Generally the start of a thread never gets locked, unless it contains something not related to the game or is out and out rude or inflammatory. This thread contains none of that, and from the replies I have seen so far has led to a fairly healthy discussion.
Unfortunately, us moderators are limited on what we can do with threads that are getting out of hand - simply put, we can either:-
- try the verbal approach and warn users that the thread will be locked if whatever bad thing is happening doesn’t stop (sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t).
- Select individual posts to split out of threads and merge them into another thread or create a new thread with them (this would be the preferred method of doing things, but can be very time consuming).
- Lock threads and preset a time for it to reopen (good for when a thread just needs a cool off and has a good chance of getting back on track).
- Lock threads completely and leave them to the annuls of time (although not always the best option, it is the quickest one - especially when a thread has been severely derailed or toxic).
There are more administrative functions available, but they are at a level (set by the forum software) where we would then have access to users email & ip addresses and other personal information. Now, as you know, us moderators are not employed by Wonderstuck and are located in various places around the world - we volunteered to try and look after the forums because we we’ve been around for a while and want to help in any way we can (in between having our own full time jobs and family etc.) - so we can’t really get access to this level of administration without implications when it comes to personal user data, GDPR and other such things. The auto-mod also falls into the same no-go area, as flags are associated with user data, so we’re unable to see them to be able to clear them and reopen threads.
From a personal perspective, I would prefer to be able to temporarily “time out” accounts of people that incite toxicity, constantly derail threads or get involved in flame wars, instead of timing out or locking an entire thread to the detriment of all previous posters. I would love to be able to have that precision, so that valid, constructive conversation can continue unabated and the bad eggs are dealt with individually. Wonderstruck do want that too and even went to the extent of contacting the developers of the forum software to ask that some administrative powers be decoupled from needing to view user sensitive information, so that we can moderate more effectively, but it was unfortunately to no avail.