The forum has gone through a redesign on the desktop version. Functionally, not much has changed, except for a brand new header, which you may have noticed has already been in use on the charts site for some time.
Everything to do with your profile has now been grouped together on the right side of the screen, with a dropdown menu which also lets you access your profile settings from anywhere, which wasn't possible before.
If you have any questions or experience any issues with the new design, please let me know.
Recently, the staff has received several messages concerning acts of bullying between forum members. Some of these were witnessed in group chats with other forum members in other forms of social media, such as Messenger or Skype.
The most widely-known event regarding this started yesterday in this thread. We concluded that the discussion in the thread itself is actually decent, unlike the one that went ahead in the forum's Messenger chat afterwards, which included attacks and jokes which were out of place, including body-shaming. These attacks and jokes were mainly provided by Bas and Apo.
Therefore, both Bas and Apo have received a 25% warning for their undisciplined participation in the conflict. This means that Bas, who has reached 100%, will be temporarily banned from the forums for an undefined amount of time, considering we’ve received reports of other offensive messages sent on his part.
Jake has also been warned with 5%, for his brief yet significant contribution in the dispute.
In case any of you feel threatened, intimidated or bullied in any other way, you should report it to the staff at once. Although cyberbullying isn't a crime in most of the world, the staff will not accept any form of it, as small as it is, and will therefore be punished. There is a line between a debate conducted with respect and bullying.
Unfortunately, it seems the post made last month and the consequences associated with it have not yet been understood by many users. Recent developments have shown that things within the community are getting worse by the day. As the staff, it is our duty to make sure all of our users feel safe and enjoy their experience on the forums.
This is the point where I, as well as other staff members, have to admit our blame. We're all human and we sometimes do things that hurt people unknowingly. I have been very burdened by this guilt recently and I know other staff members are also able to admit their blame in certain situations regarding certain users. We should be the role models for the community and thus we should make sure we do our best at following the rules, otherwise we can't expect our users to do the same.
That being said, I don't think any of us, as staff, have taken things as far as some other people have. This post isn't made to blame anyone, and therefore we will not be mentioning any names or handing out any warnings as of yet. Things within the community have been turning sour and many of the chats (Messenger, Skype) have turned outright toxic, especially towards some users, as of recent. Here are a few things to keep in mind, based on the experiences of some users.
George - whilst George has made it pretty clear he does not mind all of the jokes made about him, after discussions we've had he's told us that for a very long time he feels ridiculed and not appreciated by the community. This needs to change, therefore we ask all of our users to tone down any jokes made at George's expense. Robbie - many of you may have noticed Robbie's recent post in Random Discussion. This post didn't come out of nowhere, Robbie has also felt ridiculed by users, mainly when it comes to his music. We also ask all of our users to stop any negative discussion about him and any jokes made at his expense.
There are other users who could be mentioned as well. Things cannot continue like this. We'd like to remind everyone that many users on the forums are going through or have gone through personal struggles and hard times, and the forums and song contests are a way for them to escape that reality. Therefore to turn a safe space like that into something so utterly toxic is extremely vile.
This is a final warning. To everyone. Stop it. Or action will be taken against you. Think before you post. If someone tells you they feel uncomfortable with things you've been saying, cut it out. If you feel bullied, ridiculed or uncomfortable, tell the staff immediately, and it will be dealt with.
Following the recent announcements made regarding bullying, as well as the official introduction of a forum rulebook, the staff has made some decisions regarding the future of some of its members. For a while now, it has come to our attention that several acts of bullying occured throughout our community and despite the announcement made recently specifically on that matter and the punishments given to the members, these acts continued to happen. Unfortunately, the staff has resolved into giving out further punishment, in hopes that this ends once and for all these terrible acts.
With that being said, the staff has decided on the permanent ban from the forum of both Bas and Apostolis. That means both users will be excluded from the community, including any type of chats as well as forum-based contests. Furthermore, Selvin will be receiving a three-month ban along with 50% warning, while Bronson and Adrià will receive 50% and 25% warning respectively.
However, the people named and punished today are not the only ones involved in this situation; there are other users who should keep an eye on their actions in the future, they will not be named, but if you think this applies to you, keep it in mind. The staff wants to take the opportunity to, once again, remind that similar acts will not be tolerated. Consequences will come with actions.
Unfortunately, the server I have been hosting many of the forum's features, as well as the wiki network and charts website has unexpectedly stopped working and all of the data has been lost.
This means two things:
• At the moment, some features on the forum may be unusable or slow. I'll try to fix these as soon as I can, but in case you notice something that's haywire that I might've missed please let me know via PM.
• The wiki and charts website will be shut down until further notice. The wiki probably will be shut down forever. I'm really sorry to anyone who had data on the wiki, I know I ported over several contest wikis and there's no way for me to get your data back. A major loss is of course without a doubt Fantasipedia, which I've been hosting basically ever since the Fantasia Contest began and 5 years of data are now all gone. Some of your data may still available through a website such as web.archive.org. If you're looking for a place to host your contest's wiki, I'd suggest Miraheze.
I'm really sorry. This is all on me and I could've prevented this had I noticed in time. But at this point, there's nothing I can do anymore. I'll try my best to help anyone get through this in case it's necessary.
Earlier today, the Song Contests Forum Chat that was based on Messenger, officially relocated to the Discord server. Although the server was created a while ago, it was not properly used as the forum's main chat. However, the long-awaited move to Discord officially happened today, as it has been a request by multiple members of the forum over time.
There are multiple reasons the move to Discord happened. One of them was that Discord is more accessible to the members, as well as the fact that Discord is more organized than Messenger. Also, the fact that Discord runs better and smoother than Messenger contributed to the decision to finally relocate to the former.
How do I join the SCF Discord server?
If you didn't already join the Discord server, you can simply join by clicking here. You can also find the Discord server embeded in the homepage of the forum. After you join you will need to wait until you're approved by one of the administrators, and then if you wish to assign yourself any roles, use the #role channel.
The server has already been divided into categories with several channels in it. If you want a channel for your contest, request it to one of the administrators. Furthermore, if you have any questions or any suggestions as to what could be done to further improve our server on Discord, do not hesitate to contact one of the forum's staff members.
Similarly to the Messenger chat, the terms and conditions of the forum apply to the Discord server. Please try to be respectful towards other members and behave accordingly!
The staff of the Song Contest Forums has always strived to ensure that its members feel welcomed and that there is a place for them not only on the website itself, but indeed within the community as well. We feel we have done a good job at this, and we cannot be more thankful for such a supportive, warm-hearted community which ultimately keeps the forum going. All of us staff members were you at one point. We were just regular members, happy to be part of a community that embraced us. Through our services to the forum's contests and community, as well as having a general appreciation for the wide community we are part of and its ethos, we were promoted to the staff one way or another. We are your representatives, and as I said before, it's you who keep this forum alive. Not the staff. We're just here to make your experience here as smooth as possible. Other than being your representatives, we too are people just like you. We participate in contests, we are friends with a whole variety of forumers and some of us also (help to) host contests too.
We also know we there is always room for us to manage things more effectively. We have done things wrong in the past where we felt we let the community down, and have apologised for our mistakes too. On top of that, we are not immune from criticism, and we absorb it as well. We have always allowed people to message us whenever they believe there is something we should be doing differently, and we have made changes in the past based on user feedback. We feel that, through seeing the interactions between people and the vast array of active contests, the majority of forumers have a very good experience on the forums.
That is why - over the past few weeks - we have been hurt by an increased number of unfounded claims of elitism and even cronyism, where we make decisions based in favour of our own "friends." The staff have been accused of deliberately marginalising certain members, and turning the forums into a collection of tribes. We can categorically say that is false.
What is elitism and why aren't we elitist?
Elitism is like saying we are superior: that we are intrinsically better than you and because of that, we deserve the benefits of these forums more than you. This is untrue. Earlier, I said that we were once regular members too. Some of us on the staff done stupid things before our promotions that people disapproved of. A few of us even received reminders from previous staff members and I'm even sure at least one of us were banned from a contest before. However, what is true is that all of us move on. We learn from the past as inexperienced members and we build on our characters, which is what has led us to representing the forums on behalf of you all. None of us were given our promotions without careful thought, and our promotions certainly weren't handed to us on a plate by our "friends." We all had to prove ourselves.
The staff is not a tribe. We come from a variety of different backgrounds, and although we are all on very good terms with each other, we are not a single friend group that is out to exert our power on the forums. Our friends on the forums are all different as well; they're not from the same group of people.
One thing that has bugged us recently is the claim that staff members exert their powers on the contests that they are involved in hosting - essentially the North Vision Song Contest (NVSC) and the Fantasia Contest (FC). We have made clear, especially in the Terms of Service, that the running of contests is independent from the wider forums, even if the contest's hosting team has a staff presence. Discipline in contests is not the same as discipline in the forums. If you are disciplined for breaking a forum rule in a contest's thread, it is because you broke a forum rule. Neither NVSC or FC are staff "proxy" contests. There are various non-staff members - past and present - in each council who contribute a great deal to the way the contests are run. That being said, that doesn't mean you have to be part of NVSC or FC to become a staff member in the future. That is in no way a condition to become a staff member, neither is participation in either contest necessary to be "successful" in the forums, however you want to define that.
The staff have also taken measures over the years to increase community integration. It is a real shame that although the door is open, a minority of people choose not to walk through the door and then blame the staff or elitism for when things don't go their way.
What has been done, and what will be done, to improve community outreach?
Back in April, we announced that the forum chat moved from Messenger to Discord. Among our reasons for the move was that it was more accessible for the wider forum community who was not already part of, or active in, the Messenger chat. In that aspect, the move was a success and we have become more open than ever before. We've seen increased activity from people who prefer to use Discord, and all are valued members of our community. We have also implemented some features on Discord such as the #suggestions channel where people can give feedback on the forums and its Discord server, and also the #vent channel where people can complain about what's bothering them in life without feeling like a burden on anyone. We highly encourage that if you haven't already joined the forums' Discord server, you should! All you need to do is provide your forum account in the #welcome channel and then we will give you full access to the server.
We plan to create a suggestions thread in The Forums board on this site, where users can suggest anything exclusively related to the forums website and its upkeep, and give feedback on any changes. This allows people who aren't on the Discord server to have just as much of a say in how the forums are run. After all, you are a member of the Song Contest Forums.
We also plan on making future moderator application processes more transparent, when they happen. We will most likely use the same system as last time (May 2017) with a few alterations if need be, although we are considering potentially involving a committee of members who wish to remain just members having a greater say in shortlisting applications, and also looking at the possibility of creating a Discord Moderator role, which will provide a fantastic, clearly transparent gateway into becoming a full staff member (more information on the latter will be announced on the Discord server when the time is right). These measures will ensure there is maximum capacity for regular members to have a say in who becomes part of the staff.
And as always, we are open for any suggestions from any member: all you need to do is send any active staff member a PM!
To round this announcement off, I would like to repeat that the staff is on everyone's side here and always has been. We are not working against anyone, and we're certainly not promoting a forum "pecking order". Disciplining people is not enjoyable for any of us, and we have increasingly encouraged people from all walks of the forums to come together, and we are glad that the vast majority of the forum feels this way. However, given recent events, we just have to remind everyone that we are all one big united group at the end of the day.
Day and night and day again and people come and go away forever While the shining summer sea dances in the glass of your mirror While you search the waves for love and your visions for a sign The knot of tears around your throat is crystallizing into your design
As this community approaches 2021 and its 10th year of existence, there will be some major changes to the forum staff.
Firstly, it is with great sadness that we announce the departure of Aless from the staff. Aless joined the staff in 2017 as a moderator and was then promoted to administrator in 2018. Aless' contributions to the site and the community have been immense and we are absolutely indebted to him for all of them. Thanks to Aless we've now been running on the forum.songcontests.eu domain for 3 and a half years and when he first joined the staff he was a very active member of the community and the staff. Unfortunately in recent months he has not had as much time to dedicate to the website and thus will be resigning as administrator. We wish Aless well and he, as any other retired staff member, is always welcome to rejoin the staff should he become active again.
To replace Aless as administrator, the staff have decided to promote Kevin from the position of moderator to the position of administrator. Kevin was originally promoted to moderator in 2017 and has continued serving in the position until now. We believe Kevin has contributed to both the website and community a lot in his tenure as moderator to finally warrant a promotion to administrator.
Back in May 2017 we held moderator applications when the position was reinstated following its abolition in 2016. In order to replace Kevin and revitalise the staff in general, we are looking to promote 2 or 3 new moderators, however the 3.5 year old applications are more than out of date by now for us to be able to make a decision based on them, therefore we intend to hold a new round of moderator applications beginning now.