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Enabled Moderator says
Recently, I’ve noticed a strange pattern happening due to some of our fellow members who feel the need to start a fire when there is none. Some of our fellow members believe that Moderators and Staff alike are pro-censorship, when that is not the case, so, I’m going to take some time off from work, to explain why we lock or disable threads, and why some of my fellow forum members use the term censorship wrongly. I’m going to describe a normal locking procedure (yes, it implies clicking a button, but it’s not as easy as you may think), and why I personally, lock threads:

Case 1: Foul language


First of, I’m an author, like all of you, and if you haven’t noticed, all moderators are, the interesting fact is that some staff members are authors here as well, so, having the voice of the masses heard, regardless how strange their argument is, is very important. But some of you have pointed out, that in the recently locked thread about support, staff have stepped in and removed comments. You must understand that cursing on the forums, is forbidden, even if you use stars and hash tags to hide the word. We’re all grown up here, we all know our way around the internet, so, using the a four letter word that starts with F and has 2 stars in between, won’t fool anyone.Consider the forum being 100% foul word allowed, what sort of impression would you leave to your buyers? What impression do you leave your buyers when you use stars, and of course, what impression do you leave buyers when in a post you attack the masses and stereotype everyone. Consider staff using the same language towards you, I believe you’d feel outraged and angered, well, you fellow authors and buyers feel the same way when entering a thread as important as the latter, and noticing curses and personal attacks flying everywhere.

In this case, moderators and staff will step in, edit the post if possible, if not, the post will be completely removed. This is NOT, censorship, it’s quite the opposite, it’s a simple lack of respect from the person whose post was removed in this circumstance to even attempt to call it censorship. As frustrated as you may be for reading a reply that does not fall within your expectations, please, try to remain as calm as possible and fight that comment with a logical, reasonable argument. Cursing / flaming / insulting are not a solutions, we will edit your post, and it’s far away from being censorship. Many authors here have seen members like this come and go, and I’m sure some of you have an ” oh, that guy ” moment right now! Try not to be “that guy”!

Case 2: Self Advertising


Our buyers, believe it or not, actually use the forums as we do. I’ve had many freelance customers from the marketplaces, regular people who purchased my files letting me know they saw this and that on the forums, so, out of simple respect , morals, ethics, or whatever you want to call it, posting any type of link to an item, without a prior question, is wrong. It’s a shameful way of advertising, and it will only lead to jealousy. As a note to this, if your file is good and wanted, it will sell regardless if you post it around the forums or not. Self advertising will simply get you a total lack of respect from other authors.

In this case, staff or moderators will edit your post, remove your link, and in some cases, lock your thread. Some of you may consider this as being censorship, but please, do use logic. Go to your local market, and picture a salesman screaming at the top of his lungs “check out my product here! you will love it!” it’s simply unfair, unethical, unmoral, and every other un word you can think of.

Case 3: Spam:


Yeah… I’m not going to discuss this because I don’t really like being captain obvious. If you sell potency pills and shoes, you’re in the wrong forum mate!

Case 4: My file did not get accepted, rant about reviewer

The reviewers are wonderful people, I can only say the best words in the world about these guys as they helped me a lot in getting where I am today, they do their jobs just like you and me, and in my humble opinion as an author and as a moderator, they do a great job! So, if you are doing your job, to the letter, and you get complaints for doing your job to the letter, how will that make you feel? Will you lower your job quality to please the masses? Then you would be fired! So, imagine how the reviewers feel to see that they are being attacked for doing their jobs!

In this case, we will lock your thread, and point you to support. You are literally telling a man he is doing a bad job because he is too good at it, and that’s just shameful! Reviewers do a great job, especially for the amount of files that come in daily. Before ranting about a reviewer, please, take a minute, think about the above, then ask for some constructive critics, and come back with a sparkling new file!

Case 5: I want a refund NOW


Some buyers are difficult and some buyers are just starting in this area of work, so be understanding with them when they ask for a refund. When they purchased the item, they did so knowing that they would use it, so, some of them may be stressed at that time, please be understanding! Shouting, telling them they didn’t do this and that and this and that will cause more harm than good, and the author of the file might even get rated badly due to a poor choice of words you’ve made! As authors, we do not have the ability to provide refunds so helping the buyer out and pointing him to support or simply offering your professional services will suffice! No one started out a professional, but if you are one now, act like it with buyers that are new to this community! You’ll only make them feel safe, and keep coming back for more knowing the community is helpful!

In this case, we lock the threads and point the buyer to support. Some buyers ( 1% ) have reopened threads asking for assistance for their issues from the community, which, is great the community! Why do we lock these treads? There are some accounts that simply post the default message “Hey, if you need help, contact me here! ” , yet, the buyer is fully eligible for a refund if the item is broken, and he shouldn’t pay for freelance services! Locking a thread enables the buyer to receive a refund without having to pay extra for a possibly broken or misleading description-ed file. This is not the only reason for locking threads, but the most common we’ve seen thus far!

Case 6: Support is not answering! HELLLOOOOOO???


At the time I am writing this, there are 4.264.856 members in this awesome community, and remember, there are around XY support members (less than 50, from what I am aware). Tickets can range from Items issues, Item Copyright, Item Rejections, to Payment gates, Errors in purchases, DMCA’s and every other reason related to the marketplaces that you may think of. Judging by the number of members on the marketplaces, and only a few of the reasons I’ve mentioned above, and also adding the fact that some tickets need deeper investigation, you may imagine it does take some time! If you take into account that 0.1% of the forum total is over 4000 members if support get that many messages in a week it can be a nightmare, not to mention in a day or two! While everyone can understand that 5 days waiting for a reply is not acceptable, you need to keep in mind that the same team is the one you interrupt when tweeting to Envato support, making other threads in the forums about a ticket that was already submitted or using any other means to duplicate on the initial issue. This just further increases the workload, and although you might get a faster reply sometimes, that’s not because you found a trick, but simply because all staff really do care and do go above and beyond to help out. When they do, you are effectively to blame for propagating the delay .

In this case, moderators request the assistance of staff, and a staff member usually takes care of that thread.

Case 7: Opening the same thread 2/3/i times to say the same thing


This case was the latest reason for using words like censorship, and it’s far, far, far from that. There are some topic threads that light people on fire in a heartbeat, and they feel the need to speak their mind out, and have it written in bold, capital letters, on a fresh new thread. Well, in the case of many threads it’s a very bad idea! Staff are always watching threads like this and always reply as soon as the have valuable feedback to give, so keeping things centralized is vital, for the sake of the community and for the sake of people who just opened that thread. It can be annoying to have little bits and pieces of information scattered all over the forums and having to do a giant puzzle to piece everything together. If you feel your new thread brings a much more valuable information to the table, please, do open it! But if your thread is just adding to the main one, and you just feel the need to stand out from the crowd, remember, your voice is being heard better in the main thread, than in a duplicate.

In this case, the second thread may get locked, depending on the relevancy of the information in it, and if you have valuable information there that should have been placed in the first, it will NOT be overlooked by staff, but chances are it may be overlooked by the community! Keeping things centralized DOES NOT mean keeping your mouth closed, it means keeping all the valuable information in one place, accessible to everyone, new and old to that conversation!

Case 8: Copyright Infringement and Warez


This is one of the zones that censorship is used, and where censorship can be used in a GREAT way! As mentioned above, the forums are used by buyers and authors alike, so giving out links to places our items may be downloaded, is NEVER a great idea. Actually, it’s one of the baddest of them all. Warez items can contain viruses, will most likely function badly and will lack scripts, and allowing buyers to have access to links like this will only lead them to believe that the item that’s been pirated and badly ripped is actually like that when purchased! Far from the truth! As an author, I urge you never to open these kinds of threads. There are countless reasons to why, the best has been given above.
The second case here, is where an item has been bluntly copied. Again, pointing the finger at an author who copied your work is not the solution. Staff will of course disable the file if the claim is right, and move to disable the account if necessary. I understand that making sales is VERY important for you, and in this case, opening a thread seems logical, but in this case only support can help you disable an item, and in most cases it requires a DMCA! So please, before self advertising your item, and advertising the item of someone who just copied yours, notify support, and be sure to include a DMCA to shorten the time it takes to disable that item!

In this case, the links will be removed from your post, and we (moderators) will notify the appropriate staff immediately, if they haven’t seen the post before we do! Opening threads in this case, is the apparent solution, but the only thing you will achieve is to give free advertising to your items clone!


Remember, most threads are locked, still in the eyes of the world, if your thread is disabled, that means that serious guidelines have been broken, cursing, links to material that is not suitable for the marketplaces or spam. NO thread is disabled without a very strong reason like the one above! Threads that are locked, are still in the eyes of the world, so, after explaining myself, and “a day in the life of a moderator” how can we pro censorship, when everything we do, can be seen by everyone?

A final note

... We, moderators, are authors like you, and it hurts us and hurts everyone to be called communist, and pro-censorship members! I truly hope that the above change your opinions about this matter and you understand that we only want this community to grow bigger and bigger and at the same time maintain ethics and respect between members. We volunteered for this job due to the love we have for this awesome community, and censorship IS FAR from what we want to do for this community! You have a voice on this forum, make it heard, but remember to be a gentleman/lady about it!
Thank you guys for taking the time to read it, and thanks everyone who has supported us in making this community great and who understand that we are not some evil volunteer censorship fans! :)
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Creattive says

Hi, I didn’t read all your points, only the headlines. But what is missing is the following reason which I think is the real problem and why most of the people are talking about censorship.

All the things you mentioned are understandable and totally fine, I guess no-one who understands the community rules is arguing that these reasons are not valid. However, the list of reason why threads have been locked is actually longer than that. The most famous one is

Locked because the problem is resolved (while it isn’t)

What do I mean with that: Often times threads get locked after the first staff reply, no matter if that staff reply brings more questions to the table or does actually answer the questions of the OP at all. Sometimes, the staff reply is only something like “I will look into that and come back with a reply”, but the reply does never come. THIS, dear moderators and staff, feels like censorship and it feels like you use your forum-powers to have the last word in a debate, while many others would like to have another go or explain WHY the answer of the staff is not sufficient.

I personally can understand how many authors can feel that this is censorship, though I don’t want to accuse you that this is really what is happening. However, I think this one reason why threads get locked (staff has replied, no need to talk more), has been used sooooo often in the past, that it is very strange this does not occur in your list.

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HeckSarah Envato team says

Very, very, well thought out and explained. Thank you for taking the time to post.

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Enabled Moderator says

Locked because the problem is resolved (while it isn’t) THIS, dear moderators and staff, feels like censorship and it feels like you use your forum-powers to have the last word in a debate, while many others would like to have another go or explain WHY the answer of the staff is not sufficient.

Creative, these cases are exceptional, and are usually related to private matters between staff and the member at hand, and are discussed through the support system. If this ever happens, and you feel an answer is due, the forum is equipped with a Request Staff Reply button. If you click that, the staff will be notified about that post. If that doesn’t work, please do contact support!

We don’t use our forum powers to have the last word. Sometimes it’s the OP’s ego that wants the last word, but the guidelines say something else. An instant example, if a thread is about a copyright related file, and you still want to explain how that user should punished and sent to the darkest corners of the world, we will lock it, and prevent that happening!

We must anticipate outcomes of threads based on our experience with the community! If you feel we censor a thread, notify support, and that thread will instantly be unlocked if you are right!

Some threads say the same things in different words. So locking them is usually the best solution to keep them from going out of hand!


Hi, I didn’t read all your points, only the headlines. But what is missing is the following reason which I think is the real problem and why most of the people are talking about censorship.

This makes me sad, because if you would’ve read the entire thread, what I just explained above, can be found between the lines of my initial post.


I personally can understand how many authors can feel that this is censorship, though I don’t want to accuse you that this is really what is happening. However, I think this one reason why threads get locked (staff has replied, no need to talk more), has been used sooooo often in the past, that it is very strange this does not occur in your list.

Yes, agreed! Sometimes this is true! I have absolutely no idea how the payment system works on this marketplace, do you? :D an instant example of “When staff reply no need to talk more” ... some things are known just by the staff, and often times replies from members can mislead the person who requested help.

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Enabled Moderator says

Very, very, well thought out and explained. Thank you for taking the time to post.

Thank you for your kind words, Sarah! Much appreciated! :grin:

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Creattive says


Locked because the problem is resolved (while it isn’t) THIS, dear moderators and staff, feels like censorship and it feels like you use your forum-powers to have the last word in a debate, while many others would like to have another go or explain WHY the answer of the staff is not sufficient.

Creative, these cases are exceptional, and are usually related to private matters between staff and the member at hand, and are discussed through the support system. If this ever happens, and you feel an answer is due, the forum is equipped with a Request Staff Reply button. If you click that, the staff will be notified about that post. If that doesn’t work, please do contact support!

We don’t use our forum powers to have the last word. Sometimes it’s the OP’s ego that wants the last word, but the guidelines say something else. An instant example, if a thread is about a copyright related file, and you still want to explain how that user should punished and sent to the darkest corners of the world, we will lock it, and prevent that happening!

We must anticipate outcomes of threads based on our experience with the community! If you feel we censor a thread, notify support, and that thread will instantly be unlocked if you are right!

Some threads say the same things in different words. So locking them is usually the best solution to keep them from going out of hand!

I don’t want to argue with you, I actually have no problem with it (anymore). But you seemed so surprised that people are talking about censorship in these forums, while it is clear to me how some staff behaviour can lead to that impression. In my eyes, these are not exceptional cases and it is not a personal thing between staff and a single member. I have soo often read threads of other people that have raised 20-30 questions, then staff answers a single one of them and locks the thread. end of story. As the reader alone, I feel like this was a story without a real ending, only a “as this is now resolved, I lock this thread. bam. closed”.

In my eyes you can do what you want, all I present you here is my explanation why people are accusing you of censorship and unfair acting. If you don’t want to agree that this could be a reason or in your eyes, it is not at all like I described, then I’m fine with that. But this “ah, I don’t believe that, that is actually not so”, basically a denying-attitude is maybe the wrong way to react if you yourself want to find out why your community is starting fire over actually small problems.

Again, I don’t have a problem with any of you. I don’t feel like I’m treated unfair, I’m a very happy author and I am a very active community member. I spent a lot of time in these forums and I can tell you my experience from reading threads that had no ending because it was locked for this reason. Use that knowledge how you like.

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Enabled Moderator says

^

It makes me happy that you understand and see things or what the truly are, but some don’t bother to see past their own eyes and believe we (moderators) are here to censor everything and dictate word for word what happens to the forums!

I’ve opened this thread just for that reason, to make sure as many community members as possible understand that “Hey, we locked that, because it has no further use ” or “Hey, staff know how the marketplaces run behind the scenes, so their answer is final because we don’t really know what happens there and we may mislead people with our reply”

Thanks for keeping an open mind! Much appreciated! :grin:

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contrastblack Envato team says

Hey Paul,

Thanks so much for taking the time to clarify some of these aspects. I feel a lot of what you said has been, I guess, haunting me for quite a while now. It is quite interesting to notice that although you invested so much time to properly explain everything that covers 90-95% of the possible scenarios, the first post is one that points out “that other thing”, while mentioning not having read all of it. Unfortunately, this also tends to happen with many threads where a staff reply has been posted (one that actually DOES answer the question, which is what we aim for).

Not that I don’t agree with you, Creattive in terms of that being an actual perception thing. Again, we are talking about perception, generalizing, and unfortunately, neither one of those represents what’s actually going down. Also, reading the whole thing (which is something that we actually do, no matter how long a thread is), does help better understand why a certain decision was taken.

“Some threads”, in the context of several hundred posts per day, can happen. We are human after all, and all jokes aside, we do want to help everyone, even if we don’t fully agree/understand a particular question. If your scenario occurs, it’s not because we want to have a last word, but rather, as we’ve also pointed out previously, because there is no other answer than the one that was provided. It’s not a last word thing as you see it, it’s the only answer that can be posted on that specific matter, at that time. Opening another thread calling us whatever won’t change that reply, nor will it make us feel any better about not being able to provide further details.

Please don’t take this the wrong way, I totally see where you’re coming from, but I’m also keen on pointing out the fact that those cases do not warrant a certain naming convention, blanket applied to people whose actual activity revolves around much more than that. Case at hand, I feel your work as a VH author is astonishing to say the least, and I don’t feel it would be fair to call you “moderately skilled” based on the one off rejection reasons you’ve had here and there over the years, now would it? That just feels inappropriate, considering you are in fact talented and very skilled at what you do, irrespective of minor bumps throughout the process.

Hope this makes sense, and thank you both for your support and feedback! As I said, it may not always sound like I appreciate it, but I really do.

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Australia says

Great thread based on the following.

1. Good salient points cleanly explained and addressed

2. Considered answers, description and methodology of staff, mods and our shared roles on the forums and in life for that matter.

The above are not addressing and singular point incidentally.

Just a greeat thread, but alas will be water off a ducks back in 20 minutes time, as you. Know and as we can expect as new threads appear.

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Enabled Moderator says

@contrastblack, thanks mate, much appreciated, and a big +1

@australia, of course new threads will occur and some will ignore what we actually try to do, this is a post written to who wants to read it and understand it! Authors and buyers who have an open mind and love Envato but have doubts about forum policies have a thread where these doubts can be squashed! :)

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