being banned and yet...

Ashiel has stated that he is a trans person, and so has Raital. Ashiel was part of a discussion on why he disagreed with Anevia's portrayal as a trans character. Other members furthered the discussion, and caused it to become heated. Ashiel had very little to do with the heated discussion, bar the initial criticism of the portrayal of Anevia. Raital only made 3 posts total, the one in the Ask thread, and the creation of 2 threads.

Appearance wise, you have two trans people being banned over their criticism of a trans character in your product and the following discussion. You claim it was because you have had repeated correspondence with Ashiel over his post content over the years, but you have provided no explanation for why Raital was banned.

Personally, I find your explanation suspect for Ashiel's, and furthermore, I find your ban for Raital highly displeasing.

Now, I've been a loyal customer of Paizo for years now, ever since a friend gave me the Core Rulebook as a birthday gift several years ago. I've purchased nearly every hardback book todate (I have not purchased Horror Adventures or Ultimate Intrigue), and I have bough many Adventure Paths, soft cover books and accessories, such as flip-maps, harrow decks, map cards etc. I may have been disenchanted with recent design decisions, but I've still been purchasing things I liked and wanted. Granted, I haven't been using your online store, as I prefer to buy local, but I've still been buying.

But these recent incidents have ruined me as a customer of your products. I don't like the way you've treated people I consider friends. I don't like the way you guys moderate your board, as there are no real rules, extremely vague guidelines, and moderation policies are as fickle as the moods of the moderation team. With the exception of a few threads, like Ravingdork's Character Gallery, or N. Jolly's threads on the Kineticist, I will also no longer be a member of these boards.

I don't believe this incident reflects well on Paizo as a company. It also doesn't reflect well on the deep rooted perceptions of a notable part of the community that there is some form of censorship behind the scenes done by the moderation team. I've seen many posters comment on the boards that their, or others', posts have been removed. They didn't break any guidelines, but they did clash with the personal beliefs of members of the Paizo staff, or actions taken by the staff.

It also doesn't help, that for all the claims of trying to be a fair moderation team, there have been examples of this not occurring. There is a growing perception that certain actions taken are unofficially approved of, depending on who they are taken against. Such as harassing or insulting people who disagree with Paizo; as long as the posts don't generate too much stink, or are too public, they are often overlooked, even when flagged, because they are made against “approved targets”.

Likewise, I know your moderation of incidents with Ashiel has been suspect in the past. I won't mention the users name, but many know that Ashiel was actively stalked, harassed, and abused by a poster on these boards; the poster even went so far as to use information he'd gained over the years to track down Ashiel's personal Facebook account and spread it around the boards. Thankfully, Ross Byers, if I recall, deleted those posts and reprimanded the poster. But this activity went on for years and nothing was done about it. It wasn't until this poster got a little snippy in a playtest thread with one of the design team that he was finally banned. If I recall correctly, the poster even admitted to monitoring Ashiel's profile page to see where, and what, Ashiel was posting so he could respond to it.

Pazio has not done right by Ashiel in the past, nor is Pazio doing right in the here and now. Even if you were to unban Ashiel, which I suspect you won't, I don't know if he were to come back. As it stands now, Paizo has repeatedly proven it's moderation policy is suspect and can easily be abused.

This is all I have to say for now. I don't know if you will respond to any or all of this post, and I don't know if it will help make Paizo a better place in the future... but I felt in needed to be said. I don't believe anyone at Paizo intended this to happen, nor do I believe there is actually any intentional censorship going on. Regardless, I wish Paizo well in it's future endeavors, and more than that, I wish Paizo's forums becomes a better place. I've greatly enjoyed my time here, and I will miss it sorely. I will continue to monitor this, and a select few other threads, but as of now, I'm gone.

Bye.


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Alzrius wrote:
KSF wrote:
Could you point to the expression of hate I was apparently defending?
I already indicated the post in question, where you made it clear that it was fine to speak badly of entire groups of people - groups based off of inherent characteristics, such as sexuality, no less - so long as you called it "frustration" rather than "hate."

Please read my follow-up post which clarifies what I was saying.

Alzrius wrote:
That's akin to saying that it's fine to teach religion in science classes, so long as you call it "intelligent design" rather than "creationism."

That is a bit of a stretch.

Alzrius wrote:
That's not even getting into the idea that making such statements are fine because everyone else should just assume that there's a unspoken qualifier of "not all" attached...as though it were other people's fault for not presuming your goodwill.

Again, please read my follow-up post.

Quote:

Framing that as being a concession is very disingenuous.

The other poster didn't concede anything, hence why terms such as "might" were used. What went on there was someone striking a conciliatory tone so as to forestall going further down that particular rabbit hole.

You left out the phrase "fair point," also in that post. And you are offering an interpretation as fact, which is itself disingenuous.

Quote:
I doubt that will help; many of Paizo's staff have indicated that they approve of the ridiculous idea that you can create a more inclusive community by excluding people, just so long as they're the "right" people.

Again, read my follow-up post. I wasn't talking about excluding people. And I don't exclude people. In fact, the person I was addressing directly in my original post eventually understood what I was getting at, and we moved on to another subject.

But, again, if you think the post should be flagged, you should flag it. The system doesn't work if you don't engage with it. It's like voting that way. (i.e. complaining about a candidate who was elected when you yourself didn't vote in the election.)

At any rate, this is derailing this thread. I would suggest that if you want to respond or continue this discussion, we take it back over to the LGBT thread, where it began.

Or you can PM me. I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KSF wrote:
Please read my follow-up post which clarifies what I was saying.

I read it, and for the most part your apology is an admirable one (leaving aside the gross mischaracterization my criticism of you was an "attack").

That said, I still disagree with the idea that, if you criticize an entire group of people, everyone who "didn't do those things" should naturally presume that you're not including them. If your criticism is directed at particular people, then say that to begin with. It's irresponsible to just assume that you can lash out too widely, and the onus of understanding is on others to read a more positive message in your words.

Quote:
That is a bit of a stretch.

I disagree.

Quote:
Again, please read my follow-up post.

I should reiterate that there's nothing wrong with expressing anger per se. If you feel like you've been wronged, then you should absolutely be able to make it known. But don't indict the people who haven't wronged you by lumping them in with those who have due to nothing more than shared characteristics. That's a surefire way to make things worse.

Quote:
You left out the phrase "fair point," also in that post. And you are offering an interpretation as fact, which is itself disingenuous.

No more so than your characterizing that as a concession (particularly since "fair point" is a conciliatory phrase; it acknowledges the other person's point without saying that it's possessed of greater merit).

Quote:
Again, read my follow-up post. I wasn't talking about excluding people. And I don't exclude people. In fact, the person I was addressing directly in my original post eventually understood what I was getting at, and we moved on to another subject.

Be that as it may, I believe that the sentiment that you expressed - despite your good intentions - contained ideas that warranted criticism. Hence why I posted with regard to it.

Quote:
But, again, if you think the post should be flagged, you should flag it. The system doesn't work if you don't engage with it. It's like voting that way. (i.e. complaining about a candidate who was elected when you yourself didn't vote in the election.)

You keep going on about this, as though that should be done instead of engagement. Presuming that something's not egregious, it's far better, to my mind, to raise a counterpoint where it can be observed, weighed, and possibly engaged in turn with by everyone else.

Quote:

At any rate, this is derailing this thread. I would suggest that if you want to respond or continue this discussion, we take it back over to the LGBT thread, where it began.

Or you can PM me. I'd be more than happy to discuss it with you.

Given that we've still managed to at least tangentially touch upon the moderation practices, I think that we're okay insofar as going off-topic is concerned. After all, these posts are still here so far!

That said, I do think that your follow-up post was largely sufficient to consider the issue resolved; even if we still disagree on some minor points, I think that we're largely coming from the same place on the more important aspects of what we're discussing.


knightnday wrote:
Places without rules on what you can say aren't worth going to.

True, I'd even argue that Paizo needs harsher rules. I just think they need to be more transparent about the rules and when people are punished. The combination of rules that are done based on mod judgment instead of a rigid list of rules and just unpersoning people who are banned instead of clearly stating why they are banned is the worst of both world. I like the idea of letting mods perform judgment calls because no simple list of rules can cover all of human interaction but you need to clearly let everyone know when and why moderation is applied, for anyone to reasonably get a feel for what is and is not probation worth and what is and is not banworthy.

If you're going to cover up when and why someone was disciplined it just creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear. Especially if the reason is "customer privacy" even after the customer has voiced their desire for more openness.


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@Alzrius, thank you for replying, and thank you for reading and considering what I said.

We'll have to continue to disagree on what we disagree on, but I do agree that we are coming from a similar place. Apologies if I was a little hot under the collar at times in my replies.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
KSF wrote:

@Alzrius, thank you for replying, and thank you for reading and considering what I said.

We'll have to continue to disagree on what we disagree on, but I do agree that we are coming from a similar place. Apologies if I was a little hot under the collar at times in my replies.

I'd like to apologize also for coming off a little too strongly there at the beginning, and also express my gratitude for such a constructive dialogue. :)


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Places without rules on what you can say aren't worth going to.

True, I'd even argue that Paizo needs harsher rules. I just think they need to be more transparent about the rules and when people are punished. The combination of rules that are done based on mod judgment instead of a rigid list of rules and just unpersoning people who are banned instead of clearly stating why they are banned is the worst of both world. I like the idea of letting mods perform judgment calls because no simple list of rules can cover all of human interaction but you need to clearly let everyone know when and why moderation is applied, for anyone to reasonably get a feel for what is and is not probation worth and what is and is not banworthy.

If you're going to cover up when and why someone was disciplined it just creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear. Especially if the reason is "customer privacy" even after the customer has voiced their desire for more openness.

The problem becomes that you lay a clear line of where banning, probation, removing a post and so on will occur and people will go out of their way to ride the absolute razor's edge of the line and play in the grey areas.

You don't even have to be a gamer to do it. Children do it from a very young age. "Don't touch your brother" will turn into a game of how close you can put your finger to be annoying while saying "I'm not touching you!"

For my money, the original edict of "Don't be a jerk" was more than enough and could have been moderated stronger. I'm pretty sure that people here know what they are posting. You type that snipe, that snarky comment, that little quip that you'll repeat to your friends later about how you showed that guy, and all the while you know that you are contributing to a lock on the thread or provoking someone else to comment to see if THEY can get their posts removed before yours.

I'm a customer and I don't want to know why X was punished. A simple "Knock it the <expletive deleted> off!" and "10 posts removed because people think they are kindergarten and cannot play nice" is more than sufficient to me. Did you get suspended, edited or banned? Reflect on what you did prior to it happening. Really, really think about it. The blame doesn't fall on the mods to make people better. The responsibility starts when you decide to make the post.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
knightnday wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
knightnday wrote:
Places without rules on what you can say aren't worth going to.

True, I'd even argue that Paizo needs harsher rules. I just think they need to be more transparent about the rules and when people are punished. The combination of rules that are done based on mod judgment instead of a rigid list of rules and just unpersoning people who are banned instead of clearly stating why they are banned is the worst of both world. I like the idea of letting mods perform judgment calls because no simple list of rules can cover all of human interaction but you need to clearly let everyone know when and why moderation is applied, for anyone to reasonably get a feel for what is and is not probation worth and what is and is not banworthy.

If you're going to cover up when and why someone was disciplined it just creates an atmosphere of mistrust and fear. Especially if the reason is "customer privacy" even after the customer has voiced their desire for more openness.

The problem becomes that you lay a clear line of where banning, probation, removing a post and so on will occur and people will go out of their way to ride the absolute razor's edge of the line and play in the grey areas.

You don't even have to be a gamer to do it. Children do it from a very young age. "Don't touch your brother" will turn into a game of how close you can put your finger to be annoying while saying "I'm not touching you!"

For my money, the original edict of "Don't be a jerk" was more than enough and could have been moderated stronger. I'm pretty sure that people here know what they are posting. You type that snipe, that snarky comment, that little quip that you'll repeat to your friends later about how you showed that guy, and all the while you know that you are contributing to a lock on the thread or provoking someone else to comment to see if THEY can get their posts removed before yours.

I'm a customer and I don't want to know why X was punished. A simple "Knock it the...

I was about to post the same thing. Long before I began posting here, I spent a lot of time on a certain non-game forum that had very explicit set in stone rules for moderation. One poster and his fans basically tanked the entire forum by posting posts against people in just such a way that they would aggravate the person, without actually violating the rules. Eventually the harassed parties would slip up and violate the rules, and get moderated. Those who didn't just get fed up and left.

And that was a non-gaming forum. Imagine how much more effective some RPG fans could be at violating the spirit of the rules, given all the RAW posts.


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Umbral Reaver wrote:

I moderate on another company's forum and our policy is to tell the user why any moderation decision is made about them, but never tell anyone else. It is a private conversation between the moderation team and that user.

I expect the policy is similar here.

I've moderated another forum as well, and the policy you describe was used there too. Unfortunately, it is not a policy Paizo is following. I've had posts deleted for which I couldn't tell why. When I e-mailed Paizo to ask if they could explain what forum policy I had violated, I was told "we cannot disclose the reason a post was moderated, because moderation actions are confidential."

And that's a really stupid policy, because that's not what confidentially is. You should be able to tell me why my post was deleted. If you want to keep it secret from everyone else, that's one thing, and is probably a good idea. If you can't tell me what rule my own post broke, you can't expect me to avoid breaking the same rule again.

Steering back to the topic of the thread: in a past conversation, Ashiel described interactions with the Paizo moderation team identical to the one I described above. Ashiel wanted to understand what was wrong about their post, and was told that "for the sake of privacy," Paizo could not tell Ashiel why they took moderation actions against Ashiel.

In the e-mail sent to Ashiel that was quoted in the OP, Chris asserted that "Over the course of the last 4 years, our team has corresponded with you about how to post appropriately to our website." However, from previous times when Ashiel has talked about her correspondence with Paizo, much of what he had been told about "how to post appropriately" was that Paizo could not tell Ashiel what was or wasn't "appropriate" to post, because doing so would violate her own privacy.

I think Paizo needs to figure out what their "privacy" policy actually is, and figure out what their forum moderation policy actually is, and then put the forum policies in an easily-visible place.

Would revealing Paizo's policy on privacy be a violation of Paizo's privacy?


knightnday wrote:
The problem becomes that you lay a clear line of where banning, probation, removing a post and so on will occur and people will go out of their way to ride the absolute razor's edge of the line and play in the grey areas.

Did you read my post?

Alex Smith 908 wrote:


I like the idea of letting mods perform judgment calls because no simple list of rules can cover all of human interaction but you need to clearly let everyone know when and why moderation is applied, for anyone to reasonably get a feel for what is and is not probation worth and what is and is not banworthy.

I completely agree that a hard set in stone ruleset is bad. After all look at what happens to productive members of the gitp community. My problem is that if moderation is based on a more flexible contextual touch you cannot assume that everyone just "know" why a particular type of moderation was taken. After all if everyone knew ahead of time then moderation wouldn't be necessary in the first place. It is not a moral failing on my part of failing to be able to get into the mindset of a Paizo moderator. Don't take the tac of a conservative parent grounding their child without explanation besides "you know what you did".

Paizo does at the very least usually have the decency to tell users why they are punished. However this still does nothing for those who are a part of the conversation or even just lurking and observe it. My posting is not improved when posts are deleted without explanation or someone stops posting without any sort of community notification. Even GitP changes banned users user type to "banned". There is a reason trials and sentencings are held in public for real life issues. For every person who is actually punished dozens observe why they were punished and modify their behavior to avoid that punishment. Frankly refusing to in the name of user privacy is just black bagging them. No one improves aside from perhaps the punished person if they grovel enough to get back onto the forums.


Paizo's privacy policy is actually listed on every single page at the bottom.

http://paizo.com/paizo/about/privacypolicy

I will leave the discussion of its contents to others. This thread and the outcome is one I am watching closely, as I imagine are a number of others.


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*blink*


Caedwyr wrote:

Paizo's privacy policy is actually listed on every single page at the bototm.

http://paizo.com/paizo/about/privacypolicy

I will leave the discussion of its contents to others. This thread and the outcome is one I am watching closely, as I imagine are a number of others.

I read it, but it doesn't make any mention of moderation. In particular, it doesn't address whether Paizo is allowed to disclose why moderation action was taken to the person against whom action was taken. Yet, the "privacy" policy that Paizo is actually following says that they can't. Hence, it appears there is a discrepancy between the "privacy" policy Paizo is following and the document you linked to. The discrepancy will lead to confusion among users and to some people asking Paizo to explain their actions via e-mail.

And that's a problem, because, as the topic of this thread demonstrates, privately asking Paizo to clarify or explain their policies can be a banning offense.

(I put "privacy" in quotes because it is not at all clear whose privacy is potentially being violated if a moderator tells someone whose post was deleted why their post was deleted.)


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137ben wrote:
And that's a problem, because, as the topic of this thread demonstrates, privately asking Paizo to clarify or explain their policies can be a banning offense.

A common problem in this thread is supposition about the reason for various moderator actions without all the information. in the specific case of Ashiel's ban that was cited in the OP, the banning email did state a reason - essentially "irreconcilable differences" (you want a forum different than the one we provide).

Whether the ban is a good idea or not is a matter of opinion, however based on the limited information the rest of us have it wasn't because of any stance Ashiel took on trans issues and it wasn't for privately asking why her post was moderated - those are supposition at best and presume that the stated reason is not complete (or is dishonest).


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:
knightnday wrote:
The problem becomes that you lay a clear line of where banning, probation, removing a post and so on will occur and people will go out of their way to ride the absolute razor's edge of the line and play in the grey areas.

Did you read my post?

Alex Smith 908 wrote:


I like the idea of letting mods perform judgment calls because no simple list of rules can cover all of human interaction but you need to clearly let everyone know when and why moderation is applied, for anyone to reasonably get a feel for what is and is not probation worth and what is and is not banworthy.

I completely agree that a hard set in stone ruleset is bad. After all look at what happens to productive members of the gitp community. My problem is that if moderation is based on a more flexible contextual touch you cannot assume that everyone just "know" why a particular type of moderation was taken. After all if everyone knew ahead of time then moderation wouldn't be necessary in the first place. It is not a moral failing on my part of failing to be able to get into the mindset of a Paizo moderator. Don't take the tac of a conservative parent grounding their child without explanation besides "you know what you did".

Paizo does at the very least usually have the decency to tell users why they are punished. However this still does nothing for those who are a part of the conversation or even just lurking and observe it. My posting is not improved when posts are deleted without explanation or someone stops posting without any sort of community notification. Even GitP changes banned users user type to "banned". There is a reason trials and sentencings are held in public for real life issues. For every person who is actually punished dozens observe why they were punished and modify their behavior to avoid that punishment. Frankly refusing to in the name of user privacy is just black bagging them. No one improves aside from perhaps the punished person if they grovel enough to get back onto the forums.

I did read your post, yes. And then I went on to craft one of my own, making my own points on the matter.

As for your new post, I disagree strongly. I assume, perhaps mistakenly, that everyone here is moderately grown up and can take responsibility for their own actions. You don't have to think in the mindset of a Paizo moderator to know that posting in a hostile tone, being overly sarcastic, being aggressive, name calling and so on is going to get your post flagged and moderated.

A side note? Not just conservative parents tell their children "You know what you did." Did you break the object? Did I need to tell you specifically not to break this specific object?

As far s the trial setting bit .. Ashiel and the other people that got banned .. has that changed the posting here one whit? Are people being less aggressive, less name calling?

I mean, it's being debated across at least two forums for days now, with sides being taken and much rabble rousing and angst and hand wringing going on. It's pretty darn public. It's the Trial of the Century here. People have observed that they were punished, why they were punished, and have had reports from the Front Lines. And yet, people are still doing the Exact Same Thing. People are saying "Oh, I was almost banned. Maybe next time."

That isn't learning or taking responsibility. That's a need for drama and playing the blame game. People know what they are doing. No one is being punished by surprise.


You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community. They just don't tend to talk about Pathfinder. All of them call out when anyone is banned, not just someone as high profile as Ashiel and for most of them the mods clearly spell out why the person was banned.

Even here we haven't actually had it explicitly spelled out why Ashiel was banned. Just why she wasn't banned.


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knightnday wrote:
People know what they are doing. No one is being punished by surprise.

You're assuming that anyone who requests clarification from authority is arguing in bad faith. This is at its heart an appeal to authority fallacy because the assumption is that the authority is so clear that no one could require clarification.


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I'd love to know when everyone on the internet learned the word fallacy. It comes up so often you'd think someone is getting royalties off it.

There are no hypotheticals here. This forum is not the other forums. They have their way to do things. This forum has their way to do things. Sort of like house rules at one table are not guaranteed to be the same.

I'm assuming that people who argue for clarification are arguing in bad faith. That is correct. I'm assuming that people who can use the internet enough to argue rules on the forums are capable to self reflection. I do not believe that the mods have to spell out each infraction or delineate each instance that you've been a bad organism.

It has less to do with the authority in question and more with being a responsible and dare I use the term grown up individual.

To my mind, this is less about some sort of gaining clarity and more a need to back the mods into a position where they have to defend removing one or more people. To be utterly clear: they don't have to tell you squat. It would be nice if they did, but using "That other forum does it better!" is akin to telling me that Timmy's mom lets him go to the party and why do I have to listen to your dumb ol' rules!


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Disclaimer: While I read quite a few of Ashiel's posts, I doubt she would recognize me beyond, "That guy who writes too much."

But I just spent the last couple of hours poring over this thread, figuring I had nothing to contribute, but knightnday got me thinking:

knightnday wrote:

I'm assuming that people who argue for clarification are arguing in bad faith. That is correct. I'm assuming that people who can use the internet enough to argue rules on the forums are capable to self reflection. I do not believe that the mods have to spell out each infraction or delineate each instance that you've been a bad organism.

It has less to do with the authority in question and more with being a responsible and dare I use the term grown up individual.

I've had a few posts removed. For most of them a moment of thought was all it took to realize why they were removed. But on at least two occasions my posts were removed, and I could not for the life of me figure out why.

I had very little invested in it, so I didn't worry about it. The mods obviously read my posts in a way I hadn't, so I let it go.

But after reading this whole thread, I started thinking, "What about the posts I really care about?" I started thinking about my infamously-long journal entries and session write-ups. If some of those were deleted for reasons that I could not fathom, I'd be upset.

Would I be mature enough to write a polite note to the mods, asking them to please explain their reasoning to me, and provide me the text of my posts so that I could store them locally, or re-format them to their approval?

I certainly hope so, but on a particularly rotten day I might send something short and snarky to the mods.

So this is a long-winded way of responding that, "You know what you did wrong," isn't always true. As I said, I never bothered to follow up on why my posts had been removed, so to this day I really don't know, but I do know that on some of the most-civil threads on the board I've been seriously misinterpreted to the point of causing offense, only rescued because it was a civil area.

Sometimes, our expression in text is not as clear as we believe it to be, and people infer things we never intended to imply. The mods step in, and we're left wondering, "Oops! What did I say?"

And yes, the correct and mature action is to send a polite non-accusatory e-mail to the mods asking what just happened.

But we're all human, and none of us are polite every single moment of our lives.

This is mainly an observation; as I said, I read Ashiel's posts, but I didn't know her, she didn't know me, but this thread has been extremely interesting and I finally felt I had something worth mentioning.


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:
You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community.

Yeah, but no. I can think of very very few forums that offer a more positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment than Paizo.


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:
Even here we haven't actually had it explicitly spelled out why Ashiel was banned.

Is that what you're looking for? Because I would be astonished if that's even being considered to be openly revealed. I would think that the only person they'll discuss that with is Ashiel (via email, obviously).

FWIW, I don't support the idea of publicly stating what happens to any user in the event of conflict between them and the moderation team. I think that would be a negative development on the forums.

I do think that this issue has highlighted a need for clear (private) communication between moderators and users who receive moderator attention. I think it might be helpful to have a simple "infraction points" system, or a classification (green/Amber/red or something) based on past history. Something we could all access via our account to see where we stand.

I personally don't think it needs to go as far as emailing anyone who has a post removed or a thread locked, however there are clearly issues of uncertainty or transparency which could be addressed.


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Alex Smith 908 wrote:

You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community. They just don't tend to talk about Pathfinder. All of them call out when anyone is banned, not just someone as high profile as Ashiel and for most of them the mods clearly spell out why the person was banned.

Even here we haven't actually had it explicitly spelled out why Ashiel was banned. Just why she wasn't banned.

Unlike those other forums, this isn't a meeting hall. It's a store, and people who get upset about the environment in any store, tend not to buy. So it's understandable that Paizo would need to be a bit more proactive than average.


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I'd like to add my voice to the concerns some others are expressing.

I trust the mods and Paizo. And I know that at the end of the day, you all do what you need to do to keep the board civil, and I understand what a large, thankless and unending undertaking that is. And that, at the end of the day, it's your house we're in.

However, part of why I've valued Paizo and their products, and part of why I've valued this board is that they and it have provided a safe space for trans people like me. Outside of a handful of friends, this was the first place I openly expressed myself as trans, and the reception I received here was very helpful during that and other difficult periods in my life, as has been the community I've found here.

It does therefore raise some concerns for me when multiple trans people say they have found it difficult to express themselves here, and in particular when Raital Latral was banned after a few posts, if that is what happened.

I'm not necessarily asking for specific answers or more details from the mods, or from the company in general, or a reverse of the bans if you feel they were justified.

But as one of your queer customers, I am a bit concerned right now.


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From a more results orienteed perspective, I wonder if it would be possible for the moderation staff to give us a list of examples of why users have been banned in the past, written in general terms and scrubbed of enough details to satisfy privacy concerns obviously. Not the same as a firm set of guidelines, but something to work from and nice movement toward transparency.

Dark Archive

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community.
Yeah, but no. I can think of very very few forums that offer a more positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment than Paizo.

Like.............


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CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH!!!

*thought it was time for that...*


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NobodysHome wrote:

Disclaimer: While I read quite a few of Ashiel's posts, I doubt she would recognize me beyond, "That guy who writes too much."

But I just spent the last couple of hours poring over this thread, figuring I had nothing to contribute, but knightnday got me thinking:

knightnday wrote:

I'm assuming that people who argue for clarification are arguing in bad faith. That is correct. I'm assuming that people who can use the internet enough to argue rules on the forums are capable to self reflection. I do not believe that the mods have to spell out each infraction or delineate each instance that you've been a bad organism.

It has less to do with the authority in question and more with being a responsible and dare I use the term grown up individual.

I've had a few posts removed. For most of them a moment of thought was all it took to realize why they were removed. But on at least two occasions my posts were removed, and I could not for the life of me figure out why.

I had very little invested in it, so I didn't worry about it. The mods obviously read my posts in a way I hadn't, so I let it go.

But after reading this whole thread, I started thinking, "What about the posts I really care about?" I started thinking about my infamously-long journal entries and session write-ups. If some of those were deleted for reasons that I could not fathom, I'd be upset.

Would I be mature enough to write a polite note to the mods, asking them to please explain their reasoning to me, and provide me the text of my posts so that I could store them locally, or re-format them to their approval?

I certainly hope so, but on a particularly rotten day I might send something short and snarky to the mods.

So this is a long-winded way of responding that, "You know what you did wrong," isn't always true. As I said, I never bothered to follow up on why my posts had been removed, so to this day I really don't know, but I do know that on some of the most-civil threads on the board I've been seriously misinterpreted to the point of causing offense, only rescued because it was a civil area.

Sometimes, our expression in text is not as clear as we believe it to be, and people infer things we never intended to imply. The mods step in, and we're left wondering, "Oops! What did I say?"

And yes, the correct and mature action is to send a polite non-accusatory e-mail to the mods asking what just happened.

But we're all human, and none of us are polite every single moment of our lives.

This is mainly an observation; as I said, I read Ashiel's posts, but I didn't know her, she didn't know me, but this thread has been extremely interesting and I finally felt I had something worth mentioning.

Good points all around. Two points on it:

1. For the love of all that is good and holy, back up anything you ever work on! Term paper? Important work document? Really nifty post on the internet? Log it! You never know when a stray icicle from a passing plane toilet will drop and take down your internet in the middle of what you were doing. Save, save, save. Then save again. Then you don't have to ask for anything from the archives if they get deleted.

2. When in doubt, step away from the keys, especially if you are having a bad day, are drunk/high/whatever, just got in a fight with your significant other, got fired, woke up tired, and so on. If you think about posting something and are iffy about how it will be received, take a few minutes and go get a drink, go to the bathroom, walk the dog, watch a cat video, or otherwise change your location and mindset. Then come back and see if it still matters enough to post in that manner. Most often it won't.

You are right, we cannot always be polite or be sure that we're going to have a bad day. But sometimes we can have just enough self control to head off ourselves and keep the grar down.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community.
Yeah, but no. I can think of very very few forums that offer a more positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment than Paizo.

Honestly thanks to banning and probating people all the time Something Awful. If someone is a s&@&head about trans issues they're publicly banned and shamed. Same thing for all its other many many faults GitP. Various indie game reddits/ircs particularly Undertale but the whole indie adventure/rpg game scene is pretty good. All of them have the same basic thing over the Paizo boards: a way higher moderator to users ratio and significantly more proactive and publicly acknowledged bans or other means of administrative discipline.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Unlike those other forums, this isn't a meeting hall. It's a store, and people who get upset about the environment in any store, tend not to buy. So it's understandable that Paizo would need to be a bit more proactive than average.

By that logic the first people to be punished or banned should be anyone who complains about "bloat", and/or core-only proponents.


I'd like to add a little clarity, I do know that posts can and will be removed even if they in no way, shape or form even come close to breaking the rules if they are in response to a post that does break the rules and is being removed. There are also times when posts get "caught in the sweep" so-to-speak, and get removed on accident.

These are not the times myself and others are concerned about though. Leaving the rules entirely up to moderator judgement, means leaving it up to moderator mood swings.

Example: Say... Bonzu Pippinpaddle Oppsokopolis, the Third, comes into work today, after dealing with a messy break up with his cheating partner. Bonzu starts going through the forums, doing his moderator thing, and comes across some heated (but rule abiding) discussion about a poster asking if his Paladin should fall from grace for cheating on his wife. Bonzu, his mood on edge, decides to lock the thread and delete some posts. Not because the rules were broken, but because the subject matter grated against his mood that day.

Perhaps, as time goes on, Bonzu begins taking personal offense towards posts discussing infidelity and goes looking for justification to remove those posts, and possibly punish the poster.

I don't want to believe this is happening, but it is a perception that is developing on the boards as people have their posts removed that express viewpoints known to clash with members of Paizo's community. Unfortunately, I can't really provide any examples of these, because they've been removed, but it usually stems from a political or social viewpoint and can develop out of rules, advice, off-topic etc, threads.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
Alex Smith 908 wrote:
You keep engaging in hypotheticals when there are other more transparent forums that offer more positive posting environments, particularly for those people who fall into the LGBTQ community.
Yeah, but no. I can think of very very few forums that offer a more positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment than Paizo.

I can actually think of quite many, ranging from the ever popular GITP (which actually has transparent moderation), to even some boards of the dreaded 4chan, with reddit somewhere on the list.


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I can't speak to GitP, but I've found Reddit and 4chan some of the very least friendly or welcoming places on the Internet, especially when expressing a non-majority view. But then they'd both label me a SJWitch.

Edit: I would imagine the best rule of thumb would be 1) to treat Paizo's posters and staff with at least as much respect and courtesy as you would hope to be treated, 2) to remember the Paizo staff who act as moderators have many other responsibilities that have be juggled besides herding all us cats, and 3) to remember the mods are human.


I mean, I may seem sarcastic when saying 4chan is more positive and welcoming than Paizo, but I'm actually pretty serious.
4chan as a medium has one of the greatest levels of freedom of speech I've ever experienced - anyone can voice their opinions on equal terms and fear no persecution for thinking differently. I've never even once felt as if someone was taking away my voice there. Don't like someone? Just filter or ignore them.
That, in my opinion, is exactly what constitutes a positive, welcoming, and inclusive environment - it allows everyone (aka the definition of inclusivity) to express themselves freely and without fear.


Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I can't speak to GitP, but I've found Reddit and 4chan some of the very least friendly or welcoming places on the Internet, especially when expressing a non-majority view.

It's impossible to speak of reddit as whole in those terms, as it depends entirely on which subreddit you're posting in. Each subreddit is it's own community and each community behaves differently.


Tels wrote:
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
I can't speak to GitP, but I've found Reddit and 4chan some of the very least friendly or welcoming places on the Internet, especially when expressing a non-majority view.
It's impossible to speak of reddit as whole in those terms, as it depends entirely on which subreddit you're posting in. Each subreddit is it's own community and each community behaves differently.

Same goes for 4chan - each board is unique, often having almost entirely separate userbases and most often different mods.


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Yeah, I'm not going to get into the minutiae of my bad experiences about either of those places in this thread. I'm just pointing out your experiences are far from universal.


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I've always found the Paizo boards to be welcome and friendly. Even when I disagree with people, they're almost always polite about it. :-)

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