Instance block, bog-standard trollfarm

Talk about your day a bit. Tread a real fine line between being absolutely robotic customer service person and letting a bunch of Internet People know too much about you.

Oh and don't talk like a customer service person. If you talk like customer service then people will treat you like customer service and christ you've seen how people treat customer service

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Tonight I'm making a new Monthly Memento, that's a thing you get if you give me a tenner, and it's different every month. This month it's a rainbow torch (flashlight to you americans) and I would've done it last night but I had an absolutely banging migraine so right now the item's in the game but the description reads "This'll do something tomorrow, tonight I have a banging migraine thx 4 patience"


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Oh yeah, herding cats. Trying not to end up in a situation where I have to live with the idea that a thing I spent thousands of hours building might be making someone's life measurably worse.

You don't HAVE to have a bunch of neuroses to do this job, but if you don't, you will.

Right I'm actually gonna try and write some code for a minute haha

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(what I love about it most especially is that the river, the fancy yachting club downstream on the way to the pub, the water in general is filled with middle class people and we float right through it all in this noisy smelly belching rotting hulk and we see all these posh people with their upper lips doing that thing and we tip our cans of lager at them and give them a cheery wink. It's not a middle class boat and I'm not middle class. /boat)

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(oh man I wanna circle back to that boat thing real quick in case you get the wrong idea and think I'm posh - it's not my boat, it's my father's boat.

wait that's even worse. Okay so my dad bought an air compressor for fifty quid off this bloke in the 90's and he was umming and ahhing and getting ready to offer him thirty but the guy said oh go on I'll chuck in this boat. That's how fancy it is. It smells & is filled with men drinking lager from cans. It's a floating dumpster and we love it.)

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Here's the MotD on my site where we started operation stair repair. This names lots of barriers to reporting:

This and the followup MotD are linked to from the Code of Conduct (linked a few times in the thread).

Naming the barriers to reporting is as important as naming and dissecting the tactics of abusers. This helps create an environment where abusers don't have it so easy. I call this "manipulation inoculation."

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People might not report their abusers because their abusers are well liked (they always are, that's how they get away with it) or because they're not sure they're being abused or if it's all in their head (they're being gaslit) or because the abuser's got dirt on them and might retaliate, or for all sorts of other reasons. These are all barriers to reporting.

NAME THEM AND TALK ABOUT THEM ON YOUR SITE. Then people will notice that they have their own barriers and that helps to dismantle them.

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This is a very roundabout thread but I see I've got people reading it and this bit's important so I'm just gonna whack it in there: people generally don't report abusers.

This isn't because your site has an atmosphere where people are afraid to talk to the mods and you suck. Well, I mean, you might, but that's besides the point, even if you didn't suck people still wouldn't report their abusers for ALL SORTS OF REASONS.

These are known among certain circles as Barriers To Reporting.

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(the physical design of your site, the colours, the layout, set the tone for how people behave on it, moreso than you think.)

Anyway we used to mention that in the site rules, the more-people-married-than-banned thing - it's still true, but we took it out because having it there could give people - maybe people trying to work up the nerve to report an abuser - the impression that we don't ban enough people. Or that we want to preserve this ratio by not banning people who need banned.

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(and that's a thing. Your mods steer the site's culture like steering an old, mouldy boat - try it if you ever get the chance, you make a tiny correction and then ten seconds later you see the shift, it's not like steering a bike or a car where you see instant results, at least unless you're being really heavy-handed. If you get the culture and atmosphere straight enough then the members set the tone and things tick over with much less direct intervention necessary)

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We've been really lucky and we've actually had more marriages than bans. That's partially down to the site being designed to deliberately put off a good chunk of its potential audience by, like, being text-based, having a big wall right at the start (hi hypothetical tech blogs, I see you sputtering there, yes this is the opposite of what y'all do and I do it on purpose), and partially down to the general culture and atmosphere kinda guiding people towards non-dickery.

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I'd better say some nice things in case people think it's all doom and hard decisions and big consequences.

The best part of my job is when someone emails me to say they've gotten married after meeting someone on the game, and this has happened a lot and will likely happen in any moderate to large online community. It's a lovely feeling, that this wonderful thing has happened that you weren't even trying for.

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Someone downthread said they wish this thread would get picked up by tech blogs.

If it does, hi to all the 20somethings who know how to glue twenty different Javascript libraries together and who think that that's enough, and who will absolutely not heed any of this advice at all! I look forward to reading your own versions of this thread in ten or twelve years' time.

(if it sounds like I don't like programmers, you're right, I am one)

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Some community members will suck up to you because they're the sort of little goody twoshoes who always told the teacher when someone was pulling funny faces while they were writing on the blackboard.

Some will have a go at you just because you hold some piffling amount of power over one particular thing they do in their free time, they hate authority of even the tiniest and most half-arsed sort and they want everyone to know it.

Vanishingly few will interact with you like NORMAL BLOODY PEOPLE

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You said dumb shit when you were younger, come on. We all did. We're different people now. Remember when I said make it easy for folks to let go of their pasts? Remember when I said that was impossible for celebrities who put their real name on their tweets or whatever? To the members of your online community, you're a celebrity. HAHA WELCOME TO THE SHIT CLUB

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Oh haha I'm not done at all, if your community is successful enough to stick around for a decade (hardly any do) then the world will change around it and the dumbass jokes you made ten years ago will have aged badly. So you just rewrite them or remove them, right? You gotta keep up with the times.

Someone will notice and shout at you for being overly PC. I mean fair enough, that's better than being shouted at for being insensitive - oh no now everyone's talking about what it used to say 😬

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This whole big long thing, and I'm gonna have a lil break from it but I'm probably not done, is why when people bang on about Eugen's latest screwup I'm more inclined to give the guy a break than a lot of other folks.

It's also why, when someone asks for a feature and says I can probably code it up in a day or two, I'm inclined to dance around them pointing and laughing and holding my belly

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@thegibson @ifixcoinops I also want to say, this is probably the best Code Of Conduct I've ever read.

Yes, I read the whole thing. And yes, I learned things.

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