Monday, May 24, 2010

Certain Moderation Policies

As an internet denizen, I am frequently found on forums. Sites where folks post back and forth from various and sundry places all over the world. Different sites have different policies when it comes to how moderation works. Suffice to say that I have certain issues with one particular site.

I'm not going to name names here, but anyone who is reading this who knows my posting habits can probably figure out where I'm coming from.

Across the internet, standards vary in terms of what's acceptable to post. Some sites don't give a damn about what kind of language you use as long as you're polite and aren't actively insulting people. Some sites (Something Awful) don't give a flying shit about language or insulting other people so long as you're legible and not being an idiot. And even then sometimes that's cool. Some sites aren't moderated at all.

And then there are...other sites. Sites where all discussion of politics and religion are flat-out banned, and any topic so much as trending towards there are locked.* Where absolutely no foul language is tolerated. Where, apparently, you aren't so much as allowed to criticize another poster. Where my calling out of another poster for his overly negative comments (admittedly, something of an overreaction on my part) earned me a warning.

Look, this is not the way to establish a productive discussion, single moderator who oversees the whole damn board. If you're not allowed to establish an antagonistic dialogue with someone, you cut off a fuckton of options for discussion. Fundamentally, a board is supposed to be about a bunch of people getting together to shoot the shit. When people shoot the shit, they're occasionally going to disagree. If they can't at least talk about disagreeing directly, if they've got to pussyfoot around each other like bulls in a china shop for fear of offending precious mod sensibilities, they're not going to be able to have a productive dialogue. They're just going to passive-aggressively snipe at each other and build up resentment. Fortunately, that hasn't happened with me too much- most of the folks there are surprisingly nice, but it doesn't work. It's not dialogue, it's canned, sugary bullshit.

And another thing! The policy of "infractions" building up to a ban is so goddamned retarded it makes my head spin. Functionally, it's 3 moderations means they think about banning you. Now, that in and of itself seems reasonable. It's not that reasonable when the moderations stick with you for two years each. Let's take an average- I post about 3.25 posts a day on the site in question.** Which means that if roughly one out of every 900 or so posts I make gets called out for flaming, I'm going to be looking at a ban. And you know what? What I've been modded for isn't fucking flaming. Nor were the people I was arguing with! It's disagreeing! Calling someone out! Disturbing the peace of the perfect little world that the mods have set up. It's like fucking Hot Fuzz- any and all deviation from the perfect facade is wiped out in the name of "The Greater Good". It's like they can't tolerate any sort of disagreement- everything's got to be picture-perfect and happy or else...what? People's feelings will be hurt? You won't be able to brag about having the "friendliest" community on the net? It's goddamned retarded.

And you know what it means when bans build up? Prolific posters get shafted. Not for blowing up and actively going off on a bender, but for stupid things that add up over time, things that wouldn't even be fucking noticed on other sites. And since another thing that's banned there is discussing banned posters, well, it's like they just drop off the face of the earth. I've seen several quality posters get banned, and never heard a reason, nor a justification.

And the site does not appear to be looking to change anytime soon, which means I can apparently take my problem and shove it up my ass, as I have no doubt that attacking the moderation policies like I'd like to (kind of what I've got here, but more respectful and with less profanity) would get me another warning and not accomplish anything.

Seriously, this is the worst- modded site on the internet. If I didn't have this safety valve to rant in, I'd be tempted to just go suicide by mod and send the main moderator a ridiculous hate-filled invective.

So I'll just say it here.

Go fuck yourselves.

*If you didn't know what site it is before, you probably should now.
** Which I very nearly typed out just now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Piece

So, I spent the weekend (and a good chunk of last weekend) reading One Piece. It was very good, and I fully see why it's the single most popular manga ever in Japan. And I mean, it's ridiculous how much One Piece crap you see here. You go into a random store, and I'll be willing to bet that there'll be at least one One Piece item. I recall hearing that One Piece tankouban are among the best-selling books in Japan, if not the best-selling. Books, not just manga. One Piece is ridiculous. One friend of mine mentioned how some people he was working with asked him what manga he liked, then (drunkenly) insisted that he read One Piece.

At its core, One Piece is a silly, lighthearted pirate drama. It's pure shonen cheese, and it revels in it. Reactions are overblown, characters suffer ludicrous punishment* and come out smiling, and the power of friendship can beat down anything. The bad guys are ludicrously evil at times, and at other times just ludicrous. I don't feel like summarizing any of the plot right now, but suffice to say that there are moments of the purest win, and distilled awesome, and no real lows like you get in Naruto and Bleach.

Saying that...the latest arc (the Whitebeard War one) didn't do it for me. And there's a prime reason for that. The crew was broken up, and we've heard exactly jack and shit about them since Kuma split them up. It was all about Luffy trying to save his brother, and a bunch of characters I really didn't care about doing stuff. Plus, I really don't feel like One Piece's power system lends itself to epic clashes. With all the individual devil-fruit powers and whatnot, fights need to be one-on-one type deals where each combatant can have attention focuses on his abilities. Mooks are there to be effortlessly swept out of the way. Previously, One Piece pretty much stuck to that formula and it worked, but with the sheer amount of unique powers being slung around in the battle, it was highly confusing and altogether not as awesome as folk squaring off one-on-one. Sure, it's probably a touch more realistic, but...well, if you're expecting realism, you clearly haven't read One Piece.

But like I said, the fact that the Straw Hat crew was broken up (really, right after Brooks joined!) bugs me. The primary appeal of One Piece was the sheer dedication of the Nakama to one another, and that's just vanished ever since the group's been split up. Luffy's been so focused on Ace that he hasn't given a spare thought to his friends, and the manga hasn't saw fit to give them much more than a couple pages.

So I hope that we'll be seeing a reunification of the crew very shortly.

P.S.- Nico Robin is smoking hot.

*For this reason and this reason alone do I think that Luffy could take Naruto in a fight. Even given Naruto's superhuman toughness and recovery, Luffy is just in another league.