You are all wonderful people for putting this international family together, but there are many concerns in regard to the SoM family's development I feel more people should speak up about. You are all fantastic, awesome, and hard-working people. Thank you for giving me this wonderful place that I call my virtual home.
I've been an avid member for 7 years on and off. I have seen drastic changes over time. But, there are serious obstacles that many members complain about that is tearing away the potential of this site and family expanding. Please know I am not by any means trying to start a riot; I am only addressing commonly complained about issues for the others and myself. Please allow me to take the time to explain these issues and how they impact SoM's community as a whole.
1. Fluff Spells Published And Remained: As far as I know, I thought the entire site was moderated for fluffy content. We all know that fluffy content does not relate to magick or Pagan religion in any way. Many newbies come here with a genuine interest in walking this path, but then they see those fluffy spells that are listed in the Spells section and probably begin to feel concerned. This possibly allows our family to lose new family members. I feel that all fluffy spells should be removed from the page entirely so we can better represent what true magickal art is.
2. True Fluff Members Listed As Members: I understand there are many profiles to moderate. I respect the hard work that is done. Lately, I've read many profiles that indicate that user is posting fluff content and claiming to be fantasy creatures on their About Me sections. Again, there are tons of genuine people that see those profiles up and feel discouraged from settling here. It's sad that we may lose too many people that wanted to be a part of this family. Also, these profiles and messages from the fluff users are annoying; I know messages can't be stopped, but what they post on their profiles can. Is there a strategy for this?
3. Website Age Requirement: Considering the fluffs, many claim to be ages 13-17. Magick can lead into teaching minors about religions their parents may not be comfortable with them knowing about. I feel that maybe boosting the sign up age requirement to 18 would make this site a more mature atmosphere for those who truly want to learn. Could there be a possibility of this?
I'm sorry this post was long. I just wanted to put my thoughts and ideas out there for anyone to see. Thank you, moderators, for all you do. I'm only trying to help improve this home with suggestions.
Re: Dear Moderators... By: Brysing Moderator / Adept
Post # 2 Dec 03, 2014
1.Whenever somebody logs on to this site, it makes a little money for the admin.Maybe only pennies, but it all makes for keeping the prices of the SoM store reasonable.
2. Yes, Fluff postings/spells are kept. But are always listed as "fantasy".
3. No Moderator would teach any religion to a minor. In fact, no Moderator would deem to teach anything at all! They would all try to answer questions; but not exactly teach!
4.It is thought that by the age of 13, children will have "grown out" of many of their childhood fantasies. But, in any case, some would still say they were 18, even if they were only 10!
1. If I ran the site they would be gone, but I'm a crazy organization freak who wouldn't stop there. [I would also delete really old threads edit/delete articles and go through all spells and re-categorize those that are wrongly placed] The reality is the spells get traffic, and the site admin is busy with running the site. If he has a minute he will delete a 'I swear this will make you a were-rabbit' spell or two, but in the end, delete one, two more takes it's place. Unless it encourages physical harm, get use to these spells.
2. Some people really want to learn, but they think the movies are real. Many honestly believe they are half vampire half elf or whatever. I feel the 'fluffy' rank should be seen by all, not just mods as this would help cut down on users seeking help from these members. Removing the person's ability to post or message other members shouldn't be done. In a few years they might seriously wish to learn, or not, but they should still have the right if they didn't break any rules.
3. As mentioned, 13 is around the time most know reality from fantasy. Many pagan parents start teaching their kids about the path at this age. This isn't to say everyone does or is ready, we just look at a majority. There are 10 year olds who are more mature than some 25 year olds I've met. If we change it to 18, we will deal with the same stuff as there are 18 year olds who are fluffy, and kids will still join and lie about their age.
I think if we up the site's age restriction to eighteen, it'd imply there's sexual content on the site, and would likely entitle people to post suggestive materieal, simply hurtling the argument "There are no kids here".
Please also note that we, as moderators, do not run the site. Petrarca is the admin of the site, and we simply work under him to make the site function as he wants it to function.
Fluff spells are published and remain, however, to help clear up that they are indeed fluffy they have been classified in their own grouping called "fantasy spells". And under that section, it clearly states for members "T hese spells are all fantasy based. Most true practitioners of magic do not believe that these types of spells are real" which serves as a disclaimer. They are kept because, as Brysing mentioned, it draws people to the site and brings in a profit. The often young ill-informed kids who come to SoM because of the fantasy are then given a chance to learn about the reality of magic by the present online community. There will always be fluffs, fluff spells or not.
Fluff profiles are another matter entirely. We are not allowed to gag or take action against someone just for having some roleplaying material in their profile, as that is not in the rules. The only time we can take action against it is when we catch it on the chatter, or we happen to see it in the forum. Also, to moderator every single account's bio on this site would be extremely time demanding and impossible for the amount of moderators we have. We moderators volunteer our time here, and we are on SoM to be members and participate in the fun just like you. To have to spend hours going through every members bio, because there is such a vast amount, would leave us with no time for ourselves here.
Boosting up the age requirement would severely limit who could join SoM. A lot of our members are under the age of 18, and you would be cutting them out- which leads back into hurting the profit and overall growth of the site. Also, as is the case with members currently- many would just lie about their age anyways.
Again, we as moderators do not make changes to the site and how it functions. We moderate the site for Petrarca, who ultimately decides the way things go. There's a thread here in the Comments section called "Site Updates" in which you might go make suggestions to him for the site overall.
Most people that you'd consider fluff are just misguided, blah blah blah we've all heard it.
What is actually "fluff" is extremely subjective. Most of the time gags take place for the disruption of chat rather than the legitimacy of what the person said. lol I don't see how "fluff" could possibly be a major concern these days.
Well, from what I've seen, I have been noticing there are less profiles claiming or asking to be turned into non-human creatures, as opposed to when I first started on this website a year and a half ago, so maybe it is just me, but I think those Fluffy members are finally starting to see the message. At least some of them are.
Thank you for opening my mind to your idea. That's true. If we bumped it up to 18, Google searches can see it as an "entertainment only" label like how the bottom of the site says that. Instead of thinking the magick is entertainment, maybe they'll think it's pornography or some crazy stuff. What if the age was bumped to 17 then?
Re: Dear Moderators... By: Brysing Moderator / Adept
Post # 9 Dec 03, 2014
What if the age was raised to 21? 25? There are people writing fluff even in their 30s. Okay, some 13 year olds write fluff, but many are also quite sensible. Some really do want to learn. They don't all want to be Vampires!
It is true that adding age restrictions beyond the current one would add a degree of complexity to things yes, but at the same time as the others have said. It's not necessarily down to 13 - 17 year olds, but I get that was used in the context of an example, one that many would assume such behaviours to be derived from.
I sympathy greatly with a lot of your points, but I think it is with like any system, it does the best it can with the people it can. And slowly changes and improvements as well as setbacks will happen. I do feel there can be a degree of unfairness happening, but this again can be down to human error, the real potential could come if a lot of money was invested into making improvements.