Moderation issues at Warhammer Alliance

WHA is a great site and probably the most popular community site for Warhammer Online, but it’s had some real issues lately, just at a time when all the communities are looking forward and thinking about the influx of people they expect when the game goes live. In the aftermath of several long and very flamey threads (not to mention bannings, thread nukings, arguments with various devs, and opinion pieces that read more like personal blog rants than community representation) at Warhammer Alliance, Garthilk lays it out in a state of the nation address at WHA.

Previously it had been announced that the forum rules on this site were going to loosen in some areas and tighten in others. I want to make the expectation perfectly clear however, that after closer review, the largest majority of change has to do with the tightening of the forum rules. The volunteers and moderators of Warhammer Alliance are going to be more closely examining the content of posts and their value in the community. This invariably means that a few people will soon find themselves unable to post at Warhammer Alliance.

I’m sure we’ll all be interested to see what he and his team come up with as rules for their moderators and forums.

It’s an interesting balance to try to keep. On the one hand, you want to encourage posters to share their thoughts. On the other, you want to stop people from causing pointless fights and making the atmosphere in your community uncomfortable for other posters. Plus you want to keep a lid on wild and unsubstantiated rumours. And also you want to try to stay on good terms with the official representatives of the game/s you discuss.

The only answer to this is clear rules, and sensible mature mods who understand the community they are moderating. It may be true that:

The forum rules at this site are rather unique in that they are based on a foundation of principles.

Perhaps rules based on principles are not what you need to run a service for this many people, from so many different cultures. I can’t really comment on whether they are unique since I’ve never read the forum rules for any forum I have ever posted on. But the point is not that the posters have to read the rules, it’s that the moderators do…

14 Responses

  1. Tto be fair, WHA has always been founded on the principles that it is a business first and foremost. Giving people complete freedom of expression may be nice, but from a business perspective you have to do what is smartest for your bottom line, or at least find the right balance.

    I’m a bigger fan of blogs than forums, so my opinion may not hold as much weight as someone who is a hardcore devotee, but I have no problem with admins making up rules for their forums and moderating appropriately.

    Certain (unnamed) forums can take this too far imho, but there are always other sites out there for you to speak your voice on. If WHA started getting too harsh and banning/moderating users and content that intelligently disagreed with the admins on things, then I would exercise the option of going elsewhere.

    However, I doubt WHA will turn their site into a modern day 1984 because the admins and volunteers are very nice, with balanced (fair) states of mind.

  2. This smells a lot to me like WHA went a little too far and annoyed Mythic enough that they are seeing some back ash. With their potential bread and butter going away they are looking for a way back into Mythic’s good graces. Every person they ban will end up somewhere else.

  3. Snafzg: Don’t get me wrong, I have zero issues with bboards implementing tight codes of moderation. I’ve had infractions from EJ! I’ll happily moderate the messages here too but there won’t be any rules, it’ll just be that anything that pisses us off gets nuked πŸ˜‰

    But as an outsider, it’s going to be interesting to watch how it works out and how the community there adjusts and adapts.

  4. @Spinks – For sure! πŸ™‚

    It actually takes a lot to make me moderate a post on my own site too. Since I’m often extremely inflammatory, I can’t quite prevent others from doing the same thing. Morally speaking, of course.

    There should be zero tolerance for overly excessive language, racial remarks, or harsh personal attacks though.

    @Michael – You may quite possibly be correct. Pissing off your “bread and butter” is definitely a bad business move.

  5. Let me just say this – it is impossible for Garthilk and the staff of WHA to moderate (literally) thousands of posts without either:

    1) Some slipping through the cracks – or –
    2) Just not getting to those posts as quickly as you’d like to have gotten to them.

    Simply put, I consider Garth a friend, and it has got to be frustrating to log into your site – and suddenly notice you and a handful of staff suddenly have a billion things to moderate! LOL It’s darn near impossible.

    But that being said, WHA is the biggest and as it continues to grow it’s going to NEED a good staff to grow with it. But make no mistake about it . . . we have not seen anything yet. Once the game is released, look for an explosion like no other on the message boards.

  6. I think WHA does have a nigh on impossible task to keep it all moderated, but they will need to!

    NDA dropping followedd by open beta, followed by release (followed by wotlk?) is going to really open the floodgates.

  7. “Who moderates the moderators?”

    I quit using WHA except to try and look up tech support problems on their forums if I have an issue. Everyone in my guild has the same issue with them that I do: overmoderation.

    I’ve seen too many good threads or good posts locked or deleted because the moderators simply have no oversight. When one of them feels affronted by something, they simply lock the thread or worse even if no rules were broken.

    It particularly annoys me when there’s a thread that’s a civil discussion between 20+ people for several pages, then 1 or 2 jerks show up and the moderator just locks the thread rather than dealing with the jerks. Or they lock a new thread because somewhere 5 pages back there’s a similar thread with 300 posts in it. You know, sometimes it’s nice to start anew and take a fresh run at an old topic.

    Their moderation approach is lazy and it’s why I don’t waste my time posting there anymore.

    If WHA wants to be taken seriously by the community, they need to put a leash on their moderators.

    I’m sure they’ve pissed off a few Mythic folks along the way. It’s simply inevitable.

  8. i got a warning for calling someone lutraphobic (having a fear of otters). ffs – my guild is called the .

    in 10 years of boardwhoring in various mmo forums, this is the most retarded example of overmoderation i have ever seen.

    this is a pvp game. forum pvp and epeen flexing go hand in hand. restricting that is just plain dumb.

    eventually the only people on WHA will be noobs, rp’ers, and carebears as everyone worth their salt will flock to the first unmoderated board with any semblance of SEM.

  9. I received an infraction for posting:

    “No it doesn’t and no it shouldn’t.”

    in response to something another poster said. That was it..nothing inflammatory or derogative or anything of that nature in that post.

    Needless to say, I”m a little bit boggled by the reasoning behind givin an infraction for that, and whoever is modding WHA needs to be canned.

  10. I have very little patience for flamers and trollers, but just recently I was banned from Warhammeralliance with no warning, no violation of any rules ( I’m anal about reading forum rules, and am careful to abide by their guidelines) and given no reason.

    WHA lost my support. I’ll be visiting the VN boards from here on out. It seems like Mythic uses those boards more anyway. Warhammeralliance seems to have given a lot of power to a few ban happy mods and that makes for a pretty sorry community site.

    Nice to see this article here on this issue.

  11. The exact same thing happened to me as the poster above. I came back from my holiday vacation to find that I was banned, the only notification I could see was that I was banned for ban evasion – funny thing is, is that was and has been my only account with WHA since early on so how could I have evaded a ban without making another account – I don’t get it. After sending an email to the person I was supposed to (they offered me the chance to appeal), my formally written email was never answered.

    I’ll be visiting those VN boards as well, thanks for the heads up on another site I can go. Hopefully the mod team has things under better control over there.

  12. WHA banned me for 3 days just for saying about the state of the game for a warning and then warning another player that he would get a warning as he was annoyed with the state of the game. bunch of C***s running the site.

  13. jackson is right they gave mod to a bunch of idiots that cant run shit.

  14. My IP was just permabanned from there, with no reason at all given. I didn’t get an email message or anything. The only thing I can think that I did was post a link to a sale on the Warhammer Online box, which I guess is viewed as soliciting. I posted the link as a consumer. I don’t work for that company and was just trying to help out other potential players. According to their own rules I should have gotten 4 infraction points, but instead I was summarily banned. Now the rest of my family can’t use the boards either. It’s all just very odd.

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