Well, if I’m going to contribute my opinion, I suppose that I might as well start by saying this: I haven’t actually posted in about a month, so my opinion of the “new” JFF really couldn’t be considered “firsthand,” if that’s how you’d like to look at it. On the other hand, I have lurked semi-regularly during my period of silence, so I’ve got something of an understanding of the current situation regarding the board and its moderation. Seeing as I’m now “back” though, I’ll be able to compile a point of view from actually posting on the board, and I might come back here later when I’ve done that. (I should stop, before it starts to look like I’m attention whoring…)
I’ll start by addressing a point made by StarGazer:
I feel that the JFF board should be just that: Just for Fun.
This IS a good point, of course, but I don’t view it as an either-or argument. That is to say that, even in the days where moderators were free to lock threads on the board, I’d still have argued that most of the threads were silly. The differences between the “old” JFF and the “new” JFF, as I take it, are:
- Threads with no topic whatsoever in the original post are no longer locked.
- Threads specific to a certain user are no longer locked.
- Certain rules formerly in place on the JFF board, like relevancy and prohibition of double-posting, no longer appear to apply.
- Threads without a clearly defined topic in the original post are no longer locked.
So, take away all of the former rules and guidelines, as has been done with JFF, and basically, we have a more civil /b/. Threads that explicitly break the rules, or are requested by the OP to be locked (I agree with Brucker about the OP of a thread requesting a lock, by the way), are the only threads that mods are allowed to touch. But I don’t think that, just because mods are no longer allowed to lock threads of certain types, the board is any less “just for fun” than it was in the past. Back when the moderators WERE allowed to lock most threads, threads still existed for the purpose of entertaining the users. If users couldn’t have had fun with the types of threads that JFF hosted in the past, then I don’t see how that’s an issue with the moderators. Rather, I think that’s an issue with the user him/herself.
With this in mind, I’ve interpreted the argument that “mods aren’t letting the users have a good time” to be unfounded to an extent. I think that the moderators would have to make a conscious effort to prevent the users from having fun, or at least more conscious than simply locking threads that they view as unnecessary. Is it the mods that aren’t letting the users have a good time, or is it the users that aren’t letting themselves have a good time? I ask that legitimately. If a thread gets locked for one reason or another, then what’s stopping the users that would complain about those kinds of threads being locked from moving on to another topic that interests them? If you aren’t entertained by a forum game or lighthearted (VERY lighthearted, of course) discussion thread, then why not start a topic of your own that you think everybody can enjoy? Either I’m missing something here, or the problem doesn’t lie with the moderation at all. What I’m trying to say is, Just For Fun was never something other than “just for fun.” Users just have different viewpoints and ideas about the board’s content, which is perfectly understandable. So, like I said, either I’m just missing something, or the users that appear to wish for total anarchy in JFF (or at least for more lenient moderation) are missing something.
As for the locking of “pointless” threads, on that issue, I’m really not sure what to think, actually. The idea of “pointless” differs per individual, much like the idea of “fun” does. A moderator may call a thread “pointless” for any reason, some reasons better than others. Threads specific to an achievement that a user has acquired on KYM may not be needed, because we already have a “KYM Achievement General” thread that’s featured. Birthday threads and stuff like that DO have topics, but the regular creation of birthday threads isn’t really something that most users may be turned on to. Would a “Birthday General” thread or something along those lines work?
Furthermore, “pointless” threads that some may enjoy may very well be disliked by other users, and the conflict between those who wish for more lenient moderation and those who wish for more strict moderation is what I think caused this whole issue to begin with.
Now, I’ve also noticed that a couple of users have complained that the moderators don’t care what they think. I’d like to start by saying that I’ve never viewed the moderators as being more important than the users; rather, they just have more power. However, I think of moderators and users alike as being equally important members of the community, or at least as important as they choose to make themselves. For example, whether or not I’m an asset to the forum community and whether or not I help to move discussions forward is entirely up to your opinion, but I don’t see how I’m guaranteed to be any less useful in resolving issues and contributing to discussions than Verbose, RandomMan, madcat, MDFification, Chris, or any other moderator. This may not be entirely relevant to the topic at hand, but I like to think that it is, because I think of it as meaning that, although some may have more privileges than others, we’re all equally capable and qualified members of the community. Some members may be seen by the administration as more consistent in making good contributions than others, but honestly, we’re not all that different. Moderators are users too; they just have a few extra buttons and options that they’re entitled to.
Now, on to the actual point at hand: moderators not caring what users think. Bluntly, that’s not really true. RandomMan has just created a thread asking users what their opinions were concerning the moderation of JFF. I think that says that moderation is interested in hearing what the users might have to say. The moderators regularly respond to users and contribute to discussions; they post on users’ walls and respond to questions and even simple conversation topics. If the mods didn’t care what users thought, then they wouldn’t be doing any of that.
Do the users care what the mods think? Surely, unless a moderator had a severe case of power addiction and corruption, they wouldn’t lock a thread just for the heck of it. Shit, mods have unlocked threads in the past because users appealed to them, and I say that coming from personal experience, because I’ve done it myself. The mods are not tyrants that crush any idea that doesn’t fit their own subjective ideology; they’re just users that stood out to the administrators and were given a few extra privileges. The mindset of “the mods are a bunch of Nazis bent on crushing our fun” is just as flawed as the mindset of “I’m a mod, I’ll do as I see fit so that the forum will be just so.” What I’m getting at is that users can be just as narrow-minded in their views about the moderators as they think moderators can be about the users and the threads in JFF, and that’s the root of the issue.
JFF as a board, and the community built around it, is very close to lacking any structure at all. I may be alone in this, for all I know, but I think that rules are the bedrock of an organized society. I’m not going to argue that even threads without topics can develop topics. The Stars thread is a good example, but that thread had a topic from the start. It was intended by Sweatie Killer to be a serious thread. If that weren’t such an important piece of KYM culture, it would be locked right now. Heck, it would have been locked had it been started about a week ago. Fun can come from derailed threads, yes, but I’d rather not use that as an excuse to derail threads. Some derailed threads can become important pieces of KYM culture, but I’m fairly certain that that wouldn’t happen very often. Most of the time, I’d think that derailed threads would just annoy most users.
On that note, I add that RandomMan is correct. It is an issue of fairness. Some users want to shitpost, of course, while others prefer a more organized structure. Yes, shitposts can be funny indeed, but they can be horribly irritating as well, if they throw a thread totally off-topic (which is sort of what shitposts tend to do). But is it an issue of extremes? Does JFF have to be a police state, or does it have to lack any rules or structure whatsoever? Of course not! There’s no need for extremes here at all! Rather, why not work out a compromise that could make both camps happy? It’s doable, I think…
I guess that I’m leaning more in favor of reinstating the tenets of the former JFF, but I’ve also surmised that I may not be quite “in touch” when it comes to the viewpoints of different users. We can take Alex’s advice, “LeVe it alone” and “smoke weed eryy day,” we can make JFF a police state, or we can find some level of equilibrium that can make everyone happy. Maybe JFF just needs a new set of guidelines or something, but I’m not ready to make any significant suggestions yet until we’ve at least resolved this issue. For now, I’d like to just continue to see where this discussion goes, and I’d encourage users to respond to me if they have something to say about my reasoning.