Author Topic: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community  (Read 14588 times)

Parasaurolophus

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #165 on: May 01, 2021, 11:08:09 AM »
I'll readily admit that I'm hesitant to let some things go if they've not yet been addressed in a thread, because I worry that doing so shows tacit or even widespread support for what's being said. There's a balance to be struck, and I'm not good at finding it. (It's also somewhat ironic that for a place where so many adopt the "more speech" defence of free speech, so many also advocate silence!) That said...



One thing I do when I feel I'm getting overly sucked into a slanging match with someone else is to forbid myself responding until at least one other person has responded. Then, if there are only two of us who actually care enough to argue, it will stop at that point.

That's a good idea. I'll try to practice it myself.



But if the mod philosophy is laissez-faire here then so be it - that approach has its merits.

As you probably know, I'm on Team More Active Modding. But, as eigen explained, we've not found much support for that here yet, so for now our duties primarily consist of rejecting spammer registrations. I'm all for it, but not without significant demand for it.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 01:43:54 PM by Parasaurolophus »
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downer

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #166 on: May 01, 2021, 12:36:33 PM »
How do people know what mod policies there is community support for? Has there been a poll?
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eigen

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #167 on: May 01, 2021, 01:04:16 PM »
How do people know what mod policies there is community support for? Has there been a poll?

The discussion started on the old forums before the move. There hasn't been a poll, but there are threads with discussion, proposals, and worries. I had proposed policies that had a more substantial code of conduct than "no personal attacks" but that was shot down pretty vocally, and there was never support expressed for it that I recall.

That said, you can see (or continue) the discussion in these two threads. They both pick up from where our discussions on the old forums left off, but those are sadly no longer available to us.

Moderation Discussion: https://thefora.org/index.php?topic=5.0
Fora Rules: https://thefora.org/index.php?topic=4.0

Both of which are in this forum, stickied.

I've also asked for feedback on what is and isn't working for people at both our 1-year and 2-year anniversaries (just past) and so far have had no one reach out to suggest changes to our moderation policies.

I see people bring it up in threads, but absent any real discussion in the places that ask for it, it seems fleeting and doesn't outweigh the exiting discussion.
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Parasaurolophus

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #168 on: May 01, 2021, 01:18:32 PM »
At one point I also invited people to contact me directly if they would like to say something but remain anonymous, and there were no takers at the time.

I've had a few PMs that suggest some people want more, but nothing more substantive than that.
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eigen

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #169 on: May 01, 2021, 01:31:32 PM »
At one point I also invited people to contact me directly if they would like to say something but remain anonymous, and there were no takers at the time.

I've had a few PMs that suggest some people want more, but nothing more substantive than that.

Same.

I'll also note that I'm trying to distance my personal feelings from the discussions, since there (could be) a perceived feeling that since I'm the forum administrator and could unilaterally do things, my feelings matter more.

In fact, I've gotten accusations of being a tyrant and trying to block free speech and other such things before, not to mention conspiracy theories (PMs and otherwise) that I'm secretly banning people and removing posts. When I suggested a more robust code of conduct the comments were more along the lines of "why are you trying to ruin the forums, we've never needed that before". Although from talking to some of the old moderators, there used to be more heavy handed moderation they just did it quietly and no one knew about it.

But I'll happily take suggestions and, as in the threads above, collate member feedback into something cohesive.
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marshwiggle

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #170 on: May 01, 2021, 01:49:22 PM »

But I'll happily take suggestions and, as in the threads above, collate member feedback into something cohesive.

If there is any feedback in favour of more moderation, I'd be curious to hear the rationale, given that:
  • bits are essentially free
  • there's an "ignore" function
I support action on personal attacks, but beyond that, given the two points above, it's not clear what the purpose is.

In a (physical) newspaper, for instance, because there is a real limit on space, letters to the editor sections have to be limited, so there are often policies like word limits, and one letter every X weeks by any one person. Those measures prevent someone very vocal from potentially blocking other people from expressing their views. But in a forum like this, there's no way that one person expressing views can prevent anyone else from presenting opposing views.  Certain views may be repeated ad nauseum, but again the two factors listed above make that at worst an inconvenience.
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mahagonny

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #171 on: May 02, 2021, 06:27:57 AM »
I'll readily admit that I'm hesitant to let some things go if they've not yet been addressed in a thread, because I worry that doing so shows tacit or even widespread support for what's being said. There's a balance to be struck, and I'm not good at finding it. (It's also somewhat ironic that for a place where so many adopt the "more speech" defence of free speech, so many also advocate silence!) That said...

That's how they got tenure. By STFU'ing until they have something popular to say.

Caracal

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #172 on: May 02, 2021, 01:08:47 PM »

But I'll happily take suggestions and, as in the threads above, collate member feedback into something cohesive.

If there is any feedback in favour of more moderation, I'd be curious to hear the rationale, given that:
  • bits are essentially free
  • there's an "ignore" function


I think the issue is that when you have a very bare bones set of rules, you end up allowing a lot of unpleasant and inappropriate behavior and only taking action when things have already escalated. If you call someone a liar (my bad...) we can all agree that's a personal attack. But what about accusations that people who disagree with you have evil motives? Or vague, unsupported claims that other people lack the knowledge to participate in a conversation. I'd argue that in some forms things like that are personal attacks, just coded ones. If you look at the threads that tend to go south, often its because you see that sort of stuff going on early.


Caracal

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #173 on: May 02, 2021, 01:19:32 PM »
At one point I also invited people to contact me directly if they would like to say something but remain anonymous, and there were no takers at the time.

I've had a few PMs that suggest some people want more, but nothing more substantive than that.

Same.

I'll also note that I'm trying to distance my personal feelings from the discussions, since there (could be) a perceived feeling that since I'm the forum administrator and could unilaterally do things, my feelings matter more.

In fact, I've gotten accusations of being a tyrant and trying to block free speech and other such things before, not to mention conspiracy theories (PMs and otherwise) that I'm secretly banning people and removing posts. When I suggested a more robust code of conduct the comments were more along the lines of "why are you trying to ruin the forums, we've never needed that before". Although from talking to some of the old moderators, there used to be more heavy handed moderation they just did it quietly and no one knew about it.

But I'll happily take suggestions and, as in the threads above, collate member feedback into something cohesive.

Would there be any interest in some form of working group where people who were interested in a clearer set of rules formulated some sort of preliminary code of conduct, then examined posts over some period of time and discussed posts to test and tweak a code? It seems like these discussions always get bogged down in these really broad questions and fears that any code would stifle free discussion, without trying to actually look at what we would want to try to prohibit and what would we would want to allow.

dismalist

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #174 on: May 02, 2021, 01:28:37 PM »

But I'll happily take suggestions and, as in the threads above, collate member feedback into something cohesive.

If there is any feedback in favour of more moderation, I'd be curious to hear the rationale, given that:
  • bits are essentially free
  • there's an "ignore" function
I support action on personal attacks, but beyond that, given the two points above, it's not clear what the purpose is.

...

Agreed. Personal attacks aside, there is no need for more intense moderation given the ignore function.
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marshwiggle

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #175 on: May 02, 2021, 01:42:17 PM »
I think the issue is that when you have a very bare bones set of rules, you end up allowing a lot of unpleasant and inappropriate behavior and only taking action when things have already escalated.

"Unpleasant" is a much lower bar than "inappropriate"; anyone saying something someone else disagrees with could be called "unpleasant".

Depending on what it means, "inappropriate" could be more useful.

Quote
If you call someone a liar (my bad...) we can all agree that's a personal attack. But what about accusations that people who disagree with you have evil motives? Or vague, unsupported claims that other people lack the knowledge to participate in a conversation.

Popular culture does this all the time, such as with the suggestion that someone's "lived experience" gives them an authority that another person cannot match, regardless of the evidence, logic, etc. of any statement they make.

Quote
I'd argue that in some forms things like that are personal attacks, just coded ones.

"Coded" is very subjective. Anyone who is old enough will remember back in the 70's all of the rock and roll albums that were supposed to contain "coded" messages, usually satanic, that could be "discovered" by playing the record backwards.

Would there be any interest in some form of working group where people who were interested in a clearer set of rules formulated some sort of preliminary code of conduct, then examined posts over some period of time and discussed posts to test and tweak a code? It seems like these discussions always get bogged down in these really broad questions and fears that any code would stifle free discussion, without trying to actually look at what we would want to try to prohibit and what would we would want to allow.

If anything were proposed, this idea of seeing how it would apply to existing posts would be useful. However, there are a couple of problems I see:

  • Applying rules to a selection of posts might give the impression that those are the only posts which the rules might call into question.
  • While I think I'd be OK with my posts being used as examples, I don't think anyone should be forced to have their posts held up as potential bad examples, and as in the previous point, not knowing how the rules might apply to posts not identified makes it possible for people to see the same thing and make wildly different inferences based on it. (Were the chosen posts cherry-picked, or do they make a representative sample?)
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dismalist

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #176 on: May 02, 2021, 01:45:51 PM »
Anything other than prohibiting personal attacks opens the door to arbitrary and non-arbitrary censorship.

Wide use of the ignore function is to be encouraged.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 01:53:23 PM by dismalist »
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downer

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #177 on: May 02, 2021, 01:54:35 PM »
I am not up for extra work.

It is all very much in a grey area.

There's been discussion here of trolling, but not so much of flaming and flame-baiting. None of these terms have clear definitions but they seem relevant.

Some places make a distinction between good faith and bad faith contributions to forums.

It's common to have a rule requiring politeness and respect towards other posters, which is a stronger requirement than "no flaming."

Some places have a "No Backseat Moderating" rule.
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mahagonny

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #178 on: May 02, 2021, 02:53:53 PM »
How about this?  A lottery. The winner gets to delete a poster of their choice for one month.

marshwiggle

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Re: Polly's Thoughts on Future of Our Community
« Reply #179 on: May 03, 2021, 05:40:16 AM »
Perhaps we need a bit of historical advice on this.
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