Hello, I hope you’ve been well!
I’d like to give an update on some changes that are happening. Don’t mind while I ramble a bit. It’s story time with grandpa!
First though, before any drama llamas get too excited, dissolving the Moderator team is not a result of any wrongdoing by any current Staff. Rather, it’s something I’ve talked about doing since I took over in 2016. In fact, I told the Moderator team at the time that one of my primary goals was to make their role obsolete.
Then, last year, I started talking with the current Moderators about removing myself from moderation duties. This went into effect last month, and I have since confirmed that not only am I not needed here for Moderation, but indeed we can safely dissolve the team entirely.
All Moderation duties are either being coded out of existence or shifted directly to the players. This is a huge win for efficiency and scalability, which was the goal all along.
We no longer need Game Moderators
Wanting to dissolve the Mod Team may seem strange at first, but our Staff has a long history of well-intentioned but ultimately misguided efforts to focus on the wrong priorities. The specifics are another story for another time, but the short version is that we suffered prolonged admin and dev inactivity during previous ownership — a period I refer to as IC’s dark ages. Without proper direction and dev resources, the Staff relied on their abilities as Moderators to fix the problems they saw.
The Staff’s sense of initiative helped in many ways, and indeed likely kept the game alive. However, the side-effect was that all problems with the game came to be seen through a Moderator’s lens and would lead to moderation-based solutions instead of direct changes to the game itself. This attitude unfortunately also spread to the players, and is something we still struggle with. Given years without an active dev, I can’t fault anybody for this.
Let me remind you here though, we have an active dev now!
As a small example of why this matters, last year I took away the Mods’ tools that allowed them access and control over certain aspects of game data. In the short term, the Mods lost their ability to help players change their empire names and races. However, we’ve since added the ability for players to do this themselves.
You’d be surprised how much effort was spent on this kind of busy work, and the common request was to give the mods more tools. We don’t need more mod tools, we need to remove our dependency on manual moderation. Even something like setting up galaxies should eventually be handled by a Galaxy Creator.
Speaking of busy work, now that Unofficial Alliances will soon be legalized everywhere, our final dependency on a team of Game Moderators has been removed.
Existing game rules (multis, for example) will continue to be investigated by me personally, but that has been the case for quite some time now and even this is something we should try to design in-game solutions around.
So there you have it: Game Moderators are no more.
We no longer need Forum Moderators
We’ve recently been testing a powerful but little-used feature of our forums; post-flagging. The tests have been successful enough that we can also safely remove Forum Moderators.
Any player can flag any post, and the forums get smarter over time depending on collective flag activity. Players who flag well eventually have their flags weighted higher, and players who flag improperly have their flags weighted lower.
Players who get flagged sufficiently will even be automatically silenced.
This is great news for anybody who ever complained about power-tripping mods, because now that power is in the hands of the community itself.
The old @moderators group is now empty, and as of now nobody aside from myself has full forum moderation privileges, and I intend to focus on code, not the moderating the forums.
So enjoy you powers, and use them wisely!
We may soon no longer need Chat Moderators
Discord is an outlier, but we may be switching to embedded chat that is built on top of the forums, meaning it would leverages the same flagging mechanism.
We are testing this now via the new forum chat.
Lastly, We are creating new "Think Tank" to replace the Mod Team with a group more focused on game design and development priorities.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.