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Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 01:23:04

Bobby
Level 60
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We his thread was not made to criticize or support fizzer. It only looks to see the reactions of the players to fizzers changes, and the relationship with the players. We will be talking with things of recent memory. So let's first take a look at the change from warlight to warzone.

When Fizzer created warzone there was a mixed reaction. Some people loved it and some people quit WZ or almost quit.

Since then there have been more
Bans
Suspensions
Critics
... Distrust between the players and fizzer.

However the biggest change of them all was Idle. Again, we saw a mixed reaction. But unlike the switch to warzone this resulted in anyone who criticizes idle is suspended. I am trying to be careful on how I word this. But I would like earning\showing idle achievements should be optional. I don't like the idle achievements on my profile.

The strat community was by in large against idle. However, it stayed due to Fizzer liking it and the uncounted number of idle only people.
Another change is the more banning\suspensions. Examples:


I4v.io (whatever it is) "skill level above rubbish, so when are you kicking your entire clan*" =ban
Navara "that's what you get for playing idle" =suspension

* The banned player was talking about a clan Prerequisite.


I don't have anything more to say but please add your thought below.

Note: all throughout this post I was being very careful about wording.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 01:24:56


καλλιστηι
Level 60
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If these messages were the only cause of ban/ suspension, say goodbye to your account.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 01:39:27


Жұқтыру
Level 55
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His point was inconsistency in enforcement and action.

Anyhow my favorite memory of Fizzer is changing Srechko's Modern Europe (https://www.warzone.com/Map/11077-Modern-Europe) from a level requirement of 5 to 54 after Srechko retired without saying anything about it.

Another good one was when Fizzer was planning 50-player games and even hosted one 4 years ago and then completely buried the subject. Classic Fizzer (he also said around the same time he was working on a feature to let players join mid game).

Or the time abandon got changed to Emergency blockade (Ok this one was actually a good change but don't tell him I said that).
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 08:37:36


καλλιστηι
Level 60
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That explains why so many map descriptions talk about abandon cards...
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 15:23:37


kynte
Level 42
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I think the fundamental problem on this site is that:

1. We don't know what the rules are. The Terms of Service and Rules on the site/wiki are not only incomplete (in terms of telling us what rules we are held to) but also mutually contradictory (e.g., TOS and Rules disagree wildly on alts). One recent example is the sloppy rewording of the alts Rule- now it's no longer clear whether 3v3 ladder teams of alts are allowed. Players are just assuming the grammar was a mistake on Fizzer's end and that they still are, but no clarification has been given.

2. We don't know who the moderators are. This is ostensibly to prevent harassment but it more importantly prevents accountability and transparency. I'd argue it enables moderator harassment through unchecked abuse. Anonymous Moderator has driven players from this site, and we have another current moderator (albeit with reduced powers) specifically admitting that they repeatedly abused their moderator powers over a grudge with another player.

3. We can't predict what sort of moderation action will be taken against us. My surprise ban for a drive-by joke is one example. Another would be you getting in trouble for naming a game "lotto" rather than "lottery." A third would be KG getting muted for saying "!raffle" twice.

Not to mention the inconsistency of enforcement and the evidently scrambled priorities. Both a stray "WTF" on Global Chat and actual intentional cheating in Clan Wars get a warning. A discussion of cheating methods (in the context of explaining to someone that they won't work) gets me a threatening message from Fizzer saying I should leave the site if I was okay with cheating. Meanwhile, I had to publicly shame the moderation team to get them to take action on 1 v 1 Ladder cheating (https://www.warzone.com/Forum/152349-cheating-1v1-ladder).

Then there's rules that selectively/randomly exist because the moderation team is understaffed. The "no politics" rule on Global Chat has, if anything, backfired. There are a handful of players who keep starting political conversations on it and so far I don't know if any have even been warned. When things go wrong on Global Chat, we have to actually try and summon a mod from Discord (with a <50% success rate)... so the rules really aren't real. People start political conversations and spread conspiracies, we can't respond or engage because there's the risk of arbitrary and unpredictable moderator action, and whatever moderation action they may take clearly doesn't work as a deterrent. If anything, the "no politics" rule has shifted Global Chat overwhelmingly toward fringe conspiratorial discussions.

I believe the fixes here are trivial. Make it clear who the mods are- like every other site on the internet. Make it clear what the rules are. The moderators are given enforcement guidelines that are far more fleshed out than the confusing, contradictory rules we players have to work with. Share them with us so we know what we're actually supposed to be following. Make it predictable what moderation action will be taken. Other sites have points-based infraction systems that let players know when they are on thin ice. None of us even know how many warnings we have, or if the next thing that a moderator picks up is going to get us warned, suspended, or perma-banned.

The moderation system here was made with the best of intentions, most likely. 99% of the time it works because 99% of players on this site quit before they achieve meaningful activity. For those of us who have spent time on this site, many can report ridiculous experiences with moderation.

The deepest, fundamental problem is this: the admins don't listen. They double down. They delete threads on the subject. They skim mails and discussions so fast that they miss important parts. Fizzer- or his mods- hide behind sketchy alt accounts on threads like this to double-down on moderation decisions.

I think this comes down to the communication gap between Fizzer and the established community on this site. Fizzer's a good guy, and he clearly cares a lot. We just need to somehow find a way to get it across to him how frustrating, arbitrary, and cumbersome the moderation system has become for many players on this site.

Edited 3/25/2021 15:24:13
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 15:58:16


(ง︡'-'︠)ง let's fight!! 
Level 62
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Change is not bad. Indeed change is good, because then the game stays alive.

I think if we wouldn't have mods to supervise the chat, it would be worse. Spammers, racist language, etc... Supervising chats in realtime is affected with false decisions sometimes. Have you never seen a referee making false decision before? What else is a mod?

I appreciate that someone is there in the background to keep away the ones that are here to only ruin the game for others.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 15:59:51


l5v.r1v
Level 44
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Imo the problem is the opposite. We need more mods to supervise the chat because right now we have to try to pull them from Discord when someone spams GC. Global Chat desperately needs more active mods instead of just Fizzer going through the logs a week or so later to warn/suspend players.

Just look at it in terms of 4 quadrants:

                                                                         Strict          |      Laissez-faire
                                                            -----------------------------------------------------------
                                         Well-defined rules |    good moderation         |     poor enforcement       |
                                         Ill-defined rules  |    arbitrary rule          |     lax/casual moderation  |
                                                            -----------------------------------------------------------
Warzone used to be in the bottom right quadrant. That's where we got our Tabby problem, Loli's posts on the forums, Nazis, etc. Because the rules were left to "common sense" and only enforced in egregious cases. So people skirted them regularly.

Today we are in the bottom left quadrant. The rules are still very poorly defined and left to common sense but now they're enforced strictly. Which means no transparency, accountability, or predictability. The mods have good intentions as a whole but their behavior is indistinguishable from just having it out for a few players because the rules are not applied consistently. (They can't be, they're left up to individual judgement! And there's so many things that are possible violations that the mods get overwhelmed with them and only respond to a very small subset, and then they use it as a heuristic to go after the same players again. That's why you can have DanWL repeatedly curse on Global Chat w/o a warning and get his reports ignored or Bechaa cheat in Clan Wars to get let off with a warning- and no penalty or correction for the effect- while a stray "WTF" gets KG a warning/mute and I get warned for something as ridiculous as over-using the report button [to report cheating & harassment on the forums]. Because the mods quickly color their perceptions of players.)

I think one good illustration of this problem is that at least one of the mods has brought up the lack of well-defined rules as a good thing, because if we knew what the lines were then people would toe them without crossing them. But that's silly because if you define the rules properly then toeing the line should be well within the range of acceptable, healthy behavior. The mods have gotten so used to having poorly-defined rules to work with that they seem to have forgotten how a healthy, well-communicated, predictable moderation structure works and find themselves trapped solving problems that don't exist.

Imo this goes back to the other common pattern of this site of Fizzer creating actual problems with his solutions to imaginary challenges. The moderators create problems and frustrations for players by having an unconventional moderation strategy that solves a yet-to-be-seen problem of having a bunch of bad actors who will constantly push boundaries. They treat large segments of their player base as potential trolls by default rather than as the honest players we are. As a consequence, they're overburdened and understaffed and unable to respond adequately to actual problems like cheating on the ladder, in Clan Wars, etc.

We just need well-defined rules to get to the top left quadrant and make things work. Good intentions don't work. Good mechanisms do. Also want to emphasize that this, like matchmaking or handling API abuse or rating players on a ladder, are solved problems on dozens to thousands of other websites on the internet that operate at a much larger scale in a much more difficult environment than Warzone has. Constantly reinventing the wheel creates not only maintenance burden but also tends to underperform existing solutions that have been better tested, tweaked, and tuned.

Edited 3/25/2021 16:31:15
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 18:05:03


καλλιστηι
Level 60
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Just make a league of justice - an army of players who will spam game invites for Siege LD to players breaking rules.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 20:13:09


JK_3 
Level 62
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As with all moderation, context matters a lot.

Cause context is so important, I'm glad WZ isn't moderated by bots, but given the way some reports (such as that perm ban for quoting a clan description) are handled shows that in some cases the mods don't (want to) see the context.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 21:24:31

Bobby
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Thanks for the feedback.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 21:29:48


l5v.r1v
Level 44
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Yes it is worth adding that WZ across the board is miles ahead of its competitors in the indie online Risk-like multiplayer game genre. The only game of comparable size (and that's being used loosely) is Conquer Club and Conquer Club has a notoriously bad customer service reputation due to their strict alts rule. People have made accounts on CC, forgotten about them, come back years later, enjoyed the game, gotten paid memberships on their new accounts- only to have their new accounts flagged as alts and themselves banned and forced to play on their old accounts. Strict no-alt policies are the case for the other major online Risk sites too, which coincidentally have worse competitive scenes, worse matchmaking systems, and are just worse across the board on everything Warzone gets constructive feedback for.

But then again "better than Conquer Club" is a very low bar and one that Warzone already exceeds many times over.

Edited 3/25/2021 21:30:20
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 21:45:02


Johnny Silverhand 
Level 58
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> When Fizzer created warzone there was a mixed reaction. Some people loved it and some people quit WZ or almost quit.

Since then there have been more
Bans
Suspensions
Critics
... Distrust between the players and fizzer.

I don't see any evidence of any of this. Warlight-> Warzone was fundamentally a change in name and nothing else. Moderation is not any stricter than it has always been IMO.

I've always thought that, if anything, moderation as too lenient, and should be stricter.

> But unlike the switch to warzone this resulted in anyone who criticizes idle is suspended.

Once again, untrue. I've criticized Idle plenty, never been suspended for it, or for anything else.

Edited 3/25/2021 21:45:51
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:00:51


krinid 
Level 61
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I wasn't around for the WL->WZ conversion ... but who cares? WZ is great now, right? Isn't that all that matters.

I was here for creation of WZI ... and yea some people don't like it. So don't play it. The achievements perhaps get in the way of the WZC ones and clutter your list ... but is it really that serious an issue? I suppose if you're looking at the "next 10 uncompleted achievements" then yea, it clutters the list from the ones you're really targeting, but really the issue here is that it's only showing you 10. I'd rather just see a list of all the uncompleted achievements. If there's a WZC/WZI filter to accommodate those who really don't want to see one or the other, np by me.

I didn't know what 'Abandon' cards were either. Interesting tidbit.

Moderation consistency ... agree there is lacking there but don't see a solution. Definitely agree that less moderation isn't good b/c there are idiots that absolutely need to be silenced. Cicci spammers for one, rude/racist spammers another, etc. I just honestly don't want to deal with those folks. It's a nuisance in an otherwise pleasant global chat community. Moderation doesn't bug me much, but arguably I'm not in the target audience to really be relevant here as I've only been silenced 3-4 times, and yea it was arguably for trivial things, but for a total of ~125 minutes across them all, I'm obviously not highly impacted by this. But agree that more consistency for mutings/suspensions/bannings could only be a good thing.

As for complaining about what the players vs Fizzer likes ... have at it. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't. As simple as that. But you shouldn't expect that every recommendation is implemented, especially if it's a major departure from the core of WZ. Sometimes you may have a great idea, even better than what WZ implements (I think I've had a few myself) but unless you convince him that it's a good thing to spend time on, don't expect it to happen. It has to (a) be a good thing, and (b) actually be worth spending time on. And (b) is a big factor, even if you clear (a).
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:01:41


ZombieSlayer 
Level 62
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I'd volunteer to be a moderator. I was a moderator ('admin' there) for several years in another game (world domination).
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:03:36


JK_3 
Level 62
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With regards to the stuff for criticizing idle, most of them were for attack people that did enjoy idle personally, not for the disliking of idle. (Based on what i saw happen in global chat at least)

Edited 3/25/2021 22:03:59
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:21:18


RainB00ts
Level 43
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I agree with knyte on just about everything he said in this thread (a rare thing indeed)
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:25:18


kynte
Level 42
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Once again, untrue. I've criticized Idle plenty, never been suspended for it, or for anything else.
You've also, per your admission, said some things harsher than what got me perma-banned and not been warned for it. Goes back to my point about seemingly arbitrary rule. Rules are experienced differently by different players.

I really really think that this has a simple fix: clearer rules & more mods. Basically copy what WZ Public Chat does.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 22:34:48


krinid 
Level 61
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Agree, it's not just criticism that will get you banned, it's how you criticize. I criticize it plenty, both in GC and in forums, but I try to make it constructive. It is after all in Beta, which means constructive criticism has a higher chance of making it into a future update. Unlike WZC which is long past those stages so new functionality doesn't come along much anymore.

Mind you I've also seen criticism such as "Within WZI, functionality Z sucks, b/c compared to X & Y, Z hardly provides any value" leading to an update which made X and Y also suck, and thus make Z more in line with X and Y.

Goes back to my previous point though - you shouldn't expect just because you've commented/requested/asked/complained that you will be granted your request exactly as you asked for it.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 23:19:46


Farah♦
Level 61
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Several interesting points are being raised in this thread, and I tend to agree with a bunch of them.

1) Regarding 'moderator abuse'
I do agree that the system around moderation has had the best intention of keeping its actual moderators safe from abuse. This is a double-edged sword of course, given that the actions of moderators are anonymous to the public and can only be checked at the top level of the chain. And we've seen problems with that; I'll leave the specifics out.

2) Regarding 'ill-defined rules'
The rules in the ToS are actually fairly well-defined. It's the application of those rules we should think about. A lot of technicalities arise when talking about alts, for example. While the ToS define rather strict rules on alts (and keep in mind, they are rarely enforced), you might see an 'anonymous moderator' in the Global Chat, which is an alt but has moderation powers. While you can never write rules for every situation, some rewriting of the rules may be advantageous.

3) Regarding 'criticism'
When a player disagrees with a certain decision, they can of course vocalize that. This is, and should be, allowed. There is a line between criticism and outright outrage though. Going on an inexplicable rant on how bad a change is, breaking the ToS with swear-words, disrespect and foul language or imagery is of course not allowed. Constructive criticism is of course allowed, as it should be. There's a fine line which all moderators have to judge against, which make things seem more arbitrary when you compare cases of someone getting a suspension and someone 'getting away with it'. This is not to excuse any arbitrarisms of course; it's but an insight on perspective.

4) Regarding 'inconsistency'
Warzone has a bunch of moderators. They review reports and suggest an action. In the end, ultimately, it's up to Fizzer to judge a case. That's the theory, at least. In practice, some moderators get to time people out in Global Chat for example. No Fizzer needed to confirm whether such an action is justified. This leads to moderators interpreting the ToS or the rules in their own way; after all, Fizzer cannot be online all the time, so he has to make that concession there. There is of course no set of rules that cover every situation, so there is never 100% consistency in the application of the rules. It would, however, be something to strive towards.

I'm a moderator in another game: Leaf Blower Revolution. The way we handle things there is to have an active internal chat with the moderators and developer. The developer has a basic set of rules, which are public. When we're sure a rule is being broken, we take action. When there's ambiguity, we speak with the other moderators. When ambiguity still exists after that, we speak with the developer. This way, the developer has full access to our thought-process when it comes to a case where nobody is 100% sure what to do, and he can always intervene. It seems like that is quite an easy solution for a lot of problems posed here.

We also share pictures of cats, which is a bonus.
Fizzer: the administration: 3/25/2021 23:40:37


l5v.r1v
Level 44
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The rules in the ToS are actually fairly well-defined
Far from it. I made a very detailed thread about how the average player has at least a half dozen TOS violations. If the rules are going to diverge that hard from what is actually enforced, then that's the same as them not being defined in the first place. It goes back to being a game of Mao where we have to guess what we would actually get warned, suspended, or banned for.

Unfortunately, Fizzer or another admin quietly deleted the thread. I'm not going to cite segments from the TOS to illustrate my point as I am not exactly clear on what got that thread removed, so I do not want to take the risk of Fizzer quietly removing this post as well. :P Seems this ties to my general theme of not being able to predict what the mods care about.

But I encourage everyone to read the Warzone Terms of Service at https://warzone.com/termsofservice and see for themselves how well-defined and up-to-date they are. My belief is that there is no single document or resource that accurately reflects the rules as players can expect them to be enforced. My suspicion is that the guidelines given to moderators (but not shared with players) come the closest to this; if so, these should be shared. If we're going to have strict moderation, it should at least be predictable. Predictable rules amplify the benefit of moderation because players can't faithfully follow rules that they're not actually clear on.

Finally, I want to again emphasize that the difficult challenges highlighted throughout this thread- consistency, fine lines, and whatnot- are considered solved problems on many other parts of the internet. We are not the first site to encounter these hurdles, and in many cases Warzone can simply lift existing solutions instead of insisting on reinventing wheels when the rest of the world tinkers with teleporters and jetpacks.

Edited 3/26/2021 00:07:28
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