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Changing the way descriptions work: auto-approval and relaxed rules

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This suggestion came forth out of another description thread, where this specific suggestion cannot be discussed anymore, so feel free to continue discussing your thoughts here!

 

 

Summary

This thread is about this idea:

 

  • Make the descriptions insta-approved. In other words: no mod queue anymore, what you put in your dragon description box is instantly visible for everyone.
  • Make the description guidelines extremely relaxed (compared to now) if not remove them. (Why? Read below**)
  • The report button for descriptions will only be used for abuse, ie. spam and abusive language, and mods will be able to remove descriptions.

 

This idea was born out of the question "What can we do to make describing dragons more streamlined?" A big issue is the very big approval queue that mods have to sift through, and them simply not having enough time to do that quickly.

The idea of having instant descriptions came along, but I felt like just implementing instant descriptions wouldn't work with the current rules we have. Why? Because the current rules are there in place to have a certain standard about the descriptions, to have good grammar and blend in well with the established lore, for example. Which are good rules on their own, but that changes if we have insta-descriptions and those not adhering to those rules become reportable.

 

**I think keeping the current rules in combination with auto-approved descriptions is a bad idea because

1) All the descriptions that are currently in the queue that are eventually NOT going to be approved, are going to be reportable, and will get back into the queue that we're trying to shorten (sure, it might take a little longer before they are seen & reported, but in effect you're just moving the problem one step away). Don't forget that even a little mistake such as a misplaced comma would go right back into the queue for mods to look at.

2) It means that until someone with power (a mod or such) personally "approves" (in a conversation, not actually by a button or anything) your description, you will have to wonder whether one day your description will get deleted. Which is a very backwards way of thinking considering you'd have "free editable descriptions" yet what's supposed to be in them, would not be so free. You could have a description you love and worked hard at for well over a year before someone sees it and reports it and suddenly it needs to be changed.

 

 

Pros

Pros of having an auto-approved description, and having laxer rules:

- More people may become interested in describing. The reward is immediately there, there's no worries about whether or not it's a good description, if you like it (and it's not spam/abusive), it's good. With less strict rules and the instant reward, the bar to start describing is next to non-existent.

- The queue that once had up to 10000 descriptions pending, will now only have very simple reports such as "spam" or "abusive language" which you can near-instantly identify and remove. (No thinking hard about whether this is correct grammar, no re-checking lore) No more waiting for the users, no more hard work for the mods.

- With no lore rules in place, there's a much bigger scope of subjects we can touch on: people can write about cyborg dragons, people could even do a scroll theme and make all their dragons match a certain theme, the descriptions are there instantly so it wouldn't be a tedious progress. People could make entire lineages with themed descriptions. People could start writing poems instead of descriptions. Etc.

-

 

Cons

Cons of having auto-approved description, and having laxer rules:

- Spam! People can absolutely put in stuff like "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" and press submit.

▶️ Don't forget a spamfilter for links, abusive language etc. can be put into place, which might remove a lot of the problem. Another thing to consider is this: how much harm does spam do if no one ever sees it? If someone sees it, they can report it into the queue that should be much faster now!

 

- The quality of some descriptions will absolutely drop if there's no rules. People can submit stuff like "This is Pete and he loves to ride a helicopter".

▶️ This is a trade-off (for instant descriptions) that I personally am okay with, because sometimes it can be fun, and I know there will be people who still want to describe in the way we do now, and I'll probably simply associate with those people. And the thing that really disregards this con for me mostly: I don't really care about descriptions THAT much. If I see something that makes me raise an eyebrow, I just ... raise an eyebrow, and continue doing something else. 🤷‍♀️ It's the same for me as seeing a dragon named with a less-than-tasteful name. Some people like that, I might not so much, I move on.

 

- It's immersion breaking to have weird, inconsistent descriptions.

▶️ I disagree, because there already isn't that much immersion because of another mechanic on the site that has (near) free input: names. I have a description about a dragon that's literally named after a real-world-franchise and product that probably does not exist in Valkemare. Still, the description got approved, and it's one of my favourite ones even though it's not immersive at all. It made me bond with another description writer, it makes me laugh, it created a silly and fun moment with other people (the parents aren't mine) and those moments are what I really like about Dragoncave.

-

 

The rules
So what should these rules be changed to, then? Here are the current description rules.

I personally would go for something like

 

- No spam/abuse (with a filter, similar to what we have now)

- English only, but perhaps add all forms of English (accents, British spelling, etc)

- No HTML

 

But this is up for discussion!

 

TL;DR
Make describing easier and faster --> remove the queue mechanic, instead make all descriptions appear instantly --> no more strict rules on grammar and lore as that conflicts with the idea of "free" descriptions

(Obviously, read the rest of the post for the "why" of it all.)

 

 

 

 

What do you think?

Can you think of more pros / cons? Or is there something wrong with the things I've written? Do you think the trade-off of more freedom vs faster queues is worth it? Would you make other rules? Discuss!

 

Keep in mind that this thread focuses on faster queue by auto-descriptions and changing the rules and whether this all is a good idea, only. If you have other ideas for making describing more efficient, go to this thread.

Don't worry about fine-tuning, especially coding issues - that's something for TJ to worry about. (Something he has said in the past and a mod has also recently said)

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I think this will make Descriptions a much more welcoming feature of the game, and feel less like a hopeless endeavor or English homework.

 

It saves resources on the end of the mods, and lets users have results. 

 

I fail to see why the degree of gatekeeping we currently have is necessary, and at all worth all the resources it is consuming. Let people have fun in the sandbox. It isn't hurting you. 

 

13 year old Chase would probably write some "half baked" or "stupid" descriptions in the eyes of older players but... 13 year old Chase would be having fun and not hurting anybody by having dragon descriptions that aren't homework worthy on a dragon pet site game. 

 

Cin already mentioned how names are not moderated as well. It's consistent. 

 

Rather than manually filter literally everything, bringing the entire feature to a slow, arduous slog for everyone involved, this approach would simply have problems dealt with if and when they arise. 

 

It isn't like there's a box on the front page randomly showcasing dragon descriptions. You have to look for them or they have to be shared to be found. If you have nothing better to do than sift through other people's dragons looking for reasons to be displeased then... That is a you problem. 

 

This level of policing isn't benefitting or encouraging the community to engage. I've seen enough people say they don't bother trying to describe their dragons due to the long wait times and strict rules. We should be encouraging people, not discouraging them. I even had people tell me not to bother or expect anything when I asked about how it worked. Those people weren't exactly wrong, it took almost half a year for my descriptions to even be looked at, and that was only after I made a thread like this one. One had 14 approval votes and 0 rejects or abstains. 

 

So even doing everything right, it was still like that. By the end of it it hardly felt worth it. I have other dragons whose stories I would like to tell but the process is so frustrating I almost don't want to try again. 

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Now that DC’s setting and canon are expanded in the way of valkemarian lore, little of which is formally presented on site, pretty much everything in dragon descriptions and the gameplay premise of the site is like... “old canon.” I don’t see a compelling reason to enforce style or consistency on player dragon descriptions. If someone cares enough to go through the energy to write an excited blurb about how their aeon can travel through space and time to earth 1988 to dance in post soviet discos, more power to them. Valkemare couldn’t support the biomass of the bulk of player dragons, one player couldn’t raise as many dragons in a lifetime as people have on their scrolls so it only stands to reason most individual dragons aren’t canon to begin with.

 

I’d recommend automated filtering for profanity and urls, an internal queue where mods can quickly browse “recent descriptions” if need be, and a big obvious report button on the view page on described dragons for players that find The Bad Stuff when mods don’t. Otherwise proceeding with the assumption that most people aren’t yikesy trolls is probably a good mindset.

Edited by Marrionetta

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23 minutes ago, BrazenChase said:

It isn't like there's a box on the front page randomly showcasing dragon descriptions. You have to look for them or they have to be shared to be found. If you have nothing better to do than sift through other people's dragons looking for reasons to be displeased then... That is a you problem.

Descriptions being pretty hidden is what makes most of the cons go away for me, yeah. You just stumble upon them. The only place where you get to see more of them is in the Description Force thread -  and there people are actively helping each other to make a description better, so you probably won't find many "low quality" descriptions there (and even if you do, they're looking for help, apparently).

 

22 minutes ago, Marrionetta said:

Now that DC’s setting and canon are expanded in the way of valkemarian lore, little of which is formally presented on site, pretty much everything in dragon descriptions and the gameplay premise of the site is like... “old canon.” I don’t see a compelling reason to enforce style or consistency on player dragon descriptions. If someone cares enough to go through the energy to write an excited blurb about how their aeon can travel through space and time to earth 1988 to dance in post soviet discos, more power to them. Valkemare couldn’t support the biomass of the bulk of player dragons, one player couldn’t raise as many dragons in a lifetime as people have on their scrolls so it only stands to reason most individual dragons aren’t canon to begin with.

 

I’d recommend automated filtering for profanity and urls, an internal queue where mods can quickly browse “recent descriptions” if need be, and a big obvious report button on the view page on described dragons for players that find The Bad Stuff when mods don’t. Otherwise proceeding with the assumption that most people aren’t yikesy trolls is probably a good mindset.

You raise some excellent points I hadn't thought about. Even now the user descriptions are clearly marked "user descriptions" and I would never take them for canon.

 

(Also reading about that Aeon actually made me excited, that just sounds like a cute idea really XD That we're missing out on now!!!)

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I think I'm in favor of this. As long as it reduces the workload of our mods and doesn't hurt the site.

 

I'd still propose that a description that may have been reported and thus, accepted by modly powers (as well as all already approved descriptions) should lose their report button to avoid mods being swamped with reports on the same description time and again.

Another thing - if someone randomly hits "report" on various descriptions, remove their ability to report them in the first place. Or, as an additional measure (against evil siblings/roommates), enforce reports to be verified by scroll passwords. Because we really don't need people to spam-report stuff, thus creating extra work for our mods.

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17 minutes ago, olympe said:

Another thing - if someone randomly hits "report" on various descriptions, remove their ability to report them in the first place. Or, as an additional measure (against evil siblings/roommates), enforce reports to be verified by scroll passwords. Because we really don't need people to spam-report stuff, thus creating extra work for our mods.

 

This is a very smart idea.

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I honestly don't care either way as I don't write descriptions.  But it is very biased to present all the pros without a rebuttal and all the cons with. Talk about leading the witness....

 

I do agree that people that report just to do so should also be regulated. Used to annoy the carp out of me on the few I did write/when I still helped the review thread.

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The reason I like DC was that at the time that there were cheese dragons and no real lore to speak of. To this day I've not made the slightest effort to wrap my head around any of that mana or elemental stuff and I won't. It won't feature in any descriptions I write and I'm not interested in reading any descriptions about it. Now Pete and his helicopter sound much more interesting to me.

 

So yeah, I would love for it to be more relaxed. The degree of relaxed vs. spiraling out of control can still be adjusted at a later date if necessary.

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4 hours ago, DragonLady86 said:

I honestly don't care either way as I don't write descriptions.  But it is very biased to present all the pros without a rebuttal and all the cons with. Talk about leading the witness....

What con is there to 'more people might want to write descriptions'? 

 

Same for the others, I just couldn't quickly think of any. Feel free to discuss a rebuttal to the pros I listed. 

 

ETA: Also, I'm pretty sure that's a standard way of setting up a debate... If I had a valid con for my pros I probably wouldn't consider them pros anymore, would I? 

Edited by Cinspawn

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I also don't see any real cons besides a few gatekeepers getting their feathers ruffled because some theoretical silly folks will be allowed in the sandbox not really hurting anybody. 

 

No one is forcing you to read descriptions you yourself wouldn't write. Unless you want to go deep diving on my scroll of over 1000 dragons to find one of my less than 10 described ones (good luck) you would probably never see them.

 

Since it's a user description it isn't official or canon, and it is clearly labeled as a user description. No one's lore is being touched or ruined in any meaningful way. 

 

The links and profanity can be filtered out, and if someone does put something inappropriate up then it can be reported just like inappropriate names are now.

 

We don't have to get every single name we write approved and those sure aren't lore friendly in a lot of cases. 

Edited by BrazenChase

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If canon is relaxed - no problem - but it does need to be in the rules. You also need no links of any kind - not even carefully modified. (like www. dragcave. net) so that they cannot lead u/13's somewhere they should not be.

 

I would prefer descrip mods, as I have said - but the system marri has suggested sounds like a good compromise - I suspect it would still NEED descrip mods to check that recent list, though, or the queue will build again.

 

It's not just about raining on a parade, though. I have "accepted" any number of descriptions I didn't like. But I have also rejected some which - didn't say what the writer intended. I recall one ghastly incident on another forum where someone whose first language was Afrikaans called someone a womaniser. That was not at ALL what he had meant, (he meant  the guy"revered women") but the result was that he was banned. Descrip mods can help avoid that kind of thing.

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13 hours ago, DragonLady86 said:

I honestly don't care either way as I don't write descriptions.  But it is very biased to present all the pros without a rebuttal and all the cons with. Talk about leading the witness....

Well, why don't you lead the witness in the opposite direction?

 

50 minutes ago, Fuzzbucket said:

I would prefer descrip mods, as I have said - but the system marri has suggested sounds like a good compromise - I suspect it would still NEED descrip mods to check that recent list, though, or the queue will build again.

 

It's not just about raining on a parade, though. I have "accepted" any number of descriptions I didn't like. But I have also rejected some which - didn't say what the writer intended. I recall one ghastly incident on another forum where someone whose first language was Afrikaans called someone a womaniser. That was not at ALL what he had meant, (he meant  the guy"revered women") but the result was that he was banned. Descrip mods can help avoid that kind of thing.

Somehow, I don't see anyone getting banned for describing their dragon as a womanizer - not on DC.

 

Which reminds me - TJ probably needs to shut down description comments anyway, since this feature could be abused as a messaging system... "Review [dragon]'s pending description with a comment for contact. Leave return address dragon with pending description." Considering how long it takes for a description to get approved, this is a working method of scroll-to-scroll communication.

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Just my opinion.

 

I do favor changing the rules to allow all correct English spellings.

 

I, personally don't mind the present rules about the setting of DC. They have made me more creative in some of my descriptions, not less.

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40 minutes ago, olympe said:

 

 

Which reminds me - TJ probably needs to shut down description comments anyway, since this feature could be abused as a messaging system... "Review [dragon]'s pending description with a comment for contact. Leave return address dragon with pending description." Considering how long it takes for a description to get approved, this is a working method of scroll-to-scroll communication.

There is no way to guarantee a person, not a mod, will see your description. I've tried looking for one I knew was there. Never got it. Maybe if there wasn't a que in which case we wouldn't need this whole disscuion. 

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8 hours ago, BrazenChase said:

I also don't see any real cons besides a few gatekeepers getting their feathers ruffled because some theoretical silly folks will be allowed in the sandbox not really hurting anybody. 

 

No one is forcing you to read descriptions you yourself wouldn't write. Unless you want to go deep diving on my scroll of over 1000 dragons to find one of my less than 10 described ones (good luck) you would probably never see them.

 

Since it's a user description it isn't official or canon, and it is clearly labeled as a user description. No one's lore is being touched or ruined in any meaningful way. 

 

The links and profanity can be filtered out, and if someone does put something inappropriate up then it can be reported just like inappropriate names are now.

 

We don't have to get every single name we write approved and those sure aren't lore friendly in a lot of cases. 

 

Just my opinion. Not intending to speak for anyone else.

 

The thing is this is not your sandbox, it's not my sandbox, it's not a public sandbox at the neighborhood park. It's TJ's sandbox and he made the rules. Some who are defending the rules have said that they would obey new rules if TJ put them in place. All I am saying is that as long as there are rules, we need to obey them. It's not my call what the rules are, but I don't find them particularly bothersome to me.

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I'm not sure what queue you are talking about (multiple users above me) with this suggestion there would be no queue.

 

4 hours ago, Fuzzbucket said:

I would prefer descrip mods, as I have said - but the system marri has suggested sounds like a good compromise - I suspect it would still NEED descrip mods to check that recent list, though, or the queue will build again.

I think @Marrionetta meant more of a feed to keep an eye on every now and then, not an actual queue. But I'll leave that to Marri as I don't want to speak for them.

 

3 hours ago, olympe said:

reminds me - TJ probably needs to shut down description comments anyway, since this feature could be abused as a messaging system... "Review [dragon]'s pending description with a comment for contact. Leave return address dragon with pending description." Considering how long it takes for a description to get approved, this is a working method of scroll-to-scroll communication.

Someone already gave a good reason why communication wouldn't work at all in that way - but the whole point is moot because there will be no approval with this suggestion. It's auto-approval. Everything is approved.

 

3 minutes ago, raindear said:

The thing is this is not your sandbox, it's not my sandbox, it's not a public sandbox at the neighborhood park. It's TJ's sandbox and he made the rules. Some who are defending the rules have said that they would obey new rules if TJ put them in place. All I am saying is that as long as there are rules, we need to obey them. It's not my call what the rules are, but I don't find them particularly bothersome to me.

No one is saying to not obey current rules right now, we're just talking about potential rule changes. That's what the suggestion board is for, discussing potential changes. TJ closes threads he sees no future in, so there's no need to worry about what TJ thinks.

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Auto-approval already exists. It's existed for years. It's also opt-in, and that's not something I'm going to change--since it's user-generated content that I can't guarantee is "safe" to look at outside some basic word/link censoring, turning on the "view unapproved descriptions" option is an acknowledgement that you might see Bad Stuff.

 

There's even now a message telling you when you would have been able to a description if you turned on the option.

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Just now, TJ09 said:

Auto-approval already exists. It's existed for years. It's also opt-in, and that's not something I'm going to change--since it's user-generated content that I can't guarantee is "safe" to look at outside some basic word/link censoring, turning on the "view unapproved descriptions" option is an acknowledgement that you might see Bad Stuff.

 

There's even now a message telling you when you would have been able to a description if you turned on the option.

I never looked at it like that, but I guess it's true, in a strange sort of way.

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13 minutes ago, TJ09 said:

Auto-approval already exists. It's existed for years. It's also opt-in, and that's not something I'm going to change--since it's user-generated content that I can't guarantee is "safe" to look at outside some basic word/link censoring, turning on the "view unapproved descriptions" option is an acknowledgement that you might see Bad Stuff.

 

There's even now a message telling you when you would have been able to a description if you turned on the option.

It doesn't exist in the way it is presented in the first post - in a way that impacts the approval queue.

 

Having un-approved descriptions visible (are they even instantly visible? I'm not exactly sure) is not the same as having everything auto-approved and only removing abusive/spam descriptions. With the current system, you can have a description for a long time and still be forced to change it later on (which could take months).

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3 minutes ago, Cinspawn said:

It doesn't exist in the way it is presented in the first post - in a way that impacts the approval queue.

 

Having un-approved descriptions visible (are they even instantly visible? I'm not exactly sure) is not the same as having everything auto-approved and only removing abusive/spam descriptions. With the current system, you can have a description for a long time and still be forced to change it later on (which could take months).

But trying to make a distinction there is getting closer and closer to splitting hairs. Even if a mod "forces" someone to change a description months after submitting, the description will be visible to people during the interim. That's not significantly different from a mod coming in and reviewing a reported description and removing it months after it was submitted--in both cases the description was submitted, people saw it, then it went away after a mod saw it.

 

I'm ignoring the request here about relaxing the rules (though I'm assuming you're coupling that in with your counterargument here) because that's honestly a completely separate topic (and in fact there is/was a thread specifically for that)--you could still have mod approval where the only thing being looked for is basic decency, and you could have auto-approval with viewers being empowered to report descriptions for spelling mistakes.

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1 minute ago, TJ09 said:

But trying to make a distinction there is getting closer and closer to splitting hairs. Even if a mod "forces" someone to change a description months after submitting, the description will be visible to people during the interim. That's not significantly different from a mod coming in and reviewing a reported description and removing it months after it was submitted--in both cases the description was submitted, people saw it, then it went away after a mod saw it.

 

I'm ignoring the request here about relaxing the rules (though I'm assuming you're coupling that in with your counterargument here) because that's honestly a completely separate topic (and in fact there is/was a thread specifically for that)--you could still have mod approval where the only thing being looked for is basic decency, and you could have auto-approval with viewers being empowered to report descriptions for spelling mistakes.

Yeah I'm absolutely combining the rules with the auto-approval thing, otherwise there would be no point to it (like you said, not significantly different).

 

This thread is specifically for those ideas combined. I really hope the other thread you mention is not the one BrazenChase made a few days ago because when we tried to talk about this we got mod intervention to not have such a broad topic, therefore this thread.

 

The entire point of the idea is to have no more queue at all - no more waiting - and the only reportable offense would be abuse or spam, not questionable lore, spelling mistakes, or style choices. If the latter would be reportable (and thus against the rules - and thus having to be changed) there's no point and it opens up a whole can of worms too. The whole point is to relax the description rules, make the descriptions free, and do away with the mod queue. What do you think about that?

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2 minutes ago, Cinspawn said:

Yeah I'm absolutely combining the rules with the auto-approval thing, otherwise there would be no point to it (like you said, not significantly different).

 

This thread is specifically for those ideas combined. I really hope the other thread you mention is not the one BrazenChase made a few days ago because when we tried to talk about this we got mod intervention to not have such a broad topic, therefore this thread.

 

The entire point of the idea is to have no more queue at all - no more waiting - and the only reportable offense would be abuse or spam, not questionable lore, spelling mistakes, or style choices. If the latter would be reportable (and thus against the rules - and thus having to be changed) there's no point and it opens up a whole can of worms too. The whole point is to relax the description rules, make the descriptions free, and do away with the mod queue. What do you think about that?

 

If you think the current system we have today is pretty much the same as an auto-approval system minus guideline changes, and the bulk of your request is to relax the rules, then make this thread about relaxing the rules.

 

I am 100% talking about the thread that was closed, and I've already followed up with the mods about why that thread was closed in the first place.

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19 minutes ago, TJ09 said:

 

If you think the current system we have today is pretty much the same as an auto-approval system, and the bulk of your request is to relax the rules, then make this thread about relaxing the rules.

If the rules would be relaxed in the way I said, there's no need for an approval queue anymore. So the idea still stands, especially because a lot of people dislike the queue as a concept.

Also pretty much the same is not "the same". I could give arguments for that but I'm not sure if they're relevant right now.

 

What IS relevant is the next question: Would you consider relaxing the rules in a way where style and lore does not matter anymore and the only reportable offense would be spam or abuse? Or is that out of the question entirely?

Edited by Cinspawn

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15 hours ago, olympe said:

Well, why don't you lead the witness in the opposite direction?

 

Somehow, I don't see anyone getting banned for describing their dragon as a womanizer - not on DC.

 

 

No - it was just an example of how different native languages can cause misunderstandings in descriptions that would potentially offend.

 

10 hours ago, TJ09 said:

 

If you think the current system we have today is pretty much the same as an auto-approval system minus guideline changes, and the bulk of your request is to relax the rules, then make this thread about relaxing the rules.

 

I am 100% talking about the thread that was closed, and I've already followed up with the mods about why that thread was closed in the first place.

 

Thank you - I was a bit baffled !

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