Forum Update - Recent changes & updates

Over the recent months we’ve made some changes to the Polkadot Forum in the effort to make the Forum a more welcoming, engaging and respectful place to help further thoughtful discussions surrounding Polkadot and Kusama.

So, what’s changed? A tl;dr

  • A refined code of conduct, alongside new policies for the forum
  • A newly implemented ‘Newbie guide to the forum’
  • A ‘3 flag + 1 warning’ system
  • An expanded moderation team

A newly implemented ‘Newbie guide to the forum’

Joining the Forum for the first time can seem intimidating to some, especially those new to Web3 or the Polkadot ecosystem.

The guide aims to help those interested in joining the conversation get set up and running as soon as possible, helping those with valuable contributions to get involved.

A ‘3 flag + 1 warning’ system

We believe clarification surrounding the policies of ‘Banning And Kicking’ users was needed. Therefore alongside the new code of conduct we’ve implemented a new system to ensure the Forum remains a safe, positive and respectful community.

A user must receive 3 flags first followed by a warning from a moderator before there is justifiable reason to ban the user. If the user still refuses to cooperate with the Forum’s Code of Conduct, then the moderation team has the authority to ban the user.

FYI: This framework does not apply to those who’ve violated any ‘immediate ban’ rules. The breaking of these specific rules will result in an immediate ban with no potential to return to the Forum.

The moderation team

We’ve realised that many may have questions, whether they be about the new Code of Conduct, the flag system or just general Forum questions that need answering.

To ensure that all questions are answered, you can reach out to any member of the moderation team listed here: @Remy_Parity @rhee @erin @mister_cole

The community’s thoughts

We’d like to have an open discussion about these changes, alongside any other potential feedback and improvements we can take into consideration, so please feel free to use this topic as a way to voice any concerns or questions you’ve got.


Thanks for the update @Remy_Parity. I have a few comments and questions.

First, it would be my suggestion that you move the code of conduct for the forum off of notion, and to the forum itself. I cannot really understand why you would need to use another platform to host this content, when the forum is perfectly suited to do the same, and does not rely on another platform.

It should be possible for you to modify or create new information tabs here to hold this information: About - Polkadot Forum

Same with the “Newbie” guide to the forum. This content should exist ON the forum, and even better be integrated through the discobot provided by the Discourse platform (which can also be customized. To be really honest, the current state of the newbie guide to the forum seems extremely low effort and quality. You have taught a user to:

  • sign up on the forum
  • update their profile

Not really the kinds of things you would think will make “joining the forum less intimidating… especially to those new to Web3 or the Polkadot ecosystem”.

You mention 4 people on the moderation team, however the forum shows 7 admins and moderators, not including the @super.admin account.

  • Are those not listed expected to be part of the moderation team?
  • What is the process to update the list of moderators?
    • Removing inactive moderators.
    • Adding new moderators.
  • What are the expectations of moderators / admins on the forum?

For example, if we look at the number of days that the listed moderators visit the forum in the past year and their viewing activity:

I would argue only @mister_cole is actually active enough on this forum to act as a proper moderator. The statistics of others are a very small fraction of the actual activity of members who are present on the forum.

Raw numbers may not be indicative of a problem, but I would argue that there has obviously been a problem with administration on this forum. There are a number of cases where topics have been derailed by bad actors and questions / requests have been unanswered. I can strongly correlate that to the inactivity of the current administrator set.

I would like to speak plainly for the benefit of Polkadot, and not to hurt any specific person.

The Polkadot Forum is an extremely important part of this community and fostering an open platform for discussion from all things technical to philosophy. As a community member, I am not impressed with the current administrator team. They do not seem to take their role seriously or put significant effort into actually fostering the community that we want to build here. The creation of notion pages for the forum is clear evidence of a disconnect. A newbie guide with less than 200 words written in it is evidence to me of how little effort is placed into the forum by these administrators.

Let’s say this forum update is the beginning of new behaviors and focus from the moderation team, what changes should we expect to see as community members moving forward?

Else, what would be the process to bring about the change to the status quo that we would like to see?


This is the question I’m most interested in, so thank you for asking it! As I moderate on Discord, Element, and the Forum, my assumption has been that while all three spaces have rules/codes of conduct, the Forum is intended for very substantive commentary and discussion, with a high standard for both content and decorum. That is, of course, quite vague, so I’m keen to have it more pinned down so I have a clearer sense of what moderation touch is most appropriate here.

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I agree with you very much about notion and onboarding.

Regarding statistics, I usually read the forum on a device which isn’t logged in, and I also think it’s okay to have some “full time” moderators and some “part time” ones. As an engineer, I also attempt to give my perspective from that standpoint. I believe the revised CoC was out in place as a first step to nail down some of the emphasis on quality posts and clarify rules in which the moderation team can more easily quantify and thus act upon.

I also agree there should likely be more moderators, especially the sort who are already participating in technical topics.

Regarding any governance decisions I would expect the moderation team be beholden to the community for suggestions to change the team, and elect and eject members.

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This forum should NOT be highly moderated except for the immediate ban cases.

People should be themselves, and speak their mind, including being able to bring up “controversial topics”. Its the people who are filled with piss and vinegar, and try to improve things by bringing up controversial topics, that actually cause the improvement to happen. Banning/flagging/moderating is a bad idea for this reason, and the line from complaining about improving xyz to trolling and being offensive is very very blurry, mostly because anyone can be offended at approximately anything. I’m all for protecting kids from cyberbullying and disadvantaged people from hate speech that can lead to violence, but protecting smart adults from having their feelings hurt by other smart adults through rational conversations that are about Polkadot … is just ridiculous.

Here is a very decent example of this from today:

I believe this deserves to be a topic on this forum, but any number of “moderators” could find it offensive or trolling or controversial and maybe insulting.

Censorship-resistance is at the heart of blockchain tech, and is a core value system of “Web3”. Its sort of bullshit that this web site can’t be run on Polkadot “web3” technology and can’t embody this core value system. Here is TimBL from Web 1.0 and the owner of X, who run crypto’s absolute favorite Web2 system for “social proof”, where censorship is non-existent:

but has a better moderation system

Rather than ban and moderate people, I wish this forum should be deleted in favor of a real “Web3” forum that embodies the thing “Web3” was supposed to be about. If you immediately say “oh, that can’t be stored on chain”, you should say that TimBL and Elon Musk are right. If you say its on insert Polkadot parachains for decentralized social network, then rally behind how these demonstrate interoperability. Don’t be a hypocrite and perpetuate bullshit.

Meta: At which word did I cross the trolling/offensive line and get “off-topic”? No one will be able to provide exact guidelines to answer this question. Consensus systems might help you, but if you think you have the answer, I think you’re probably full of shit. Did I cross it yet? Ban me, I will wear it as a badge of honor!

When you ban or censor someone, 100 other people who notice this will stop speaking and not even complain … they just move their conversations elsewhere, to somewhere else whispering whatever it is the piss and vinegar inside them wants to say, because, like, duh, we can talk in lots of places. If every conversation has to be moderated everywhere, out of fear or insecurity, it says a lot more about the people who see the need to moderate than anything about the thing being “moderated”.

When people stop speaking their mind everywhere, you’ve taken away freedom. We’re not here for that.

As a member of the moderation team, I don’t think that post would violate any rules here unless the post about it is insulting or trolling. Controversy is not a problem here at all.

The rules are in place not to protect anyone’s feelings but to create the conditions of possibility for productive, thoughtful discourse with a good signal to noise ratio.

It is a rule of the forum to contribute to the community with high signal-to-noise - this means that behaviors such as:

  • endless repetition
  • soapboxing
  • thread hijacking
  • hostility
  • spam

are in particular moderated. In other words, bad manners. This is because they are net-negatives to community growth and drown out other topics. To my knowledge no other behaviors have been moderated whatsoever. At the moment, there is a thread on the front page asking “How overvalued is DOT?”. This has not been removed, although it’s a somewhat click-baity title, because controversial conversations are worth having.

Spam is speech, however, I’m (just my opinion) perfectly comfortable with the idea of spam being banned on this forum, though hard-liners may take an alternative point. Likewise with other toxic behaviors. Controversy and argumentation in a manner respectful of participants’ and readers’ opinions and time are encouraged and certainly not considered toxic. The Brushfam post, for instance, would be welcome here. A user creating pages and pages of posts which don’t seem to be interesting enough for anyone to reply to is almost definitionally noise and is net-negative to more useful discussions.

Discourse is an imperfect platform, and it would be better not to have to restrict users altogether who participate in this behavior, but rather reduce the visibility of those who do so as to avoid polluting the town square. Unfortunately, the tooling here is rather limited.


There are some philosophical challenges that the current approach presents when faced with the reality of the system design and economic game the forum is assumed to represent.

The role of ‘moderation’ in discourse has matured for ‘established interest communities’ - maybe a sports team, fans of a particular tv series or a niche tech product. In these communities, many of the rules are set… you’re not gonna change the plot of Game of Thrones or the medium of television.

As noted elsewhere, the designers of the substrate/polkadot/kusama systems have created a nomic game, with singular economic assets the shelling point for the players.

Nomic is a game in which changing the rules is a move. In that respect it differs from almost every other game. The primary activity of Nomic is proposing changes in the rules, debating the wisdom of changing them in that way, voting on the changes, deciding what can and cannot be done afterwards, and doing it. Even this core of the game, of course, can be changed.

The aim of the game is to experiment into coherence, with KSM/DOT keeping score… and you know what, irrespective of any individual’s behaviour, reality is gonna hit soon enough, its just better to plan, than panic.

When you understand this more clearly, going ‘off-topic’ is a feature, not a bug.

It’s the point of everything - its is experimentation, personified.

Moderation is fighting that chaotic move to coherence, not aiding it.

endless repetition
thread hijacking

As @sourabhniyogi notes, each one of these categories is entirely subjective.

  • Endless repetition is the essence of brand marketing. “polkadot… boundless innovation… lalala”.

  • Soapboxing - you know, that’s literally what you guys do all the time at conferences, its just you’re rich, and powerful, and we’re just the serfs attempting to subvert the overlords, because, you know, wasn’t the plan to bring down Zuckerberg?

  • One man’s Thread hijacking - is another man’s lateral thinking.

  • Hostility - to delusional ideas, broken incentives and nannying culture should be welcomed with open arms - we have zero problem with hate speech / bullying or the like, so this is a lame excuse.

  • Spam - until the forum is overloaded with prince’s bearing gifts of DOT I think we’re good. And you know what, when you really understand the art of creativity, the magic is you can take inspiration from anywhere.


The act and indeed existing culture of moderation slows the game, demoralises players and stifles anything remotely like creativity - unless it is in some more familar (say technical) territory, where a large number of the players would more clearly recognise playfulness.

This is why there needs to be a new Kusama focused forum where the brakes are off.

We’ve proved once and for all, that the Polkadot forum and indeed the larger Polkadot brand (SDK etc etc) cannot possibly serve the needs of the ecosystem but is inadvertently crushing the spirit of the community, in large ways and small.

This is a scrappy startup - not a large multi-national, people need to wakeup to that fact and stop deluding themselves into some elevated sense of importance that these insane market caps create.

I don’t see anything in this post which hasn’t been said in at least 25 others - including calls to action or suggestions for a Kusama-focused forum which never seem to materialize to anything. Though I could be missing how the brakes need to be off in order to talk a lot and do nothing (creatively).

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the aim was always to push things as far as possible here per A Kusama Forum - Place for longform debate and healthy discussion. It seems that limit has been reached.

there is a discourse / substrate login sorted. getting it implemented here is like pulling teeth so i’ve lost interest in evolving this forum into something more ‘web3’, the cultural divide is too much and there seems no meaningful path to actual community oversight - which is absolutely fine, since Polkadot is and has always will be more conservative.

there is an alternative ‘app’ in development - that will demonstrate how we can flip a whole heap of ideas on their head wrt to governance, contribution / collaboration and ROI especially with coretime in mind.

there are a lot of things that need to come together though - inc addressing legal issues, bringing financing together and the introduction of a new stablecoin model which we will introduce to Kusama via OTC and AssetHub shortly.

i’m sure you can appreciate how long things take to come together.

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Good. Actions speak much louder than words.

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