What do you want out of Cong?

vonFiedler

Ridley is in Smash
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As many of you know, we now have three additional moderators in Cong: Blazade, GatoDelFuego, and Martin. With this extra help, I'd like for us to gradually start doing more proactive work in Cong and less reactive. This is due to a common complaint, that Cong lacks any identity and isn't really compelling to check out. What we'd like to do is start making more threads on a regular basis that might be interesting to people, and start projects that could get recurring user interaction (for instance, in the spring I'll be restarting the long distance running thread).

To help us get started, we want to know more about what people would want out of Cong. Congregation functions as an "any other" forum. It's more defined by what it's not. It's not Pokemon. It's not shitposting. It's not even video games or anime or the like. So far, that's mostly left us politics and lifestyle. But maybe it could be more than that?

What sort of threads would you like to see in Cong?

Do you have any ideas for projects?
If you don't want to run one, a mod or another user might like your idea.

What general vibe do you want from Cong? How much moderation do you want in terms of users respecting other users? How light-hearted or serious do you want it?

Please answer any of these questions or offer other input of your own. Thank you.

edit:
Here's a poll regarding the level of moderation question:

https://strawpoll.com/1e6ewbgs

Strict moderation favors ridding the forum of condescension and "cringe". Loose moderation favors a less clinical forum where people can fight their problems out. There is NOT an option for moderating only topics YOU don't agree with, so choose wisely.

Keep in mind this isn't a vote. Also, anyone who does not normally read/post in Cong should be willing to participate as well.
 
Last edited:
What general vibe do you want from Cong? How much moderation do you want in terms of users respecting other users? How light-hearted or serious do you want it?
Is this a serious question? I'm not being sarcastic. Some of the more political threads are extremely off putting and Im probably not the only one who feels out of place or cringe reading or skimming through them most times, which creates my perception of cong. Some peoples passion in these threads gets to a point of passive aggressiveness, condenscending, and making claims invalidating ones opinion when maybe they can agree to disagree? I get people want to use the platform to vent but it can get a bit corny.

Obviously politics isnt really a light hearted topic, I personally dont care about politics at all, but it would help if these were moderated to keep the negative points i made above at a minimal.
 

vonFiedler

Ridley is in Smash
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributor
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Is this a serious question? I'm not being sarcastic. Some of the more political threads are extremely off putting and Im probably not the only one who feels out of place or cringe reading or skimming through them most times, which creates my perception of cong. Some peoples passion in these threads gets to a point of passive aggressiveness, condenscending, and making claims invalidating ones opinion when maybe they can agree to disagree? I get people want to use the platform to vent but it can get a bit corny.

Obviously politics isnt really a light hearted topic, I personally dont care about politics at all, but it would help if these were moderated to keep the negative points i made above at a minimal.
I understand why it might seem like a strange question. But there are definitely people who want to vent as much as possible, and who are turned away by too much moderation, which they see as discussion stifling. While we'd never abandon rules like no flaming/no trolling, it'd be good to know how many people feel that way versus how many people feel the way you do. I may implement an anonymous poll for this purpose. Any and all input from people would be helpful.
 

nui

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I feel like in terms of moderation there should defiantly be a more lax approach with threads especially with ones that might be a little more controversial. I've noticed there were some posts that were locked prematurely due to the potential unhealthy conversation that could arise from it. With the increase of ppl to the moderation team I feel like it would benefit more to let things flow through and stop it when conversations are reaching a dead end instead of just assuming the worse.
 
I like threads that encourage heavy activity and conversation. I feel like the issue here is SOME threads are a little to exclusive and not inclusive enough, you know? I get the idea of X-focused discussions but like idk more open chats about vague/broad subjects would be okay.
 

Flare

Pierce the Skies!!!
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Topics and/or questions that makes the community to know each other better, to get more familiarized with how other people think about certain things, culture sharing and just good socializing. Being completely honest I'm not quite a fan of controversial topics but I suppose that as long as it doesn't take a really bad turn it wouldn't be bad to participate in them, and who knows, maybe we end up learning something new.
 

TheValkyries

proudly reppin' 2 superbowl wins since DEFLATEGATE
Congs current identity is politics and lifestyle. Problem is lifestyle posts trend toward journal updates which is totally fine but not a place for actual talking And politics has become some holy site of purist rational debate. Having emotions and making jokes or any sort of personality infused into the mythical holy debate land is forbidden. I would want Cong to just be a place where people can actually say shit without it having to be a debate. Letting this place develop emotionally would do it a lotta good. As it stands it’s just very clinically pristine and emotionally fake, which is boring af. Don’t be afraid to let it get messy and tense. Moderate towards resolving emotional tension rather than erasing it.
 
I'll throw my two sense in as an infrequent Cong Lurker who would like to get involved more.

Cong is very topic specific, and I like that. It's really cool to me how serious topics, ideas, concepts and projects grow and thrive for a long time. It's a place of personality and connections, where users get to openly relate to others and get to show that more human side to the community. I love going through things like the photo album and being able to relate that human element to a user, or being able to click on a thread about a hobby/interest of mine and finding like-minded users that I can relate to. Having a designated place for that is a good thing, and I think it can be flourished.

I think that moderators can do a better job of bumping successful and interesting threads like these to re-ignite interest in different threads with lasting subjects. As a casual checker of Cong, I'm usually just glancing through the first page for interesting topics and usually the same topics are there constantly. A well timed addition or opinion question posed in a dormant thread usually can create a chain of positive life and add more interest in the sub-form. Mods should be involved in things like our discord to get ideas about what are some good topics to start in this sub-forum, as well as direct people to add/contribute ideas and opinions to threads. In other words, mod those willing to make and promote topical and interesting content that fits the pulse of our community and promote/market it to users around the other areas of the off-topic community on discord/ps.

When it comes to the "toxicity" of Cong in regards to the elitism and over-politicized nature that threads here often devolve into, I think it could be handled better than it has been in recent years. As someone who really wants no part of having all of my opinions/stances be criticized and debated on the open web, it does really suck when I click on a thread for a particular topic and there are 6 pages of debate/conflict instead of the discussion I'm looking for. But it doesn't take a high IQ to realize what threads will erupt in the things I don't want to be bothered with. I feel like it should be common sense for a user to sift through whether or not they want to click on a Gun Control or Religion thread.

At the same time, I know there is a large number of people who want to debate and discuss highly controversial issues. They know what they're getting into, and unless they're being egregious with personal attacks or immaturity, let them have that space free of heavy moderation. You need to have moderators who don't punish people for having differing views then themselves. While a particular incident doesn't come to my mind, I'm pretty sure I remember having some past moderators be assholes and banning people for differing with the conscientious or giving opinions that were "wrong" or "backward". If you're opening up a thread for a debate... let it be a debate with all sides/opinions.

I think a great idea to help Cong would be to make use of those tread tags to help differentiate between a debate and a discussion, and sticky a "Rules/FAQ" Thread describing the rules and expectations for each type of thread. Discussion threads should be in nature more sharing and positive, while debate threads can be more no-holds-barred and opinionated.

This way, lets say, if you have a topic like the Existence of God, you can divide traffic into two threads. The thread with the "Discussion" Tab could be devoted to asking questions, sharing experiences, discussing different cultures and whatnot and be policed by moderators to avoid a lot of the toxicity. A second thread with a "Debate" tag would be your "quarantine" zone for those who want to post/read the "My opinion is right because X and yours is wrong because Y and Z" type of atmosphere.

Having like "Project/Activity" tabs would also be cool so that people at a glance can find what type of threads they want to participate in. If we're doing like a "Cooking Challenge of the Week" thread or a "Cong Makes a Song" thread and they have their own tab, hopefully it will make them stand our more and get more people involved who otherwise would miss it or not be bothered to explore.
 
I'll throw my two sense in as an infrequent Cong Lurker who would like to get involved more.

Cong is very topic specific, and I like that. It's really cool to me how serious topics, ideas, concepts and projects grow and thrive for a long time. It's a place of personality and connections, where users get to openly relate to others and get to show that more human side to the community. I love going through things like the photo album and being able to relate that human element to a user, or being able to click on a thread about a hobby/interest of mine and finding like-minded users that I can relate to. Having a designated place for that is a good thing, and I think it can be flourished.

I think that moderators can do a better job of bumping successful and interesting threads like these to re-ignite interest in different threads with lasting subjects. As a casual checker of Cong, I'm usually just glancing through the first page for interesting topics and usually the same topics are there constantly. A well timed addition or opinion question posed in a dormant thread usually can create a chain of positive life and add more interest in the sub-form. Mods should be involved in things like our discord to get ideas about what are some good topics to start in this sub-forum, as well as direct people to add/contribute ideas and opinions to threads. In other words, mod those willing to make and promote topical and interesting content that fits the pulse of our community and promote/market it to users around the other areas of the off-topic community on discord/ps.

When it comes to the "toxicity" of Cong in regards to the elitism and over-politicized nature that threads here often devolve into, I think it could be handled better than it has been in recent years. As someone who really wants no part of having all of my opinions/stances be criticized and debated on the open web, it does really suck when I click on a thread for a particular topic and there are 6 pages of debate/conflict instead of the discussion I'm looking for. But it doesn't take a high IQ to realize what threads will erupt in the things I don't want to be bothered with. I feel like it should be common sense for a user to sift through whether or not they want to click on a Gun Control or Religion thread.

At the same time, I know there is a large number of people who want to debate and discuss highly controversial issues. They know what they're getting into, and unless they're being egregious with personal attacks or immaturity, let them have that space free of heavy moderation. You need to have moderators who don't punish people for having differing views then themselves. While a particular incident doesn't come to my mind, I'm pretty sure I remember having some past moderators be assholes and banning people for differing with the conscientious or giving opinions that were "wrong" or "backward". If you're opening up a thread for a debate... let it be a debate with all sides/opinions.

I think a great idea to help Cong would be to make use of those tread tags to help differentiate between a debate and a discussion, and sticky a "Rules/FAQ" Thread describing the rules and expectations for each type of thread. Discussion threads should be in nature more sharing and positive, while debate threads can be more no-holds-barred and opinionated.

This way, lets say, if you have a topic like the Existence of God, you can divide traffic into two threads. The thread with the "Discussion" Tab could be devoted to asking questions, sharing experiences, discussing different cultures and whatnot and be policed by moderators to avoid a lot of the toxicity. A second thread with a "Debate" tag would be your "quarantine" zone for those who want to post/read the "My opinion is right because X and yours is wrong because Y and Z" type of atmosphere.

Having like "Project/Activity" tabs would also be cool so that people at a glance can find what type of threads they want to participate in. If we're doing like a "Cooking Challenge of the Week" thread or a "Cong Makes a Song" thread and they have their own tab, hopefully it will make them stand our more and get more people involved who otherwise would miss it or not be bothered to explore.
Just wanted to second this. It's basically impossible to have an opinion in Cong without someone jumping down your throat telling you you're wrong. I've been guilty in the past, but honestly it's the main reason I'm less active than I used to be, and having separate areas for heated debates and just chill discussions would be really nice so that it's not all the former.
 

GatoDelFuego

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Hey guys, thanks for the responses so far!

From talking with other people, the biggest thing people seem to dislike about cong is the clique nature, especially that the comes with the political side of things. The strong debate mentality can be off-putting to outsiders. Like I've said in the past, I enjoy talking about politics, and I want to be very clear I'm not calling out anybody in that strong debate circle, because I'm definitely in there myself! But overall, I don't think cong HAS to be a clique. My personal future vision of cong is somewhere that everybody on smogon can drop in and discuss things. Cong's current identity is centered around political debates, and I think that "decentralizing" that idea will be good for everybody. How we do that isn't by trying to quash political threads but by encouraging a variety of discussion, imo. Martin's made some really good threads so far on that front!

So now that you've heard what *I* want out of cong, I want to respond to a couple posts so far. We've got some people that want lax moderation, especially in political threads. Other people say that they're turned away by the super serious debate that goes on, which I don't think more relaxed moderation is going to make any less of. So is there a happy medium that both camps can reach? Just representing my own thoughts, but ButteredToast's idea seems sort of cool. I think it'd be awesome if more non-regulars of cong popped into political discussions to throw in their two cents, but I can understand why people don't feel comfortable doing that now.
 
This has been pretty much said already but I definitely want a lighter-hearted place. As Faint had noted when he made the "My Life is Better Than Yours" thread, he noticed how serious and depressing the place is. I look through here and I see people either coming out as LGBTQ for the first time to Smogon, or talking about their depression, or whatnot. Why can't we have a happier place?

In addition, I have noticed a clique from lurking around the place and actually posting. The same people post the active threads, and the same people respond to them every damn time. V was definitely right in saying that he wants more posts from regular, non badge holder users. I definitely find this a huge problem and IDK how to address it, if anything can be done at all, but I would like it addressed.

One final thing I'd like to note is the possibility of creating a general chat (not the photo album thread because not all of us are comfortable sharing pictures and sometimes I'd rather have a place to talk instead of photos), similar to the Discord's #general and Firebot's (yes, firebot, it's a good idea just the place isn't conducive towards it) thread. It should just be a place to chill and have casual conversation. I feel like that would help newer users get into the ways of the place without it seeming like we're elitist and exclusive.
 

Myzozoa

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The mods have done such a good job this year honestly, except in the lgbtq thread as can still be seen there are still posts in need of deletion, but that isn't their fault, they don't write the posts. basically my biggest issue is that you always try to explain yourselves too much and you really don't have to lol. the mods of these forums seem to be the only users in the community that care what other people think about their actions. Sometimes, thats cool, but

It worries me that yall feel such a need for confirmation and attention that you will explain your decisions even when they are obviously correct, because if you do the same shit when youre obviously wrong (and you do) it is a shitshow and I've had to deal with that a bunch of times this year. the lgbtq thread is still covered in invective-filled posts that the mods won't delete even after theyve banned the user and deleted the same post made by other users.

for the mods, your training for next year, you can watch this video on during the holidays or when youre not as busy or on a snow day. indulge me this winter:

"This is a critical and educational video about the deceptive strategies used by the Alt-Right to appeal to centrists."

please watch the video, "This is a critical and educational video about the deceptive strategies used by the Alt-Right to appeal to centrists."

Remember, discord used to be and still is a huge hotbed for trolls and we have to be aware of how that affects our sense of what it means to have a normal community.

Please dont allow yourselves to be played by the same toxic shit in this community that seeks to force out users that dont fit in with the bro-culture. after me, it could be you. Stop being Played, like that time when yall got together on the basis of making new rules for cong to tone police me, which actually did nothing to stop me from my posting, and did everything to silence other users (the observed effect: even less activity in cong politics threads). am i (certain users??) still the problem?

since i know it's pretty unreasonable to get rid of many of these political threads, i think heavier and unbiased moderation is needed. people may call this "tone policing", but i think there needs to be a major crackdown on personal attacks and insults, passive aggressiveness, general rudeness, and crazy emotional investment in the argument to name a few issues. you guys have (seemingly) cracked down on certain users who literally copy and paste articles in these threads, which really helps, but i think a crackdown on these toxic attitudes needs to happen. i don't think much meaningful political discussion would happen here, so i think focusing on this more than uninformed posts makes more sense personally (although i'd normally say the reverse).

So you're saying that the political discussions go like political discussions? you know people being 'emotionally invested' in issues that affect their lives, we could stop having them, i.e not allowing them to be necro-bumped by those devious, passive aggressive and (apparently) emotionally invested users baiting the innocent unsuspecting users of cong with c/p-ed articles, but then these discussions just wouldn't exist... there'd be no posts in those threads, which is what we've seen since they supposedly 'cracked down on certain users' (well, 'those users' still do post, but now no one will reply...). there has been no activity, which is not because of new rules but because I'm busy starting 2 new jobs lol. so sorry, if you remember i didnt even find out that the rules were changed until i had a post deleted due to it weeks after the change. i dont have time to c/p a fresh reading list every week, especially not with the new rules.

tl-dr: summers over, and so is most of 2017, the mods really stepped up this year except in the lgbtq thread which is still covered in undeleted shit postings.

i think everything is peachy in cong, and I double dog dare bt and/or starry blanket to find out for themselves and try posting about something political.

To the mods, now that you know what youre doing (except martin), lighten up and try to have fun w it. delete more posts, if necessary (you could even start with this one), and explain yourselves (to the firebot community) less.


And yes I have regrets about cong:

more posts

edit: from regular users, not mods
I never made a thread about clothing/fashion or NW pacific USA boardgame meet-up thread.

Like, thats on me, I could/should have contributed these threads, and there are other users that could have other contributions but they didn't for whatever reason.

I don't think there is any problem with the current moderation, but if yall continue to make decisions obviously to target 'certain users' you will quickly learn, if you still haven't figured it out, that you can't get more activity by telling users to be less active.
 

Asek

Genious to some... retard to most
why are people posting opposed to a 'clique' (i hate this word and im using crew from now on) that has formed in cong? in any online forum there will be users that group together over common interests and form friendships / alliances amongst each other, generally posting in the same threads as each other. on other forums where the subs are more broad and theres more active posters (think neocrap / SA) these arent as evident on a surface level, with differant groups posting in the same environment but since smogon splinters and has such small participation in most of its subforums, there exists dominant groups within each of these forums. this group usually defines the forums nature morseo then any moderator team does. due to the way forums function, the formation of these groups is inevitable and largely unavoidable.

you may not like its existence but its not like you can take that part out of the forum. the only feasible way of doing so would be to ban the core posters of the current crew (not going to happen) or a massive influx of new users. if you look to ANY forum here you will see what im talking about. people that are in the core get likes / responses whatever, whereas those on the periphery usually try emulate and establish themselves amongst the core, with some doing it a lot better then others. if you dont like that aspect of forums, postings probably not for you

this might not be too coherent but i hope the point gets across
 
Reactions: EV
I enjoy the political theater and other high-emotion threads. It's certainly more provocative than the dozen or so special interest topic threads happening atm. Half of them read like second-rate Upworthy side dishes.

I also enjoy seeing the same people / cliques / crews roast plebs over and over again in said political threads.

In terms of what I want, it'd have to be stop entertaining obviously degenerate racist / homophobic / sexist etc posts in order to fulfill some make believe diversity quota. Just delete them.
 
Just wanted to give a shout out to Myzozoa for posting an excellent example of the kind of shit that makes me not want to take part in any of the serious/political threads in cong. Well done.
 

RODAN

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reading this forum stresses me out. theres so much hate spewed in political threads. people post dumb shit, and then everyone proceeds to pile on them ad nauseum. like, instead of saying why they're wrong/you disagree etc it usually seems to end in petty namecalling and thinly veiled jabs. there definitely seems to be some sort of holier than thou mindset. i dont agree with a lot of the bigoted posts, but there are people who want more arguments in cong, but also want these posts deleted. if they were deleted then where does the conflict that you guys want come from. im having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around a lot of these arguments, but im also retarded so take it as you will
 

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