This post serves as a master list of all the recent changes that have been made and how these changes will better affect the environment at Help. Most importantly, there are new rules and clarified rules that will help support moderators in their efforts to moderate the chat and help users in need of assistance.
General Operational Changes
- Cleaned up the blog by deleting some posts, but archiving most posts in a hidden category. Useful and relevant posts were left available!
- Deleted most blog categories since almost none were even used. Transferred archived posts to an Archived category. Created one main category since categories aren’t really used or looked at on the blog anyway.
- We will no longer be making posts for new staff members or promoted staff. This is because the Help team is constantly changing. I want the blog focused on important updates or rule clarifications.
- A new blog theme was installed.
- Adjusted minimum bot ranks for use of bot commands. I am sticking with the idea that the Help bot is mainly used for moderation purposes. A few really useful and popular commands were enabled for guests.
- Changed bot default price provider to xatTrade. After a price review, it was found that more focus is being put on accurate prices at xatTrade instead of xatAlert at the moment.
- Established new meeting time for staff: The first Monday of every month. As each meeting draws near, the exact time will be given. After every meeting, a review of the discussion will be posted to staff members.
- Assigned a few group powers that were unassigned so that users can use more smileys from group powers.
- Made the (bad) power useful by listing censored words that aren’t allowed at Help. Previously, this power was not really used. Now, it will be an indication to users that censoring swear words also is not allowed, and will help staff easily spot this behavior in the chat.
- Chat links were updated. Highly unused links were removed. If a help chat is not linked, it’s because it’s listed as inactive. The unlock link was changed to the wiki resource instead of the forum resource. The logout link will now actually help people logout. Added a link for the wiki bot page. Added a link for a list of xat avatars. Added xscss and chatcss for CSS generator links. Added a link for the Contests and Game chats. Removed profile link (not the xatspace link).
- Made use of the lang power to change boot to say transfer, and to say that someone has been banned without a listed reason if no reason was used.
Policy Changes and Clarifications
The items listed here only briefly highlight important changes or clarifications, but everyone should read the rules again in order to fully understand each policy. Every single staff member is required to read every rule on the updated rules page.
- Smiley spam is now considered over four smileys per message. Every user can use as many num or count smileys in their name as they want, but only for actually using letters or for counting, such as when a user wants to build their name with num smileys. If a user’s name causes lag, you can ask them to change it.
- Having debates about most topics is fine (even politics). Everyone can share opinions as long as the opinions are appropriate and not hateful toward other users. Having a discussion or a debate is not necessarily disruption.
- The rule regarding trolling was heavily updated. The rule was updated to make it more clear what is and isn’t considered trolling.
- Names must be of reasonable length or size. Trying to get around the rule by using just a period as a name isn’t acceptable. It comes down to whether the moderator or owner believes the name to be reasonable.
- A new and important rule is that providing insincere help is not allowed. If a user isn’t prepared to give proper help or is being rude while helping, then they shouldn’t be helping at all. Telling a user to check the wiki, and then leaving it at that, is not proper assistance.
- Making fun of users for purchasing products is not allowed. Since users don’t come to Help to be told how they are wasting their money and they made a terrible decision, it won’t be allowed.
- Full reasons for each kick or ban are required. Using rapid is not acceptable anymore (for almost any case). The only time that’s necessary is when there is a raid.
- If a user deserves a kick, tell them what they did wrong, or tell them the rule they broke. For example, if a user has an inappropriate name, don’t tell them to change their name in the kick reason. Instead, tell them that the name is inappropriate.
- If a user breaks a rule and then leaves the chat, but would normally receive a kick for the committed offense, don’t ban them. Signing out shouldn’t magically make them deserve a ban.
- There’s no need to tell someone to go to xat_test every time smiley testing is done. There’s no rule against testing smileys here. However, if it becomes disruptive, or if you think it’s excessive, you can tell them to go to xat_test.
- We don’t have a quota system, so activity is no longer tracked solely by the number of recorded events. It’s an owner’s responsibility to determine if they see a member or moderator being active and helping enough.
- Start thinking more about appropriate and fair ban times. Banning for a strict 24 hours for most things isn’t necessarily fair.
- Owners are no longer allowed to mute people for petty things such as smiley spam. Owners should consider if the user will be better served by being given a kick. If a kick is not enough, they might benefit more by a one hour ban where they can see the reason and be immediately aware of a wrongdoing. There are some exceptions, like if a user is rapidly smiley spamming and being very obnoxious with smiley spamming. Use good judgement to determine the best course of action for whatever the committed offense is.
- I expect owners to put a little more effort in helping users. Keep in mind that I completely understand the primary responsibility of an owner: To ensure that moderators and members are effectively helping and enforcing rules. There is a way to responsibly juggle the two responsibilities.
- Right before an owner believes a user should become a member, the owner must get majority agreement from other owners. The other option is getting approval from the Main Owner. This shouldn’t encourage a voting system at all, as it is completely internal. If a user ever hints at wanting their name brought up, they are obviously unfit to become a member.