Forum Feedback and Suggestions (NOT Game Feedback)

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The old "why are these people banned" thread was fun and educational. If you followed it, you got a good feeling about the moderation policy and severity of offences, so you could stay within the rules (while still causing mayhem... jk) and not risk surprise sanctions. Those that learned how things work here also spread their knowledge elsewhere.
There is value to this for forum users that may outweigh moderators scuffling with rare dissenters.
 

Orion

Still Not Worthy
Global Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNW
It used to be a thing, there was a thread for that where people could go to ask about those who got banned or muted. I don't remember why it stopped. I think things were getting tense in that thread so the staff closed it, but I'm not sure anymore. I don't think I miss it too. Didn't really need to know why back then and I still don't now, also I'm not sure how I feel about giving attention to people who got banned.
It became a springboard for people to complain about staff when their buddies were muted or banned, and its original purpose was just to concentrate questions of that nature into one place.
 

Zombie Warrior

Sergeant Knight
Ah yes, right. I don't see it evolving in any other way. If there's another thread like that, people will be complaining about MostBlunted's ban until the end of times.
 

eddiemccandless

Knight at Arms
WBNWVC
From what I understand moderation here is also pretty good at giving ample warming before activating the ban hammer. Rendering the educational aspect of such a feature kind of moot.
 

Eärendil Ardamírë

Subforum Moderator
WBWF&SM&B
Is the "Similar Threads" feature actually showing up useful results for anyone? It always feels like it contains random threads from the same board (and sometimes not even from the same board).
 
Some time ago I dumped some thoughts on possible ways to improve the "similar threads" feature. I don't know why I spent so much time larping on how it could work, I wish I could have that time back. Anyways, here it is, possibly one thing or two might be useful or even inspire some useful ideas in people in charge of this aspect.
Wait a sec, they just added this, lets give it a chance and make suggestions to improve it before removing anything.

Sometimes it shows similar threads and other times it struggles to provide useful threads.
This probably because it's all automatic, I'm sure it can be improved.

As for the automatic process, there should be a formula or algorithm to calculate the probability of the threads appearing in the suggestion, as well as their position (higher probability = higher similarity 👉 leads to first position in the suggestions)
The algorithm shouldn't be too hard to create and improve, it's not like YouTube or ads where it's personalized suggestions, here the main focus is to be objective, it's all the same for everyone. I will give some ideas and feedback on how to improve it:​
  • The formula to calculate the probability should have multiple variables to improve robustness and accuracy.​
  • AI and deep learning algorithms could be an option.​
  • Looking for the same or synonym words, expressions in the title, post and comments (but in different variables, so that similar words in the title confer a higher portability than similar words in the comments, for example). Also watch out for spelling errors, plural/singular and abbreviations (e.g: devs and developers).​
  • Fix the errors in tags (misspelled, singular/plural, misused, add new ones) and use them as part of the algorithm, this "key words" should be a good indicator of the content.​
  • Number of times relevant words or "key words" appear in the text (again prioritize title and op post over comments - some titles and posts are not that indicative of the intent or content, not sure if it's a problem)​
  • Consider the punctuation in phrases (titles, op post, comments). A thread with a "question" title might be similar to other question titles of other threads.​
  • Threads posted under the same or similar category should compute higher probability. E.g.: In a suggestion thread, "similar threads" would favor threads in the suggestion category...​
  • A variable that considers the quoting from other threads, op post and comments.​
  • Consider op post length, text format, check if the thread has the same media, images, links...​
  • Prioritize suggested posts by date, number of views, number of comments... could be a possibility by default but also in filters.​
  • Curated threads, pinned, dev posts/replies and other important ones should be prioritized and moderated in the most "popular" threads (see if it's relevant, add relevant ones to the suggestions)​
  • Add the option to minimize the suggestions as default and a button (I think for now it should appear for everyone, so that we can provide feedback, I'm not against it showing by default but it's a thing to consider).​
  • Instead of putting this at the bottom you could consider putting this minimized at the top, somewhere between the title and the comment section.​
  • Moderate the "similar threads" in the most frequent and popular posts/threads.​
  • Allow members to add new threads to the suggestions threads (possibly, after it gets approved by a community moderator).​
  • Allow members to change the position and effectively the probability of the suggested threads by giving us the option to move up or down threads (ranking), then based on the overall and average position change made by members, compute new probabilities, the changes appear to everyone. (a save button would be added to send the info of the position change to the database). A problem with this is that people will likely be biased towards their threads, but with the "average" of probabilities this is not significant. Automatic and manual (community moderators) mechanisms could also exist to recognize abuse, looking for biased patterns (prioritizing your own posts). User and members could also edit the positions and send for moderation approval. If for members this is not possible, then assign this option (changing positions and priority/probability of suggested threads) only to community moderators and such, so they can passively improve the system.​
  • Add a "dismiss/delete/not related this thread suggestion" option (the intent is to compute a lower a probability or dropping in position after the next database update). Also susceptible to moderation verification.​
  • When sending for moderation add the option or require to add text explaining the change.​
  • Add the option of "show more" (continue pumping threads out based on probability, this goes in line with the previous points - people can select threads)​
  • Gather data on clicks of the suggested threads and alter the probability based on clicks. (this could be another metric or an alternative to the manual selection - again, I think the individual subjectivity does not affect the integrity of the results because, in the end, the sum of the subjective choices tend to an objective result; and this is only one variable, other variables give robustness)​
  • Consider the "time viewing the suggested thread". Higher viewing time higher chance of relevance and similarity.​
  • Add the option "is this a similar thread?" or "is this related", in the front of the suggested thread and/or in the new opened page you just clicked on.​
  • When you click in one of the "similar threads" open a new tab instead of loading the new page in the same tab. (it's only my personal preference it might not be better this way for some reason)​
  • Add the option "search for similar threads". This would open up an extended version, more of the suggested threads, the user could even alter certain search parameters like key words to "refine" the search. A pop up window saying "is this similar?" could then appear when you click a thread (that opens in a new tab, like a mentioned previously). Gather the data of the clicked threads, time of viewing, feedback from the pop-up... and then improve the algorithm.​
  • Have an option to show random pop up windows that appear always, often, rarely or never (depending on the configurable choice of the user) when you click thread. The pop-up would ask if the thread you clicked is related or is similar to the automatic suggested "similar thread(s)", then the user would select yes or no if multiple choices appear or in a scale of 0 to 5 if you are comparing only to one thread, for example. Once the user selects their yes/no or rating, then selects the option to "continue" which pops up another set of similar threads, and so on as long as you click continue, but a certain threshold should exist. We would always have the option to "close" the pop up at any time.​
    • Instead of a pop-up a permanent place in the page could exist at the bottom of the page, for example.​
  • If possible, a real time prediction/suggestion/completion when searching for something (like google) could be added.​
  • Add more search functionalities, something like this.
  • Afaik, the goal is to objectively suggest similar threads but who knows if this could evolve to a personalized experience. A simple way of personalization would be suggesting similar threads in other languages. Consider the language the forum is in, the country the user is from, check if he commented in other languages forums, look at groups he's in...​
  • An option to show similar threads in X language could be added.​
  • The gathered data could be used and applied to other things. Statistics to make forums and game decisions, see the content people actually want, faster and more informed decisions by devs, better inform forum users, better moderation...​
This would work in addition to the now implemented "similar threads":
  • Similarly to this "similar threads" concept, I think at least a compilation thread like this, where the information is all available in one place, should exist. Manually creating categories/labels and organizing threads would be necessary.​
  • Alternatively, adding something like a forum section with subsections where the objective and functionality is not post new things or comment, but members would put theirs or someones existing threads under the created sections, with the possibility of adding new sections/sub-sections after moderation approval.
    • Essentially this might work well because it's in the self interest of members to organize, publish and display their "work" that would be otherwise buried in the forums. To facilitate the members work you could provide us with the tools of the "similar threads" algorithm but applied only to our content or to a specific user content (of our choice, like the search option).​
    • This (the algorithm) could be implemented in the "your content" page so that we can more easily categorize and apply predefined labels (existing with the same name as the sections/sub-sections I mentioned earlier) to threads which then could moved to the bookmark page. From the bookmarks we could then "publish" the organized content after moderation approval (check if the labels are correctly applied, check if the content is relevant to the label, check if there is any label that doesn't exist in the forum section and see if it justifies adding one more section/sub-section).​
    • If this implemented it could then translate information to the "similar threads" suggestions.​
 

Zombie Warrior

Sergeant Knight
I like how you say it shouldn't be too hard, but then you proceed to suggest things, like deep learning for example, that would require a university education to be able to understand and implement correctly. I don't think Janus is paid enough, if he even is paid, for that.
 
I like how you say it shouldn't be too hard, but then you proceed to suggest things, like deep learning for example, that would require a university education to be able to understand and implement correctly. I don't think Janus is paid enough, if he even is paid, for that.
AI and deep learning algorithms could be an option.
And no, it shouldn't be too hard to improve this, there are many ways to do it.
 
@Janus Please remove profile posts entirely.
They are useless, this is not social media to tell the world what banal thing you are doing at random moments, and for people to engage with that. The proof of uselessness is in their actual (and still very rare) use by silly spammers (just look at the recent posts).

Anything that can be done in profile posts is better done in forum threads or private conversations.
The annoying thing for me is that I have to see them when I click on "What's new", which shows a mix of latest thread posts and profile posts. But it's obvious they don't have any use and could be removed completely.
 

Eärendil Ardamírë

Subforum Moderator
WBWF&SM&B
I also don't see any real use for them. But I am also not seeing them, I never used the "What's new" function. I just put alerts to all sections which are interesting for me and set the others on ignore. However, I also don't think that they are useful, it wouldn't cause a lot of tears if getting dropped.
 
The proof of uselessness is in their actual (and still very rare) use by silly spammers (just look at the recent posts).
lmao
I'm really not sure why profile posts were included either, they're an open invitation for trolling or annoying developers (much like the @ feature to be honest). I don't think I've seen a single profile post that wasn't either of these.
 
lmao
I'm really not sure why profile posts were included either, they're an open invitation for trolling or annoying developers (much like the @ feature to be honest). I don't think I've seen a single profile post that wasn't either of these.
Ironically, the best use of profile posts were on your profile, when you published a new drawing, but that's about it for positive examples.
 

Zombie Warrior

Sergeant Knight
Oh my, it's like a little twitter feed in Kentucky Jame's profile post page.
But yeah, I strongly agree with MadVader and Kentucky James. I really don't see the point of those. The only time I've used it was in response to someone posting on my page and it could've easily just been a private conversation instead.
 
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Eärendil Ardamírë

Subforum Moderator
WBWF&SM&B
The fact that I was able to write something at your profile shows that you either didn't chose the correct settings, that it's not working correctly or that moderators can post everywhere regardless of the settings :lol:
 

Orion

Still Not Worthy
Global Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNW
Mods can post on any profile regardless of privacy settings. I can also delete them. :iamamoron:
 
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