Insert Credit State of the Forums May 2024

Antillese – Lead Author
TomoftheFog – Contributing Author & Signatory
Captain – Contributing Author & Signatory
Exodus – Contributing Author & Signatory
Shane – Signatory

This past March, the new Insert Credit Forums celebrated its fourth anniversary. That lands its rebirth squarely at the beginning of COVID lockdowns, when life for many of us quite abruptly changed. Many of us found ourselves interacting at length with fellow game players, podcast listeners, and enthusiasts of various kinds and usernames online.

The Insert Credit Forums were then and are today a place to talk about video games for anyone who has thought, “but really, who will care about this specific thing I like?”

This ideal is the bedrock of our community. Our “place to talk about video games” has generated a great amount of discussion over the past four years, conversations long and rich and evidently passionate. It is also the starting point for moderation. Presented with a post or a conversation which feels off, we might ask: is this moving toward or away from talking about shared interests? Is it ultimately serving a discussion among people wanting to connect with each other? These discussions retain their value only as long as participants take them seriously, and post in good faith. Barring a few exceptions, this has been the case all over the forums for four years straight. That is incredible!

Let this be the locus of our culture. Let it embolden you to hold forth on a specific thing you like[1], and pretending no one cares about that specific thing, make the case for it from the pulpit of your posts. Do research, document history, get cited as a source in Wikipedia.

Community Guidelines

Over the last 12 months, we have put in place new social infrastructure for our community. In May, we adopted our Community Code of Conduct and Expectations. These can be seen at the forums’ FAQ page.

Our community guidelines have had a major positive impact in our community. We now have a framework for how our community operates based around posting in good faith, assuming good faith, and not posting unwelcome content.

These have been effective at setting the tone and intentions of the forums and individual community members have cited them when deescalating community conflict, which is fantastic. On rare occasions when the moderation team has needed to take actions due to individual community members’ behavior, they have been able to be more consistent and transparent, with reasoning based on these guidelines.

Forum Culture

Our culture is a positive one. We strive to make this a place for members to create topics and post in existing ones about any subject, without fear of being discriminated against with minimal input from the moderator team. Infrequently topics will drift off course, and if needed are addressed by the community.

We want everyone to feel welcome, to feel free to start topics and participate in existing ones and to engage with other members of the community. While the forums are primarily a place for us to talk about video games, they are host to other topics of discussion as well. With that, it is important to remember this is a public facing forum and all topics and posts can be searched for by anyone online; we must all exercise discretion when posting and not share sensitive information if that is a concern.

State of the Forums

We have all been adjusting to the new environment and are beginning to find our footing.

The forums have recently undergone two significant transformations: a change in moderation, and a change in our forums’ user-facing interface.

For almost three straight years, the community had one volunteer moderator. Following their departure last year, Antillese was asked to take on the role of lead moderator. Working with community feedback, he developed the community guidelines as well as a formalized and visible set of moderation policies. These both give us a common language to discuss how we see ourselves as a community and what we want it to be going forward. Antillese also laid the foundations for today’s moderation and admin teams.

Many users have come and gone since the forums opened in 2020, but we now have more active users than ever before. Thanks to our strong sense of community and the culture we have created together, every time a new user discovers the Insert Credit Forums, they feel encouraged to stick around.

The second change was our move to a new software environment in Discourse. At the start of April, the dauntless @shane transplanted the whole Insert Credit community along with much of its post history to this new platform.

Discourse can do many things that Flarum cannot, and our community’s future posts will be better for it, but the transition has not been seamless. Many users have since made a great effort to clean up older topics so that we may all continue to read and enjoy them. It has been moving to see everyone asking questions and making suggestions across various maintenance topics to regain a sense of command over the new software and ownership of what we have built. That we care about maintaining a sense of coherence in older posts attests to how much we cherish the memories we have made here and how hard we will work to make all users feel welcome. Thank you for working to put our community back together.

Technical Transition

Both the move and continued support have been taken on by the entire community. Users have been given access to edit their older posts and have refreshed entire topics. Everyone’s efforts are inspiring and appreciated.

To help both new and existing users, there is a lot of documentation hosted by Discourse explaining how to use its features. Below are some of the best guides the team has found which helped during the move:

New User Guide – a fantastic guide on how to post, create topics and get a good understanding of the layout

Markdown Help - as posts support Markdown text formatting, this shows some of its standard commands and includes a 10-minute video tutorial

IC Formatting Topic - our very own @captain wrote an introduction to formatting as it applies to the forums

Finally, please keep in mind that the forums are not intended as or capable of being a stable long-term archive of content on the Internet. If you created something or see something that you like, please save a copy for your own use.

Moderator Cohorts and Continuity of Leadership

The last 12 months have also seen huge strides in establishing a more formalized leadership structure for the community. After a period of depending on the efforts of single volunteer moderators, at the end of last year, the team held interviews and brought on two additional moderators who are in different time zones. The 2024 moderation cohorts have been hard at work behind the scenes implementing training material and documentation for moderators which we didn’t previously have. Future moderators will be able to on-ramp faster and serve the community better than ever before thanks to their work.

Our larger moderation team can respond to the community in ways that a solo volunteer could not. First, the team has more eyes and can spend more time on the forums. Second, because the team is more spread out over the globe (meeting the goal of the recruitment effort), we can serve our global community more effectively, as there are fewer hours in the day when the whole team is asleep.

Next Steps

The team has discussed an official Insert Credit discord channel to replace the unofficial “Dirtbag Gaiden” server Antillese has been hosting. This is not currently a high priority for the admin and mod team. If an official server were created, it would run in parallel with the forums and the same moderation and culture around it would be applied. When we decide, we will announce it on the forums.

Moderator nominations and selections
The successful model of having a rolling cohort of moderators (which is described in our moderator guidelines in the FAQs) will be reinforced later this year when we recruit for our 2025 moderator cohort. There will be an application announcement in November with details, but you can expect it to be like last year’s process. The new moderator cohort is targeted to be in place by January 1, 2025.

Thanks to the rolling moderator cohorts, it’s expected that Antillese will be stepping down as lead moderator in early 2025 as the new moderator cohort transitions into their new roles. He expects to remain contributing to the community as a regular member for a long time to come.


The moderation team has noticed that there are fewer longer-form topics being created in recent months. The community loves and needs the shorter form “Show me…” topics. However, Insert Credit and our forums have always championed a bit more research, a bit more thought, and a bit more criticism.

Go finish that draft! Go do a comparative project! Make a game! Encourage friends to join the forums and post new threads of their own! Go research one special thing that you like and share it with the community you know will care: the Insert Credit Forums!

  1. including and especially in older threads—around here we don’t even know what “necro-ing” is! ↩︎


2024 State of the Forums Community Discussion Thread