Dear SP Community,
After a long pause, I have returned to SimplePlanes, and I've noticed that the community has not refrained from changing in my absence. I consider this a good thing, so long as it is changing in a good direction, however, I've been starting to notice some very apparent problems not only with the SimplePlanes community but also somewhat with the format of the Community. Don't get me wrong, the developers have done a great job at building a community and has been one of the most attached developers to their community I've seen so far, however, there are still problems with the community.
Sometimes, I see a cool post and I'm appalled by the comment section. Sometimes there are random debates. Often, the post itself has nothing wrong, and the out of control debate has nothing to do with it, it just popped out of nowhere. It's not as bad as youtube's comment section, but it's still not great. Users should try to get in the mindset of the person who has posted the post. They simply wanted to share something, and in turn, their comment section is flooded by a random fight between two users, usually whom the poster doesn't even know. This is the first problem. In addition, I've always wondered how a game such as SimplePlanes can stir up such debates. When I first joined the SimplePlanes community, I expected a very accepting and sympathetic community bonded by a shared passion for planes (as well as trains, cars, boats, and everything else users make in SimplePlanes). I guess I was naïve on my part. This is the internet after all. But I'm still curious as to how a game such as SimplePlanes, a game focused on creativity and aviation/vehicles in a non-competitive environment, can cause such conflicts. Why can't people just appreciate and support each other? It's okay not to like another person's crafts or disagree with them in a forum, but there is a respectful way of showing that. I'd say most conflicts arise from misunderstanding and impulse. If people took a step back and tried to understand what others are saying, even asking for clarification if necessary, a lot of useless and messy conflicts could be resolved. Additionally, there is a "block" feature for a reason. Instead of flooding other people's posts with accusations that are sometimes no better or justified than those of Among Us, settle the debate calmly, tag a mod, or simply block that person. If they tried to retaliate, they would just be risking a complete ban.
The SimplePlanes moderation team is essential in not only upholding SimplePlanes rules but also in guiding new players and clarifying things. Generally, I would say that the mods do a good job at their jobs (with a few minor exceptions, especially in the past, but I will not give names nor specify incidents). I do feel however that we need a better system of accountability for moderators. I am unfamiliar with how a moderator's account works on a technical level, but I feel that there should be a log of all moderator-related activity accessible to the developers, and also possibly other moderators (edit: I've been informed that there is already a manual mod-log, but a automatic one would be easier and safer. I'm also aware that moderators do communicate before taking decisions most of the time). Not only would this deter an abusive usage of moderator functions, but it would also ensure that moderator decisions are the right ones and this would allow for reviews of these actions (again, I'm neither pointing a finger or saying that the current moderators are bad or are abusing of their power). The ability to review a moderator's moderation activity would avoid the usual "you did this and that" from accused players and allow for a factual review of what has been done so as to review a case when a player wishes to appeal to something. I am not saying that our moderators are bad, but they are human, and human error is a thing. The next thing I wanted to address regarding moderators is the community's view of them. First of all, let's address what a moderator really is. It's someone who reinforces SimplePlane's rules and ensures everyone is abiding by them and is being respectful. In some ways, it's the police of the SimplePlanes website. I often see people say, "I wish I were a moderator" or "If only there was a way for me to be a moderator." These people seem to misunderstand being a moderator as a privilege. A moderator is not a privilege, but rather a responsibility. They do not get to freely use their functions, and can only use them to serve their purpose (with the exception of the past bio-editing war between moderators, but that's something else, and they were not were really abusing of their power, just having fun amongst themselves). EthernalDarkness sums this up perfectly in this comment.
The upvote and points system is what drives a lot of people into creating things in SimplePlanes. In addition, it provides nice features such as a feeling of progression, as well as a sense of achievement, and is compatible with smart mechanisms such as the "feature" option to allow more experienced players to highlight less experienced users' creations. I do feel though that many people have started only playing for points. This can happen subconsciously and is somewhat normal from a psychological point of view (I think, I'm not a psychologist). This drives them away from using purely their creativity and leads them to start creating for points, which ruins part of the game. Now, to be honest, I don't honestly have a solution to this problem. I hate to present a problem without a solution, but this is where I am at right now. The point system seems vital, but it also causes a problem. If anyone has any good ideas on how to resolve this problem, don't hesitate to comment on it. I'd be interested.
This is all I really have for now. Now let's hope this post's comment section does not become a battlefield...