Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Who Has Two Thumbs...

And was banned from the NERO National boards?


It was about time. I had known it was coming for some while, since someone at National had been on the rampage about banning accounts, deleting threads, and changing signatures.

I've had a long talk with Dan Comstock on the topic of proper forum moderation etiquette, and the consensus is that the National boards are doing it wrong. I understand there's a time and a place for posts to be removed or people banned, but when that happens, it's supposed to be a last ditch effort.

You see, if a thread strays off topic or into a bad place, you normally post a warning or lock the thread. You don't delete the whole thread. And you don't do it without communication.

Additionally, you don't delete accounts simply because they say things you don't want to say. A person needs to do a number of malicious acts, post pornography, or hack another account to get banned. It's not something you secretly do in the dead of night, hoping no one finds out.

I don't like to toot my own horn (but I do it anyways) but I feel like after much of the drama that was posted here, the activity on the NERO boards actually picked up. There was a brief, shining moment where if NERO went hands off, they may have actually jump-started their boards.

But the ownership doesn't want that, because the ownership doesn't really know how internet communities work.

I'm back on for now (but imagine I'll get banned the moment a certain someone sees this), but it really seems like yet another nail in the coffin that represents NERO's national community.

BTW, a question for our NERO readers: If someone were to put up an unofficial NERO forum for national inqueries and discussion in hopes of less ridiculous moderation, would you use them? Or do you think that it's too little, too late?


  1. Please put up such a forum so that I and others may finally voice an opinion without worry of being reprimanded or squashed by the blue thumb of Joe (and his sycophants).

    1. If the last time I bumped into him was any indication, then I have to say yes. He had a three man posse following him around (traveling with him) at a convention and they came across as such in public. One of them, when I first approached, said something to the effect of, "Hey, check it out... Joe Valenti! Cool, huh?"

    2. my point is: watch where you're throwing that language. Nobody moderating the NEROLARP forum could possibly be considered a sycophant. They're all actually pretty frustrated too. An additional source of frustration is when people hit the national staff with hostility because of something Joe did. So yeah, not helping.

    3. Yeah, what Dan said. While I might not agree with the rest of the staff members all the time, I can assure you that they're all equally frustrated with moderation situation, especially Ken, since his name is often attached to moderation on the boards.

    4. Dan - my apologies to yourself and any others that I may have inadvertently demonized by lumping them into the pool with Joe.

      Bill - Yeah, what I said to Dan.

    5. Pat - I think "enablers" is the word you were looking for.

  2. My favorite part is that you're still national staff. :D

    And yes, we spiked the national forums into use. They haven't been this active since two forum wipes go.

    Anyway, it *is* too little too late but you should do it anyway so people have a place to chat about NERO stuff while they still want to. Though, and this is the ironic part, you'll need to moderate it properly to make it a welcoming community.

  3. Just to clear the air, the national staff has nothing to do with the removal of posts or banning of players. While there's no actual log of who does what, we know that Adam, Heidi, Ken, Noah, Dan, and myself are not the ones doing it.

    Which leaves a very small pool of people who could be doing it.

  4. I don't think a non-national national board would work. I think it might for a while, but how would people know that it exists? National sure isn't going to direct people there. In fact, Joe would probably say any national staff that posts there is banned or something c-r-a-z-y.


  5. How would they know? If there was good discussion going on, people would spread the word. If I thought something was relevent I'd repost links in my chapter forums, which might drive additional people to check it out.

    I would NOT want official rulings there, though. Only on the national forums. There's a lot of area to cover outside of official rulings that would be useful to membership.

    One thread I could see: Critique my module. Someone who ran or participated in a mod could post what happened and how it was run and board members could post comments on how they'd improve it. So people could learn from there mistakes, and others interested in getting into module running could see what does and does not work.

    Brad G.

  6. Mark Henry ~MariusMarch 27, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    I would follow the board.

    I think you would need some people of note who could officially weigh in on rules to make it work though. Unless your purpose was more to share ideas.

  7. If people posted interesting content, and it had a positive vibe, I'd totally read it.
    I like the "critique my module" idea.
    I know that the ongoing copyright weirdness involving nero, as well as general negativity, has de-incentivized sharing of actual game-related content (other than rants and rules quibbling). But if there was a third-party forum that was welcoming of that stuff, I think it'd be neat.

  8. I completely agree with you Bill.

    I've argued for some time that banning isn't the way to run the forum. If someone is banned then they'll just go some place else to discuss it. (case in point).

    There are plenty of ways to moderate forums with warnings or just letting the flames burn themselves out.

    Either way, I applaud your banning. I had my IP blocked from the site (full site not just the forum) a couple weeks ago after I fixed the flash on the main page and loaded it on our test page. That only lasted about 12 hours and then it was unblocked. I wonder if the same will happen with your account :)

    As to the non-official boards. It'd be great for the community (and I can set one up of you like), but it won't hold any weight with Mr. Valenti.

  9. @Brad

    I agree completely about the point of the boards. It's a place to share ideas without the fear of banning, flaming, or a negative attitude. But official rulings should still be the ones that are put into the national forums. Love the idea of having a place for "Critique my Module" or "Lessons Learned."

    Based on a conversation with Dan, I don't think my account will get unbanned. Joe is pretty unhappy with the LARPcast episode where we talked about him. However, if you wanted to make some non-offical boards, I'd be more than happy to moderate and help build community. I just don't have any experience with Forum software or hosting.

  10. So Joe is ok with you being on staff, but you can't post on the boards?

    Seems fairly logical


  11. @Patrick

    Well, I think the intention was for me to be off staff. But I haven't been told yet.

  12. @Bill

    Were you told you were banned? Or did you just find out when you tried to log in and post? I think you should keep contributing until Joe tells you you're gone, you might even be able to make it a couple of years on national before Joe actually writes and e-mail.


  13. I would like to add that a section of "how would you rule in situation X and why" would be a good thread as well..give examples of certain moments when a call was made in the field and see how other players/marshals/owners would have ruled/handled the situation and why...might help some newer(or existing players) understand why some calls are made in certain situations.

    Josh Huntsman

  14. I think it'd be nice if the new board had a separate section where we could find the links to all the other chapter's boards. Possibly maybe another section that could list the events of the chapters.

    I admit that I didn't play Alliance Larp too many times, but I liked their setup of a national forum better than Nero nationals(which I've only been to once or twice). It has a place where all people from all chapters could discuss things, and then a bunch of individual sections that we used for the individual chapters. The various chapter message boards and the national board we all in one play, which seemed to work well from what I saw.

    ~Joel Mathis

    ~Joel Mathis

  15. Question, Bill...

    ... You mean this ISN'T the un-official NERO National Board?

    Cuz if it ain't, then all my conspiracy theories are screwed! :D

    Frankly, I get more useful info from here than I ever did on Nationals.

  16. I was banned as well, welcome to the team. I never rejoined the new site because of it.
    IF you start such a forum I wound direct people to it.

  17. My question is this:

    Joe made a post to the effect that 80% of Nero is behind him and about 20% are just trouble makers who are out cause descent.

    It's pretty clear we in the Ohio area are most of the 20%. So my question is, at what point is Joe V just going to toss the region of of the game entirely?

    Also "We are the 20%" might make a neat t-shirt

  18. Heh. First, do start a forum- though NERO Cinci's boards are pretty darn good, too. Second, the "20%" is "the NERO players that didn't bug out already for other games, because they're still optimistic about making NERO better".

    There's a trail of alienated players that stretches back over two decades at this point, resulting in a host of quasi-NEROish games to varying degrees- from Alliance to stuff like SOLAR and random other one-chapter games. Long as Valenti is in charge, it'll keep happening at a steady clip.

    1. Funny, I was at a LAN party last Friday where most of the people were LARPers, probably 90% of those were ex-NERO players.

      It's really sad because we used to be a very active area but these days it seems NERO is all but dead in these parts.