There has been a lot of talk about moderation and about the ban vote system this week and there is almost an equal amount of confusion surrounding this. I want to clear up some things!
First of all this: I'm generally very happy with the huge growth of the Pinside and the steadily increasing visitor numbers. It means pinball is gaining popularity once more and that there is growth in the hobby! But it also has some downsides. A lot more people to the party also means it's a lot more likely something breaks: a lot more bickering between users and a lot more negativity, something which Pinside always has tried to avoid. It's gettin' tougher to keep the positive vibe going with now nearly 500 people online at peak times and over 2500 posts daily.
Moderation is there to help make this place better. I know some people don't think it does, but there are plenty of unmoderated places on the web to go to, if you like to be a rebel or if you think it's cool to use profanity, attack others, write only negativity etc. Pinside is not the place for that. We have some community rules here to keep a positive pinball vibe going, the Pinside cannot exist without it. The mods are volunteers, hand-picked by me because of their levelheadedness and because they're around when I can't be. They do their best to make sure the site rules are lived by. Obviously the mods aren't without fault (who is?), and yes it's very tough to be consistent all the time. But all in all, I think they're doing a great job keeping the Pinside the goto place for pinball discussion, news and more! We might be needing more moderators soon, the ratio is currently 1 mod for 100 people
The ban vote system.
The ban vote system works like this (please read this as there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding this subject): When you get 3 ban votes (a ban vote is a warning for breaking one of the Pinside community rules) from 3 different moderators that means you are banned from the site for one week. After that week, you are allowed back in. A ban vote will also subtract 20% of your karma total. If you get banned again the ban will be for two weeks. Etcetera.
I'm currently thinking about ways to bring down the noise level, one of my ideas is a "thread kickout", where moderators (or maybe the community?) can kick users from a thread for repeatedly making off-topic posts in them. This would stop bickering between two or three users bringing down (derailing) a whole thread. I'd be happy to hear other suggestion to bring down the noise level on the site.
Change to the Karma points system
One final thought I'd like to throw out there is an alteration of the karma system. Maybe stop people from getting karma points for simply posting to the forum and only get them from thumbs up? Additionally I had this idea (specifically for the tech forums) where users can mark a posts as "the answer" to the issue. This would score extra karma points and promote helping others solve (technical) issues. A similar system is seen on sites like Stackoverflow.com. A final point brought up by some was changing the name of the karma points system because karma is not a pinball term. I'm open for suggestions
Adding more categories to have more ways top find interesting topics is still in the pipeline. I just haven't gotten round to it yet.