In addition to spring cleaning the queue, the wonderful Delphy has coded us a totally new moderation system, which we hope will make uploading quicker, easier, and a much happier experience for creators and staff. We think this new system is going to make uploading here a pleasure, so please, do read on for the details.
The Old System
For those of you who have never uploaded here, haven't done so in many years, or who just have horrendous memories, a rough outline of the old system:
- You beetle away, make your shiny object/lot/world/sim/outfit/whatever, and upload it via the Upload Wizard.
- You wait - ideally 24 hours, officially 72-96 hours, sometimes even longer - for us to assess your upload and decide what to do with it.
- Then, you get EITHER a PM saying that your upload has been approved, yay! Return true and Standard Exit.
- OR, you get a PM saying that your upload is good and can be approved shortly, but there are some things that need to be fixed up. This PM is accompanied by a big list of all the stuff you did wrong.
- OR, you get a PM saying that your upload needs a significant amount of changes before it can be approved here, and you should work on it long-term and then upload again in future. This PM is also accompanied by a big list of all the stuff you did wrong.
I know there will be a few people currently yelling criticisms at their monitors. Yes, I agree with you! Let me go through and explain, first, how the new system works, and second, why it improves on many of the problems with the old system.
The New System
The basic structure of the new system is the same as the old system. You upload via the Upload Wizard, you wait a hopefully shorter amount of time, and then you get a PM. The PM will still be either an approval message, a request for changes, or a "with regret" message. But the content of that message will be totally different.
The new system abandons the idea of the big list of all the things you got wrong. Instead, we've broken down our assessment criteria into rubrics (you can thank HP for coming up with that recondite term). Each rubric is a specific element that we look for, either related to your actual content, or to the technical requirements of uploading. Some examples of rubrics:
- Sims: Resemblance to real person
- Worlds: Terrain sculpting
- Lots: Roofing
- Objects and CAS content: Texture sharpness
- Technical: Catalogue location mentioned
- Technical: Right Files
An example of one part of the ratings list for a clothing upload:
You'll notice that right now, the overall score for the section is two stars. Whenever there are any elements which have a 1 or 2 star, the overall rating for that section will be capped at 1 or 2. If everything is at least 3 stars, then the section rating will be an average of all the elements within that section.
So, what are the advantages of this new system?
This is, in my opinion, the most significant improvement. Our old system came to be through a process of evolution. Originally, there was no upload moderation on MTS - the downloads section was just a normal forum. Then we decided, back in the mists of yore, that some things shouldn't be allowed to be posted - stolen content, for example, or uploads with no file or images. So we created a system whereby we could reject uploads for something like that - something simple, stupid, and obvious - with a short message telling people why we were doing so. Over time, we expanded this system to encompass not only stupid omissions or flagrant rule violations, but also poor quality uploads: and we added the changes required system, for those cases when it wasn't necessary to delete the thread altogether because the problem could be corrected. Despite this total change in the purpose of upload moderation, we were still using a system which was designed for "This is stupid. Try again."
The end result of this process was that whenever something wasn't approved, the creator would get a long PM full of negative feedback, usually with a sentence or two added by the moderator on what the creator had got right. That's pretty unbalanced, and is especially unpleasant for newbie creators, who are only getting discouragement when what we want to do with new creators is encourage them.
The new system eliminates that problem. You will be told what you've done wrong, yes, by the low-rated rubrics you receive (if any). But far more importantly, you will also get a big long list of all the things you did right.
Connected to this is the fact that the ratings will be sent with approval PMs, too. This means, firstly, that when you're already making good stuff, you'll still be getting the feedback you need to get even better. It also means that mods will be happier with approving uploads even when there are some elements which aren't great, because we'll know that you're getting that feedback too, without the need for a changes required.
We've done a lot of work over the past couple of years on making the clearer and more specific, and I'm proud of what we've achieved there - they're clean and understandable. But having ratings for specific requirements will make it easier for you guys as creators to precisely match up the feedback we give you with the requirements for approval, by comparing your ratings with the 4 and 5 star ratings for the particular elements you're not yet getting right.
I should add a caveat emptor here. We are going to be making the rubrics public. However, you won't see all the rubrics on your uploads - if a certain rubric doesn't apply, such as "Screenshots of all items in the set" for an upload of a single item, then it will be marked as N/A and will not show up in your PM or on your upload. There's no point wasting space.
One criticism that's often levelled is that moderation isn't consistent enough. Obviously, it's difficult to ascertain whether or not that's true in terms of quality, because we can't afford to pay a statistician. However, one thing that we know definitely happens is moderators sometimes forgetting things - I suspect quite a few of you have occasionally received a changes PM which starts with "I'm so sorry, I forgot to mention this in the last message...". I know I've sent a few such PMs myself!
The rubrics will help us with avoiding both problems. For us, the rubrics act like a checklist, reminding us to check everything in turn, so we shouldn't be able to forget anything any more (I'm sure we'll find a way, but hopefully it'll be a very rare occurrence). On top of that, having a list of ratings makes it easier for us to get a good overview of the overall quality of the upload, without getting blinded by one awesome factor in an otherwise lacking upload, or getting hung up on one problem in an otherwise good upload. Once we've finished getting carried away, we'll look at the stars and see what the overall picture is across the board, which will help us make more objective and even-handed decisions. It'll never be possible to eliminate subjectivity from moderating completely, but we hope that the rubrics will be a big step along the way to better consistency nonetheless.
Under the old system, moderating uploads involved quite a bit of mental juggling. All mods have a sort of mental checklist that we go through for each upload in our respective areas of expertise, and we make mental notes and then decide based on those mental notes. First person to think "That's mental!" gets beaten to a pulp with a rubber chicken. The problem with this is that things end up having to be redone. We forget our mental notes; we struggle to balance the pros and cons of an upload without losing random (important) thoughts; we forget to write down our notes when we have to stop mid-moderate; and it's difficult for a different mod to take over an upload because they don't have access to the first mod's mental notes (except for that thing with dal and the electrode but anyway moving on). For the same reasons we hope will improve consistency, the checklist function of rubrics will allow us to run through upload moderation more efficiently, will allow us to "save our progress" to make it easier for us (or someone else) to come back to the upload later, and will reduce the circumstances in which we have to spend a long time umming and erring about what to do with an upload. All in all, we're hoping that this will reduce waiting times in the queue, which is always one of our top goals.
And the drawbacks?
As some of you have probably surmised, there's going to be a lot of information. We've tried not to overcomplicate the rubrics, and to keep the descriptions short and sweet, but there are still a lot of them. The list of ratings is going to be long.
We know this isn't ideal, but we think that lots of feedback, including positive feedback, is better than a little, solely negative, feedback. We have filtering options, so that you can collapse your high ratings and only read the low ones, if that's how you like to work.
Uploads have now been off since January. This means that we have almost two months worth of uploads which are, I presume, all going to be uploaded at once now that we've turned uploads back on. So, you know that thing about faster moderation? That's going to be a long-term benefit.
In seriousness, there will probably be significant delays while we get the new system up and running, and reel under the combined impact of all the beautiful stuff that I know you guys have been saving up, and filling with half-bricks, just for our benefit. So if you're the kind of person who suffers coniptions when waiting for an upload to be moderated, you might want to give us a couple of weeks to get up to full speed!
Creator Guidelines Changes
Along with the queue moderation revitalization, some of the have been revised and brought up to date. The main changes are listed below but it's always a good idea to have a look over the guidelines every once in a while anyway to refresh your memory and look for any minor changes
TS2 Full Neighborhoods: The main thing to note here is that the required images for lots have been brought in line with the requirements for TS3 neighborhoods. That is; you only need to show images of 10 lots from your hood rather than all of them.
TS2 Meshes guidelines have now been split into two separate sets of guidelines: Bodyshop Meshes and Object Meshes.
Poses and Animations: The main change here is that TS3 poses must now be pose list compatible with thumbnails included. This had always been an optional “upgrade” that creators can choose to add to their work but since pose lists are so widely used these days and are much more user friendly than typing each name individually, it seems like a logical step to make them a regular requirement for uploads. That's enabled us to relax the rule that previously asked for the full pose name to be written out in the main text; now the name only has to be on the image with a reference to how many and what type of poses are included in the main text.
We have also added a banner to all pose uploads linking to the Pose (or Animation) Player, so it's no longer necessary for uploaders to mention the player in their Main Text.
TS3 Careers: The requirements for custom icons have now been clarified and the need to include the joint text has been added to the list of required information.
The Pay Content Rules have been updated to reflect a change in TSR's policy. TSR have made all their TS2 content free, restricting pay status to just their TS3 content. As a result, TS2 content from TSR FAs can now be used in uploads to MTS. TS3 content made by TSR FAs is still considered pay and therefore not allowed.
We hope the new system will make things much easier for everyone. We really are excited about this new system: it's going to make things far better for creators, without diminishing the great quality of uploads that downloaders come here for. We know that the old system has scared quite a few creators off: so I'd like to ask those of you to whom this applies to give us another chance - try out the new system, and see if you like it as much as we do.
If you have any feedback, bug reports, suggestions etc. about the new system, please click here for the feedback thread, and let us know what you think.
Although she retired before we got very far with implementing it, this new system is the brainchild of the lovely HystericalParoxysm. It's an awesome brainchild, even awesomer than her loinchildren (life on the edge!), so a huge thankyou to HP for coming up with this wonderful project for us.
Now, go forth and (bake) multiply(iers in Blender)!
What I lack in decorum, I make up for with an absence of tact.
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On an amusing note, I actually had no idea what a simsecret was, but when I saw that reference I looked it up. Talk about a lot of people that need to find better things to do with their time! :p
(and perhaps i missed it in the new guidelines, but are morphs still not required for new clothing meshes? huh.)
My condolence goes out to all mods who moderate the moderation queue and the flood of uploads that will swallow them whole. Farewell, my friends!
Formally SeeMyu | Retired Mod
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I'm looking forward to my first upload with the new system and on getting so much valuable feedback. One never can get enough feedback, right? There are indeed a few creations already waiting to be uploaded, however, I don't mind to wait a few weeks longer so that the new system won't be slowed down just because all MTS members upload their creations at the same time.
I would like to thank all of you who worked so hard on the new upload system. <3 <3 <3
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Call me Abi if you want, it's easier to type than my username!
Now I actually have to learn how, and I get to dump crap EVERYWHERE! 8D
THE CAT HAIR WIZARD
Originally Posted by Sims99Fanatic
Thank You so Much! for bringing uploads back! Yippie! How does the new system effect game mods (specifically Sims 2 game mods is what I'm interested in) looks like you just went over the bodyshop/stuff in creator guidelines, yet game mod guidelines can be a bit trickier.
We only mentioned the changed - rest assured the rest are still perfectly applicable and all the old rules are still there. Everything thats a guideline is also a rubric, so you'll see some specific game mods ones when we get to moderating your upload.
Story books are full of fairy tales, of Kings and Queens, and the bluest skies.
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