H: First of all, congratulations on your four (!) awards. Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you join the site, what was it like back then?
I: Thanks, the credit goes to the TW community itself who thought that i was worthy enough.
Well there is nothing much to know about me, I’m 24 years old & an electrical engineer who just likes to play a few games lol. I live in Kashmir, India which is quite known for its scenic beauty. Nonetheless it's a violent place which is regularly attacked by terrorists or freedom fighters from their perspective lol, anyways life's good, I have nothing to complaint about and it’s a lot peaceful now as the Indian army has restored order here. I was born and raised in different parts of the country and I throughout my life lived like a gypsy, changed 12 schools because either my father (who works for the Indian central government) had to move into a new city or I was thrown out of the school by the dean lol. Lots of mischiefs, adventures, quite of painful memories & physical injuries etc like everybody else but, like I said earlier, life’s good and nothing to complain about, live life to the fullest. Anyways…so how I stumbled upon TWC?
I came to TWC in search of some cheat codes for M2TW when I was awfully bored by beating the game over and over again, naturally i didn't found what i was looking for at first because it wasn't exactly a cheat code that i was trying to find. I wanted to make ancillaries, which characters received, to be transferable. By default few of them were already but not all of them so at that moment i found M2TW mod workshop and from there i learned how to mod minor things. Within few days it took a hold of me and i wanted to mod the game rather than play it. For about 3 months or so i remained a guest but when i was stuck at one modding problem I made my account solely to PM Gigantus to help me with my modding problem or just to create threads in mod workshop. TWC was the first forum i had ever joined, so needless to say it's very dear to me, almost all of my time is spent here lol.
So in a nutshell, one can simply say that i joined the website because of gigantus lol. I used to wait all day for his replies lol as I quite enjoyed modding the game and wanted to solve the issues that I encountered almost immediately, I’m quite impatient lol.
Sir Ron (Irishron) & Gig were the first people i met and because of them i hung around mod workshop that much. Many other helpful members in the mod workshop also helped me in improving my modding skills throughout the years and were almost always available 24/7. People like Eothese, Taiji, makanyane, wilddog, Squid, SigniferOne & countless others made the mod workshop a library. I really wished that I had joined the site back in the days of RTW as I would’ve definitely done a lot more things and would’ve had the opportunity to interact with more RTW modders who unfortunately are inactive presently.
"What was it like back then?
" I really don’t have a clue because the mod workshop and M2TW GD forums were the only places I used to hang out. After approximately 2 years i met Mr.MM in the basement section of the forums which is for software\hardware discussion and he convinced me to join content staff under him, he also helped me a lot of numerous things and taught me quite a few things about wiki, although makanyane was the one that explained typical things about wiki coding. Some of you won’t believe but it was MM who told me how to use MSN etc, earlier the world of chatting & needlessly killing of time was pretty much non-existent to me lol, I still don’t chat much but from time to time I chat with some of the precious friends I have made here. MM was the one that told me about every corner of the website, curia and what not. Love you brother!
So one can easily summarize that TWC was, is & will remain fun as long as cool people don’t abandon it; without these people newbies like me wouldn’t have hung around for so long. God Bless all you cool people out there!
H: Could you tell us how you feel for receiving the awards? What do you have to say to the members that expressed their opinion?
I: Well lol I was quite surprised to see that I won in 4 categories because other nominees deserved them as well & I’m honoured that members feel that I’m worthy enough. Certainly the after effects is what always puts a pressure on an individual because when you receive something from a group of people and are tagged as “xyz” then one really has to live up to that mark, so I really hope that I can live up to the expectations of my fellow members because in the end I’m an average gamer like everybody else. I have my limits as well & have the tendency to lose patience on certain occasions, so during those times I rely on my comrades in the den to walk me through the mine field, without them I couldn’t have achieved all of this.
Anyways if I ever screw up or if any of you guys don’t like the way I’m doing things around the forums as a staff member then don’t hesitate to confront me via PM and talk about it, perhaps I’m not seeing something obvious or vice-versa.
H: You were voted the friendliest and most helpful member of TWC. What do you think of the community in terms of respecting and helping each other? What do you think is your biggest contribution?
I: Well as far as the respect goes on TWC I have always practiced the same principles that I followed in RL, which is, you don’t have to respect anybody anywhere, it’s really up to you to decide. Don’t respect people just because they are on certain positions. Give respect to those who give respect to you, if you don’t feel like it then don’t bother, regardless to say don’t disrespect people either lol. If your heart is in the right place then respect is something that will automatically generate for worthy people, it takes time to know a person so do it when you feel that particular person deserves it.
As far as the help goes, I think TWC works just like we live in RL. In a community it’s essential to help out each other, human is a social animal after all & by helping each other out and being friendly with each other is how a community fosters; I mean who would bother to buy or build a house in a locality that has a high crime rate? So a decent and friendly environment is the laying foundation of any successful community. Many people have worked hard to make what TWC is today so we all have to ensure at least it stays that way & doesn't degrades. Had certain people been rude and idiotic to me & you then we wouldn’t be here now would be?
And my biggest contribution? Well I would say my participation in mod workshop and staff work, still I believe I haven’t done anything “big” per say, I love to think that there is much more to work on because imo progress has no limits.
H: Were do you post more often?
I: Well my sole resting place is Medieval II section, earlier I had an average of 80-100 posts per day lol, it was when posts were counted in the moderator den also, but then few of us requested to disable the post counter and Squid disabled it. Recently my posting has been quite reduced though due to a lot of site work, unfortunately. But I browse Total War section heavily, Basement and TD (unwillingly) because I try to moderate those areas as well with my fellow moderators.
H: You are a moderator, how did this happen? Why did you choose to become one?
I: Well it all happened unexpectedly, I was recently patronized by Squid and, in addition, at that time I was also serving as an assistant director in the wiki team so I was already familiar with mod tools as I was a local moderator there. I used to report a lot of misplaced threads from the Medieval 2 section and Pontifex Maximus was the one who noticed my reports and my attitude, he just asked in the report about me and gig and Sir Ron were already familiar with me & so said that I might be a worthy addition.
After that YD23 was the one who approached me via PM, I was both quite excited and a bit hesitant but YD’s cool and friendly attitude really convinced me and thus I had no reason to deny. Back then I was a major noob lol, YD23 was the one that introduced me to the gang & really watched over me and explained everything I wanted to know when I was new to all of this, guys like Sir TFON in the den worked really hard on me. YD was one of the politest moderators I know, he has a certain hand in shaping my attitude whilst moderating, he's sensible and more mature than me I would say.
H: Now that you are considered the favourite member of moderation stuff, could you tell us a bit about moderating itself and what your approach is? Do you find it difficult? Is it hard to cope with some people's reactions?
I: Before I proceed further with this I would like to mention my own favourite moderator, who is Darth Red. Even though he wasn’t even nominated iirc, I truly believe he’s the best moderator. He is one of the most active moderator and a leading one from D&D section. The amount of crap he tolerates and the way he resolves issues & conflicts via friendly PMs is just astounding, if he’s infracting someone (which is very very rare) then he has a bloody good reason to do it and only when all methods have been failed. He works more in the background so that’s why he’s not known enough but D&Ders will certainly know him. He’s one of my best friends that I have made on TWC & always watches over me when I lose my cool. Respect brother!
Anyways back to your question, I would say moderation is a prime necessity to run a forum successfully. Like there is no point of sitting in a library to study if there is no silence, so moderation itself does the same job, it tries to maintain the decent atmosphere required for the development of forum by providing a comfortable and friendly environment to its members. In my opinion, moderating itself is like baking a cake, you raise the temperature too much and you might end up burning it or lower the temperature too much then it might not bake properly\evenly. So it needs to be balanced, which of course can only be achieved by a group with different & flexible mindsets not a single individual, under the supervision of active & dedicated administration. Nonetheless we do make mistakes and learn from them so no one’s perfect here, except squid of course as he wasn’t designed by sim to make errors lol (j\k).
And about my approach? Well it’s nothing complicated really. I’ve been always polite with new members as they’re new and you never know when that guy might get hooked up and produce some outstanding mods and such for us. Pretty much every one of us is easily approachable and willing to talk & help out the guy if he is new & not a troublemaker, so my behavior\attitude I would say is not exceptional or different from other moderators. There are of course certain users, I would say only a handful, that tend to enjoy in needlessly bothering moderation by not following ToS or by trolling other members, if I’ve never spoken to them then I try the friendly approach with them at first if they’re trolling in my assigned area, if that fails then I don’t waste my time on them, I mean if someone is doing it intentionally what else are you going to do, right? Infractions in early stages seem to keep these users in check & then there are other methods in which we usually involve a senior just to make sure we're not doing anything harsh.
I spot a lot of rule breaks all across the forums & it’s quite understandable because no one really posts by keeping ToS sheet right beside him\her so at those stages we come and remind these users were they’re incorrect and normally they appreciate the fact that we PMed them instead of infracting them, friendly approach firsthand has always worked out best for me, of course this is something I learned & was taught by my seniors. Infractions are given only when we think that someone is doing something intentionally, like I may simply edit out a censor bypass and if I spot it again then I might edit it out again and via PM tell him\her the rules just to make sure he knows what he’s\she’s doing. So even after that if he stills repeats then it’s quite obvious that he doesn’t really gives a damn, so at that point I simply hand out a note and then penalties rack up if he keeps repeating it. So as you can see, it’s always on the user, if he wants to stay out of trouble then he simply can.
As far as the difficulty goes, I don’t think it’s a major headache, that’s really for hex because as a moderator if I’m exhausted or frustrated then I know I can always back out and pass it on to my seniors. If someone is really beyond my control then I cry upon GED’s shoulder lol and trust me you don’t want to piss off this guy haha, if you’re dealing with GED then your best defense is to be honest and feel sorry about it, trying to be over-smart with him will not result any favourable results. Mostly we sort everything out by a group discussion; there are mentors and hex like Jom and Gigantus to take over. If there is some technical difficulty then Bolk, squid or pann are usually the people I run off to.
"Is it hard to cope with some people's reactions?
" Normally no because by now I think I have seen and experienced the usual stuff one could throw at me, reactions are something you’re already prepared for but actions are something you aren’t, so sometimes it could be a little tedious to manage the chaos. In any case, something unique always seems to come up every now and then and all you can do is learn from your experiences. Moreover, fortunately I don’t moderate the D&D section; people like Jom, Darth Red, Gert & DimeBagHo etc are the ones that get some real heat from people, seeing the nature of the forum, I’m pretty sure D&D moderators get more nose bleeds than TW moderators lol, moderation in Total War area and Common community forums is quite different.
H: Any comments on the posting quality in the site? Anything that would make your life easier as a moderator?
I: As an active member if I thought that posting quality in the site was poor then I wouldn’t have stayed here, so of course imo the quality is nice, much better than any other TW forum of course. Again in the end it depends on the topic and the member himself, like a member may give an excellent post in a modding thread but may post something poor to your taste in EMM\D&D fora. Besides people only see what they want to see, so I may ignore some of the posts that I consider spam or rubbish when viewing a thread but I know whose post not to skip like if, Heinz is posting something then obviously I won’t close the thread without reading his post because I may be losing a good laugh. On several occasions when I’m tired and quite frustrated I often view his posts to have a good laugh and chill out, we never moderate when we’re stressed out as generally that may lead to a poor decision that may upset a member(s).
GAC forums consumes quite a bit of my moderating time because there is a lot of spam there which I understand because the crowd that dwells here consists primarily of ppl that are neither interested in modding nor in debating someone; they just want to hang around and have some fun, I mean that’s the intended purpose of this section anyways. But some people try to troll members & test moderation there. So if people & especially TD posters cooperates with moderation, which some of them do, then that certainly makes my\our job easier. But what really helps a moderator is a report, basically the fact remains, is that we can’t be everywhere all the time so if members really want to help out moderators in making their job (which is to maintain a peaceful environment on the forums) easier then please report if you spot anything that you consider is noteworthy for moderation.
H: And finally any advice to the members?
I: LOL I’m terrible at giving advices, many friends that I have in RL can confirm this. Anyways with respect to forums: just be yourself, enjoy the forums & don’t bother too much about forum rules because when you’re doing something wrong, unintentionally, we will remind & guide you anyways. And always remember in the end, we’re all gamers and this is just a gaming forum so don’t take anything emotionally & then get upset over it, although I know easier said than done as sometimes a thing or two gets to you.
With respect to RL: Never betray or use your friends for your personal gain or pleasure. If someone does that to you then never forget it & learn from the experience. Try to avoid fights as much as you can but if you’re cornered and don’t have any choice then give your 100% to it, never back down from a fight.
H: Any closing comments?
I: Cooking is fun and exercise daily. And if you're good at something then always remember there is a person somewhere nearby who can beat you at it, this helps to keep one's ego in check.
H: Thank you for your time!
I: You’re welcome brother.