You might not know me, but I sure do know you, lovely reader. I have a very high tendency to just lurk around here and see how things develop, mainly because I'm awkward and shy as it gets, and I will rarely approach others unless my curiosity is peeked. But I'm not here to speak of myself, I'm here to speak of the current ambient on this website, and why it has gone south due to poor decissionmaking+other factors.
There are various things that I do have some complaints about, and it seems that the rest of the userbase shares this same concerns somewhat, so let's get into it:
Even to this day, this can still be considered a "controversial" topic. It's not a rare thing to see someone complain about the allowance of minors on a page that used to be 18+ for a very long time, myself included have complained about this very choice, for example. To say it was rushed, poorly implemented and just outright enabled without any opinion from the user base is an understatement. For a while, it wasn't even known this happened, Key had to be asked directly why were 14+ people now allowed when for a very long time it wasn't. This sort of decisions should have instant knowledge for the user base, as it really does change the way the site in general is used. Key spoke of how this was the original plan all along, but another questioon pops up... "Why such a jump so suddenly?". If this was implemented shortly after this website, we would be dealing with a different horse, but this was applied almost *2 years* after this site was originally launched to public. A jump from 18+ to 14+ is huge on many levels, it means that many topics that could be discussed freely on even the profile feed need now extra moderation not only from the staff, but also from the users themselves, and I'm not speaking of NSFW on here, there are many more topics that have to be discussed in a different way due to minors, whenever one likes it or not. If this decission was on my hands (ignoring the evident 'I would never do this'), I would first lower it to 16 and see how the overall website reacts, and if the reaction was overall positive, I would then, and only THEN lower it to 14. Sometimes the opinion of the staff alone aren't worth gold, I can tell you that as a staff member from another website, yo. Even if it might look like the best choice for the staff, the normal people should have also had a say on the matter, at the end they are also users of the website. I'm not opposed to 14+ y/o people on websites, hell I moderate a website that is 13+ under the COPPA, but applying it on this specific website after such a long period of time was flawed. The result? While not every minor is irresponsable (that would be preposterous), many have proven to be a hassle. I won't use any names here, but if you have been active on the last weeks, some names from minors that proved a problem will pop up, specially because of some form of breaking the rules.Speaking of rules...
Rule enforcing in Ponycrush has always been kind of light for as long as I can remember, never swinging the hammer unless absolutely necessary, but lately it has become kind of dumb. Again, my rule of no witchhunting will stand, but if you have been active on the feed, you will have easily seen an specific user stalking various female members of the website, whenever they were active or not and/or interested. I can't provide photographic proof due to my lack of access to it, but you know who I speak about. The point I'm trying to make is that there should be a better enforcement of the rules in terms of this sort of situations, when the feed is full of the same user posting on various female member profiles and then reacting negatively when told to stop, that's when some action needs to be taken. I'm not speaking of full on banhammering, but at least try to reinforce that sort of behavior is not encouraged nor agreed upon at the very least. There was also another case where an evident bot started spamming profiles and sending PMs to random members, and this lasted almost an entire day before it was taken care of. I can understand that there is not a lot of staff, there are a total of 2 moderators and 1 administrator, but if it takes this long to get action done, isn't there a way to bring someone extra on board to at least help this issue? Even just a person more that is reliably active could really do wonders in some of this situations.
Ponycrush itself and how this actually hurts its existence:
Key described Ponycrush as "A social network. It was never intended to be a "dating site".. not in the traditional sense. It's an experimental attempt at something new. It has the capacity to find users you may be interested in plutonically or romantically ...even professionally. It's an attempt at a universal social network."(also it's platonically my own intelectual self cried ;;). A very commendable idea, but it falls short due to this approach to the userbase. Not checking on gamebreaking changes (the whole minor thing was a debacle from the start), slow reaction time to evident trolls and harrasing of users (this is due to small staff size, which while understandable, is still a flaw), and other small things that stack up.
Before you go and do anything, let me get something clear. I like this place. I would not be posting this stuff if I didn't like it. Even with its rough patches, its problems, its trolls, and so on, it's a nice place to spend my time, even though most of it is spent literally just lurking around. I know that moderating a website is hard from personal experience, I have moderated one myself for almost 3 years by now, but that doesn't mean that one can't be criticized. This website has good aspects, it has a very user friendly interface, a pretty functional search system (I used IP.B3, anything is functional to me after that), and other things. I just wanted to raise some points and hopefuly reach a common ground. I can see how some of these can be hard, almost impossible, but discussion is healthy as long as it doesn't become a hatred circlejerk, so yeah. Now, let me sleep *sleeps*