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Old 07/13/2018   #1
Lex
Default On Forum Titles and Roles - Important!

Hi folks,

Following the discussion in the forum software upgrade thread it's important we all understand user titles, roles, what that means for people who have them and what that means for the board vs. the site. Please bear with me because this post is probably going to be really long but it's important that people getting involved in the discussion have a good overview of how all that works. This is in an effort to keep things fully transparent and also obviously to discuss what's happening post-move.

I'll be delving into site history aswell here.



"USER LADDER/ USER RANKS"


This refers to the titles and permissions people get automatically by number of posts. All boards have some version of this, and it's similar to a "trust" setting permissions wise. Newbies can't edit their posts etc. It looks like this:



The vast majority of stuff is unlocked early on in this ladder, but with the move to new software we have more features to play with so we can discuss what we're going to do about the user ladder, make improvements etc.

FOR XF: As it stands the user ladder doesn't transfer over to XF or even display on the postbit. User ladders like this are one of these things that are kind of legacy, but if it's a feature we want to keep (the display on the user's postbit) then we can, we'll just have to build a new one.

There will definitely be some form of "user ladder" to deal with troll/ spam accounts, but I'd be happy if it stayed invisible. There'll be a way to make it visible on the member's own profile page rather than in every post if people are up for that option aswell.




FORUM STAFF ROLES


There's always been a fairly big distinction between "site staff" (people who work on the site and content) and "forum staff" (admins and mods), but it's confusing and has become blurred in recent years. Forum staff roles are as follows:



If you're a frequenter of any forum it's pretty simple, but we should discuss it anyway:

Administrator - This is (on forums) generally both a technical role and a "dealing with problems" hierarchical role. In terms of permissions, admins have access to everything in the backend from a technical standpoint, and are also a level above Super Moderators in the traditional sense. The hierarchical part is a little bit meaningless to us because we're small and all interact with each other on an even keel as much as possible.

Moderator - A moderator has certain permissions like the ability to ban users, lock threads, delete posts etc. Traditionally the position of "moderator" was given to people for specific boards, i.e. "this person is the General Discussion moderator" and so on. There isn't anyone with this title on TLS because...

Super Moderator - A moderator with the ability to "moderate" the whole board. Aside from some exceptions I'm not sure are still the case, we only have SMods.

For XF - I propose that we drop the "Super" from "Super Moderator" and just have "Moderator" for all the current SMods.



SITE ROLES

These were created to essentially give people who were creating content for TLS or working on the front-end site some recognition for their work, as well as categorize a front-end hierarchy. This is where shit gets cray:



This isn't all of them but you get the idea. Originally we just had "site staff" as a user title, but they weren't descriptive enough. Someone who is responsible for Social Media has nothing to do with the front-end site, and that's what "Site Staff" was initially associated with. So over time others were created, such as Site Director etc.

Now some of these roles also had mod permissions, but that didn't make them "a mod". For example, Shademp was the "Compilation of FFVII Editor", meaning he was in charge of compilation content on the front page. He ALSO had section specific mod permissions on the appropriate boards, this was to allow him to categorize content within the appropriate board for the compilation. But it didn't make him "a moderator" as per the forum staff definitions posted previous, it was just a technical permission to allow him to (if he wanted) deal with that specific board for the content he was in charge of.

Site Director (my title) has admin permissions in the backend for obvious reasons. You need admin permissions to see the CSS and deal with the styles, manage usergroups etc. But formally I am not "an admin" on the board. I realise that I've been here a long time with the title "Site Director" and people treat me like I am anyway, but our mods and admins (bar a few legacy staff members) have all been voted in by members. I was voted in as an SMod a long time ago. I believe the only people we have on staff who weren't voted in by members are X and Ryu, but correct me if I'm wrong on that one. I remember Tres being voted in as Admin after years as an SMod.

For XF: "The flattening" as we discussed in the other thread - my idea was to have small icons that could be grouped together rather than formal titles over there. There are bars that say "staff members" that we can enable/disable and customise aswell. That feature is to differentiate between staff and non-staff if need be but we don't need to use it.

So the staff icons would represent: Admin, Mod, Content Contributor, Legacy Donator? Staff Emeritus? whatever we decide we want to keep. But obviously the idea is to get rid of the vast majority of the titles and keep it simple, if everyone is cool with that.

There is one massive issue with this, and it's that I obviously don't want to make myself an official "administrator" without board approval. Yop and I have informally discussed it (I expect him to post on this subject in a bit ) but if we're flattening the user titles that means Site Director goes aswell. But I need to retain Admin permissions to deal with the technical aspects of the backend - an alternative is to keep the Site Director title and its permissions (which I don't mind) and also retain my SMod status, which I also don't mind. It's really up to you guys (and the mods/ admin) to decide what we want to do here. I don't care either way, because people treat me like an admin and I have the admin permissions regardless. It just wouldn't be right for me to flatten the user titles and then make myself an admin without discussing it with everyone first. And please if anyone has an issue with it don't be afraid to bring it up, I might be a little bit offended but I can take it



OTHER TITLES


This is stuff like "Donator" etc., and for those on XF I'm thinking similar to the other titles in the sense of having like a "legacy donator" icon.


SO

Sorry about how long this post is, but I think it's important people have a full and transparent overview of the titles and how they function.

One more thing:

In terms of board permissions, all staff members had unrestricted access to the staff section of this board (including, inappropriately, site staff). This was a long time ago though, they've since been fixed so that the staff section is accessible by all staff, but only mods etc. can see reported posts. This will remain the case in XF, but I intend to create a new semi-public board for the content contributors to categorise and organise their stuff unless anyone has objections. So for example within said board content creation discussions and organisation can all be public so that anyone can really chip in, but a subsection would be viewable by only Content Contributors for things like links to our graphics files and sensitive content. That way everything is as transparent and open as possible. Obviously anyone can get access to this by 1. contributing content and 2. being a trusted member.

So yeah, sorry for the length, please discuss
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