|Opened on:||Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 08:07|
|Last modified:||Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 07:53|
CFC suggested I make a feedback item about this, so here goes...
I feel that the current environment surrounding Foldit does not sufficiently deal with grievance issues individuals have on occasion. While issues such as swearing and harassment are usually dealt with in quick order (usually by temporarily banning certain individuals), other issues such as "trolling", and inflamed disputes, are not.
I understand that the main purpose for Foldit's in-game chat mechanism, is to help people in learning how to play Foldit, and to discuss problems that arise with the game's functions. It can also be used to meet people who also play the game, from around the world.
I believe that moderators of Foldit have adopted the stance that most, if not all topics of the world around us, can be discussed freely in chat. Please correct me if I am wrong about this, as I have been confused once before. Provided that topics don't offend people, they are usually left alone to discuss them.
There are some topics that tend to cause fiery debate, such as religion, politics, cultural differences, and homosexuality. If there are no rules as to what can be discussed, moderators should be prepared to tackle any disputes that may get out of hand. Something to consider, is that this burden can be reduced, if people are restricted to what they can discuss.
Cultural diversity can be a sensitive issue, one that cannot easily be tackled. However, it would pay to remain mindful of things that may be perfectly fine to say in one culture, but may not be perceived well in another.
There should, at the very least, be a "grievance guidelines" or "chat/media usage" page somewhere on either the Foldit website or the Foldit Wiki, clearly stating the expectations of people using the chat mechanism, and even the website's private messaging function, but also including what people can do when experiencing grief from others. Since this game is open to everyone worldwide, including people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds, this should also be clearly stated.
Some people just don't realise this when they first start playing, and don't necessarily look at the FAQ or About pages on the website, or the Wiki. One idea could be a message pop up in the game, when either of the chat boxes are clicked on to be opened for the first time, briefly outlining the expectations of how it should and should not be used, and referring people to a website and/or wiki link for further information. Perhaps this could remain more permanent, with a question mark icon next to the "i" icon, at the top of the chat boxes, so that it may be accessed when ever a user needs to look at it again.
It is recommended that people can approach moderators when they feel threatened, and moderators should analyse the situation as far as practically possible, and reply in a manner that re-assures individuals, while maintaining rational dialogue. There may be a need to communicate with both parties in concern with each case encountered, in order to sufficiently resolve conflicts.
It is also recommended that people are told to use common sense, such as not labelling others with names, respecting the opinions of others, and conversing politely where ever possible. Some less obvious advice could be to try and control their emotions, think things through before chatting, and thinking about situations and/or debates from other people's points of view.
This feedback could be taken with a grain of salt. Some Foldit moderators probably already take these things into account, but I believe the reason why the community isn't as large as it could be, is not just to do with a lack of interest in it, but also a general lack of individuals feeling useful, and lacking a sense of security. I hope that we can make the Foldit project more productive, by making the project environment more comfortable for people to participate in, and feel wanted and appreciated.
Thank you for taking the time to read my post.