Chat trolls

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  • Problem
  • Updated 5 years ago
We are having a current issue with some few people entering chat to be nuisances, interrupting with nonsense & profanity, etc. Is there some way to report these or at least keep their names off the screen?
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hoglahoo

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Posted 7 years ago

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hoglahoo

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oh, an eteRNAboss just appeared. maybe that is the control. thank you boss - or maybe it's another troll
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Adrien Treuille, Alum

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There is a mechanism to fix this -- devs and certain long-time community members have the power to kick trolls off chat.
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hoglahoo

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thanks, one of them took care of it shortly after
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machinelves

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I understand the devs are working on re-instating this feature! :)
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hoglahoo

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devs and certain long-time community members have the power to kick trolls off chat.
We could use one of these now. Lots of offensive language taking place the last 15 minutes by several of them cluttering the chat window
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machinelves

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Thank you for lending voice to this continued issue! :)
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janelle

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I was on at the same time as Hog. Is it possible to incorporate a "block" option on the chat if we are unable to turn the chat off? That way, people can continue to communicate and just turn that individual off.
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machinelves

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Thank you, I have integrated this along with mat's idea below into the summary under 2) Mute Button.

Thank you for contributing! :)
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mat747

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I think we need more IRC options for players similar to foldit. Where a player can choose to block another players chat from being displayed in their chat box.

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Jeehyung Lee, Alum

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Hi mat747

This has been added to our issue tracker with ticker number #55

You can check the issue at

https://github.com/EteRNAgame/EteRNA-...

You can check all player proposed issues at

https://github.com/EteRNAgame/EteRNA-...

Thanks for your idea!

EteRNA team
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machinelves

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Thank you for the idea & screen cap, and also for the GitHub ticket. I have integrated this into the summary under 2) Mute Button - D.

Also wanted to say thanks to LFP6's comment below, I have made an amendment to recommend your idea to use an account profile to PM issues to under 1) Chat Guidelines & 3) Report Channel / Log.

Many thanks for all your contributions! :)
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mat747

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Hi Jee

Thanks
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machinelves

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Everyone is very grateful to the dev team for all their hard work, and players have commented that we don't give enough thanks, since there is always something to complain about. So I just want to also say THANK YOU! :)
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Jennifer Pearl

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The trolls are back and it is bad tonight.
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machinelves

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Thank you for bringing a voice to this issue, good to know it is not yet resolved! :)
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jnicol, Player developer

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I think you will need a better mechanism than just blocking a user name. The trolls come back many times under different user names. It is too easy for them to come back into chat after they have been kicked out. Perhaps an email verification system, where a person cannot use chat until their email has been verified. I heard other suggestions to make the new user at least complete 1 tutorial puzzle before allowing access to chat. Any way, more needs to be done to stop this nuisance.
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machinelves

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Thank you, I have described the ban-by-IP issue under 3) Report Channel - B.

7) Unlock Chat covers the unlock after x # of points idea, and 7) E. covers the email verification idea.

Thank you for contributing! :)
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paramodic

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In my corner of the internet, we learned to ignore the trolls. You start reacting to them and they know they've drawn blood. Don't give them the satisfaction, they get bored, and eventually they leave. Alternatively, I don't see why it wouldn't be reasonable to make a reliable handful of non-staff members of EteRNA into moderators with the capacity to temporarily/permanently account and IP ban troublesome members.
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machinelves

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I agree, it is important to not feed the trolls, thank you for this sage reminder. I think the 'penalty box' timeout described under Tolerance will help them get bored faster.

I've requested moderation under 4) Chat Moderators & 5) Chat Bot Moderators.

Thank you for contributing! :)
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stlnegril9

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Back in force tonight (nov 8, 2012) - unfortunate.
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machinelves

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Thank you for stating that it is a continued problem, good to know it has not yet been resolved!

:)
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Trolls are back. I like RedSpah's idea: https://getsatisfaction.com/eternagam...
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machinelves

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Thank you, this is now reflected in 7) Unlock Chat; it is really helpful to link to existing ideas, I really appreciate you pulling these threads together!

Thank you! :)
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eternacac

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I have often wondered why EteRNA chat did not have user blocking and chat monitors to regulate the truly disruptive or offensive. Unfortunately there are always some who feel the need to disrupt, shock or offend and cannot manage themselves in a chat environment.

I think some tools to help the polite users are worth considering.
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machinelves

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Thank you for sharing your voice! The request for user blocking is reflected in 5) Chat Bot Moderators, and the request for live regulation is reflected in 4) Chat Moderators.

Thank you! :)
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LFP6, Player Developer

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Just a thought, but I don't think there are actual chat guidelines. Perhaps some should be drawn up?
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machinelves

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Thank you! This is now reflected in the request for 1) Chat Guidelines.

:)
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Eli Fisker

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HAVE A PLACE TO REPORT BAD BEHAVIOUR

Suggestion from Mat: What if Dev made a user account where player could send they issue to via the current message system, as a very quick starter, before making a report/system page?
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machinelves

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Thank you for all your help & feedback! I created 3) Report Channel to address this issue, and added an amendment to recommend mat's idea to use an account profile to PM under 1) Chat Guidelines & 3) Report Channel / Log.

Many thanks! :)
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machinelves

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SOLUTIONS
I have compiled the top solutions suggested by players, some of which the devs are already working on.

- To double check boundaries on these ideas, earlier tonight I reached out to the community to ask them for input, and I have compiled accordingly. Due to the time-sensitive nature of this issue, and Jee's generous efforts this weekend working on the issue, I have made an effort to outline these ideas right away for the devs' benefit. However, further player input is still encouraged, since mine is but one perspective, even if I have sourced it from the team.

- Everyone very much appreciates that the dev team has acted so quickly to escalate the priority of this concern, due to safety and security concerns in the community. Thank you!!! :)

- Memorable quotes from the lively discussion illustrating the concern of the community:
     "This place has become my home."
     "Player safety is a key aspect in making EteRNA more friendly."
     "We seriously need to get security in place, because we won't be able to guarantee these kids to be safe if nothing is done."

TOLERANCE
I'd like to emphasize that we have a very egalitarian community that has a very high tolerance and patience for all community members; therefore, the general desire is not to go penalizing or banning people willy-nilly. Especially for any feature involving a potential ban, the thinking is to have a very high threshold, to allow for normal and forgiving player interaction. The community feels strongly that everyone deserves a chance to learn and grow.

- Players feel that the majority of behavior correction should be accomplished through being pointed to the Chat Guidelines, with penalty and banning being a last resort for clear violation of the guidelines, whatever those may be.

- An excellent idea to extend tolerance was suggested whereby before implementing a permanent ban, we sandbox violations into a 'penalty box' timeout. In this system, the penalty begins very low and forgiving, and incrementally increases as the level & / or frequency of offense increases. For example, 10 lines in a row, or within the same # of [milli]seconds could result in a 5 minute ban. Not enough to shut down a legitimate player in case of a misunderstanding, but enough to give a potential violator time to read the Chat Guidelines. And only then would we escalate from there.

- Memorable quotes from the lively discussion illustrating the tolerance of the community:
     "There ain't no devil, there's just G@d when he's drunk"
     "I hope we don't have a survivor style EteRNA going, I'd be the first voted off the island :) "

1) Chat Guidelines / Code of Conduct
A. Players would like the Guidelines posted more prominently, so that there is some authority and definition to easily point to when informing and correcting behavior.
B. It has been especially noted that Guidelines are both to protect and educate the many young users of our site, who may just be learning how to interact on the internet safely and appropriately. This is not a comprehensive list, just a few examples pulled from the community:
http://eterna.cmu.edu/content/code-co...
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1X...
http://fold.it/portal/communityrules
http://depression.about.com/od/online...
C. In addition to whatever protocol is deemed appropriate for addressing emergency concerns which may arise on site, if your team approves it, then it may help to point to third-party resources intended for the quick response to emergency which individual players and devs are not in a position to provide.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet...
https://www.childwelfare.gov/respondi...
https://www.childwelfare.gov/respondi...
D. Having a clear disclaimer of the limitations of the site's resources will help define boundaries, for example:
http://depression.about.com/od/online...

2) Mute Button
A. Individual player-level mute button.
B. List you can browse to unmute.
C. Players emphasized that this will empower individuals to not be harassed, while limiting the need to outright penalize or ban someone.
D. Above in this thread, mat747 suggests IRC controls like in FoldIt, for which a GitHub ticket has been made:
https://github.com/EteRNAgame/EteRNA-...

3) Report Channel / Log
A. Clear method / central place for reporting bullies, spam, etc...
B. Repeat complaints from x # of multiple accounts sharing same IP result in IP-level penalty / ban.
     - Leave tolerance for multiple accounts on same IP legitimately belonging to, say, hoglahoo & his bots,
     or xyz player and their family members who use the same computer but with different accounts.
C. All chat logged for reference. ( I was asked if this is the case... I assume as much, but want to check. )

4) Chat Moderators
A. Potentially get some impartial outsiders. Unknown who, how, or from where, but I like this idea for a few reasons:
     - We could crowdsource to trustworthy teachers/psychologists with experience and a wish to make a difference.
     - Perhaps issue an appeal for teachers to volunteer along with the NOVA announcement?
     - With incoming NOVA kids, players are concerned that the few experienced players will become quickly out-numbered.
     - Players note that their strengths are in sharing and teaching RNA folding, not in disciplining behavior.
B. Dev-approved veterans with x # years.
C. Top players with x # points.
D. Adults with specific intent to protect children, not just ban people randomly.
E. Potentially the ability to implement penalty & / or ban, subject to dev approval, and revokable on abuse.
F. Once approved, if the devs are too busy to maintain, then potentially consider the ability for dev-approved moderators to approve x # of additional moderators & / or x # of secondary moderators ( 6) below ).
G. If multiple moderators online at same time, could implement consensus-based penalty / ban approval, to increase Tolerance level.
H. Could review chat log occasionally in addition to moderating live chat.

5) Chat Bot Moderator
A. To take some responsibility & labor off the shoulders of devs & players.
B. Boundaries sourced from Chat Guidelines.
C. Autoreply in response to blacklist keywords: i.e. similar to dictionarybot:
     input: 'keyword'
     output: 'Please see Chat Guidelines, x # offenses will result in x penalty / ban. Children are present & chat / IPs are logged...'
D. Silence bot / shorten message for offenses occurring between 1st & last warning, to prevent bot from being used as spam itself.
E. To be extra kind, potentially give final warning before last chance penalty escalation / ban.
F. Potential auto-penalty / ban in response to: ( choose highest possible threshold of tolerance )
     - x # use of blacklist keywords ( daily & / or global tallies with fair threshold ? )
     - x # spam sequential posts in chat ( e.g. 10+ threshold, give room for loquaciousness, helpful bots, & dev chat ? )
     - x # user accounts from same IP ( high enough threshold to permit legit hogla bots / multiple family members, for example )
     etc...
G. Potentially have some or all warning messages visible only to intended recipient, to reduce spamming channel with warnings. Potentially with global unmasked view accessible to moderators.

6) Crowd-Sourced Moderation
A. As noted in Tolerance, not intended to permit popularity contest among players, but rather to flag truly concerning behavior.
     - Perhaps limited to highest violations in Guidelines
     - Easily revokable, perhaps by approved moderators in 4) above.
B. Like craigslist spam vote button: consensus-based x # anonymous votes = penalty / ban & report log.
C. To ensure the reported player-name is correct, instead of a button / link, perhaps it could be like a right-click name in chat to vote?
D. To prevent abuse if a lot of spammers logged on, maybe unlock with x # of points, or make this category of moderators pooled from a secondary volunteer position approved by 4) above?

7) Unlock Chat After X
A. 95% of all trolls have exactly 0 points.
B. Having to spend 5-10 minutes playing would be similar to the inconvenience of the temporary penalty box, with the benefit of filtering abuse before it occurs.
C. Unlocking after, say, 2,500 points makes it very likely that chat will unlock before Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, so when they need help, they'll receive it.
D. Regarding newbies who really need help: anyone can beat the tutorials, which are there to train in the first place. And clearing a few more puzzles isn't beyond skills of anyone who's really interested.
E. Another suggestion is to unlock after email verification. While this adds new liabilities due to the incorporation of sensitive data, it is a common practice and may help, similar to the points unlock.
https://getsatisfaction.com/eternagam...
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machinelves

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Amendments based on community feedback via PM & forum:

1) Chat Guidelines / Code of Conduct
( Comment ) To clarify, whatever the code of conduct ends up being, it should get a full re-write, as players feel the pre-existing code to be a good start, but not comprehensive.

D. ( Comment ) Boundaries are particularly important, as EteRNA exists for the purpose of scientific research. Describing our limitations clearly will define the scope of what we can and cannot accomplish here.

4) Chat Moderators
B. & C. ( Amendment ) x # points / years should not be the only criteria.

I. ( New point ) The auto-kick for x lines in x time, or other minor infractions, could be disabled after x global points, x time, or dev approval. Devs can also re-instate restrictions if necessary. To allow for technical convos, etc...

5) Chat Bot Moderator
C. ( Amendment ) Instead of warning / penalty / ban in reply to blacklist keywords, we could simply star them out.

7) Unlock Chat After X
( Comment ) There is a lot of community support for unlocking chat, but it has also been pointed out that blocking new users is not our goal either. Perhaps try implementing some of the other solutions first, and only resort to this if absolutely necessary?
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machinelves

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[Edit: previous comment's contents in this comment]

1) Chat Guidelines & 3) Report Channel / Log
A. For example, Devs could make a user account where players could PM issues using 1) Chat Guidelines as a reference which contains a link to this user profile, and potentially reporting templates, instead of building & maintaining a full report feature / page.

4) Chat Moderators / 7) Unlock Chat
4) I. is similar to 7) in that an alternative to blocking newbies from chat is an incrementally staged access to Chat permissions, whereby x # lines, x # accounts from same IP, & / or x # use of blacklist words is unlocked at certain stages of x # points, years, etc...

5) Chat Bot Moderator
C. ( Amendment ) Instead of starring out blacklist words, we could make them invisible so as to prevent the *** from being used as spam itself.
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rnjensen45

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Thanks for the excellent summation machinelves.

I really like the concept in #7, that is require puzzle completion before gaining access to chat. Since the creation of a new userid is fairly easy, getting around a ban by coming back with another user name is problematic. But if the troll had to earn 10000 pts (as an example) they might quickly tire and go somewhere else.
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machinelves

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you're welcome, and thank you for contributing! :)
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starryjess

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I really like the points unlock thing. If you're not going to play, you shouldn't be here anyway.
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machinelves

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thank you for sharing your voice! :)
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hoglahoo

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I think as long as there is at least one person active and online at any given time slot, who have the ability to silence a problem chatter should the need arise, that would go a long way.

Blocking new players from chat is not a good way to tackle this problem, in my opinion of course.

For simplicity, I propose
1. active moderators
2. ignore feature
3. auto-kick for flooding and profanity
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machinelves

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thank you for the counter-point, I made an amendment requesting to try other solutions before resorting to pre-ban of new users. there is a lot of community support for 7), but I think you make a good point too.

What do you think about implementing 7) in a more limited capacity?
i.e. unlocking x # lines, x # blacklist keywords, x # accounts from same IP, other minor issues after x # points... ), as opposed to a full newbie ban? These rules would need to be clearly spelled out for devs to implement the intricacies.

Thank you very much for your contribution! :)
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hoglahoo

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I don't think the problem is bad enough to warrant 7). Out of the few hundred new signups weekly, who may or may not be reading chat as they register, only two or three on average are problematic/trolls that resist community efforts. And I feel the problems that those two or three represent are easily remedied by my 3 proposed points above.

However that doesn't mean I don't welcome any beneficial changes!
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machinelves

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I see your point about such a penalty as 7) being disproportionate to the problem, and I agree that other steps may very well resolve the issue.

I am working on updating the list with additional player input, and will take this into account accordingly. The devs will not have bandwidth to implement all of the ideas anyway, so this endeavor was more to learn about the options, and prioritize them according to community support.

Thank you for being a voice of reason! :)
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hoglahoo

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If eterna doesn't start taking measures to cut off spam at the time of account registration/creation, point 7 is going to start looking more palatable
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LFP6, Player Developer

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My thoughts:

This community does tend to be lenient. But I DON'T want to see someone getting away with swearing, for example. IMO, Once or twice, you're done. That does not belong in a family chat.

The code of conduct really needs to be updated. It does not include a lot of what I feel should be blocked.

We tend to joke around a lot, but I do think it is important to treat one another with respect anyways-just like in real life. Even though the other person may say "lol" or "I don't care", that may not be true.

A :community ban" feature that was mentioned would definitely need a good solid amount of points, but no player should be made an OP by point total alone. They could still love swearing. In fact, in Foldit that happened with one of the top players.

I would love to see a chat filter that stars out black-listed words.

The auto-kick for x lines in x time should be able to be disabled after x global points, x time, or OP approval. The OP could also re-instate it. I know when players, including me, are in a technical conversation, it could go much higher.
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machinelves

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I really appreciate you sharing your opinion, thank you very much!

If you notice anything specific to add to the 1) Code of Conduct, please let us know! I think it is a good point to note that we should treat each other with respect and remember that real people are behind the avatars. I have made an amendment requesting a full re-write of the Code.

I also made an amendment to 4) Chat Moderators requesting that B. & C. # of points / years not be the only criteria. Thanks!

I also made an amendment for 5. Chat Bot Moderator - C. auto-star out black-listed words. Great point! The devs need to know these specifics.

I also made a new point I. for 4) Chat Moderators, that minor issues like # of lines can be disabled once a user reaches x # points etc... Good idea! May also go hand-in-hand with a more mild version of 7) Unlock Chat After X, in that there could be incrementally approved leniency based on community credit, as opposed to necessarily banning newbies outright.

A lot of great feedback, many thanks! :)
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Hyphema

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I like the idea that there is a list of words that are useless in chat and should just be "****". Or just be invisible in chat. Actually I prefer invisible as the star would just be another annoyance the spammer could do.
Active moderators is probably the next best line of spam control.
The rule to 10 lines is good but perhaps limited to newbies. After, say, 20 k points the rule should be lifted. First a warning then a ban if continued.
Overall, Machinelves has done a spectacular job and I am impressed with all of the various levels of spam control he has listed. Thanks !!!
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machinelves

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Making *** invisible instead is a great idea!! I agree the *** could be used to spam.

I have made amendments to reflect the invisible idea for 5. Chat Bot Moderator - C., and also to recommend a staged level of chat permissions as it affects both 4) Chat Moderators & 7) Unlock Chat.

Thank you for your support! It was a bit of footwork to put it together, but I got most of these ideas from the community, and I couldn't have done it without all of everybody's help & support! :)

Many thanks!
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machinelves

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UPDATE: I have created a final summary version of the issues, integrating all forum comments, and player contributions. I do not wish to spam the community, nor reveal our total strategy publicly; therefore, please PM me if you would like a copy, and I will be happy to oblige.

Many thanks for everyone's help! :)
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megamicro

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You rock. Thanks for your efforts, helping make a really facinating science into something that carries a meaningful legacy for many years to come.
A pioneer helping to shape the future for the betterment of all.
We salute you.