Updated: Jan 24
What's the first thing you think of when you think of a Discord server moderator? Although it's a bit of a far cry of a comparison, the first role that often comes to mind is a police officer or security guard. Moderators have power, and that power comes with responsibility. How can we cultivate a safe and healthy community atmosphere while also safeguarding it from threats and unwanted behavior? How can we accomplish this mission while also maintaining a community that is fun to be in?
This post is a little longer than normal, but it's very important for anyone interested in how we plan to help our community. Anyone can make a difference, and we encourage you to! It may be helpful if you start with our article about the Community Wellness Initiative.
This post will cover the mission of the LBP Union Peacekeepers, moderators of our Discord server and eventually our forum. We'll talk about what guides our moderation process and how we can make sure we keep people safe while also maintaining a community that people feel comfortable to be in. We'll also talk about how Pathfinders can eventually be promoted to Peacekeepers. Let's talk about the LBP Union Trust and Safety Initiative and how you can take part in helping our community.
The Importance of Safety
Over the past few years, Discord has garnered a challenging reputation to shake off. The instant messaging and voice chat service came under fire in 2019 after being slow to remove mature underage content on its platform. Discord has also been known to have been used by sexual predators for malicious activity.
However, Discord's Trust and Safety team provides a great deal of tools and makes a great effort to deal with malevolent users on its platform. Although they do the best that they can, there is only so much that they can do on a platform as large as Discord. This is why it's so important for Discord server moderators to do what they can to look out for members of their servers. Users like you also need to be aware of what you can do to help as well.
It's also important to consider that there are limits to what we can provide as individuals and teams. Serious situations need to be handled by the police or emergency services. Our role is to report malicious activity and support each other when we find ourselves in trouble. Additionally, we need to inform one another about the best resources to take advantage of and how to best prevent dangerous situations.
The Role of Peacekeepers
Peacekeepers are the LBP Union Discord Server's moderation staff, but what is their mission? They aim to help keep people safe, but how?
It's easy for us to jump to a creative imagining of police officers hunting down criminals and putting them behind bars, but that's not our objective. Our mission is to prevent dangerous situations from occurring, inform members of our community to empower them with the knowledge they need to stay safe, report serious problems when necessary to Discord Trust and Safety or higher authorities, and support our community in difficult times.
Peacekeepers work hard to prevent problems before they happen. This is a role very similar to the objective of LBP Union Pathfinders. In fact, Peacekeepers ought to use the same community-first strategies as Pathfinders to accomplish this goal.
There are two elements of prevention. Firstly, we cultivate a better server culture by promoting a positive server atmosphere. When discussion is dominated by sexism, racism, bullying, or other kinds of behaviors, our community atmosphere deteriorates. When these kinds of behaviors are tolerated, we run into trouble.
However, things aren't always this simple. The second element of prevention is monitoring the system. We need to make sure that we pay attention to what's going on in our community so that we don't let potential problems fly under the radar. If something seems wrong, we talk about it and try to come up with a solution.
It isn't just up to us to keep our community safe. We are few, but the LittleBigPlanet community is many. We can empower community members like you with knowledge you can pass on to others to help keep them safe. Strategies and information about how to keep yourself and others safe on the Internet are critical skills needed for navigating our digital world.
This is already an objective of the Pathfinder program, but it is also an important step in maintaining the mission of the LBP Union Peacekeepers. By helping people learn where to turn to when they or someone they know experiences a problem, we can better keep people safe.
When incidents occur, we are not the ones responsible for fixing the whole situation. We do what we can, but the rest, if necessary, is up to the proper authorities. It's also important to communicate to our community that less serious problems in our server be reported to our team so that we can handle them accordingly.
In busy times with greater activity, it can be difficult to track down unwanted messages and behaviors. We also cannot monitor direct message activity that occurs adjacent to our Discord server. Because of this, we have to rely on those people to let us know when things are going wrong. It's important to make sure that community members feel comfortable elevating these problems to us.
One route of reporting comes from our Pathfinder team. Since they are focused on protecting our community and do not have moderation powers, they can elevate concerns for us to evaluate and deal with appropriately.
It's foolish and dangerous to pretend to be those authorities and take matters into our own hands when situations are more serious. If necessary, we will elevate problems to Discord's Trust and Safety Team or law enforcement. We encourage victims of crimes to do the same.
In difficult and stressful times, things can be overwhelming. We care about you and we're here to help. We are more than willing to help you find the support that you need and talk to you about what we can do to make our community a safer and more comfortable place. The more that we support one another, the more comfortable members of our community will feel sharing with us when it matters most.
Confidentiality is also extremely important. Broadcasting an emergency or stressful situation to an entire server full of people is never acceptable. Everyone has a right to privacy. This not only applies to the events of an uncomfortable situation. It is everyone's responsibility to maintain medical health privacy and mental health privacy as well, as well as safeguarding other personal information that might be at stake.
Integrity is an important part of what we do. If the LittleBigPlanet community isn't comfortable with the moderators or can't trust them, then the system will never work at its full potential. Moderators have power, and that power can be abused to treat people unfairly. We need to be aware of what can lead us down that path and how we can avoid it.
Bias, Discrimination, and Fairness
Implicit bias is one key component of this. We need to recognize and manage implicit bias so that it does not escalate into significant racial, gender, or other discrimination. We need to be transparent in the work that we do when possible. We must make sure that we are following the same rules that we created and make sure that these rules are applied equally across the server.
Certain members should not be favored over others, even members of our own team. In fact, our own team members should be held to a higher standard to set an example for how we'd like our community to look like.
Managing Problems with Our System
We all make mistakes, and it's important that members of the community feel comfortable discussing issues with us if they feel that they have been treated unfairly or if there is an issue with integrity with the LittleBigPlanet Union Peacekeepers or other members of our team.
Use Moderator Action Sparingly
Most importantly, we need to make sure that we are only using moderator action when absolutely necessary. Those powers need to be made readily available to our Peacekeepers to deal with serious issues as soon as possible, but they should be used sparingly.
There are many problems that we can resolve through discussion before resorting to muting, kicking, and banning members of our server. When we make a commitment to support our community in this way and only use moderator powers limitedly, members can feel more comfortable engaging with the community that they enjoy without fear of making mistakes.
When placed in a position of power, some can be overzealous. Having power over others can definitely feel good, but that's not the point of what we do. Moderation is not about dwelling on the power that we have and how good it makes us feel. It's about how we use that power to improve the wellbeing of others.
As a more specific example, which is more important: keeping memes out of the main chat, or stopping harassment and bullying from happening? One situation requires moderator action, while the other requires discussion and cooperation. Knowing when it is appropriate to use moderator action is essential for being a LBP Union Peacekeeper.
Promoting Pathfinders to Peacekeepers
Who will be appointed as LBP Union Peacekeepers in the future? Our top candidates are those on our Pathfinder team. Since the goal of the Pathfinders is to advance the goals of our server, provide information and resources for members, and promote a positive server atmosphere, they are already fulfilling objectives of moderation. To become Peacekeepers, we'd like to help them take their role to the next level.
In other servers, trial moderators take the place of this role. Pathfinders, by serving their role, are effectively in training to become Peacekeepers. They don't necessarily have to take that next step if they don't want to, but all the pieces are there for us to promote them. The experience they get discussing server issues with the team, keeping an eye on our server atmosphere, and looking out for the wellbeing of our community are key traits that can prepare them for their role as Peacekeepers.
However, there are additional things to learn that are important for fulfilling the role of a Peacekeeper. Prevention, empowering the community with information, reporting, supporting, and integrity are all skills that Peacekeepers need to have to reach their goals. When Peacekeepers can do their jobs well, they can make a huge difference in our community.
It's important to remember that Pathfinders and Peacekeepers work together. Although Peacekeepers have moderation powers, they do not exert authority over Pathfinders.
Conclusion: Safety Doesn't Stop Here
Not only are the tenets of our Peacekeeper plan helpful for managing our community on Discord and on our forum, but it's helpful elsewhere. Empowering our community with information that can help keep them safe will spread elsewhere in the community. It will help make the LittleBigPlanet community a better place to play, create, and share with one another.
By making this effort, we go beyond the barriers of our Discord server and help the entire community. Your leadership and service can go beyond even LittleBigPlanet. These strategies are not exclusive to LBP. You can make a difference wherever you go.