I'll try to address some of the questions/topics briefly as I'm short on time right now.
Stating that we the moderators "freely allowing people to ruin faf games and not caring" is just not correct, furthermore you can probably imagine how uplifting it must sound to a moderator who spends part of their limited freetime moderating misbehaving users in our community.
About the report backlog, we had recently cleared all the report backlog, but as work and school starts again so does the time decrease for our voluntary moderators. The current backlog brutus already provided. Besides clearing reports we also moderate our other platforms (aeolus, discord, forums) and help community users in other ways, acting as first point of contact to pretty much any issue/question our community members might have.
As brutus kindly already showed the amount of reports, and thus moderator workload, has also grown steadily since the report system was taken into use. Partly because the community has grown and partly because people report more minor offenses more actively (this is a trend I've clearly seen happening since I've been moderating at FAF going a few years back). Certain maps also attract a large amount of the users causing a majority of the reported misbehavings, which often happen at min 55 of a large team game -> moderators often need to watch the replay which is quite time consuming.
And yes, moderators have lives too. As with any voluntary project some people have time to do more than others, and we can't force anyone to spend X amount of hours each week on moderation tasks. I am also not in favour of imposing some activity requirements on FAF moderators. I'd rather have a moderator who might not be too active e.g. with reports, but is online from time to time and might help with other things not directly visible to the public eye (such as team communication, helping with consistent moderation etc.). Additionally simply having a moderator presence acts as a deterrent for misbehaviour, you would hesitate robbing a store if a police car was parked outside, right? A potential risk with requirements could also be that we'd start running out of moderators, I remind you again it is a voluntary project.
As FtX pointed out we have been looking for and onboarding new moderators. You might still ask why we simply don't get more moderators on the team and hand out a moderator badge to anyone interested? For this I'd like to highlight a few requirements/key points we have for a FAF moderator:
- Moderation standards, applying and enforcing the rules in a consistent, just and fair way I'd say is
the most important bit. For instance I doubt anyone in the community would like a moderator who bans people for their own gain, or just outright bans a reported user from a report even if the supposed offender actually did nothing wrong.
- Game and community knowledge, hard fact is if you don't know the game well enough you can't enforce the rules properly either. Same applies to community aspects, if you are really new to the community you can't be expected to help out users and be the first point of contact.
- Moderators need to be representing the community, a misbehaving moderator might even cause overall more damage to the community by setting a bad example for other community members.
- Communication skills, english is a must and you need to be understood by community members and other moderators.
- Onboarding takes time too from the rest of the team, like with most job positions, you need time to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the job and everything involved with it.
- How do we know how motivated the applicant truly is? As this thread is a statement to also, moderating is most often quite a thankless job. Do we spend our already limited time onboarding a new moderator only to see him/her going silent after a week or two? I atleast prefer to see some longer time commitment or previous contribution within the community from potential applicants.
If we onboard a moderator who is not fit for the position, I bet you'd quickly have different kinds of moderation related threads popup here and the rest of the team would have even more work on their hands.
@FtXCommando If some user has broken the rules in a major way before a big tourney, feel free to pm me or another moderator about it and we'll look into it with a higher priority.
I'll end with a plug here, if you feel qualified and want to help, feel free to apply: https://forum.faforever.com/topic/433/moderator