Disclaimer: This post is meant to explain the overall status of the site in my very own perspective, specifically with regards to the implementation of Admin's Policy. Therefore, many mentions of the users would occur, but such mentions are not intended as personal attacks or content meant for the sole purpose of trying to anger certain users, and is only intended to explain certain events involving user interactions with regards to the implementation of the policy and certain inconsistencies that could take place. Furthermore, the post is not intended to single out certain users for negative attention and if certain actions are mentioned, the remarks that the blog post would state are aimed at ALL of the people who do such actions, and is not only aimed at specific users. This action is not intended and is not to be classified as "posting critical attack material about other members", and if any negative remarks are made, any response towards it would be classified as "taking an attack personally" as this post is not intended to inhibit users from enjoying going to this site.
We're here. It's been more than a year since the most controversial event of TheTopTens has happened. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's about what most users call as "Admin's Policy" or as I call it the "February 26 Reform of TheTopTens". If you want more information about this event, please check Admin's post entitled "It's Time to End the Trolling, Bullying and Picking Fights". I think you get what I'm talking about. This policy has been a hot topic on the site's vocal part of the community mostly among the active and devoted members of the site. Its criticism comes from several reasons, most notably because of "internet censorship" issues. So now let's talk about my personal background on the issue, and later on, my stand towards this very topic.
Initial Obsevations and Background:
When I joined the site back in November 2014, I had no idea about the user wars and disagreements that frequently occur in this site. It just seemed like an innocent website where you browse for lists, make remixes, and vote. I just thought that there was no such thing as personal interaction between members of the site. But when I joined the community in June 2015 and tried to interact with members, I have realized the there were so many user wars that took place, like the Arthur Fight (Great War of Hypocrisy), the Andre56 Debate, the TopTensFan Fight, the SelfDestruct and Britboy Incidents, the War on Religion (the Atheist/Christians Lists), the Sexism Debate (gender lists) and also the stupidest fight of them all, the Autism Fight which involved Puga, RalphBob and RevolNiartRuasonid. The latter three among the mentioned conflicts have occured after the implementation of the Feb 26 Reform, but let's dig in to the user responses and causes leading to this.
We've seen how user wars have gone out of hand back in November, which can be revisited on certain lists through the comments section of the user ranking lists, or through the post comments which are related to certain users. Before I started joining the community of this site, I have realized that this site isn't much of an innocent site where you just make lists and remixes. I found out that the site wasn't structured in such a way that these kinds of personal drama are strictly prohibited from the site. This was during the January to May period, when I've visited some user and community-related lists and other content during my spare time of using this site. From the point of view of the visitors, they seem to get irritated with these kinds of events that detract users, especially new users, from using the site for its primary purpose, which is to share opinions through listmaking, on non-personal topics (I mean non-TopTenner topics). I am not exactly for the visitors, since when it comes to user issues, they don't talk with sense (especially the misinformed comment against users who hate on andre56), but the users also have their faults in this issue, which started to make the overall quality of the site decline. This "decline period" can be categorized in different ways, but the first evident sign of this decline was back in November 2014, based on how I've comprehended the events during that time, which I believe has been accurately described by the wiki archives.
Decline and Potential Causes for Reform:
I have noticed that with the older lists (lists created before 2014), comments were significantly longer, and more informative, mostly because the visitors took much time in making comments unlike the newer visitors. Users who posted comments during that time were either one to two paragraphs long or at least three setences, which is usually shorter than the visitor comments, most likely because the users or visitors who have made the comments longer are usually one-timers who had a certain time period to be committed in writing long comments and decided to stop after some time. Not to mention that the older lists had more votes. I could not exactly say that the older lists are better, mostly because of how many list ideas have not yet been taken, and are more broad which caters to a wider audience plus the site's functionality limited to commenting, listmaking and making comments, and that user interactions were not evident due to the lack of a "follow" feature and the messaging feature.
So, why am I telling you these stuff? It's because I have also thought of a reason why this site had a major change in direction, in which an anonymous visitor as described it as "a site for haters, trolls, people who talk trash and pretty much bad people" through a post which was created in 19 February 2015, six days before the reform has been implemented. I'm not going to blame everything on the so-called "New Users" (in which the boundary of the old and new users is November 2014), since we, as users ourselves, have all at least contributed to its decline in some way, and we also have to at least "undo" the damages of the past, most especially the creation of unoriginal lists that are only created to criticize existing lists, and also lists and post that talk trash about users like "Puga Rants: EpicJake" and "Advice for Cosmo", which get too personal and is not something that the site is intended for.
Because of the slipping list quality during those times in February and the sudden change in direction of the site, most especially due to the interests of the users and the community, plus the visitor feedback from the post I have mentioned above, Admin decided to implement an immediate but a costly solution to the worsening situation on this site, to save the site from having community flame wars dominating this site for shallow and personal reasons (like what happened to YouTube) and also to save this site from declining revenue due to a potential drop in search engine results (a problem involving Google SafeSearch wherein pages with excessive swearing can omit the site from its search results), and also to prevent loss in revenue which would make Admin lose money when operating this site (in which Google AdSense might stop popping in this site, also due to the excessive profanity which is a violation of AdSense Policy, in which they ask their clients to stay compliant with and its third party services.) The reform is more than just a community-wide solution which affects the users and the content posted. It's also a solution in the administrator and financial aspects of this site. So before trying to complain about the policy, maybe you'd like to review certain points of views that support the existence of such strict implementation.
(Note: This post is just a brief background of the issue, and will have detailed information and conclusions on the succeeding posts. This is due to the post length which could exceed 65,536 characters, and also due to WAF filter and other technical issues. Call this the first page-turning post of the site, because it would be one long episode divided into parts.)
You've worked long and hard on this, Jared. It's finally time. - WonkeyDude98
It's been a year, mate. - visitor
This is not to be overlooked. In order for the site to remain (or regain its composure as) a legitimately meaningful website, policies like the ones put in place need to be followed and respected. It doesn't help that so many of this site's users are too young to understand so much of what this article is talking about. - BKAllmighty
This site was supposed to be as informative as Quora and Debate.org. It's basically why the policy exists. No to ad hominem criticisms. - visitor
It's about bloody time someone showed respect for the policies. - Swellow
People focused so much on the inconsistency of its implementation that they never had the time to understand Admin's intent. - visitor
ffs - Puga