Such a fun topic this is... For the umpteenth time, I'm brining up the idea of *Moderators*, since I've known for ages I 'need' some here and it's about time to add some, partly because I want them for something specifically. First, I'll describe that, I suppose.
I mentioned before that it might be interesting to have Flash Game Reviews as a part of this site, so then we can all become more aware of Flash games worth playing, and to give my site another type of appeal. I've also experienced first-hand what it's like to be a developer and to read that someone's Officially reviewed your game, and it's a pleasant feeling that would be nice to give other developers the opportunity to experience, or something.
The Reviews would have to be fairly lengthy, I suppose, and they'd probably need to include pictures in some form or another, as well as an overall rating thing; perhaps a separate score for things such as Graphics, Fun Factor, Replayability, Sound, etc, and an overall Total.
They'd be shown on the main page, underneath the recent blog post, and there'd be a separate Reviews page too.
People would be able to comment on Reviews in the same way you can comment on news posts.
I'm not sure how to actually DO the reviews though... That is, I don't know whether to choose some special 'Reviewers' who apply specifically and show that they can do the job, or whether I'd make it more free and open to all, where anyone could write a review, but once they've done so, they'd need to submit it for assessment before it's Accepted and displayed (with spammy abuse of the system leading to a ban; I'd probably make it so that you couldn't add images UNTIL the review was Accepted, just to clear up an obvious form of abuse before it comes up).
If it was publically open, we'd probably get more reviews... Perhaps TOO many. I'd also need to make sure that multiple people didn't review the same game all at once... though maybe different people talking about the same game wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing? I don't know; I still need to work out the details.
If however there were only a selected group of special Reviewers, then there'd be fewer reviews and it'd be certain that games would only be reviewed by one person, and that there'd be less abuse.
To get back to the topic of moderators... Since the Reviews would need to be assessed and then Accepted when it's sure they're devoid of typos, they're long and deep enough, and they're fair, that could be another duty of the moderators. Each moderator would have access to a list of all the current pending Reviews and could read and approve them from there.
However, something I'd want to do with all of the moderator functions is add a security measure that prevents any one moderator going renegade or getting lazy and doing things they shouldn't. While I'd only choose people I trust, I think everyone would be more comfortable with what I'm about to describe being in place.
Moderators would be able to Approve reviews, yes, but all they'd do by clicking the Approve button was 'add their mark'. It would take two, or perhaps three moderators all adding their mark to a single review for it to be properly approved. This way, some may pick up on things that others missed, and a moderator couldn't just lazily go around Approving reviews he hadn't even read.
The same would apply for the Moderators' ability to ban people. Since bans are easily reversible in terms of the code-related stuff, I may as well give moderators the ability to ban people, but only if two or maybe three add their mark, showing that they agree. That way, one single moderator couldn't go on a banning spree, or ban people they simply didn't like.
Perhaps though I'd also give moderators the ability to give temporary bans, up to about a week, to sort out trolls as soon as they start misbehaving instead of having to wait.
I'm not actually sure what abilities moderators would even have though. Every time this comes up, everyone has their own views on the matter and seems eager to volunteer them in *exhaustive* detail, but people don't agree so I never know what to do.
I suppose most people would base their comments and suggestions on their experience with moderator powers elsewhere, but since most sites use prefabricated forums and I made my own, and I've also never really been ON any prefabricated forum anywhere ever, I don't know what these abilities even are.
Something I've heard suggested is deleting or editing posts, but this is something I'm NOT going to do. Some posts may be spammy and in need of deletion, but I might leave that for myself to have to do because I don't want moderators being overly zealous and editing or deleting posts for typos or 'offensive language' amidst other, more thought-out text... Hmm.
Maybe I should make a list of moderator features for easy reference, so then people can comment about what I've missed and so then I can use it to add the features later.
- Temporary ban power; they'd be able to block people from posting anything for a number of days; perhaps for up to seven, or maybe ten days. This would only serve to prevent them from misbehaving while a proper ban is decided on.
- Marking Reviews for Acceptance, and Marking Users for Banning. Two or three moderators would have to agree, and all Marked Reviews and users would be listed in an easily accessible place; a 'ModHQ' or something accessible from the top bar.
- The ability to view ratings. However, at this point they may not be able to do anything about specific ratings other than banning the one giving them.
- The ability to give Banpoints. Perhaps I'd have a limit on how many could be given in one go (or a drop-down list of things like 1-Minor Infraction, 5-Mild Infraction, 10-Infraction, 25-Severe Infraction, 50-Very Severe Infraction) by a single moderator? Hmm. And maybe they'd be tied into comments, so a moderator would need to type WHY they were giving the banpoints in order to give them at all?
- The ability to Lock threads, and maybe Move them too (though that hardly seems worth the effort).
So that's that. If there's anything Moderators really need to be able to do other than that, perhaps you should mention it.
*Choosing* moderators won't be easy though; this is the bit that usually puts me off doing this at all, since it's so difficult for me to trust anyone enough.
They'd need to be people I've got to know well enough on the site, from talking to them in the chatroom, probably, and they'd need to have been a member for a long time too to show that they're interested enough in staying. And they'd need to access the site a lot, too. I'd also prefer people over a certain age; no 'children'.
I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on the moderator or Reviews things. I'll get to work on both systems soon, probably today, but I don't know how long they'll take to implement.
In other news, I've been making great progress on my 'secret game', which I may talk about soon since it's rather boring keeping it a secret, and I'm fairly sure now that I'll be finishing it rather than abandoning it since I'm well beyond the point of abandoning it as a bad idea. Maybe that's what my Weekly Update can be about?
I mentioned also that I'd been neglecting reading my messages, which I had, but I kept putting them off since they built up so much, so what I decided to do was to give myself a fresh start... I cleared out my messages and PMs on this site, so any that I get after this point will be much easier to reply to and so on.