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Smashboards Update - Policy Revisions & Forum Restructuring


Hello everyone! It's been a while since our previous Smashboards update last year - when we updated to XenForo 2.0. Over the last several months, our entire Moderation Staff have been working to make massive changes to our site's forums and policies to better improve the experience for all users. Today, we'll be covering the majority of these changes, including several that have already been put into place.

New Policies

Several staff members have been hard at work refining our policies. Some of these changes include: properly updating to accommodate various rising laws about privacy rights, better establish Smashboards as a welcoming and inclusive space, and reforming our forum rules. We now have several updated and brand new Help Pages.
  • Our Terms and Rules are now split into two different pages.
  • We have redefined our Terms of Service to better indicate how we operate and our liabilities.
  • We have overhauled our Forum Rules to match a massive restructure in our Warnings System; more details can be found later in this article.
  • Our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy have had large updates with respect to transparency and new policies surrounding how we handle our site.
  • We have crafted an Diversity & Inclusivity Policy to better establish Smashboards as a welcoming space.
  • We have created a Self-Harm Policy; this policy details how we look into and work with situations where users express strongly depressive thoughts or the intent to commit self-harm or suicide.
  • Our Staff Help Forums include a dedicated page to explaining acceptable topics for them, and posting guidelines should a user seek to use these forums.
  • We have created a Catalog of Abnormal Forum Rules to better detail when forums have specific exceptions to them.
Forum Restructuring

Much of our renewal of the forums has been completed. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • General movement of all of our forums to showcase our active outlets.
  • Our less active boards for Smash games (Smash 64, Brawl, Project M, and Smash for Wii U / 3DS) have been housed under the Past Smash forum.
  • Smasher’s Hangout has seen a large restructuring. Several forums have been consolidated down to better facilitate discussion. In addition, we’ve established Serious Discussion as a board for more debatable topics..
  • A newly minted Staff Announcements & User Feedback forum (more details below) was established on August 1st; more details may be found below.
Some forums have moved to our archive, predominantly within Smasher's Hangout. If there are any threads you feel should be moved, let a Super Moderator or Administrator know and we'll work to come up with a resolution with you.

Staff Announcements & User Feedback Forum

One of our biggest changes is the Staff Announcements & User Feedback forum, installed last week. This forum acts as an area for users to make suggestions and submit feedback regarding our site in a public space. We will also use this forum to post non-newsworthy updates from the Moderation Staff, such as staff appointments or new forums.

Included with this are two unique forums, known as Help From A Smashboards Moderator and Help From A Smashboards Admin. Within these forums, all Moderation Staff (in the case of the latter, exclusively administrators) will be able to view all threads and users will only view their own; these act similarly to our Forum Support of old. We ask that if a user plans to post in any of these forums that they view both the Staff Announcements & User Feedback posting guidelines, as well as our Help Page for them.

Warnings & Moderation Actions Restructure

As mentioned, we've made some major restructuring towards how we are handling moderation actions. Most existing warnings and infractions will not be affected; any current bans will last until their intended end time, while indefinite bans will remain in place. Here are the most important points:
  • A user must now move into 10 active Warning Points to be banned.
    • The Moderation Staff determined that moving to a larger threshold allows for staff to punish and differentiate between minor, moderate and major offenses better.
  • Our warnings have been completely re-scaled to fit this new system. There are no more Infractions; only Warnings and Bans.
    • We've consolidated and removed several warnings from our system. We've added new warning classifications, such as Hate Speech, and scaled our warnings to allow for stronger offenses to be properly dealt with and punished. Warnings now scale, and replace Infractions.
  • Bans no longer last until a user drops below 10 active Warning Points.
    • Most bans will last for 3 days (if a user is banned through accruing too many Warning Points), or indefinitely. There are select exceptions, predominantly from 1 or 5 day Temporary Bans.
  • Ban Penalties will replace Permanent Points.
    • A user that is banned will have a Ban Penalty placed upon them. These are 1 point warnings that last for 6 months and will be applied when a user is banned (this does not apply to indefinite bans).
    • Any current Permanent Points will expire on April 7th, 2020.
  • We have enacted a new Probation system to better strike repeat offenders.
    • If a user’s ban expires and they have more than 10 active Warning Points, they will be placed under Posting Probation; if a user obtains any warnings while they retain 10 or more active Warning Points, they will be banned once again and have another Ban Penalty placed upon them. This will continue until their points drop below 10; please keep this in mind when posting.
    • The previous usage of Posting Probation, where select forums would not allow users that are halfway to a ban to view the forum, is now known as Curated Forums.
  • When a user is banned, they will no longer be able to post on profiles or comment on them.
    • This will also affect any currently active bans.
  • Our Thin-Ice policy has been revised.
    • Users under our Thin-Ice policy will have their posts screened for a period of time.
    • After the period is up, a user’s behavior will be evaluated by the administration to determine if a user should have this screening removed.
If you have any questions about the current policy and restructuring changes, you are free to reach our to our staff team through the Help From A Smashboards Moderator or Help From A Smashboards Admin forums. This update was worked on for a long time, and we look forward to continued discussion throughout the boards.
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After rereading the notes, I wanted to extend a warm thank you to the administrative staff here at Smashboards for taking the time to update the site. The Inclusivity and Self-Harm Policies are most definitely a positive addition. As for the restructured warnings, only time will tell. However, I trust it will be a net positive as well. Thanks Admins and Super Mods!
Time will tell if these changes will actually be upheld but as one of the most vocal people criticizing the site, I'm going to be rather optimistic. Hope my newfound faith isn't misplaced
I don't even wanna know how many hours I spent working on these... :urg: I firmly believe that Smashboards is and will be a better place due to the work we've done here. Big shoutouts to all of the staff and administration that made this possible!
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Now get rid of this forsaken like system and we're all good.
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