Flamewars - New Prevention & Resolution Procedures Hello! Several months ago it came to the forum team's knowledge that the forums community had concerns over the way we handled flamewars and the way in which we prevented them from occurring. After discussion within the forums mentoring team and the rest of the forums team we have decided to make changes to the procedures involved and in order to make sure the community is aware of the new changes and so that we can get feedback on the updates we have decided to create this document outlining the changes and why we have made the decisions for each step in the new procedures. What concerns did people have originally? Threads were being locked for flamewar prevention - This was one of the biggest concerns noted previously, there was a long record of forums staff locking threads when a flamewar was about to start instead of when a flamewar was in full swing. This wasn't a huge issue in theory however due to the Reversing Staff Actions rule this would completely shutdown the discussion which was taking place. The definition of a flamewar was miss understood within the team and the community - It can be quite difficult to determine when a thread is a flamewar and when it is not, this coupled with a common miss-understanding of the term meant threads were being locked prematurely Knowledge on some areas within the forums team was lacking - Some areas have been badly defined previously and this has caused some common miss understanding within the team. Myself along with the rest of the mentoring team have already identified this and have already made huge strides in order to fix this and will continue to work towards improving the knowledge and accuracy within the team. What do we aim to do with the new changes? The main aim of the new procedures is to prevent the need to lock threads and instead use alternative methods in order to ensure that threads remain open so that discussion can remain free and open. As I will outline below the changes introduce 2 stages to the procedure, prevention and resolution. The aim of prevention is to prevent a flamewar before it starts to ensure that further methods are not required. After this avenue has been exhausted and a flamewar has started the forums team staff will use methods to resolve the flamewar, these include locking the thread as a last resort as detailed below. What are the procedures? Preventative The forums team now have clear definitions and indicators as to what a flamewar looks like and what the common signs of a flamewar has before it starts. These include the thread going off-topic and/or the tone of the conversation-starting to become much ruder. We do have additional indicators which are not listed here. Given this, we have opted that the best way to prevent a flamewar from starting is to prevent the people involved in the starting of a flamewar from replying to the thread. Going forward if you are identified by a member of the forum moderation team as the likely cause of a flamewar then you will be temporarily banned from replying to the thread (if after this ban has expired you continue you will be banned again if after this you continue you will lose the ability to reply to the thread forever.) When you are banned from replying you will likely receive a warning on the post that was most relevant to why you were reply banned (in some cases your posts may not warrant a punishment but may warrant a reply ban) this warning will be accompanied by the regular automated message (that you get when you are warned) which will be edited to indicate that you were warned for "Flamewar Prevention". The message you receive should contain an explanation of why you were warned and if you were reply banned why you were and how you can prevent it in the future and it should also contain a link to this document. Resolving Procedures When the above fail to work and a flamewar starts anyway we have introduced some new measures to stop us from having to lock the thread. The main difference is that forums team members will no longer have the ability to be lenient when deciding whether to warn for a rule violation, if something even slightly breaks a rule it will be warned for. In addition to this reply bans will continue to be issued. If these measures fail to work as well a flamewar notice will be posted. This will be a message sent by a member of the forums team indicating that the thread has become a flamewar and if steps are not taken to get back on topic and resolve the flamewar the thread will have to be locked. An example FMs have been given of what this message could look like is shown below. If none of the new measures work then the thread will be locked explaining the reasoning. Summary We have implemented these new changes with the community in mind so we are looking forward to being able to get feedback on the new changes and we are always wanting hints as to how we can improve. If you have any concerns or feel like a member of the team is not following this new procedure at any point please feel free to message myself or the members mentor findable here.