Hi all! Posting this to WoFMB, SAMB, and 39Clues MB.
First off, sorry bout the apparent glitches that were happening on the site over the weekend. Came back to see mention of them in all the MBs. Seems like everything is back to normal now, but I'll still mention it to the robots that control the internet our developers.
Second, I see a lot of folks talk about their posts not being let through. I want to explain a bit how the moderation system works because the biggest issue here is really a lack of transparency on our part. And I'm sorry for that.
Basically, we have an autofilter that is (to put it bluntly) not smart...but necessary. We used to used to do everything manually 4+ years ago and BOY was it slow. We literally read through hundreds of posts a day so it would sometimes take days for your post to go through, especially if it was a long one. So, now we have this filter that does that automatically, catches words, and pings me if there's something that needs my attention. I typically read through the filtered posts anyway so I know what's going on, and why something was filtered out.
Why didn't my post go through?
Chances are there was a word or sequence of words that the filter didn't like in your post. This can be words you made up - if the filter doesn't recognize something it sometimes will block it. Maybe there was a violent moment in a story, and the filter is taking it literally. Maybe you have a post that seems like it might have personal information, for example if you have a story about a made up school or a made up address. The filter doesn't know it's in a RP and thinks it's real info. The word "stupid" gets caught like 99% of the time because it thinks it's being used as an insult towards someone, even if it's obviously not.
Think of the autofilter as a robot that has zero sense of humor, doesn't get any sarcasm whatsover, takes things extremely literally, and doesn't understand the concept of context. And also hasn't read any books.
What can I do to help my post go through?
Look at what you wrote and check:
1. are there words that could possibly be considered insults toward someone?
2. is there potential personal information? Even if it's made up for a story?
3. am I using a bunch of uncommon words or words I've made up myself?
There are a lot of false positives and it stinks. All I can say is just try and try again with a few edits taking this stuff into account.
I will say the auto-moderation is *a lot* better than it used to be, and is certainly much better than when it took days for a post to go through when we manually checked every message.
Why did I get banned?
I'd say the most common reasons someone who is an active member of the community gets banned are:
-sharing personal information
-sharing usernames for other sites
-linking to outside websites.
These bans should only last 24 hours to a week. A month ban is uncommon but happens on occasion if you're an active member of the community, we don't think you should be permabanned, but ya keep on giving us reasons to ban you. Permabans are given out to users who are clearly trolls, spam accounts, or active members who have done something really bad like constant bullying, harassment, etc.
If you've written something where it sounds like you're going through a hard time, we send a message with our concern. This message comes by way of a ban that expires instantly. I want to be clear that you're not getting banned for expressing your feelings. "Ban messages" are simply the main way we can send a message to you about what you're writing. Is this ideal? Definitely not. But it's what we've got.
In the Scholastic chat there's an autoban system that's similar to the autofilter since we can't be on chat all the time reading messages. It will sometimes give you a "time out" aka cool off period of 15 minutes to 24 hours for doing things like spamming the chat, saying inflammatory things, or giving out personal information.
If what you did is bad enough, like trying to write your phone number, saying something super mean, or harassing someone, you may be banned for much longer.
It also has an extremely picky autofilter. I know it stinks and blocks out a ton of words, seemingly at random, but it's there to make the chat safe. I've seen it block silly things like the word "go" but also prevent trolls from harassing people. The main thing to understand about this autofilter is that it blocks words it doesn't know. I've seen typos get blocked, or forgetting a space between words such as "heyyou" get blocked.
Last but not least
If a post seems like it's going to turn into a debate, argument, or something that's inappropriate/unhealthy for the forum we mods reserve the right to lock the post or delete it, even if it's not necessarily breaking a rule at the moment. This doesn't happen frequently, but it has happened. I will always try to leave a message on the post so that it's clear why and it hasn't just vanished.
I hope this clarifies some stuff about posts and bans and is helpful! We are working on a bunch of stuff that I hope will make interacting with one another on here better...but that's all I can say about that.
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