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Winds of Change

OT Additional Mods Civility 2004

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#21 Ogami

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 08:54 PM

Shalamar wrote:

Ogami, wether it is sweeping generalizations about peace protestors, Democrats, Republicans, rednecks, or rap musc..if I see it I will ask for it to be edited.

So if I comment about Ted Kennedy, I must preface my comment with: "The following comment is not meant in any way to impugn members of congress, political parties, any country, any poster or group of posters, or any conceivable person alive, dead, or undead, save Ted Kennedy. Unless he himself is an Ex Isle poster, in which case I withdraw the comment".

That's creepy. And so Orwellian.

There are ways of being offensive without resorting to swear words.

Who's swearing at any other poster? I can understand editing posts if someone says "Shalamar has a bad hair style", but censoring thought itself? Wow.

There are some fragile opinions out there.


#22 Rommie's Ronin

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 08:58 PM

Ogami, on Aug 1 2004, 08:52 PM, said:

That's creepy. And so Orwellian.
Eh! James' Law.  The thread is officially over.  :lol:  :cool:  :whistle:
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#23 Bad Wolf

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:06 PM

I think the point here is that offensiveness *doesn't* have to entail swearing.  So questions like "Who's swearing at any other poster?"  kind of miss the point.

I don't like the idea of stricter moderation just on principle (you and I both know what happened at the Nut Forum) but what I think is happening here is that a lot of *non profane* vitriol (like accusing people of being liars if they don't agree with you, or calling someone a hate monger if they don't agree with you, or making statments that put down all members of a particular religion or political philosophy in an overgeneralized way) has been allowed (for whatever reason but probably in the name of taking a minimalist approach to moderation) to slide for a long while now and it has gotten to the point where a sufficient number of people have complained about it that the staff feel it is in the community's best interest to take a more proactive approach at least with regard to OT.  Personally I wish that it wasn't felt that this is necessary but it's not my call.

I am confident however that this is not going to turn into some kind of Orwellian situation.  I'm confident of that for two main reasons.  The first is that I trust the people in charge of this place, literally, with my life.  I base that on my personal experience with them over an extended period of time.  The second is that I know that people like you, Ogami, and the 'Hawk, and myself, people who are wary of proactive moderation as a matter of principle, will raise bloody hell if things start to look like they're getting out of hand.

For now though, the staff has my full vote of confidence (fwiw).  They've never given me a reason not to give them the benefit of the doubt so there's no reason for me (and that's the only person I'm speaking for) to worry about abuses that I don't foresee happening.

Just my view of course.  :)

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#24 Ogami

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:11 PM

I'll take your word for it. In the meantime, I'll be careful of what I say about Ted Kennedy. Lest some whimpering, weak, sobbing pile of jelly in front of a keyboard moans, "He's really talking about ME, I feel soooo impugned. -sob sob snurrkkkk-"

I remember being shocked when I first came to this board, and I had internet news articles and essays censored because they feared being sued by the Washington Post or somebody else. I thought that was overmoderation, obviously opinions varied. So now if I post an article I think others might find interesting, I just quote a paragraph or two. It's a hassle, but I do it.

#25 Shalamar


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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:16 PM

Erm, how is speaking about an individual, and disagreeing with his views, statements, actions a sweeping generalization?

and LOL, my hair is not poorly styled it has no style... thats why I tend to keep it pulled back in a pony tail. :p
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#26 Bad Wolf

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Posted 01 August 2004 - 09:19 PM

Ogami, on Aug 1 2004, 07:09 PM, said:

I'll take your word for it. In the meantime, I'll be careful of what I say about Ted Kennedy. Lest some whimpering, weak, sobbing pile of jelly in front of a keyboard moans, "He's really talking about ME, I feel soooo impugned. -sob sob snurrkkkk-"
Ted Kennedy?  Why that besotten, irresponsible, kneejerk, womanizing liberal sob!   ;)

I don't think that what's being talked about here is the case where someone takes an insult of a specific third party (eg., Kevin Sorbo) as an insult to *them*.  IMO that IS silly.  I think what's being discussed is when a poster who happens, for example, to be Catholic, reads a comment to the effect that all Catholics (as opposed to the Catholic Church and I *do* think there's a difference but that's another thread I guess) are mysoginistic homophobic bigots.  And Ogami, you may think that's some kind of extreme example or something but I assure you that in my time here I've seen that kind of generalization made (hell, I'm sure I'm as guilty as the next person of it).  I don't think anyone is being singled out or anything, just that the staff have decided that they're taking a tougher line.


p.s.  You honor me by trusting my word.  :)
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#27 Corwin


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Posted 01 August 2004 - 10:12 PM

What Lil said.  

Personally, I don't like the newer tougher moderation standards, but that's because I never had a problem with the old ones.  So count me as one who will watch closely as well.  

However, I have seen more posts over the past several months that are more vitriolic in nature than they have any right (in my mind) to be.  I have not personally been offended by any of them (I'm very difficult to offend, just ask anyone who knows me), but I have had to take several steps back and think about what a person has stated before I post any sort of reply, as my first reaction would have possibly been to escalate a potential situation.    No, I'm not saying that everything posted should be PC, because that's impossible in an intelligent debate regarding opinions on subjects such as those that routinely come up in OT.  I am suggesting that we, as a community, be aware that our words do have emotional impact and can and (probably) will be taken wrong by someone at some point.  The trick is to moderate speech to fit the circumstances without losing your intent or thoughts.  Fueling a logical and spirited debate is wonderful, but reactively throwing vitriol into the fire isn't.


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#28 Ilphi

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 03:30 AM


Ronin said:
Eh! James' Law. The thread is officially over.

He has a point... ;)

But seriously, if anyone feels victimised by this, the staff are trying to work with the members not against them. If you think a request isn't even handed, just PM the relevent mod. Or another staff member. I certainly don't want to seem distant, or remote, and I doubt any of the other staff do as well. Just drop a line...
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And for this I will answer, O people, answer here and hereafter,
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#29 Delvo

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 05:51 AM

Requests to edit won't change anything. Even if the author is willing, it'll take a long time and responses to the problem-post will have accumulated. And then the author can turn out to be unwilling. It would be better to immediately remove the whole thing and send the author an email or PM notification that contains the original text, in case they want to modify that and post again.

#30 LaughingVulcan


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Posted 02 August 2004 - 07:22 PM

Another higly favored tactic of mine, when hurt, is to simply ignore the remarks that have given one personal offense.  Unlike real life, or forms of formalized debate, the only penalty that one would generally encounter is that you have not directly replied to the point the other person has made - assuming that there is one.  If there is true vitriol present it will be turned inward sooner or later.  (This tactic, of course, does not work for moderation or administration, but it works fairly well as a poster.  It also has the limitation of not applying to having one's friends or neighbors offended.)  But, one can simply just restate one's own point or modify it, without any specific reference to the offender, just as easily.

A last resort tactic is gafiation.  If one needs to cool down, or work out one's frustrations, alternate methods may be employed.  When individuals make me frustrated, I may simply go and do something else I find enjoyable for a time.  There is much wisdom in occasionally simply, "getting away from it all."  The disadvantage is that often times the community misses out on your presence, be it in a particular thread, subboard, or the board as a whole.  There is not the same societal penalties in BBSing that one finds IRL for such behavior.  Again, this really applies more to the individual poster than those who must act as judge sometimes.

These two approaches do not really work well in real life.  There is an interesting book I read about a year or more ago, Non-Zero:  The Logic of Human Destiny.  What I found most fascinating were Robert Wright's approaches that human beings form communities, in part, to create a non-zero sum game.  Competition is effective only when it leads to the whole becoming greater than the sum of the parts.  Without it, growth is much harder to achieve.  Yet it appears to be necessary only as a means, and should not be the end, IMHO.

Perhaps it is slightly irrelevant to this thread, but it does address a fundamental issue of why someone might seek out an online community:  to get away from individual zero-sum existance.  Any times when friction develops, people may evaluate whether or not the friction helps or hinders the individual or the community.  Societies generally form methods to make sure one's conduct is appropriate and beneficial to society, in addition to allowing personal degrees of individual liberty.  In online communities such methods usually must be developed.

Such proactivity as Kathy suggests may well be helpful, and I do not envy the balancing acts they go through.  I only enjoy the results of it.

Perhaps this is enough random ranting for now.


Edited by LaughingVulcan, 02 August 2004 - 07:23 PM.

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#31 Bad Wolf

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 08:46 PM

Delvo, on Aug 2 2004, 03:49 AM, said:

It would be better to immediately remove the whole thing and send the author an email or PM notification that contains the original text, in case they want to modify that and post again.
I strongly disagree.  The remove first and ask questions later method of moderation is the way Lisa used to do it at Slipstream.  It didn't work then and I have zero reason to believe it will work now.

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#32 Nick



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Posted 03 August 2004 - 08:46 PM

We're not asking that you tiptoe on egg shells every single time you say something you feel strongly about, just be careful when making generalizations.  The problem isn't the generalizations themselves, but that they can being used as thinly veiled insults at a particular poster.


"I utterly despise Bush and most of the recent policies of the Republican Party."
"If Kerry gets elected, he'll utterly ruin this nation, flip flop incessantly, and never make a decisive decision, and we'll have nukes in NYC!"

^Is okay.  Those are statements of opinion that aren't targeting anybody or baiting them.  We can bash publicl figures as much as we like, within limits.

"Bush and his toothless bible-beating mindless hick supporters are what's really wrong with this country!"

"That sounds a lot like what this whiney, deranged pansy was telling me when I asked him why he supported Kerry."

^Is *not* okay.  *ESPECIALLY* when it's in response to a poster that just posted a contrary view . . . because you're now un-subtly calling that poster a "toothless bible-beating mindless hick" or "whiney deranged pansy".  And nobody is fooled.

We're going to err on the side of caution, my preferred course of action is just a "hey now, keep it civil" post when things start heating up . . . and then requests to edit when the insults skirt the line.

The idea here is to keep OT a place where people can participate in a good discussion without being insulted for disagreeing.


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