The Fora: A Higher Education Community

General Category => Suggestions, Comments, Questions => Topic started by: eigen on May 16, 2019, 02:16:03 PM

Title: Fora Rules
Post by: eigen on May 16, 2019, 02:16:03 PM
Below are the Fora rules, based off of discussion here and pre-move. The are not unalterably set in stone, but have incorporated the discussion and comments here.

1. Don't personally attack or harass other users. You know what crosses this line, don't do it.
2. Do not feed the trolls. Let them carry on with little fanfare.
3. Don't carry baggage from one thread to another. Sure, you may have a disagreement with another user in a different thread, but carrying that on into each new thread either of you start is not productive.
4. Don't be a vigilante. If someone is doing something wrong, report them and move on.
5. No spam. You know what this is.
6. No advertising. Whether it's your newest paper, newest book, a new EduTech website or something else- the place to advertise it is not here.
7. Do not "out" other users. Do not threaten to "out" other users.
8. Use standard spelling, punctuation and paragraphs on your posts.

Should you feel any of these rules are bad, wrong, or see the need to modify them: post here and keep the discussion going!
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: ergative on May 17, 2019, 08:00:35 AM
How about: Use standard spelling, punctuation, and paragraphing

(edited to change 'proper' to 'standard', to recognize a necessary balance between prescriptivism and healthy language.)
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on May 17, 2019, 01:18:04 PM
How about: Use standard spelling, punctuation, and paragraphing

(edited to change 'proper' to 'standard', to recognize a necessary balance between prescriptivism and healthy language.)

Edited that in as number 8 with a slight modification- does it look good?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mystictechgal on May 20, 2019, 09:54:55 PM
While we don’t want people to post links to their latest papers/books/etc., we do want people to be able to celebrate them here. Suggest keeping #6, but clarify by adding “No links” to the end of it.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mystictechgal on May 20, 2019, 10:01:30 PM
#4 might be read by someone as though reporting something that they think is wrong will result in an action being taken. Suggest adding “Leave it to the moderators to decide.” (or something along those lines) to avoid potential controversy in the future.

Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mystictechgal on May 20, 2019, 10:58:12 PM
On another board I used to participate in (and theoretically am still a moderator for) they included a thumbnail synopsis of the rules at the top of all of their fora. A large part of it boiled down to “intolerance for other viewpoints is NOT welcome and respect for other posters IS required at all times”. (That’s a direct quote from the web site; we might need to reword slightly.)

I don’t know if this software allows a synopsis to be added, but doing so avoids posters claiming that they didn’t see that x behavior wasn’t permitted when they agreed to the TOS. Whether we can add one, or not, I have always liked that particular stricture and think we should add something similar.

If nothing else, it gives the webmaster (and the moderators, if the webmaster so chooses) more latitude to police the tone of the posts hosted here, when it is deemed necessary. If you are the webmaster or a moderator with the power to remove/edit/ban for content, you WILL get these challenges. Every one of them will invoke 1st amendment rights. That’s great, and moderation must be done with a light hand (IMO) when those issues come up, but, ultimately, s/he who pays for the playground sets the rules for the playground. Even if it is only in labor, the webmaster (and maybe the mods) “pay(s)” for this playground. Best, I think, to spell something like this out if this is a value we have.

Sure, we could add something about ad hominem attacks, but I know from experience that there are a lot of people (including those who are highly educated) who don’t know (or claim not to recognize) what that means. I like the simplicity of this one and have had more than one occasion where I have been able to effectively invoke it. (The other board involves popular television programs and includes an Off-Topic section for non-tv discussion. It’s gotten a whole lot more volatile than anything I’ve seen on CHE — but we are about to leave the world of CHE and may end up with members we don’t expect who have their own axe to grind. Been there; best be prepared for it.)



Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: aside on May 21, 2019, 05:10:44 AM
Apologies if I have missed it elsewhere, but what will be the process for dealing with violators? 
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: polly_mer on May 21, 2019, 05:34:09 AM
Apologies if I have missed it elsewhere, but what will be the process for dealing with violators? 

We do have people set up with moderation functions who can edit/delete posts, warn posters regarding behavior, put on violators on watch, and ban those who are severe violators. 

We definitely need public rules and a general community understanding of the limits of the rules.  That's a discussion for the open so we can see what the understanding is from many viewpoints.  It's less clear to me that we can do a public discussion on the penalties for violation right now and have that be useful.  During this alpha/early beta phase, we need more practice as a moderator group on just the mechanics of how to edit/delete/move/split as well as the mechanics on the communications available to us to discuss just as a moderator group.  The process and details on what constitutes a minor, major, huge violation of the rules with formal levels of moderation will evolve as we get some experience and have discussions.

Did I answer your question or have I missed it?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: aside on May 21, 2019, 08:33:31 AM
Apologies if I have missed it elsewhere, but what will be the process for dealing with violators? 

We do have people set up with moderation functions who can edit/delete posts, warn posters regarding behavior, put on violators on watch, and ban those who are severe violators. 

We definitely need public rules and a general community understanding of the limits of the rules.  That's a discussion for the open so we can see what the understanding is from many viewpoints.  It's less clear to me that we can do a public discussion on the penalties for violation right now and have that be useful.  During this alpha/early beta phase, we need more practice as a moderator group on just the mechanics of how to edit/delete/move/split as well as the mechanics on the communications available to us to discuss just as a moderator group.  The process and details on what constitutes a minor, major, huge violation of the rules with formal levels of moderation will evolve as we get some experience and have discussions.

Did I answer your question or have I missed it?

Yes, I understand that there are administrators/moderators with the powers you list.  My question was directed more at the part you say it's not time to discuss yet and perhaps not in public.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on May 21, 2019, 08:17:44 PM
I think it's totally worth discussing what to do with violations- there's another thread in this very same forum discussing moderation philosophy:

http://thefora.org/index.php?topic=5.0

I think it's good to separate the "what are the rules" discussion from "what do we do when the rules are broken" discussion.

I'll move over to posting in there to add my thoughts on how to handle issues when they arise, based on my experiences.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: miss jane marple on May 22, 2019, 10:09:28 AM
Let's not forget the rule that forbids discussion of moderators or moderation activity on any thread, with a penalty of immediate banning.

Really? Moderators will be enforcing not only content but tone? Locking threads? Demanding that posters stay on-topic? Being active in every discussion, no matter how trivial? So, for example, if the conversation is getting "heated", someone who posts cute kitten pictures (the former signal for "step back") will get warned by one or more moderators for being off-topic?

Somehow the old forum creaked along without this kind of heavy moderation, but now....
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: namazu on May 22, 2019, 11:03:33 AM
Let's not forget the rule that forbids discussion of moderators or moderation activity on any thread, with a penalty of immediate banning.

Really? Moderators will be enforcing not only content but tone? Locking threads? Demanding that posters stay on-topic? Being active in every discussion, no matter how trivial? So, for example, if the conversation is getting "heated", someone who posts cute kitten pictures (the former signal for "step back") will get warned by one or more moderators for being off-topic?

Somehow the old forum creaked along without this kind of heavy moderation, but now....
I don't think anyone's proposing that such heavy-handed moderation be the norm...

Eigen's proposed guidelines in the first post of this thread seem reasonable to me.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on May 22, 2019, 03:49:40 PM
Part of the issue for myself is that I participate in several forums, one of which is hugely popular and heavily moderated, another basically celebrates verbal jousting. however I have never moderated before myself. Have any of us here have direct experience with moderating the older CHE forum? I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that there was stuff going on behind the scenes where egregious material was being removed semi-regularly.

Some forums do enforce "be nice" but I understand this place is what it is. I am not advocating heavy-handed moderation and am completely on board with eigen's lighter, more finessed approach. My whole intent when I got on the bandwagon to create this place was to basically have the old forum transitions as seamlessly as possible to a new home. I think we are well on the way to accomplishing that. I could check out tomorrow and feel pretty assured this place would still be puttering (or humming) along.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on May 22, 2019, 04:33:16 PM
Let's not forget the rule that forbids discussion of moderators or moderation activity on any thread, with a penalty of immediate banning.

Really? Moderators will be enforcing not only content but tone? Locking threads? Demanding that posters stay on-topic? Being active in every discussion, no matter how trivial? So, for example, if the conversation is getting "heated", someone who posts cute kitten pictures (the former signal for "step back") will get warned by one or more moderators for being off-topic?

Somehow the old forum creaked along without this kind of heavy moderation, but now....

I feel like I’ve stepped into an alternate universe, and am quite confused as to where any of the policies you’re upset about are coming from.

This is a compilation of suggested forum rules from the multi-page thread on the old forums.

I also have no idea how you got “immediate banning” for anything, since the discussion on moderation policy explicitly says banning should be a last resort only after repeated attempts to work with someone, and even then only in cases where a strong argument could be made that the person is actively harming others (outing RL identities, targeted harassment, etc.).

Could you elaborate on your post? I’m reading a lot of anger, but no suggestions of what you think the rules and policies should be, and that’s what this thread is for.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Juvenal on June 02, 2019, 07:44:44 PM
I'm not sure about the suggestion of adding "no links" to #6.  Does that mean no links to anything, like an article relevant to the discussion, from some other web site?  I don't recall any particular problems with links to other CHE articles or IHE ones in the past.

About "refinement"?  Well, I'm about to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but I plan to put some Parmesan with the sharp cheddar, whole wheat bread with mayo on the grill sides instead of butter.  Does that radiate a certain refinement?  I can't post a link to another kind of grilled cheese sandwich recipe (although I'd never post a personal recipe--Oh, but I seem to have done that!  Darn!) as that might flout the proposed #6?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Hibush on June 03, 2019, 03:17:29 AM
I'm not sure about the suggestion of adding "no links" to #6.  Does that mean no links to anything, like an article relevant to the discussion, from some other web site?  I don't recall any particular problems with links to other CHE articles or IHE ones in the past.

I agree that #6 should not be overly restrictive.

Advertising should be fairly narrowly defined. Links to all kinds of things encouraged to that we can engage with the rest of the world. We don't live in a pure ivory tower, isolated from the transactional.

"No advertising" should mean that we don't want
Quote from: Mendacious
Our new version of Burlap is the best CMS ever. You can read about the new features at our website burlap.com

However, a user who is engaged in a CMS discussion should be able to post
Quote from: friendOthefora
We published a really good research paper  (http://"https://journals.plos.org/plosone/)comparing Burlap and Whiteboard's effect on how much time our adjuncts spent outside class.
While that link encourages people to read Friend's paper, and is self-promotion, it is not advertising.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Juvenal on June 04, 2019, 03:53:48 PM
And what should be the policy on salty language?  You know, the words that got, for example, a ! or a # or a @ embedded in place of a letter and everyone knew what the word was, of course.  Are we to be as tippy-toe here?  Yes?  WT*!
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Conjugate on June 28, 2019, 04:25:16 PM
CONTENT WARNING: obscenity used below to test censorship software. Please skip this post if you don't like it.

I remember when the other fora were new; being a sneaky SOB, I figured a way to drop the occasional f-bomb without being caught by the software.

I'll try it out with a little obscenity:  Fuck fuck

Okay, it seems we don't censor the F-bomb.

(I remember when someone took offense at someone else's use of "assclown," resulting in that term being added to the naughty list. Then somebody tried to refer to a student being the "class clown," and a missing space caused much of the word to be *****ed out. Good times.  Here's to absent friends.)
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on June 28, 2019, 07:08:40 PM
I am OK with no censoring, we're supposed to be (highly educated) adults here. So long as it's not abused, and I think moderators could take care of that.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Conjugate on June 29, 2019, 07:00:33 PM
In addition, we do not have to consider the dignity and reputation of, say, the CHE; we will embarrass nobody but ourselves. So, yeah, perhaps we can leave profanity and obscenity to the judgment of the forumites.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 10, 2019, 08:48:33 AM
Is there interest in having a rule against promoting illegal activity?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on July 10, 2019, 08:50:43 AM
Is there interest in having a rule against promoting illegal activity?

Illegal to whom? This is an international forum.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 10, 2019, 10:38:45 AM
Is there interest in having a rule against promoting illegal activity?

Illegal to whom? This is an international forum.

Illegal in the jurisdiction of the person who is promoting the activity and knows it's illegal, I guess.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 10, 2019, 11:26:23 AM
Is there interest in having a rule against promoting illegal activity?

Illegal to whom? This is an international forum.

Illegal in the jurisdiction of the person who is promoting the activity and knows it's illegal, I guess.

I think there are really obvious cases of this that we can think of, but it also seems like it could become very murky to figure out someone's locale.

Do you have any examples you're thinking of?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: tuxedo_cat on July 10, 2019, 11:56:54 AM
CONTENT WARNING: obscenity used below to test censorship software. Please skip this post if you don't like it.

I remember when the other fora were new; being a sneaky SOB, I figured a way to drop the occasional f-bomb without being caught by the software.

I'll try it out with a little obscenity:  Fuck fuck

Okay, it seems we don't censor the F-bomb.

(I remember when someone took offense at someone else's use of "assclown," resulting in that term being added to the naughty list. Then somebody tried to refer to a student being the "class clown," and a missing space caused much of the word to be *****ed out. Good times.  Here's to absent friends.)

Thank you very much for this 😆
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 10, 2019, 04:31:36 PM
Is there interest in having a rule against promoting illegal activity?

Illegal to whom? This is an international forum.

Illegal in the jurisdiction of the person who is promoting the activity and knows it's illegal, I guess.

I think there are really obvious cases of this that we can think of, but it also seems like it could become very murky to figure out someone's locale.

Do you have any examples you're thinking of?

In some cases, sure it could be murky and not worth the bother. And I understand this is not the CHE or the New York Times online or anything big. It's just a group of academics who want to converse, so it won't have the same concerns about liability. So it's really about values and reputation more than anything.
Where it's not murky: my peer group, adjunct faculty, are forming collective bargaining units in growing numbers. Retaliating against adjunct faculty for union organizing is prohibited by law. Yet I have witnessed it on my campus. It's a pretty big concern. This forum has one administration member who is on record saying they would do just that, and is also pretty expansive in comments about their ability to understand which rules are not really rules and do not have much bearing on how things really work. So I just wondered how something that might be approached around here.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on July 10, 2019, 06:01:00 PM
Retaliating against adjunct faculty for union organizing is prohibited by law. Yet I have witnessed it on my campus. It's a pretty big concern.  This forum has one administration member who is on record saying they would do just that, and is also pretty expansive in comments about their ability to understand which rules are not really rules and do not have much bearing on how things really work. So I just wondered how something that might be approached around here.

Definitely falls under free speech in my opinion. It's like saying I regularly jaywalk to avoid waiting at an intersection, or move parking tickets to another vehicle and think that it's OK to do those things because they harm nobody (I do not do either of those things).

And you can exercise your own free speech in an attempt to exorcise their own toxic baloney. I would rather see someone use their arguments of persuasion and shaming (the argument, not the individual) against that kind of thing.

I think we moderators agree to taking a pretty soft approach and mostly spending our time squashing spammers. If things get out of hand (acrimony / ad hominem) I think that's where we would tend to step in.

Unless, of course, by "retaliation" you mean something overtly violent. And I'm pretty sure the terms of service we all agreed to when we signed up would cover that, and that person would be put in time out (banned temporarily, or permanently).
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 11, 2019, 05:10:29 AM
Retaliating against adjunct faculty for union organizing is prohibited by law. Yet I have witnessed it on my campus. It's a pretty big concern.  This forum has one administration member who is on record saying they would do just that, and is also pretty expansive in comments about their ability to understand which rules are not really rules and do not have much bearing on how things really work. So I just wondered how something that might be approached around here.

Definitely falls under free speech in my opinion. It's like saying I regularly jaywalk to avoid waiting at an intersection, or move parking tickets to another vehicle and think that it's OK to do those things because they harm nobody (I do not do either of those things).

And you can exercise your own free speech in an attempt to exorcise their own toxic baloney. I would rather see someone use their arguments of persuasion and shaming (the argument, not the individual) against that kind of thing.


Sure, but where's Richard Burton when you need him?

What happened on the CHE forum when someone lets it slip out that they would in fact retaliate against union organizing, it's not presented as an argument that one should do this. It's more like 'sure, I could see myself doing this' as in your example of the admission about jaywalking. You can't persuade someone the argument was wrong when there wasn't any, Especially if they are denying it later. The lack of scruples of of the poster are the story. If they have an big audience of fans on that forum, that's another story.


Unless, of course, by "retaliation" you mean something overtly violent. And I'm pretty sure the terms of service we all agreed to when we signed up would cover that, and that person would be put in time out (banned temporarily, or permanently).

Wow. These people aren't hoodlums. The silent, cowardly, hard-to-prove retribution or discontinuing one's employment is more their style.

Thanks for your answer. I was curious about the thought processes.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: fast_and_bulbous on July 11, 2019, 05:29:36 AM
Thanks for your answer. I was curious about the thought processes.

I want to reiterate that I am only speaking for myself... I deal better in actual events than hypotheticals. I'm also not familiar with the specific exchange you are describing.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 12, 2019, 05:34:34 AM
Thanks for your answer. I was curious about the thought processes.

I want to reiterate that I am only speaking for myself... I deal better in actual events than hypotheticals. I'm also not familiar with the specific exchange you are describing.

I get that in the land of tenure, education and the vast world of ideas freedom of speech should be a strong consideration.
I thought I was being specific enough without giving names, but I left one thing out. The information that that poster would retaliate against union organizing appeared in the one-off's thread, so was not really an exchange in the sense of the series of posts in a thread. So on the one hand, it is potentially an offhand comment, not intended to weigh in on the discussion or influence it. On the other, it is a potentially an under-the-radar effort to normalize illegal behavior. Grey areas.
Later, when I felt prompted enough by a related discussion to bring up the previous comment, the poster denied the statement, but I found it and reposted it. We never heard the argument for the practice. If there is one, it might be interesting to hear.
Obviously for people who aren't concerned about this issue as I am, this is tedious, but I think it's important. Skip it if you prefer.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 14, 2019, 05:37:57 AM

2. Do not feed the trolls. Let them carry on with little fanfare.


This is different from the approach taken by the old CHE forums. They said 'refrain for name calling even if you think someone is a troll.'  Which potentially gives the benefit of a doubt to the poster the someone thinks is a troll. Whereas your rule is pretty close to asserting that who is trolling is a settled question that all non-trollers agree on. No room for difference of opinion about who or what is trolling and who or what is not. As if a troll stands out like a puppy in a flock of geese, And the person 'feeding the troll' is now another violator. I think the rule you have could give the appearance that the forum has a political agenda, like you're trying to break up discussion between posters who share the same unpopular viewpoint.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: marshwiggle on July 14, 2019, 06:00:54 AM

2. Do not feed the trolls. Let them carry on with little fanfare.


This is different from the approach taken by the old CHE forums. They said 'refrain for name calling even if you think someone is a troll.'  Which potentially gives the benefit of a doubt to the poster the someone thinks is a troll. Whereas your rule is pretty close to asserting that who is trolling is a settled question that all non-trollers agree on. No room for difference of opinion about who or what is trolling and who or what is not. As if a troll stands out like a puppy in a flock of geese, And the person 'feeding the troll' is now another violator. I think the rule you have could give the appearance that the forum has a political agenda, like you're trying to break up discussion between posters who share the same unpopular viewpoint.

I'd see this the other way around; if you see someone as a troll, then don't engage with them. If everyone followed that, then everyone would only engage in what they considered productive exchanges. This should implicitly result in the elimination of name-calling since people will, by definition, only interact if/when they have a modicum of respect for each other.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 14, 2019, 07:47:52 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mouseman on July 21, 2019, 11:56:28 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.

Do you think that the forum should force people to interact with members who they find annoying and tedious? I guess we really could run it like a kindergarten "it doesn't matter that little Johnny tells you that you're bad and that he doesn't like you, you still have to play with him".
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 23, 2019, 10:01:27 PM
hi
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 30, 2019, 04:48:42 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.

Do you think that the forum should force people to interact with members who they find annoying and tedious? I guess we really could run it like a kindergarten "it doesn't matter that little Johnny tells you that you're bad and that he doesn't like you, you still have to play with him".

I do think an assistant provost for diversity should be forced to read posters who think his job should be eliminated, while the poster should be as concise as possible.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 30, 2019, 09:12:10 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.

Do you think that the forum should force people to interact with members who they find annoying and tedious? I guess we really could run it like a kindergarten "it doesn't matter that little Johnny tells you that you're bad and that he doesn't like you, you still have to play with him".

I do think an assistant provost for diversity should be forced to read posters who think his job should be eliminated, while the poster should be as concise as possible.

Wait, you think people on an online forum that is not a direct part of their job should be forced to read posts from people? That seems bananas to me.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mamselle on July 30, 2019, 09:42:43 AM
I've done this for the past year or so on CHE, and even more steadily than before (although I did try to ignore provocative posts through 2-3 iterations before commenting, I'd usually fold and say something just to offer an alternative view; finally decided I didn't need the added aggravation, or the extra post numbers).

So, yeah, in Forgiveness and Reconciliation training, it's even a thing: you teach people how to listen past the provocative issues and pay attention to the understory. That often means ignoring the chaff and waiting for the actual grains to appear.

And if they never appear, then you just go on.

I got so I didn't even need an "ignore" button. I'd see a post and just click past it.

M. 
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 30, 2019, 10:41:20 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.

Do you think that the forum should force people to interact with members who they find annoying and tedious? I guess we really could run it like a kindergarten "it doesn't matter that little Johnny tells you that you're bad and that he doesn't like you, you still have to play with him".

I do think an assistant provost for diversity should be forced to read posters who think his job should be eliminated, while the poster should be as concise as possible.

Wait, you think people on an online forum that is not a direct part of their job should be forced to read posts from people? That seems bananas to me.

You're right, it is. He's really into diversity, so he'd be doing it already.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 30, 2019, 11:06:31 AM
Well, if a discussion gets heated enough, name calling will start. Academics just do it differently from others. I was more interested in a forum community's tendency to ostracize posters.

Do you think that the forum should force people to interact with members who they find annoying and tedious? I guess we really could run it like a kindergarten "it doesn't matter that little Johnny tells you that you're bad and that he doesn't like you, you still have to play with him".

I do think an assistant provost for diversity should be forced to read posters who think his job should be eliminated, while the poster should be as concise as possible.

Wait, you think people on an online forum that is not a direct part of their job should be forced to read posts from people? That seems bananas to me.

You're right, it is. He's really into diversity, so he'd be doing it already.

I feel like you're bringing some very specific baggage into this discussion.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 30, 2019, 01:05:20 PM
If we don't tell each other who the trolls are, and let each reader decide for himself, I think it will be a better forum.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 30, 2019, 06:12:21 PM
If we don't tell each other who the trolls are, and let each reader decide for himself, I think it will be a better forum.

Yes? Nothing other than your comments in this thread has anything to do with telling people who the trolls are.

As has been pointed out, the rule as proposed tells people not to purposefully antagonize (feed) those they think are trolls. It doesn't say anything about who is or isn't a troll.

It's also worth mentioning that this isn't a new thing: See the DNFTT thread on the old forums.

https://www.chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=64218.0
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 30, 2019, 06:39:28 PM
If we don't tell each other who the trolls are, and let each reader decide for himself, I think it will be a better forum.

Yes? Nothing other than your comments in this thread has anything to do with telling people who the trolls are.

As has been pointed out, the rule as proposed tells people not to purposefully antagonize (feed) those they think are trolls. It doesn't say anything about who is or isn't a troll.

It's also worth mentioning that this isn't a new thing: See the DNFTT thread on the old forums.

https://www.chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=64218.0

What happens here remains to be seen. The old forum serves as a useful negative example as far as I'm concerned. people congregated on the 'one-off's' thread and exchanged messages that served to identify posters the clique identified as trolls. meanwhile the poster who essentially runs this forum relentlessly rained anti-faculty negativity on adjunct advocacy discussions, with no repercussions.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 30, 2019, 08:36:53 PM
If we don't tell each other who the trolls are, and let each reader decide for himself, I think it will be a better forum.

Yes? Nothing other than your comments in this thread has anything to do with telling people who the trolls are.

As has been pointed out, the rule as proposed tells people not to purposefully antagonize (feed) those they think are trolls. It doesn't say anything about who is or isn't a troll.

It's also worth mentioning that this isn't a new thing: See the DNFTT thread on the old forums.

https://www.chronicle.com/forums/index.php?topic=64218.0

What happens here remains to be seen. The old forum serves as a useful negative example as far as I'm concerned. people congregated on the 'one-off's' thread and exchanged messages that served to identify posters the clique identified as trolls. meanwhile the poster who essentially runs this forum relentlessly rained anti-faculty negativity on adjunct advocacy discussions, with no repercussions.

Eh? I’m one of the people that runs the forums, and I don’t remember doing any of that... perhaps you don’t understand how these forums are being run?

Moreover, I feel like you keep bringing baggage from years ago into current threads where it has no bearing. Maybe it’s time to let it go?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 31, 2019, 03:23:20 AM

Moreover, I feel like you keep bringing baggage from years ago into current threads where it has no bearing. Maybe it’s time to let it go?

What you're calling baggage and implying has no place in the discussion is already here. You're making a specific rule that says the presence of trolls is guaranteed. But honestly that's not a shocker to me. I've been to forums where the phrase 'right wing troll' is considered common usage and others where it's 'left-wing troll' It's how people with similar politics and agenda find each other and consolidate.
But you may be right, time to let it go, one reason being the poster I referred to may have learned by now that what they were doing on those threads wasn't winning them new fans.

Eh? I’m one of the people that runs the forums, and I don’t remember doing any of that... perhaps you don’t understand how these forums are being run?


You don't remember egging on or enabling a troll? Me neither.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on July 31, 2019, 09:39:41 AM

Moreover, I feel like you keep bringing baggage from years ago into current threads where it has no bearing. Maybe it’s time to let it go?

What you're calling baggage and implying has no place in the discussion is already here. You're making a specific rule that says the presence of trolls is guaranteed. But honestly that's not a shocker to me. I've been to forums where the phrase 'right wing troll' is considered common usage and others where it's 'left-wing troll' It's how people with similar politics and agenda find each other and consolidate.
But you may be right, time to let it go, one reason being the poster I referred to may have learned by now that what they were doing on those threads wasn't winning them new fans.

Eh? I’m one of the people that runs the forums, and I don’t remember doing any of that... perhaps you don’t understand how these forums are being run?


You don't remember egging on or enabling a troll? Me neither.

This is an online forum that anyone can register for and post on. The presence of trolls is, at some point, guaranteed. Sometimes it's a bored undergrad, sometimes it's someone with an ax to grind against academics, sometimes it's someone who wants to spin tales of illicit affairs with a professor.

Perhaps you're reading something more personal into the rule that isn't there?
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on July 31, 2019, 06:40:02 PM

This is an online forum that anyone can register for and post on. The presence of trolls is, at some point, guaranteed. Sometimes it's a bored undergrad, sometimes it's someone with an ax to grind against academics, sometimes it's someone who wants to spin tales of illicit affairs with a professor.

Perhaps you're reading something more personal into the rule that isn't there?

Oh, well...academics as a group couldn't possibly be guilty of anything.

Just about all pseudonymous forums have a mob that identifies trolls who turn out to have similar beliefs and also dignifies their own bullies. This one should do it too. You're right, let it go. We have no obligation to be better than the rest.

But we can agree that when someone is obviously nothing but disruptive they are a troll.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: namazu on July 31, 2019, 10:25:31 PM

This is an online forum that anyone can register for and post on. The presence of trolls is, at some point, guaranteed. Sometimes it's a bored undergrad, sometimes it's someone with an ax to grind against academics, sometimes it's someone who wants to spin tales of illicit affairs with a professor.

Perhaps you're reading something more personal into the rule that isn't there?

Oh, well...academics as a group couldn't possibly be guilty of anything.

Just about all pseudonymous forums have a mob that identifies trolls who turn out to have similar beliefs and also dignifies their own bullies. This one should do it too. You're right, let it go. We have no obligation to be better than the rest.

But we can agree that when someone is obviously nothing but disruptive they are a troll.
Do you have a constructive suggestion as to how we could address this problem more effectively, mahagonny? 

(It seems to me that the current "Do not feed the trolls" rule expressly advocates against mobbing or otherwise calling attention to perceived trolls. This should prevent anyone who may be unfairly identified by any given member as a troll from suffering as a result of this misidentification.)

Or do you just want to continue doing what you've ostensibly been railing against for the past umpteen posts (i.e. passive-aggressively, and without naming names -- but still very conspicuously -- singling out a forum member whose presence/arguments you find odious and whom you wish to see marginalized)?

I have not noticed mob behavior here (yet), though I agree that it sometimes got out of hand at the old forum.  The one-offs thread did bring out ugly behavior in people at times; of course, sometimes people were independently, but simultaneously, venting understandable frustration in the least-disruptive way they could muster. 

Perhaps you might consider these fora a chance for a fresh start -- not only for yourself, but also for others. 
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on August 01, 2019, 04:31:11 PM

Do you have a constructive suggestion as to how we could address this problem more effectively, mahagonny? 


Yes, I made it already: 

If we don't tell each other who the trolls are, and let each reader decide for himself, I think it will be a better forum.

And I'll add, most of the time accusations of trolling end up being instances of mobbing while academia is nothing if not self-infatuated with its sense of diversity appreciation. So it would be a little weird to go around saying 'who are the trolls?' Though as you say, it doesn't seem to be happening yet. I think the rules are OK. I was just making an observation. It's an inexact art, as has been noted.

Quote
Or do you just want to continue doing what you've ostensibly been railing against for the past umpteen posts (i.e. passive-aggressively, and without naming names -- but still very conspicuously -- singling out a forum member whose presence/arguments you find odious and whom you wish to see marginalized)?

I don't know what should be done about it. Probably not more repetition.  But if you have the same cosseted person or people accepting tenure track unions but simultaneously working overtime to snuff out adjunct unions, you don't have a pro faculty forum; you have something else. I can't change facts like these.
But as you say also, it's a new era, and maybe give it a chance to develop.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on August 01, 2019, 04:39:38 PM
One person does not a forum make. You seem to keep conflating the opinions of one poster with a position of the forum, which is made up of many posters.

I would hope people are free to have and express opinions that any of us dislike here.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mahagonny on September 08, 2019, 10:15:33 AM
Instead of an 'ignore user' feature a 'block user' feature would be useful if it could enable you to identify a poster and seal off your posts so they are not visible to that person. Like FB does. Otherwise, in order to choose to be in the company of the forum, you have to invite all off them or none. You wouldn't run your social life that way.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Scout on September 08, 2019, 11:41:39 AM
No, but if you walked into bar and someone you didn’t like was there you wouldn’t yell “don’t look at me!” either. You’d ignore them and keep your conversations separate as best you can. You can’t control who sees you in a basically public space.

Facebook is not set up as a public space unless you choose to go to public groups. Facebook is designed as invitation only (friending) space, so it makes sense you could defriend/block someone.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: polly_mer on September 08, 2019, 12:33:54 PM
Instead of an 'ignore user' feature a 'block user' feature would be useful if it could enable you to identify a poster and seal off your posts so they are not visible to that person.

How would that work in a public venue where posts are visible to the world?  You aren't obligated to respond to any posts.  We have an ignore user feature so that you don't have to see everyone's posts and thus cannot read what people write in response to your posts.  You are welcome to make use of the PM feature and only converse with people with whom you want to converse out of public view.  You are also free to read posts and choose not to respond.

The question remains: do you want to participate in extended discussions on topics of interest with multiple views being presented or do you really only want to interact with people who agree with you or at least have to pretend that only some views are of enough value to discuss?  One way could change the world; the other way practically guarantees that whomever has power or will soon have power probably doesn't have all the views.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: ciao_yall on September 08, 2019, 02:11:08 PM
Instead of an 'ignore user' feature a 'block user' feature would be useful if it could enable you to identify a poster and seal off your posts so they are not visible to that person.

How would that work in a public venue where posts are visible to the world?  You aren't obligated to respond to any posts.  We have an ignore user feature so that you don't have to see everyone's posts and thus cannot read what people write in response to your posts.  You are welcome to make use of the PM feature and only converse with people with whom you want to converse out of public view.  You are also free to read posts and choose not to respond.

The question remains: do you want to participate in extended discussions on topics of interest with multiple views being presented or do you really only want to interact with people who agree with you or at least have to pretend that only some views are of enough value to discuss?  One way could change the world; the other way practically guarantees that whomever has power or will soon have power probably doesn't have all the views.

"Ignore user" works if you are in a thread, but not if you are looking at "All Recent Posts."
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Caracal on May 17, 2020, 06:05:44 AM
Starting this off with the list I proposed on the previous boards. Suggest and refine!

This will eventually also be part of what is displayed to new users on registration, along with any other purpose and message we want to craft.

1. Don't personally attack or harass other users. You know what crosses this line, don't do it.
3. Don't carry baggage from one thread to another. Sure, you may have a disagreement with another user in a different thread, but carrying that on into each new thread either of you start is not productive.


Is it worth rethinking some of the discussion on this? Most of the discussion here is perfectly civil, but some users rather consistently violate these rules, or go right up to the line and stick a foot over. I understand why the preference of the moderators has been to take a light hand, but that only really works if there's a commitment to the spirit of the rules. I'm not convinced the block function is really effective. I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: polly_mer on May 17, 2020, 07:18:51 AM
What's your suggestion for dealing with the human experience of knowing people through ongoing interactions?

I'm not going to pretend that every thread starts from scratch with everyone a stranger.

Shared history is how most humans decide how much weight to accord opinions and stated facts.  You can't erase the memories because it's inconvenient.

You can stop reading any time you like including all responses that you don't want to know.  It's not a moderator's responsibility to ensure you have a completely safe bubble.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: marshwiggle on May 17, 2020, 08:45:20 AM
I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.

To me this illustrates precisely the difficulty around moderation. It's a human tendency to have these kind of conflicted feelings about other people and our interactions with them. When we ourselves aren't consistent in our choice to avoid someone or not, we can't really expect anyone else to do it for us.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Caracal on May 17, 2020, 09:13:36 AM
What's your suggestion for dealing with the human experience of knowing people through ongoing interactions?

I'm not going to pretend that every thread starts from scratch with everyone a stranger.

Shared history is how most humans decide how much weight to accord opinions and stated facts.  You can't erase the memories because it's inconvenient.

You can stop reading any time you like including all responses that you don't want to know.  It's not a moderator's responsibility to ensure you have a completely safe bubble.

The original suggestion to not carry baggage is a good way to put it. I'm not suggesting you're supposed to never mention a previous conversation. However, pursuing grudges and vendettas across multiple threads doesn't lead to productive and civil conversations. It also tends to go along with the first point. It shouldn't be difficult to discuss the post, not make lots of claims about the person who made it based on feelings you might have about them.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mamselle on May 17, 2020, 09:23:38 AM
Somewhere, maybe in our high school hall's poster series, was an admonition that went something like this:

Children play with/talk about THINGS

Gossips talk about PEOPLE.

Mature adults talk about IDEAS.


I do believe a blended conversation might be the sign of a more integrated personality, but certainly the emphasis could be weighted in the direction of ideas rather than personal comments.

M.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Parasaurolophus on May 17, 2020, 09:53:49 AM

Is it worth rethinking some of the discussion on this? Most of the discussion here is perfectly civil, but some users rather consistently violate these rules, or go right up to the line and stick a foot over. I understand why the preference of the moderators has been to take a light hand, but that only really works if there's a commitment to the spirit of the rules. I'm not convinced the block function is really effective. I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.

Now that we've had some time to see where some of the flashpoints are, I do think it's worth reassessing a little. The tools at our disposal (e.g. locking threads, deleting/changing posts) are a little clunky and heavy-handed, but I do think it may be worthwhile to wade in more often with a public verbal warning. I did this recently, and I'm pleased with the result. (N=1 and all that, of course.)
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Caracal on May 17, 2020, 11:28:14 AM

Is it worth rethinking some of the discussion on this? Most of the discussion here is perfectly civil, but some users rather consistently violate these rules, or go right up to the line and stick a foot over. I understand why the preference of the moderators has been to take a light hand, but that only really works if there's a commitment to the spirit of the rules. I'm not convinced the block function is really effective. I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.

Now that we've had some time to see where some of the flashpoints are, I do think it's worth reassessing a little. The tools at our disposal (e.g. locking threads, deleting/changing posts) are a little clunky and heavy-handed, but I do think it may be worthwhile to wade in more often with a public verbal warning. I did this recently, and I'm pleased with the result. (N=1 and all that, of course.)

I think that's reasonable. I don't think heavy handed moderation would be good, even if it was feasible. But, I think there would be less need for that if we could commit to a series of basic ground rules. For example: No name calling and no general claims about the character, motives or knowledge of other members
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: marshwiggle on May 17, 2020, 12:24:56 PM

Is it worth rethinking some of the discussion on this? Most of the discussion here is perfectly civil, but some users rather consistently violate these rules, or go right up to the line and stick a foot over. I understand why the preference of the moderators has been to take a light hand, but that only really works if there's a commitment to the spirit of the rules. I'm not convinced the block function is really effective. I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.

Now that we've had some time to see where some of the flashpoints are, I do think it's worth reassessing a little. The tools at our disposal (e.g. locking threads, deleting/changing posts) are a little clunky and heavy-handed, but I do think it may be worthwhile to wade in more often with a public verbal warning. I did this recently, and I'm pleased with the result. (N=1 and all that, of course.)

I think that's reasonable. I don't think heavy handed moderation would be good, even if it was feasible. But, I think there would be less need for that if we could commit to a series of basic ground rules. For example: No name calling and no general claims about the character, motives or knowledge of other members

I'm not sure how effective those would be, especially in the absence of concrete examples. Am I alone in thinking that? (For instance, what counts as "name-calling" when everyone is using a pseudonym to begin with?)

Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: eigen on May 17, 2020, 12:46:59 PM
So I'm of mixed feeling when it seems like the vast majority of friction points here surround less than 5 users.

To me, that's the point where the ignore/block feature becomes useful, rather than designing rules based around a small subset of the user base. I understand it can be hard to not see what someone else wrote, but... to me that's a personal decision, not something for moderator intervention. We have stepped in several times when name-calling or other lines get crossed.

One thing that is exceptionally helpful is if people report things: we get *very* few reports, and I honestly don't catch everything as it happens.

I would like to see a much stronger commitment, generally, to people not bringing baggage into threads. We do know each other, but people do evolve: treating each discussion as new, even if it causes us to re-tread ground that may have already been discussed is, imo, a good practice.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: mamselle on May 17, 2020, 01:54:34 PM
I wonder if the old term "flame wars" could be invoked...

It seems as if that's at issue...long, multi-quoted rants at each other by the same few, which often either derail a thread or lose its focus and render it less useful to those who come here for information.

Newer folk don't need to see us airing the same dirty undies every day, and they'll just be confused by it.

I have an "internal ignore" function where I mostly just open a thread to get it off my queue and don't read it if it's one of my ignorees.

But that means there are a few threads that I just don't get to read anymore because the tangled nonsense defies being able to follow the conceptual basis of the thread overall.

Seeing that as a newbie, I'd have run screaming away. (And have, when visiting other forums, as I occasionally do).

M.
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Caracal on May 17, 2020, 02:39:32 PM

Is it worth rethinking some of the discussion on this? Most of the discussion here is perfectly civil, but some users rather consistently violate these rules, or go right up to the line and stick a foot over. I understand why the preference of the moderators has been to take a light hand, but that only really works if there's a commitment to the spirit of the rules. I'm not convinced the block function is really effective. I find it pretty hard to not click and see what someone has said in response to a post of mine, even if I've blocked them.

Now that we've had some time to see where some of the flashpoints are, I do think it's worth reassessing a little. The tools at our disposal (e.g. locking threads, deleting/changing posts) are a little clunky and heavy-handed, but I do think it may be worthwhile to wade in more often with a public verbal warning. I did this recently, and I'm pleased with the result. (N=1 and all that, of course.)

I think that's reasonable. I don't think heavy handed moderation would be good, even if it was feasible. But, I think there would be less need for that if we could commit to a series of basic ground rules. For example: No name calling and no general claims about the character, motives or knowledge of other members

I'm not sure how effective those would be, especially in the absence of concrete examples. Am I alone in thinking that? (For instance, what counts as "name-calling" when everyone is using a pseudonym to begin with?)

I mean, I could certainly give some examples of language that serves only to offend and provoke used on here,  but I don't really think this is the spot for it...
Title: Re: Rules Discussion & Refinement
Post by: Caracal on May 17, 2020, 02:50:03 PM
So I'm of mixed feeling when it seems like the vast majority of friction points here surround less than 5 users.

To me, that's the point where the ignore/block feature becomes useful, rather than designing rules based around a small subset of the user base. I understand it can be hard to not see what someone else wrote, but... to me that's a personal decision, not something for moderator intervention. We have stepped in several times when name-calling or other lines get crossed.

One thing that is exceptionally helpful is if people report things: we get *very* few reports, and I honestly don't catch everything as it happens.


I guess this is where I think a clearer code of conduct might be helpful. Obviously, some things and some language are clearly out of bounds, but it can be a little hard to know if its appropriate to bring in moderators when I see something that is more in the category of abusive or insulting.