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Locking Threads to “Prevent Flamewars”

Discussion in 'Forum Discussion' started by leo_thya, Apr 17, 2019.


Should forum mods lock threads to “prevent flamewars”?

  1. Yes

  2. No

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. You're right; we have strayed from the original topic of the thread.

    I feel like I've stated my stance clearly; what exactly is it that you who oppose preemptive anti-flamewar thread locking hope to gain from this conversation?

    For debate's sake, I've included my response to your previous post.
    Even so, he still hasn't blatantly disagreed with you; your basis for saying he has when he said he wasn't hurting, but helping the community is disproved when you confirm that you didn't even insinuate that the aforementioned Forums Moderator/Forums Ninja was hurting the community.

    As for what I observed to be an example of the "no u" syndrome:
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  2. @ClqssyOwl I don't speak for anyone else in this thread, but what I would personally like to see come from this conversation, and the others within the span of this thread, is a change to protocol. In my mind, it's much more efficient and feedback-friendly if a warning is given to people who flame instead of a total thread lock, which only serves to create a gag rule on a topic and therefore essentially punishes everyone (we can argue whether it's indeed a punishment or not, but that's just a semantics thing and isn't wholly important).

    Additionally, I'd like to see the forums staff team create a division between (a) a heated conversation and (b) a flame war. Yes, they have a difference. I think Urban Dictionary defines it well:


    The chief characteristic that differentiates a flame war from a heated discussion is the use of personal attacks in replacement of substance. To use a pertinent example, let's look at this thread. I don't think in the course of this thread's existence has anyone substituted a personal attack for a substantive point; however, there have been heated responses. I think the best classification for this thread is a heated discussion- not a flame war- and by extension, this thread should not be locked.

    ^ This process is what I think the forum staff should be doing every time a thread is in question for having a flame war. It is the most nuanced and appropriate way in my opinion. And once a conclusion is reached, and a thread is deemed to indeed be a flame war, then a thread lock is okay. Even then, though, we could argue that if the OP is not a participant in the flame war, then a thread lock would not be necessary. Instead, those participating would be given warning points, and the thread would be allowed to continue.

    However, up until the point where a personal attack is thrown someone's way, a thread is not a flame war, and a preemptive lock should not be done. This, again, is the warning stage. But yeah, that's what I'd like to see come from this discussion.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Mystic 0440 and Brusey like this.
  3. We HAVE strayed off. This just seems like an argument over one of my comments. I know I said I wasn't going to mess with this thread anymore, but I think I have to acknowledge that people are arguing over one post and I think I need to step in.

    This has gone from people talking about flame wars to a heated conversation about one of my replies. I'm not blatantly disagreeing of agreeing, I'm just seeing both sides.

    This is the most accurate description of what I'm trying to do here. I look at both sides. I'm not completely on one side or the other, because I agree with both sides in a way.

    I'm not disagreeing, I'm just simply sharing my opinion. I'm not saying that they can't be harmful. If forum mods just let things get way too heated up and not do their jobs, then they would get demoted or condemned. Yes, there are many times, but this isn't one of them. Take a step back and look what you're mad at. A forum mod locking a thread because there's an argument. Is that really something worth challenging? Maybe in your situation that would be the case, but in many more, those threads need to be locked.

    You need to give more than one piece of evidence to support your case of FM/FNs locking threads too early. Having more evidence would make people want to come on your side of the discussion.

    This is what I agree with. We need a warning from an FM/FN before locking for a flame war to give time for people to settle down. I get that.

    One one hand, I think warnings should be given out before a thread is locked. On the other hand, I think people are taking this way too far and having a thread locked isn't the end of the world. It does look unfair whenever you create a thread and other ruin it by starting a flame war, but you are the probably the one who sparked the flame war by creating a thread that could lead to one. I know that you said you can't predict flame wars, so I left the "could" in there.

    I really hope I don't have to write another post on this thread because my fingers are getting kind of tired from all of this typing
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Acerna and ClqssyOwl like this.
  4. And I've been in total and complete agreement with issuing the aforementioned warnings; I responded directly to a Forums Ninja saying that I would like to see them implemented. As for issuing Warning Points to the instigators of the flame war vs locking the thread, it seems like this is where we enter gray-area territory in that either action could be applicable depending on the scenario. However, what I've been arguing is that these thread locks are issued in an attempt to preemptively protect users from accumulating the suggested warning points, and as someone who, idealistically, doesn't want anyone to accumulate warning points and their inherent consequences, I do think that preemptively locking these threads is, in most cases, an appropriate outcome. Can you agree with this stance, or at least understand why I hold it?

    +1. For the most part, this is exactly what I've been wanting to convey during this entire thread. Threads being locked isn't this end-all-be-all scenario, and while it is unfortunate when heated debates turn vicious and the threads need to be locked, having them locked is a far more preferable outcome to the hurt feelings, tempted tempers and policies broken that inherently erupt from flame wars. While I can understand why these might not seem like a huge deal to some members of this conversation, it's a stance that myself and, at the risk of putting words in other people's mouths, forums staff seem to have adopted during this debate.

    I think a major hindrance in this thread and its ongoing debate is hinged on the fact that the key players in the debate don't/can't seem to agree on what necessarily makes a flame war blatantly malignant, or even whether or not it's bad. However, I hope that this does make it into the hands of Mineplex's various levels of forums staff and a positive change in the forums community-- warnings and feedback being issued prior to a sudden forums lock-- can be implemented.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Jkaebub likes this.
  5. Hmmm it seems like the point of the thread is being missed (or the topic has been slightly altered, which is fine), but I agree that actual flamewar threads should be locked, but the problem In my eyes, is when threads are locked because of a heated debate. In the instance of a heated debate, a verbal warning should be made instead of always assuming it will lead to a flamewar.

    If a thread is locked for an actual flamewar, the damage would already be done and warnings should be handed out whether a lock occurs or not. I don't understand how a thread lock should "protect" the users that started the flamewar. Lock the thread, and warn the users, not just lock. In the instance of a heated debate, verbal warnings should be made instead of real warnings/locks.
    --- Post updated ---
    Yes, locking the thread is a solution, but it's not the best nor is it fair. To prevent heated debates (if it even does), from getting to a flamewar state, verbal warnings should be made instead, like I previously stated.
    OP OP
    OP OP Posted Apr 19, 2019
  6. Nobody's arguing with you that actual flamewar threads should be locked, the debate arises when you get into those very heated, grey-area heated debates that are on the verge of becoming a flamewar. When I say that thread locks are issued not only in the interests of maintaining the forums as a respectable discussion platform, but also in the interest in preventing the issuing of warning points, I mean Forums Moderators/Forums Ninjas lock the threads in anticipation of nasty comments and posts that, if let to continue any further, would almost certainly result in Moderators performing their mandated issuing of warning points, which bring about inherent consequences.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  7. Is there a way to prevent only certain players from replying to a topic? That way only the people that are participating in the flame war will be "blocked" from replying, but the other people who want to contribute to the topic can still do so.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Ender Rivka likes this.

  8. I won't harp on your original reply because that's irrelevant now as far as I'm concerned, and I would like to keep the thread on-topic.

    But to answer your question, yes. Locking a thread because there is an argument is wrong. An argument does not have to be heated or personal. An argument can be something as simple as the exchange of differing viewpoints/ideas. Not only that, but locking a thread because there is an argument (an argument as differentiated from a flame war, keep in mind) is not justifiable using the rules or guidelines. People are allowed to discuss constructively, and sometimes that entails argumentation.

    This thread is centralized on one particular thread, and we're pretty much referring to the general protocol of forum staff members in locking threads. I don't see the need to provide additional proof because it's not relevant to the topic we're discussing. The changes we're discussing would apply to the whole lot of threads which have arguments on them anyways.

    I can't get behind the logic that it's somehow the OP's fault when two unrelated individuals start a flame war. Keep in mind (again) that flame wars are personal and usually have little substance, meaning they're not usually focused on the topic of the thread at all. Rather, they're focused on personal attributes of the combatants. With that in mind, how could it be OP's fault when people start attacking each other?

    Of course there are circumstances where the OP is baiting a response. I'm not really talking about these, though. Those cases would be handled differently.

    There are basically two possible outcomes here.

    1. Those participating in a flame war either get some number of warning points or a verbal warning.

    * In the case that OP either is participating in the flame war or can be said to have instigated it by creating the thread, the thread will be locked.

    2. The whole thread is locked, adversely affecting both the flame war combatants and the innocent people.

    The fact of the matter is that in doing number two, you're blocking discussion for innocent people for the offenses of others. This is not only a bad idea, but it's really just unnecessary. The better thing to do would be to verbally warn those participating in a flame war and leave the thread open. This way, three things are accomplished: (a) those who are flaming get a warning to stop, (b) warning points are avoided for the time being, and (c) the thread remains open to discussion. Everyone wins in this scenario. There's no need to protect anyone here.

    But to answer your question, yeah. Of course I can understand where you're coming from.

    For the record, I do think a flame war is bad. I think a bigger issue is not being to determine where a heated debate ends a flame war starts.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Mystic 0440 and Zipppo like this.
  9. Honestly, I understand where this is coming from completely. I'd like to see a way in which this is handled changed, which means someone bringing it up to Jarvis. I believe that locking a thread because you think that something is about to happen shouldn't be a thing. As someone who was previously on the Forum Ninja team, I know that it's something I personally didn't do unless there was already an argument getting off topic and out of control.

    I know and appreciate the time that the forums team put into their work, but I think that there should be a warning before action is taken in some cases. Those involved should be warned (if applicable to what has been said) and a final disclaimer or warning about bringing the thread back on topic should be posted by the FN/FM. If it continues after that then the thread should be locked and warning points should be issued.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  10. This is going to be my last post on this thead. While I have enjoyed the discussions held, I feel as though everything that needs to be said has been said.
    I'm not saying we need to protect people from themselves or the consequences they bring on themselves. I'm just saying that by preemptively locking threads, the staff can prevent Warning Points, which is something I think we can all agree we'd like to avoid. In most scenarios, I'd definitely agree that #1 is the preferable outcome. However, if the vast majority of people participating on the thread have marred the thread into an online battlefield, locking the entire battlefield is definitely the desired outcome. In both cases, warnings and feedback from the presiding staff should definitely be issued.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Jkaebub likes this.
  11. There are many other steps that should occur before a player or players are blocked or receive warning penalties, and blocking only incites more anger at Mineplex moderators for not respectfully informing you that they see your comments as escalating and that if continued that you will receive a warning, a penalty, etc. BUT ...where the Moderator's fail is in informing the participants what they are saying that is considered disrespectful to the other player, they don't site the rule they believe that person is beginning to violate so that you have the information and are shown what they consider flame war material and that person can then communicate directly back to the moderator to ask for further clarification if they don't see what they are saying falls under the moderators interruption.
    I believe since it takes two to tangle, that the moderator should be considering both participants or however many participants there are in the escalating so called Flame War and inquire of the participants as to what is offensive to them, because most heated disagreements are not felt as offensive to the participants of what the others have said and would disagree to the others receiving warning or penalties for what they all felt was a discussion/debate. It requires both player or more to start what is being called a Flame War and they all may have said something in a manner that a Forum moderator has assessed as rude but the participants have not and they have continued on while the Forum moderator chooses to penalize the one for a comment that only they see has offensive. Why is the Forum moderator not considering that whole picture, it is solely their opinion as to what is happening, and in many circumstances are wrong with penalizing the person they chose to.
    That is where warnings, not penalties, given whether in forum or private to inform that this thread is becoming heated or off topic and for all to correct... not just one. Even a private message to the player or players is better than penalty and lock down or blocked and/or having your post removed.
    There is wrong judgments made by the forum moderators, and their interpretations can be so out there that it isn't even what the players involved are even viewing the comments as. That's why I say their responsibility is... notification, explanation and observation. I received none of this, nor did I or the other participant agree to the moderators assessment that our conversation was heated and gone disrespectful to each other, it hadn't and it would have ended.
    But the moderator assumed what they did, and still do and they are wrong for their interpretation because if asked... meaning the forum moderator actually getting involved without sitting behind the scenes making their own personal judgement but actually asking question, being involved, a thread would not have be locked and penalty imposed,

    Again, I agree, warning... through some form of communication to the thread or individuals but not play god as they have chosen or choose.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Zipppo likes this.
  12. That probably is possible, considering there are threads only admins can post on.

    It seems unfair though, that mods should lock the thread so that the people causing the problem don't get warning points. I might be misunderstanding you, but currently I don't see the logic in your argument.

    Why don't we implement the warning system since everyone agrees on it?
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  13. I agree as well. If you think it should be added, post it in the ideas hub and the Ideas Team will look into it.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    Acerna likes this.
  14. I suppose I'll explain the rules system. Unless things have significantly changed (and actually @Wanderer I don't see "8 points = banhammer anywhere in the rules anymore"), you get a number (8) of warning points before you get banned.
    Unless someone is truly out of control and doesn't belong anywhere other than a mental institution, it would be difficult to get banned off of a single flamewar.
    Rules that are likely to be broken in a flamewar include:
    -General rudeness (1-2 points)
    -Disrespect (4 points)
    -Spreading hate (4 points)

    It is unusual for a user to be so far over the line that they get more than general rudeness. Even with several warnings for general rudeness, it is unlikely that a user will manage to get themselves forum banned over that. Even if someone was quite toxic to the point they got Disrespect, they'd still be well under 8 points. If someone is facing a ban over a single flamewar, then chances are that they don't belong on this forum, with or without that flamewar, and it is no great travesty that they get banned.

    I think I speak for a good number of people when I say that a lot of people don't really care about warning points. They expire and unless you're really obsessed with becoming staff later, they don't matter at all. If people cannot maintain civility, then they will be punished, but let's not lock things down because we suspect that the community is incapable of handling itself.

    If that were indeed what were happening, then nobody reasonable would have complaints about the system. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening, and I think any metaphor involving potential loss of human life is not quite parallel with the happenings of a Minecraft forum. You shut something down if there's a risk to lives because lives are precious. You don't necessarily shut down a thread on a Minecraft forum because regardless of what anyone says, the consequences are far less significant. The worst that happens is that a few people offend each other and they get warned for disorderly conduct. That's not a disaster nor is it unheard of on the internet.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. Do they keep a massive spreadsheet? Possibly, though I doubt it.
    Getting warning points is what I would consider a "slap on the wrist," not having your thread preemptively locked. Getting your thread preemptively locked is worse. Warning points are a slap on the wrist (practically by definition) because the consequences for that are rather short lived and meaningless unless one is such a naughty child that they somehow manage to accrue 8 warning points within a single month, in which case you can hardly say they did not receive sufficient warning.

    Which I'd rather not happen. I would rather my thread stay up and people get warned for making it a hostile environment if it comes down to that. I'd rather I get a handful of warning points than a thread that I put work into so that people could talk about something get locked because someone thought some part of the discourse that ensued was a bit aggressive and might devolve into name calling.

    I make a thread to discuss something. I cannot discuss that thing if the thread gets locked. For that matter, this creative and safe environment that Mineplex tries so hard to cultivate is threatened by thread locks. It is more or less common knowledge that a significant portion of the users on this forum feel that Mineplex stifles discussion on topics it either dislikes or when things get "out of hand," because Mineplex's definition of "out of hand toxicity" is a much lower threshold than that which most people would agree upon.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  15. I saw this thread yesterday before it had nearly any replies and I knew it would cause a flamew
    It's in regards to this thread:

    A flame war had already started on the thread so a mod locked it as it was getting to off course. The thread essentially called out two well known/leaderboard players of a certain game and people just started arguing. The Mod did nothing wrong and this guy needs to grow up. He has literally caused a more worse issue then there already was.
    --- Post updated ---
    I believe Leo is a friend of the guys who were called out or at least he was arguing on the thread.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  16. Arguing is not the same as a flame war though. Same thing with slightly snarky comments. All Leo did was point out something that didn't make sense, and some people disagreed with that. And that should be fine. People should be able to disagree and debate each other without risking the thread being locked.
    Posted Apr 19, 2019,
    Last edited Apr 19, 2019
  17. This thread hasn't caused a flamewar.

    A flamewar did not start on that thread. Arguing =/= a flamewar. And if the "he" you're referring to is me, how did I cause more issues then there already was. What issue are you referring to?

    I'm not a friend of the ones who were called out as I don't even play Bedrock.
    OP OP
    OP OP Posted Apr 19, 2019
  18. Thank you PapiKirito, this was a the most accurate assessment of that thread that was locked for Flame War. I appreciate your acute observation, too bad the mod don’t have and could use.

    *leo_thya and I are the players involved and we do not know each other, not friends, we don’t even play the same platform, so your point here is actually what?

    *This is the most inaccurate post to what was going on in the thread that was locked for Flame War. Did you actually read it or even this thread. You see regarding that thread being locked for Flame War leo_thya and I agree here regarding the inaccurate assessment by the moderator who locked it as Flame War nor do we disagree that I shouldn’t have received a GR penalty. We both know that thread was no where heated enough to cause even sparks let alone Flames!

    It would have been nice if you had read these threads and stated whom you are calling out here and don’t.
    Maybe you would like to fill in the blanks...
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
    NovaDoesMC likes this.
  19. I will address that here. Originally I was going to comment but I wanted to stay out of it as well the comment was inaccurate as I clarified by saying drama in the one below. The post that was above the other one was still in the chat box when I close the window so when I went to reply to a new thing on here it got sent with the message. My bad.
    --- Post updated ---
    Above. /\
    Posted Apr 19, 2019
  20. Hey everyone!

    I have spoken to a couple of FM/FN's and I feel like we have 2 possible solutions that would make people happier. In addition, we are also exploring better ways of handling potential flamewar threads internally using a system I can't discuss here.

    So we have option 1 -

    When a forum staff members sees a thread which is becoming a flamewar they will issue a warning on the post and if it continues to worsen it can be locked as being a flamewar.

    Option 2 -

    This is basically the same principle but instead of locking the thread we implement a new rule called "Flamewar participation" where if you participate in a flamewar (making posts which fit criteria not just responding to the original post) you would be punished with a warning (as you would for any other rule violation). This option would prevent threads being locked but would need more public and staff support as we would need to show to Jarvis that there is sufficient demand for the idea.

    I look forward to everyone's opinions and suggestions and in the meantime, I'll discuss it with forums staff to see if we can fine-tune the internal side of the hopefully newly implemented systems.
    Posted Apr 20, 2019,
    Last edited Apr 20, 2019
    Ender Rivka likes this.

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