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J Lothian

This is an interesting idea. In the good old days, I played (and later helped administrate) a MUD. At one point, a Flame chat channel was implemented to help let players vent in a way similar to your breaking out different rooms. It did work, to a degree. At the very least, it gave the admin staff somewhere to tell the players to take their offensive or aggressive language- which was much better than telling them just to watch their language, or immediately taking away their chat privileges. But, we had a relatively small community, and even then we occasionally had players that just "had to be heard".

In fact, in larger communities, I think you'll find that you have more of these players (especially among the lower age groups). Generally with a greater number of people on a forum, it takes a bit more to stand out and get attention. These people generally also want to target their complaints and attacks. In games like MMOs with sharded servers, they may be content to stay to their server's particular forum and complain about an issue. But, if the issue is a technical one global to all shards, or a feature of the game itself, and there is a global forum or tech issue forum, they will go there.

What I'm trying to get at, is that separating out the groups can have a limited degree of conflict isolation, but angry players still want a voice and feedback. Now, this can be settled, by keeping these separate places moderated – by the most diplomatic and leather-skinned moderators you have available.

The other ideas available are forms of meta-moderation – where players themselves moderate the community to a degree. This could be done Slashdot-style where individual posts are moderated and hidden if they get "modded down" enough. Or, don't automatically hide them at all. Instead, have the value apply to a ranking of the user account. This could be an "invisible" value that no one can see – but, users could have the option to hide any posts made by people who have been modded down several times without contributing anything useful (effectively, hiding the Flame channel). Moderators could potentially still see the comments and respond, but the conflict would (at least partially) be isolated and wouldn't spread and incite other users.

An interesting study might be some sort of combination between specialized forums and meta-moderation to get the best of both worlds. Maybe creating ranked / tagged threads within the forum itself (or moving threads automatically if they get tagged a certain way). I'll have to give this more thought.

Great idea in principle though – and I really miss the MPlayer days. I still have my beta CD floating around somewhere.

ronmeiners

Sorry to have missed this earlier! Great comments and yah, a hybrid solution would be really interesting...

As you point out, currently the "loudest" voice gets attention... what would a good reputation system do to the rankings, and expressive forms, of a competitive forum? Fun... and yah, highly moderated... or at least, clearly an active moderator in such a forum would be needed.

Anyway, great comment, and thanks.

generic karma

f you were a parent or teacher, how would you support a childs development when he has displayed conflict. I guess what I am asking is. If a child constantly has conflict with other child, how would you support his development/ what would you do to fix the problem?? I want to know other openions.( the conflict could be a child disturbing his older siblings while playing video games) snatching their controllers and running. thanks community.......

Jay Moffitt

I love the idea of different forums. One of the biggest complaints I have heard from players is having a bad day and being "warned" by a forum moderator. It just sours you on the whole experience and the forum's moderators' shouldn't feel they have to "protect the honor" of the game developers/publishers' by defending every single inconsistency of the game, even the justified criticism. Thanks for the great article.

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That may be a great solution to your problem. You already figured out how it is as i can see.

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