I agree. I've brought this up with the mods and added it to the handbook as well. Most actions should be sandwiched by communication in order to be most effective. Warning, resolution, explanation. The trick, of course, is judging whether a thread is "serious" or when a warning would be pointless.I want to reiterate that just about everyone here wants thread locking to be changed into a last resort if a situation cannot be resolved on an individual basis. Besides obvious spam and vandalism of course. But actual serious threads.
The trouble with avoiding the excuse of "vocal minority" is defining when it's no longer a minority. Bringing in the support of less bold members might turn a one-member complaint into, what, a 20 member complaint? Out of 400 members... I get what you're saying, we're not expected to do a study on exactly how many people are affected and how many feel negatively about it and such, but the larger number of complaints should give us a feeling that it's more widespread than we might think. But precisely because of this ambiguity it's not a good idea to judge an idea based on numbers in the first place. You either have to accept all criticisms as serious, or none of them as serious. More like we have to seriously consider whether all criticisms have merit or not. The voice of the "vocal minority" should be judged by its own merits, not by how few or how many followers it has, because the latter is both unconfirmable and irrelevant. I'm sure you agree with this ideal but feel we're not following it. Then we would like to improve in this area.There's usually a large number of people who are discontent. But only a smaller number who are brave enough to make larger, more well-formed criticisms with plenty of details. And this is almost always used against them to claim that it is just a "vocal minority" that should be disregarded because there's not enough of them saying it. And I'm absolutely certain that this will be used again. So you can't have it both ways. You either have to accept all criticisms as serious, or none of them as serious. Allowing more public forums for complaints like this would allow the "small minority" to provide their well formed complaints and the less bold people to see it and say they agree and possibly add more to it than they would have otherwise felt capable of doing on their own. And it'll put more pressure on the mods to be careful about what they do and they will not be able to just disregard whatever they don't like and will have to listen to what the community wants.
Again, I haven't received any such feedback about our current mods. What would you all say about a plugin that allows anonymous feedback about specific mods? While I'm trying to improve communication from our end, I also want to get members communicating with us effectively to help with this.And given how badly the mods have been at accusing people of defying them and being trouble makers, you absolutely shouldn't be trusting them right now to determine what is and isn't constructive. One thing you can do is make it a requirement to address all complaints and write up a thread for mods to look at that has some examples of what is isn't okay. Like: "Hey, I don't really agree with this decision here." versus "What do you think you're doing, you idiot?!"
Okay, that's a bit extreme. But you get the idea. There just seems the tendency to deem all criticism as unconstructive. And there even seemed to be here before it turned out many people felt the same way. And you couldn't just go and call all of them troublemakers.
As you said, a member getting ignored by a mod leads to that member giving up on communicating with that mod (or all the mods in general). Now, if that member goes around and tells everyone else how arrogant and ignorant the mods are, they'll give up on communication too. Now we have a whole bunch of members convincing each other that no mod would ever listen, while no mods are receiving any communication. Now, there are times when this specific thing is happening, and there are times when a mod might simply feel insulted by publicly expressed discontent. This is the sort of thing I need to hear about personally so I can correct it. Yes, we try to put down "toxicity", if you'll excuse the terminology, toward the administration that makes it harder for us to maintain a healthy community. Yes, sometimes we go overboard. Throw us a bone.And I also don't think you should be concerning yourselves with blogs and shoutbox posts criticizing the mods. Why should you care?
It's not that they don't have the time, it's just that sometimes (SOMETIMES) it'd be a pointless use of it.And it is hypocritical to claim that the mods don't have time to respond to every single private complaint, but they certainly have time to deal with anything that publicly embarrasses them.