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THIS ARTICLE IS OUT OF DATE DUE TO A NEW
MODERATION PROCESS ACTIVE FROM MAY 2009
WE WILL REWRITE IT AS SOON AS WE CAN!
You've made your masterpiece, gone through the extranet, hit apply, and went through that process. Now you find yourself facing a daunting screen of facts with the heading, 'A ticket was created for the moderators...' What? Huh? What's going on?
Prior to February 2002, Elfwood had no pre-publish control system as such. When changes were applied, no one looked to make sure the new items followed all the rules. Everything just got stored together until one of the (fairly frequent) updates occurred, when all the new items were published onto the actual site together. Only library items were given even the slightest look, and then only for certain completely unacceptable trigger-words.
But while Elfwood has never had quality control, this complete lack of any control was allowing for a lot of rule abuse. After it became quite clear that rule violations were being created far faster than they could be cleaned up, the Elfwood Administration was forced to try to tackle the problem from a new angle: stopping rule violations before they actually occurred.
Moderation essentially means that moderators (Elfwood volunteers who know the rules backwards, forwards, side to side, while drunk, asleep, or otherwise incapacitated, and quite possibly after death as well) look over every item for a gallery or shelf before it is published, checking to make sure it follows all the rules. If the story or artwork is okay, the moderator approves it and it gets immediately published. If it doesn't follow the rules, however, the moderator rejects it, and the item is deleted from the server and mailed to the author or artist. If you're only changing your bio or other personal information, though, the changes will occur immediately and without anyone needing to look at them.
So what's this business with a ticket and a queue? Well, in order for things to work most efficiently, all the changes you've made since your last apply are bundled together into one ticket. You can look at just what the moderator is going to be reviewing in the Apply Report, which comes up on the same page you initially get after you've applied. While the primary purpose of a moderator is to review stories and artwork, if there's a problem with a user's bio or name they can refer the ticket and thereby the user to the ERB. What's important to remember, however, is that if you make a change to something while you still have a pending and unprocessed ticket, and then apply, your original ticket will be deleted and a new ticket will be created - but this one will be at the end of the queue, erasing any progress your original ticket may have made.
Of course, knowing that doesn't help at all if you have no idea what the queue is. Merriam-Webster Online defines a queue as, 'a data structure that consists of a list of records such that records are added at one end and removed from the other.' If this somewhat technical definition loses you, don't panic. The queue is basically a line. Anyone who has ever been to or observed a busy deli counter may know how it works: you take a ticket, and wait. The deli attendants deal with people in the order of their tickets, calling out a new ticket number and therefore a new person when they're finished serving the prior one.
The moderator queue works much the same way. When a new ticket is generated it gets added to the end of the line. Moderators deal with tickets towards the front of the line. The primary differences between the deli line and the Elfwood ticket queue are the result of two unique Elfwood factors: the amount of tickets and the difference in areas.
The amount of tickets in the moderator queue is truly staggering, as the queue itself encompasses not only updates for the four areas of Elfwood, but also join applications. The number of the ticket you receive should almost certainly be extremely high-this isn't an indication, however, of how many people are in front of you, but rather of how many tickets have existed before you. At the time of this article's writing, more than twenty thousand tickets have been generated for Elfwood.
Since there are so many tickets, which are being generated almost constantly, it's virtually impossible for processing to be instantaneous. There are usually in the realm of two thousand tickets waiting in the queue to be processed, but thanks to the near constant moderating that is going on, tickets usually only take a week to a week and a half to process, barring problems. If an issue comes up, and some occasionally do, a ticket may take as much as two or two and a half weeks to process, but never more than that.
Another factor in the queue and how fast a ticket gets processed is area. While all moderators know all the rules to all the Elfwood areas, most moderators have an area of specialty or preference, a section of Elfwood they feel most comfortable working with. For example, a person with a great deal of knowledge on anime and manga might wish to work FanQuarter, while a fast reader with a knack for spotting fan fiction might wish to work Wyvern's Library. As a result, rather than dealing with whatever the absolute oldest ticket is in the queue, moderators deal with whatever the oldest ticket is in the area they specialize in.
This is an incredibly important factor to take into consideration when you look up the status of your ticket. Oh, what's that? We forgot to tell you that you can do that? Well, you can. From the moment you create a ticket, every time you log into the extranet there will be a button allowing you to check the status of your ticket within the queue. This page gives you lots of extremely impressive looking stats which can be useful, but should be treated warily. For example, it's been confirmed that the oldest ticket in the queue can often be wildly inaccurate: you will not, we want to repeat, have to wait a month to get your update processed.
The primary use of checking on your ticket status is to see how far you've moved in the queue. Again, your placement in the queue can be deceptive, as different areas get processed at different rates; if the ticket right in front of you is for an area getting worked on by fewer mods at a slower pace, you may end up getting processed sooner than it. Still, no matter how fast the mods work (and many work quite quickly and for long periods with few breaks for refreshment or psychological healing*), it's a fairly safe bet to assume there's no chance of you getting approved until you break the final five hundred, at least.
But don't be lured into compulsively checking and rechecking your progress in the queue every three minutes! The result of this constant refreshment of status can gum up the extranet, slowing things down and actually increasing the time it takes to process tickets, since the moderators are working on the same server as the rest of the extranet.
When your ticket finally reaches the head of its particular group and a moderator goes over it, each item will be individually examined and individually noted as either being acceptable or unacceptable. Even if you have several items on a ticket which get rejected, the accepted items will go ahead and be published... usually. This isn't true if you're doing a first time publish. Every gallery must have a minimum of four pictures and every library a minimum of two stories, so unacceptable items drop the number of acceptable items below this limit, nothing will get published, and you'll have to start the ticket process over again. To prevent this, moderators recommend you start with over the necessary number of items: four or five for the library, seven or eight for an art gallery. This way around half your ticket can be rejected and you'll still have enough items to complete your publish.
But isn't it a little strange, you may wonder, for mods to be explaining tips on how to plan ahead for rejections? Well, not all rejections are created equal, because not all rule violations are equal. For this reason, when a moderator completes processing your ticket you'll be sent an e-mail. The e-mail will either thank you and tell you all your items were accepted, or else explain which items were accepted, which were rejected, and why the rejected items weren't okay. There are several rejection reasons which are fixable, such as problems involving HTML for library items and a picture needing to be resized for art items. When you've corrected an error like this you can resubmit the item, and it'll likely be approved (providing something else isn't wrong with it). For some rejections, of course, nothing can be done.
If, after reading this e-mail, you believe your item was rejected unfairly, you can reply to the e-mail explaining why you believe it was unfair and preferably providing the item in question. These e-mails are automatically sent to the moderator coordinator. Don't be afraid to use this option if you're sure that an error was made; the moderators are people just like you and me and can make mistakes, too. You can actually use this method to get in contact with the moderators any time you have a concern or problem, and it's preferred you do; it drives everyone even remotely affiliated with the Elfwood staff a little batty when questions that could be privately asked of the pertinent parties are brought up on mailing lists of community LiveJournals.
Speaking of LJ, if you want to keep track of what's going on with modding at the moment, as well as receive tips straight from the moderators, the moderators, like the ERB, have their own LiveJournal which can be found here. This LJ will give you updates on what the queue times are currently running like, ways to make your ticket easier to process, technical glitches they know about that are occurring now, and the occasional peculiar sampling of the mods' sense of humor.
Hopefully, everything now makes sense... or at least more sense than it did. Moderation has its pains, but it also has its good points; everything is published immediately after it's looked at, and you can track your progress. And it's a definite solution to the rule-breaking problem. If you have any further questions on moderating, feel free to drop a line to email@example.com, and remember: be nice to George.
* Imagine for a moment having to read through an extremely long, badly written, highly angsty story attempting to figure out if it falls into the Elfwood genres. Then, when you've stopped shuddering, send the mods a thank you note. They don't get paid or even bribed for this stuff.
hey, Kristen here, I have uploaded some fanart about a week ago, and no moderators have yet gone through them and published them. What gives? just wanted to let you all know, i have been waiting for the moderators to view my submissions, but they havent done anything yet.
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