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Moderation.


AlexManectric

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Hey,

 

Moderators - I sincerely wish for this message to remain unedited and have VERY carefully gone through the rules to make sure I'm WELL within them. Please do not lock this thread also.

 

Before you read this post, I would like to make it clear that I do appreciate what the Moderators and all members of the TCGO staff do. My comments, though extremely critical, are there because I want to see improvements within the Moderation team - not because I have anything against them. My tone is both informal and deliberately provocative - but I do not wish any harm or hurt on anyone.

 

Recently, I've been very unhappy with the way the Game and Forums are being moderated. As my attempt to speak with the Support Staff at length about this topic was (very heavily) declined, I will list some of my observations below for other players to read and discuss:

 

1) New interpretations of rules (with no warning or good reason)

 

The best example of this is a thread found in the General Discussion section of the Forums. [A Moderator] closed a thread a player opened to talk about their return to the game as he claimed "threads involving joining or leaving the game are off-topic". This is utterly ridiculous - we have seen hundreds of these kinds of threads before in the past - I myself have opened two and AAA Pikachu AAA even has an active and unmoderated thread called 'Introduce yourself New Players' which no one seems to have a problem with, so why all of a sudden has this become an issue? I genuinely wanted to say hello to a player I remember from back in days gone by on the game and suddenly I find I can't because a trigger happy [A Moderator] decided to lock the thread - which there is genuinely no reason to do. I could understand concerns about players discussing their reasons for leaving the game - but to stop a returning player trying to contact his old friends via a thread in the GENERAL discussion section of the Forums (which is literally MEANT to be off-topic to a certain extent) is absolutely unnecessary.

 

This is not the only time in the game's history that rules have "changed" and Players have not even been notified. Many older players (myself included) have their own stories to tell of times when Moderators have come down on them for something that would happily have been allowed no longer than a week ago and it simply begs the question 'why aren't we being told'? Why is there no consistency within the Forums?

 

 

 

2) Time and Resource Wasting

 

Moderators have told me and others very frequently and openly that they are extremely busy. They have told me they don't have time to help with small requests, nor (apparently) are they able to respond to support questions or in-game player reports as quickly as they should. (Don't even get me started on my 3 week ticket...) Anyway - the point is that clearly Moderators should therefore be making as efficient use of their time as possible.

 

WHY then do Moderators waste perfectly 'valuable' time responding to threads on the Forums that no longer need their attention? By far and away the easiest example of this is a thread not too long ago from a player having some issues with loading the game and getting stuck on the loading screen. The player listed his problem and I personally responded to the thread listing 3 things he could try to help solve the problem - and that if none of them work, to message back again for further assistance. [A Moderator] then replied to the thread (some 8 hours later) to literally repeat the three pieces of advice I had listed - in the same order, but with less detail and I honestly find myself sitting there thinking: 'what have you added to this conversation? Moderators constantly say they have no spare time and yet here you are wasting 'precious' time that could be spent helping someone who actually needed it.'

 

It's about time Moderators woke up and realised that the community responds faster and typically adequately to technical support requests or questions about the game here on the Forums. The fact Moderators aren't able to respond faster is actually not even the biggest issue here - it's that when they do respond, it's typically not even needed and a genuine waste of their time which we're always being told is vitally important. It's about time the Moderation team put some faith in the more mature members of this community and start to divert a bit more of their time to things that actually need their attention.

 

 

3) Things that are being neglected

 

Moderators have abandoned many aspects of the game that, in my opinion, with a bit of investment would actually reduce their workload. Here is a short list:

 

1) Regularly updating the Card Bug List: There are SO MANY duplicate threads in the 'Report a Bug' section of the Forums that I actually created and started updating a bug list of my own - one that people could rely on because it was up to date and easily accessible (not tucked away under a sub-forum).

 

2) The FAQ: At least two weeks on from my previous comments about the Forums and STILL no one has taken it upon themselves to update the Forum FAQ. Perhaps if information on there was accurate, (new) players might not be asking so many of the same questions over and over, such as 'Why can't I trade my cards?' - which is again surely a waste of Moderator's time to have to keep replying to

 

3) Thread Moderation: If it is possible for me to skim over every single new post (yes, post - not thread) in around 30 minutes here on the Forums - why is it that Moderators (who are actually payed to do this) can't? There are NUMEROUS threads that quite clearly have't been read by a Moderator, or else they'd be moved to another section of the Forum, closed as per the wishes of their owner or responded to as requested. It's honestly ludicrous for a company as wealthy as Nintendo that the team who are payed to do something I am currently doing for free can't keep up. I know a moderator will reply to this 'oh, but we have other duties too' but seriously consider what you are saying for a second. Are you telling me that on a Forum oriented towards a younger age group there is not AT LEAST one person watching every new post on the Forums 24/7 to help protect younger children from malicious posts or dodgy links the moment they appear? It is extremely unprofessional and something that needs to change very quickly if people want this game to be taken seriously. I'm pretty sure it's going to cause this game a lot of trouble soon otherwise..

 

4) Suggestions: Any suggestion that requires any action other than forwarding to the support/development team seems to be neglected. Unless it is of financial interest or game-breaking it apparently doesn't get dealt with. To prove this point - I am going to say right here that the Promotional Code 'playonline2011' still works - and can be used an unlimited number of times by ANY player to receive FREE TRADABLE ITEMS. Yes, that's right - Players who only have untradable cards can now trade thanks to this little code without paying a penny. Let's see how quickly this little bug gets fixed compared to the FAQ Page which has now been unchanged for 2 years.. (My ticket about this was ignored - but maybe you'll read this thread..?)

 

5) Lack of Forum Features: I understand that you want to develop the game as your highest priority - but why have you turned off so many of the BB Code Features (that could be changed back pretty easily). Things like Highlighting in Colour are not at all dangerous - and honestly some of these missing features are holding back creative content on the Forums (and probably a factor in why so few people use them)

 

 

 

4) The Core Problems

 

 

I want to list what I believe the Core Issues are here:

 

1) The Rules (for both the Game and Forum) are unclear, outdated and tucked away where no one can read them. They are changed at will (without notification) and this leads to confusion, unfair punishments and general dissatisfaction.

 

2) Moderators waste what little time they have doing things they don't really need to do - and more importantly, they therefore neglect things that really do need their attention

 

3) The Moderation team and support team is too small, and has too much to deal with. As I said before, for a company as big as Nintendo, if you can't have 24/7 moderation on the games and Forums, with a dedicated support line that responds to queries accurately and swiftly, the game is not only at risk of going under, but leaves many younger players feeling unsafe and exposed to the dangers of the internet.

 

4) The same excuses simply aren't good enough anymore. Don't tell me 'Moderators have a lot of other things to do.' Don't tell me 'We'll fix the FAQ when we get the time' because not only have you had offers from players to help do some of these things for you now, but you've been saying the same things for a year now and it simply is not good enough anymore.

 

 

 

I hope that someone reads these comments slowly, takes some time to actually consider what I am saying and takes some SERIOUS action for a change. I would be more than willing to discuss these matters further - not that I'm allowed apparently (there's something wrong with that as well) but I hope that this at least gives you some insight into some of the things that need changing in this game, and need dealing with appropriately for once.

 

 

 

 

Once again, I have nothing against the Moderation & Support Teams personally or collectively - and hope no one takes any offense from the critisms I have made. They are, I believe, justified - and there to provoke change. Because it's really time we saw some.

 

AlexManectric

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Hey there Alex!

 

So sorry about any confusion. We wanted to review your post further since it is well structured and you make some good points, however there are a few things that could have inspired some player-bashing (including mods, who are also players) and possible heated debate. We closed the thread as a precaution so that we could continue our review and will hopefully have an additional update for you soon.

 

While you state that you had attempted to stay within the rules to post your feedback, which we appreciate, you did publicly call out a singular mod. If you have an issue with a particular player or mod, please address your concern privately via ticket. Just a note moving forward!

 

Again, thank you so much for your feedback and we will be looking into it further.

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Alex,

 

While you are a very active member of the community and I would like to see that continue, I think you know that there is a difference between providing feedback and complaining. While constructive feedback is always welcome, the Moderator that locked your thread felt it was less of the constructive and more of the complaining variety. Though that may not have been your intent, I find myself struggling to disagree with them, especially given that you state at the beginning of your post that it is deliberately provocative. That said; I feel that the initial response could have been handled in a more productive way so I’m going to provide a lengthier response with a few clarifications and counterpoints.

 

Your concerns are not without merit. I know we have opportunities for improvement in the consistency of our moderation. We continue to take steps towards that by transitioning out staff that are not meeting our standards, providing the material for training documentation, approving edits to FAQs, etc. However the reality is that this is not my only responsibility and I have to always balance different priorities. This means at times I am the bottleneck and that impacts our staff’s ability to be effective. We have a number of projects in the works to improve the overall efficiency but there are not where I want them to be as of yet.

 

I appreciate it when community members, such as yourself, help each other out by providing accurate information. It helps foster a greater sense of community and makes the Moderators’ jobs easier. At the same time, I also expect the Moderators to remain active in the forums. It is part of their responsibilities to provide answers as they feel necessary, even if a non-moderator has already done so, because their answers will always be official.

 

As with any community, there are great deal of projects that need to be done on the forums. The staff does their best to make progress on them between reviewing chat logs, enforcing the rules in the game and on the forums, researching and responding to customer service issues, testing new admin features for the game client, and a number of projects. As mentioned above, the resources we’re developing will improve efficiency once they’re in place, freeing up more time to make the improvements you’re looking for.

 

I’ve seen you mention Nintendo in several posts, which leads me to believe that you don’t have a clear understanding of who is responsible for the Pokémon TCG Online game client, website and forums. The Pokémon Company International is a subsidiary of The Pokémon Company in Japan. TPCi is responsible for brand management, licensing, marketing, the Pokémon Trading Card game (both physical and online), the animated TV series, home entertainment and the official Pokémon website. Nintendo is not involved at all with this project. Hopefully this information helps you understand the nature of the relationships.

 

All in all, we do appreciate the feedback and agree with much of what you’re saying and, for the most part, it is nothing we are not aware of and working on. However, it is important to remember that posting in an incendiary manner like this tends to have an effect which is the opposite of what you intended. You get the staff’s attention, but as a distraction, rather than as a contributor. For example, I had planned to spend the afternoon working on a solicitation for a vendor to make improvements to the forums, but spent it responding to this thread instead. It was a good use of my time, as I believe my response will help the entire community better understand that there is a productive way to go about giving feedback. However, the more posts of this nature I see, the less I am inclined to that the time to respond. Please keep in mind that the next time you feel a need to publicly call out the TPCi moderation staff, you might get an entirely different reaction. In the end, the decision is yours.

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