What should have been done about WW?

Ugicywapih

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May 15, 2014
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Wild West is gone, for good.
This has raised some controversy, not only over the fact a popular subforum got closed, but also the abrupt manner in which this was done. I feel the question raised several times, both by myself and others, as to why was there no public discussion on what to do and the possible merits of different solutions was not answered adequately, so both out of personal curiosity and to demonstrate the value of such discourse to any who would be willing to watch, I'd like to discuss the subject as if the decision has not yet been made, should anyone be so kind to humor me and engage in conversation.
Stated issue at hand is: Lawless nature of the Wild West subforum creates a safe haven for harassment. That's not cool and even if some of the folks this harassment is directed against claim they don't mind, it's unacceptable both in principle and because it creates an impression this sort of behavior could be considered generally acceptable, both putting other users at risk of becoming victims and generally hurting the site's reputation.

Proposed solutions are:

1) Close Wild West (mod team is in favor of this).

2) Keep Wild West but add precise rules banning the most egregious harassment (if so, please specify what you think the additional rules should be and why).

3) Leave things as they are (this is generally considered unacceptable due to reasons stated above, so if you choose this answer, please explain your point of view as well as why you consider issues mentioned irrelevant so that your answer may be given adequate consideration).

4) Something else entirely perhaps? (please explain)

Personally, I'm in favor of option #2, in particular I'd like to see a rule banning threads that serve in significant part, either through OP or major thread hijack, to harass a specific user or users on a strictly personal basis - this is admittedly a narrow, specific rule, but I hope it would deal with the worst offenders while allowing the forum to maintain its signature freedom.

Edit: added option #4
 

Erttheking

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Honestly WW is probably something we never should've bothered with in the first place. Fuck it. Let it stay closed. It's only popular by the low standards of Escapist forums traffic.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Jun 5, 2013
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Urgh, is this what we're going to be doing now, just lament after lament for the Wild West?

Its dead. Its gone. I get that we've moved into the Bargaining phase, but can we just skip to the end and accept it?
 

Wintermute_v1legacy

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I spent 3 months away from this place so I don't know if things went to shit during this period, but I had no problems with the WW, though I suppose I didn't read everything there because some of it was a little embarrassing. Anyway, my point is even I get tired of these threads. Move on, it's just a stupid forum. Relax, go walk your dog, fix that bike you probably have in your garage and ride it, whatever. Get some perspective.
 

Drathnoxis

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Biggest problem with the WW was that it showed up the the "latest posts" box. That's the fatal flaw of the whole thing. R&P, Advice, GID, Forum Games, Roleplaying, none of them show up in the latest posts box. WW, however was created after the Tech Team was dumped, and nobody else was able to exclude a subforum like that, despite their best efforts.

So something that should have been tucked away was instead displayed right in the public eye, whether you wanted to visit it or not.

And also R&P shouldn't be allowed. That was the other fatal flaw.
 

American Tanker

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Honestly, Wild West was, hell, still is the most interesting part of this site. I know that doesn't speak well of the site in general, but still.

I was certainly far more active in the Wild West than anywhere else on these forums. I just think that having an explicitly and clearly defined, but exceptionally narrow rule about targeted harassment of specific users would be all we really need.
 

CyanCat47_v1legacy

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While i had a lot of fun in WW, on reflection most of the entertaining stuff could probably have fit into Off-topic just by toning down some of the darker jokes, and the really bad stuff really needed to stop. People began moving political discussions there so they wouldn't have to be civil about their views and callout threads usually followed close behind. Better to have more shitposting in Off-topic than giving people a way to get away with harassment, and it also might help discourage people who brazenly and intentionally used WW to insult people
 

Armadox

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Kill R&P. Same stuff as WW with a coat of civility. Lock it and start from off-topic.
 

American Tanker

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Armadox said:
Kill R&P. Same stuff as WW with a coat of civility. Lock it and start from off-topic.
That too.

Re-open WW, nuke R&P from orbit, add a new "no targeted harassment" rule to WW.
 

Vendor-Lazarus

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Mar 1, 2009
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I'm not against rules. Chan-boards work because everyone is anonymous and threads fluid and temporary (when you've seen the same threads and trolls pop up for years on end, you get immune and desensitized towards it). It's obviously different for a company owned forum with handles.

-30 minutes of writing about bias and nepotistic group-think later.. *Deleted*-

It comes down to changing the CoC from the ground up, letting it stay a live document, and rooting out loopholes.
Rotating Mods, or some form of impartial oversight and transparency towards users.
Communication is key.
That and fairness. Objective and impartial fairness.
 

Ugicywapih

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Thanks to everyone for their insights, I hope we can make this into a valuable example of constructive feedback.

Silentpony said:
Urgh, is this what we're going to be doing now, just lament after lament for the Wild West?

Its dead. Its gone. I get that we've moved into the Bargaining phase, but can we just skip to the end and accept it?
As I wrote in the spoilered part, I have no delusions about bringing WW back. In fact, while I'll miss it, I can see how trying to make it workable would take notably more effort than the mod team might have to spare, so while I'd like to see things done differently, I'm not even going to say the decision itself was necessarily a bad one. However, the somewhat abrupt and onesided way in which it was undertaken - and especially given that I consider it a fairly major decision (within Escapist's dwindling, as ert noted, frame of reference) hints at a communication issue between the mod team and the users. I've started complaining about it in threads, like every forumgoer ever about any perceived issue with any forum, but let's be straight, mods don't always have to make the first move, especially since they seem to have enough on their collective plate.
So, here I go making a proof-of-concept thread to show we're capable of mature, constructive discussion about the site and where it's going - I see shuttering the WW more as a (admittedly unpleasant) catalyst rather than the actual point of this thread.

Wintermute said:
I spent 3 months away from this place so I don't know if things went to shit during this period, but I had no problems with the WW, though I suppose I didn't read everything there because some of it was a little embarrassing. Anyway, my point is even I get tired of these threads. Move on, it's just a stupid forum. Relax, go walk your dog, fix that bike you probably have in your garage and ride it, whatever. Get some perspective.
Thanks for the concern, but as I said above, I'm not exactly mourning WW too much :). Rather, I feel like I've identified a more general issue and much as I don't post much (just look at the post count :D), I feel like making a single thread to push the issue is least I could do. With that in mind, would you mind sharing what you think should have been done here?

Granted, doggo would probably appreciate extra walkies.
 

Tsun Tzu

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Silentpony said:
Urgh, is this what we're going to be doing now, just lament after lament for the Wild West?

Its dead. Its gone. I get that we've moved into the Bargaining phase, but can we just skip to the end and accept it?
What's this "we" shit?
 

Arnoxthe1

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Everyone, Jojo has confirmed that a rules change wasn't possible due to simply not having access to it. When the new site owner comes in though, we'll be able to change them.
 

Silentpony_v1legacy

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Arnoxthe1 said:
Everyone, Jojo has confirmed that a rules change wasn't possible due to simply not having access to it. When the new site owner comes in though, we'll be able to change them.
They'll be able to change them, not us. I wouldn't expect the new owners to crowd source rules.
 

TilMorrow

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Jul 7, 2010
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Considering the Wild West wasn't accessible or viewable by new or prospective users I doubt it was affecting the sites reputation as such since the people who could see it were still sticking around and are the ones who are going to stick around regardless of the dumb stuff that was being posted in WW. I mean unless you count the complaint thread in public view where new users immediately asked what it was and how you access it.

Additionally I should add most of the people who complained the most about the dumb stuff in WW were also the people who posted most rarely in the WW so take that for what you will.

Wintermute said:
I spent 3 months away from this place so I don't know if things went to shit during this period, but I had no problems with the WW, though I suppose I didn't read everything there because some of it was a little embarrassing. Anyway, my point is even I get tired of these threads. Move on, it's just a stupid forum. Relax, go walk your dog, fix that bike you probably have in your garage and ride it, whatever. Get some perspective.
It wasn't so much as going to shit as every other day there was a callout thread created with an OP containing one sentence for context about such and such was blank, a couple of threads about "argue against OP about view on blank" and some threads aimed at Zontar. It wasn't like someone went on some dogmatic crusade to directly insult every other user on the site through the WW or even a spam of something on par with the spam joke threads of old.

To clarify even further, it did not reach Epyc levels of shit show.

Drathnoxis said:
Biggest problem with the WW was that it showed up the the "latest posts" box. That's the fatal flaw of the whole thing. R&P, Advice, GID, Forum Games, Roleplaying, none of them show up in the latest posts box. WW, however was created after the Tech Team was dumped, and nobody else was able to exclude a subforum like that, despite their best efforts.
I'm going to echo Drath's point here, it was probably because the WW did appear in the latest posts section that it received a lot of flak and especially from the mods as it probably fucked with them a lot. For example, you're moderating through the latest posts threads and see something that you feel doesn't sit right with the rules and go to chalk it up then you suddenly think to check the sub-forum to be sure and then realise you're in another WW thread and can't do anything about it so it makes sense why they would be pissed about it. Still don't think the majority no vote to removal should have been ignored.
 

Wakey87

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Option 3.

I've never been a fan of Wild West type of sub forum, altho I remember another site I used to visit back in the day having it's own little area we could flame each other without anything being taken seriously. Maybe people had thicker skin back then but no one forced you to post there. It gave life to the place by causing a little drama on what was a dieing forum, in the end we decided to just pull the plug on the site the next time the server went down as the forum was nolonger relevent.
But either way, I think the Wild West attracted regulars to keep coming back. so this place better start becoming relevent again or the last one out turn the light off.
 

Asita

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Honestly, Wild West should never have existed in the first place. I've seen other forums try similar "lawless" zones, with inclusion varying from "open to everyone" to "mods-only". And if my experience is anything to go by, they invariably make the community more hostile through allowing users to abuse one another without reprisal. And let's not delude ourselves, that's exactly the point of such boards. We try to hide it by dressing it up as some silly haven from overzealous moderation, but at the end of the day it's not there to be a silly haven, it's there to let people unleash their darker impulses like Edward Hyde. The hint of that is very much in the fact that it's a haven where you can actually abuse others without fear of reprisal.

But, just like in the story, "Hyde" starts to seep into other parts of "Jekyll's" life. Not only will the animosity kindled in those boards bleeds over to how users treat each other on the 'proper' boards, but people start interpreting other posts in light of the poster's "lawless" posting history, and those who made use of the board gradually become more open in the contempt that inspires the aforementioned posts as the lack of reprisal gradually emboldens them. So as you might imagine, I have no love lost over the Wild West disappearing.
 

Marik2

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Nov 10, 2009
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Make a rule about no death threats and excessive bullying. (This is what most want)

No more call out threads, because that just clogged up the place and took out the fun.

If possible, make the Wild West not appear on the main page.

Maybe have a good mod in place that actually understands the Wild West and is fair and balanced?
 

Tanis

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Aug 30, 2010
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I liked the WW because it used to feel like the 'fuck it all' part of the forum.
Some jolly good roasting.

Why not perma-ban the really nasty people and let the rest keep posting?
Not need to nuke when a sniper will do.