There has been a lot of discussion in the past months on how to proceed with the suggestions forum.
After a few unfinalized attempts earlier this year, the admin team has requested the lead forum moderators to work out a final procedure. As we have come to a number of conclusions and decisions we are now ready to roll out the first phase of the adjusted procedure on how we deal with suggestions aimed to improve the mod.
Suggestion threads will eventually get the status tag [Rejected], [Expired] or [Endorsed].
If a thread doesn't meet requirements, it will be closed and tagged [Closed:Reason]. It will remain visible on the forum until after 2 weeks it will be tagged [Rejected:Reason] and removed from view moved to the Suggestions archive. Note that a moderator is supposed to provide clear reason for rejection. That can be reported in the brief line available in the 'Close' field, or, if that field proves too small, as a separate (last) post in the thread.
The way we interpret the requirements and judge on it may change gradually as we may raise the bar in the future, dependent on other decision making related to this. For now, assume that the way we dealt with this in the past few months will be exemplary.
Edit 20160716: Note that rejection for reason of a suggestion being 'Unoriginal' can only be acceptable if there already is either 1) an endorsed suggestion or 2) an non-endorsed, still open suggestion, holding the exact same notions brought forward in a new thread. If a new threads holds only one original new notion while the rest of the thread is verifiably unoriginal, the thread shall not be rejected and closed. If a notion has been proposed earlier, but it ended up in the archive, the new post is to be considered original. Note that reposting old threads without adding new notions, or more specific or concrete info will be heavily frowned upon and may generally not lead to improved chances of endorsement.
After 2 months (for now) we will check if a thread is generally appreciated by the community or not. If not, the thread will be tagged [Expired] and removed from view moved to the Suggestions archive.
Because of the current situation of transition, for threads that already meet these criteria, we will add the [Expired] tag in the coming week without removing the thread.
There will be no more cleanouts leading to removal from view of any suggestion thread, whether they are rejected or expired. All non-endorsed threads will end up in the Suggestions archive. This will enable the entire community, including the both mod team, to draw inspiration from these threads.
By no longer removing threads from view the chances that a search using a web search engine will result in a find of an old thread are significanlty improved.
The 'order & search' functionality of the wiki boards is very limited. With the expected rapid growth of the archive it will soon become pretty hard to trace back old threads, unless you know when it has been posted and which keywords are in the title. Therefore we still recommend people to add links to their own suggestion threads on a personal page, either their profile page, a blog, or a page in their personal accounts domain on this wiki.
We will perform 'cleanouts' for removal of [Rejected] and [Expired] threads, twice each month. These are scheduled on the 1st and the 16th day of each month. These must be finished within a week.
The lead forum mods, see below, will perform these cleanouts. For the time being they will be the only 3 persons tagging any suggestions thread.
The first cleanout of [Rejected] threads has just been finalized. The first cleanout of [Expired] threads will start on May 16th. This means each original poster of older active threads that run the risk of getting a [Rejected] tag, still has two weeks to add a link to their suggestion threads on their User profile page, or anything similar under User domains, to prevent their suggestions threads from no longer being visible / easy to find.
Sufficient support by the community will lead to the status [Endorsed]. This will be achieved when a thread has received 20 kudos or more.
This status does not mean the mod team approves/accepts (part of) the proposal! It only means the suggestion is considered 'supported by the community' and possibly worthwhile implementing. Additionally, READ THIS!
Kudos granted by moderators and admins have a higher weight. Moderator kudos have a weight of 2, and admin kudos have a weight of 3. This is to ensure that less popular and/or discussed, but potentially very valuable suggestions will also be able to achieve the [Endorsed] status if sufficient staff support is acquired. This puts higher demands on the objectiveness related to staff kudos. We trust staff members will act responsibly and use their kudos with care.
Suggestion threads that got sufficient support will be moved on the Endorsed Suggestions Board. This can happen at any time one of the lead forum mods notices a thread has become endorsable. Threads moved there will not be closed. That board will function as main archive for the mod team to use as source of inspiration.
Endorsed suggestion threads may still be used for discussion and further improvement of the original post. We will encourage this as these threads are the most likely potential source of inspiration for the mod team.
As we now have a clear criterium for endorsement of threads, we will be more strict on maintaining the rules. Off-topic posting, needless posting (while a kudo will do), advertising an own suggestion (posting without adding any new info or considerations) will be considered much less acceptable than before. meaningless posts will be deleted, warnings issued, bans requested. Be warned!
No more distinction between Feedback and other Suggestions
The Feedback Board will be merged with the Suggestions forum. So, there will no longer be a distinction between 'minor' mod tweaks and 'major' new features, and anything in between those extremes. This will have to be coordinated in coming weeks: moving threads, deletion of the old Feedback Board etcetera.
Upon the Public Beta 27 launch, end of January, we had a major cleanout that resulted in removal from view of all suggestions present in the Suggestions forum at that time, even threads that were just posted a day earlier or threads that would have been endorsed with the new endorsement criterium.
We offer all users who wish to have their thread re-opened the opportunity to do this. If you want us to do so, post a message on the walls of either of the lead forum mods and we will comply if the thread is clearly endorsable and/or if it had only been visible for less than 4 weeks before it was removed.
Edit 20160623: We have converted the List of Doom Board to hold overview pages (threads) on categories of endorsed suggestions. These pages provide links to related endorsed suggestion threads, and for each thread hold a brief description of the subject of the thread, the objective of the proposal and a very brief summary of the proposed modifications / additional features. These pages will serve to provide an overview to both the mod team and the user community.
Mevans and the mod team might screen the endorsed suggestions and will use the overview threads. We expect users to check these overview threads before they post new suggestions: this will provide us all a meaningful check on 'originality'. This is supposed to less new pointless suggestions and more meaningful additions to already endorsed threads.
For each endorsement, the moderator that endorses a suggestion thread will have to add a link to that thread and related info to one of the overview pages in this board.
The board is renamed from 'List of Doom' to 'Endorsed Suggestions Overview Board'.
The way we categorize and summarize the endorsed threads can be improved. Check this thread to help us achieve some optimum way of doing this.
Issues still to be addressed
Update texts on various forum and rules pages to thoroughly implement and communicate all of the above. This will be dealt with in coming months. Edit 20160612: The forum overview page and the Forum Rules & Code of Conduct page have already been adjusted to express the adjusted rules and procedures.
A few minor issues that may be brought up, upon opening of this thread.
This thread is used to inform you all about the procedure we're implementing in the coming weeks.
Let us hear your thoughts and ask any less obvious question that comes to mind to help us, and you, improve on the above. The main decisions have been made and this is how we're going to do it for the coming months, at least for a few updates ... so, don't expect major changes any time soon.
I saw some suggestions which were already on the approved suggetions forum had been removed, so does that mean all suggestions on the approved forum will be revisited by admins as well to see if they're still worthy of being on the approved forum?
@Fus: Sorry about that. Deal with it. :P
Seriously, if there's anything superfluous in that wall-of-text, let me know and I'll gladly exterminate it. ;)
@DutchDwarf: Two of us have been active checking older threads. We may not have acted in a similar manner. Fact is that the criterium to endorse threads was way easier to achieve a year ago than it is now. We'll have to decide on a very clear criterium on how to deal with older threads. Easiest and seemingly fairest is to enfirce the new criterium, but I can think of some valid objections.
@Rocket: Both mod and temp mods have the same tasks regarding in-thread forum moderation. As noted above, that part of our moderation work will only become more relevant. So, on the contrary, the temp mod assistance is ever more important. I do think we have shifted the focus for in-thread moderation from rule enforcement to 'assisting posters in improving their posts'. Eventually that refocus should lead to higher quality suggestion threads, better utilisation of older endorsed suggestions, and less new, low quality, inflow ... and happier all-of-us.
How do you plan to get enough working force for such frequent cleanouts? Keep in mind that checking dates and even checking the indivudual users for the kudos weight takes a lot more time than the simple cleanouts aka "remove every thread from this board" we did before.
Gradually increase involvement. Also consider a higher frequency lowers the time consumed per cleanout. With any frequency and workload chances are that not all mods are available at any planned cleanout. With a very low frequency and high work load, that increases the chance only few will do a lot of work. With a higher frequency the chances are higher the workload is spread more evenly over more shoulders.
We're now 3 doing this, but there are may more available. We just need to figure out what works best before we involve more people, even though the executive tasks are pretty simple themselves.
I don't suggest things, i gave that up. Won't come through so why do the nasty work with the procedures if you know that it won't be in the mod? However, i like to see the new procedure. More work for the admins ;)
Why is there need to close the dead end streets? From my experience here, when the community is done with a thread, they are done, and there isn't much you can do to continue discussion. When no one posts, and no one wants to, why is there any need to prevent them. It's like fencing off an area with fairly high security when there isn't anything particularly sensitive or wanted inside. It's a waste of effort.
I think we are going for the same goal here, just using different approaches. I hope that we can come to a consensus.
I've seen way too many dead end suggestion threads being continued in vain. That distracts both staff and users, and non-productive distraction implies waste. Closing a dead end thread is done in the blink of an eye and immediately reduces noise. I'm a very content moderator with this practise.
If a suggestion is rejected, there is enough reason to close the thread. If a thread is dead, even moderators will likely forget about it. If someone necroposts, that's probably a reason to close the thread. If a thread goes offtopic after the original topic has been solved, it can be moved to another board and retitled to let the offtopic discussion continue, although we should of course generally try to prevent offtopic discussions.
Ahem ... this thread only deals with suggestion threads. They're not supposed to turn off-topic at all. I think both Sam and Sinth mix this up with threads of other forums and are unintendedly engaging in off-topic deviations. XD
That's true. It's in my nature to think as general and universal as possible. One system to rule them all!
Of course no thread is supposed to go off-topic, but they still do sometimes. One way is to remove all off-topic comments, but if the original topic is already resolved (eg. if the suggestion is rejeczted or even already implemented) the off-topic conversation doesn't harm anymore. We could move the thread to Fun&Games or General Discussion and let the discussion continue. This idea is just a suggestion.
All beware of this explicit edit in the first post:
* This status does not mean that the mod team approves/accepts (part of) the proposal! It only means the suggestion is considered 'supported by the community' and possibly worthwhile implementing.
Wanted to make sure that was what it meant. If you can get the manpower on the 16th, go for it, if not, just keep hacking at it. All it takes is removal. Don't bother closing them, most won't get discussion again.
We considered about ten possible options. Clearly 'approved' and 'accepted' would make it look too much as if the suggestions would be implemented. The word 'Supported' would have been too weak, as any kudo is already a sign of support. To endorse a proposal basically means that it's recommended. That is how the use of this word is to be interpreted. As the people involved in this do not include any mod team members, it should be pretty obvious it is the user wiki community that recommends these suggestions, and not the mod team.
Yes, and those are not members of the mod team, just community members with a higher vote weight. Their kudo does in no way make a thread more officially recommended than others. They can only increase the chances of a thread becoming endorsed.
The mod team members reviewing the [Endorsed] threads may consider a thread with more kudos to be more likely interesting. No guarantees. And it may well be that they won't bother to look at who actually kudoed a thread.
Also note that I have just completely emptied the Feedback board, moved threads to the Suggestions forum, closed, removed them, etcetera. Many ended up in other forums or [Endorsed], some were implemented. Admin team, we can now close the Feedback board!
The more I had been cleaning that board, the stronger my conviction it is a good decision to close that. It's a bit of a trash can. Credits to Sinth for proposing this some months ago.
Now we're moving on and the first results of this exercise become tangible, the mod team is getting more actively involved in assessing what we're doing here. I wish to emphasize that the mod team is still overwhelmed and to some extent frustrated by the sheer amount of suggestions, the relatively low quality of many and the suggestions that are just way too much work to implement. The challenge is in balancing the need for a stricter and more selective screening, while both not losing those rare gems Mevans wishes to catch in the process and not discouraging the community's enthusiasm too much. We're trying to find a decent way to both serve the users and the mod team optimally, but this takes time, so we beg for patience on all sides. It's a process of many months, and several updates before we'll have reached a point where we can judge whether our base plan will be decent enough to continue with.
Edit: Done. Took me about 40 minutes, with a backlog of over 2 months, implying next cleanout shouldn't take much more than 15 minutes to perform. Number of pages in the forum is reduced from 17 to 9. In next two weeks, each thread that has been posted over 6 weeks ago will be marked [Closed:Expired]. These threads may still receive kudos so that upon cleanout we can recheck whether a thread could still be endorsed.
And it is an issue for me and my colleagues that we haven't updated those pages to fully refelect the altered methods we're using ... although the changes aren't that significant when it comes to the rules and guidelines for posting a new suggestion thread.
I'm cleaning out the old LoD. No info is lost as I copy everything in a reference doc, including the original LoD document. Meanwhile, I'm compiling a category list. Later, in coming days/weeks, I'll start categorizing the oldest threads in the Endorsed Board and start posting the first overview threads in the overview board. Moving on ...
Based on experiences of last weeks, it became evident that we need to enforce contributors to choose better fitting titles. We need to get titles to hold the main keywords that characterize the main subject and proposed feature as we use keywords searches on the pages in the community-endorsed suggestions board to find threads. Therefore I just added this to the first post:
Upon endorsement, the lead mod who endorses the thread will review the threads title and adjust it to ensure it represents the main keywords that characterize the thread. This is to ease the efforts of finding a thread relating to a subject.
Note that this doesn't require more moderation work, as we eventually must summarize any endorsed thread for inclusion in the overview threads we will get in the overview board.
Why not add a new Expired and Rejected board? It would give new users a better idea on what to suggest and what went down well, and if anybody is looking to improve a suggestion it would provide a good place to look.
Good thought Rayn ... but the capabilities of the wiki forums aren't really suited to maintain and present huge lists of threads ... and find your way in them.
If we would have a system that supported that, it would meet the desire of the mod team to not close or remove any suggestions anyway.
However, the customs here at the wiki are to remove 'unfit' and 'unsupported' suggestions from view in order to prevent too much clutter in the forums. We took that as a starting point.
As we speak, the mod team and a few admins are actually looking into alternatives as the mod team appeared to only recently realize that the default wiki practise involves so much 'removal' of 'unfit' and 'unsupported' suggestions ... and 'filtering' and 'selection' by others than the mod team members themselves ... and now they realize they actually don't wanna lose any information at all and rather keep everything entered in the system for later reference, like to get it all on one huge grafitti wall ... meaning they actually still didn't spend any targetted effort on evaluating the 'endorsed' suggestions ... that is, not in a way that is verifiable to me ...
Created the new Suggestions archive, which will hold all suggestions that did not get endorsed. Check the clearly visible changes made in the first post of this thread for further explanation and consequences.
Edit: Also added an important notice on originality to the first post!
I don't think that will ever happen, but we try to keep track of which notions were implemented that were mentioned in suggestions on this wiki. As in most cases it is impossible to determine whether the suggestion actually initiated the thought process in the mod team to implement a new feature or modification, we will only rarely assume a suggestion got 'Implemented' and tag it such. In most cases where we see a notion got implemented it is either part of the suggestion, or there were many more people suggesting it, so we tag it as 'Part. Implemented' or similar.