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Standards of Civility

OT Civility Standards

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#1 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 04:55 PM

The nature of the subjects on this board do lead to passionate debate.  But some posters have expressed concern about that debate turning personal and nasty.

We've even had our first  suspensions of posting privileges off the new forum.

So, let's take a step back and discuss this.  How do we keep a lid on while allowing free reigning debate.

Ro

#2 Jid

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 05:12 PM

I'm going to stick my neck out here and say simply - we don't try to put a 'lid' on anything.

The guidelines we all had a hand in putting into effect are, imo, based heavily on trusting everyone here to be adults, and to disagree with an idea without attaching it completely to the person who voiced it.

To try to put a 'lid' on anything would be to change this board completely from how it was started.

To say it another way, you can't put anything 'free' under a lid, or in a cage.  It just won't work that way.  If we truly want free debate, we have to accept the fact that *not* everyone and everything is going to come up fluffy and sweet.  Instead, we have to be willing to accept that this, like anything worth doing, is going to take hard work.

I also think we'd be remiss to start changing rules that, again imo, we haven't truly put to the test yet.  

Our current system, as I can recall from memory, calls for a lot of vigilence from the moderators - if we see something that looks like its getting nasty, we should PM the person involved, and ask them to stop.  It's only for very serious violations, or repeated violations of policy after being asked to change their behaviour that people should expect to be banned.

I think this will still work, but I think it will work better if we all are moderators in a sense.   If you see something that concerns you, PM the appropriate mods, or if you think it could get out of hand before that, an admin, or for that matter, any other mod.  We all know how to get ahold of each other perhaps *slightly* faster than a PM on this BBS could.  I assure you, we'll look into it.  It's our job, after all ;)

And while I'm not advocating "vigilante justice" here, there's no one stopping you from sending a PM or email to someone who you feel has been mean or rude to you, and saying "Hi, is there some way we can work this out without resorting to getting nasty in public?"

Again, I'll say it - the board guidelines are meant to be as free and non-restrictive as possible.  That means the real power here lies in the hands of everyone, more than it lies in the hands of any mod or admin.

Just some thoughts.
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#3 Chrys

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 05:20 PM

The only thing that comes to mind is to remind people that they shouldn't confuse their ego with their opinions.  However, this board seems to have a lot of people who know that already, it's nothing like the carnage I've seen in other places.
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#4 Rhea

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 05:29 PM

I'm with Jid and Chrys. I think we leave it as is. Yes, it gets heated. Yes, there are some people who persist in arguing with the person rather than the opinion.

I think it's the nature of the forum. Anyone who thought this wasn't going to be a "hot topics" forum was kidding themselves, because it is.

But the conversations are interesting in spite of it all, and I'd rather see us err on the side of too little interference rather than imitate Slipstream and err on the side of too much.

Edited by Rhea, 14 May 2003 - 05:29 PM.

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#5 Rov Judicata

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 05:35 PM

I think there are hot topics in the forum, which doesn't make it a hot topic forum.. any more than DROM threads in Reviews make it a DROM forum.

That being said, I'm with Chrys et al.
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#6 Enmar

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 06:08 PM

Rhea, on May 14 2003, 06:16 PM, said:

I think it's the nature of the forum. Anyone who thought this wasn't going to be a "hot topics" forum was kidding themselves, because it is.
It isn't only hot topics forum and even if it is, I see nothing wrong with it. I still think it is much more civil than other places and very interesting. For me, the point is that people bring facts and information and don't just disagree. The last incident on the "women in combat" thread had nothing to do with the forum, it didn't evolve from a debate that was heated there.

And I agree with Jid, totally :)
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#7 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 06:36 PM

I think that by "put a lid" on it Ro means simply this:  hold people to the same standards of civillity that apply everywhere else on exisle.

Period.  Regardless of how "hot" the topic is.

And that is what I fear is "not" happening.  I feel that people are making allowances for the fact that it's a hot topic and therefore giving people more license to be rude.

Well with all due respect, that is a cop out and it is btw EXACTLY what I said would happen the minute you created this separate forum.

If we can't discuss hot topics politely then we're admitting a level of immaturity that I just don't think is true.

Lil
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#8 Kimmer

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 07:33 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2003, 09:23 AM, said:

I think that by "put a lid" on it Ro means simply this:  hold people to the same standards of civillity that apply everywhere else on exisle.

Period.  Regardless of how "hot" the topic is.

And that is what I fear is "not" happening.  I feel that people are making allowances for the fact that it's a hot topic and therefore giving people more license to be rude.

Well with all due respect, that is a cop out and it is btw EXACTLY what I said would happen the minute you created this separate forum.

If we can't discuss hot topics politely then we're admitting a level of immaturity that I just don't think is true.

Lil
I totally agree with Lil's comments.

I will also sadly admit that I very quickly wrapped my brain around "it's a hot topic forum and folks will get out of hand" type of attitude. Shame on me. Shame on the rest of us who also have done this.

It's too late to go back and undo what's been done ... and yeah .. this was why I vehemently opposed the creation of this forum.

#9 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 07:37 PM

FTR, I was not talking about a lid on debate, but on the rancorous personal hits being made on several sides.

Ro

#10 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 07:56 PM

So I think the solution is quite clear (and easy too).

Make an announcement in the forum reminding everyone that the same standards for civil discourse that apply in the rest of ExIsle apply in the history forum and that no exceptions for "hotness" of topic are going to be made.

We discuss things civilly.  We separate the post from the poster.  We don't resort to personal insults just because someone disagrees with us, and the mods will be intervening, not to edit or delete but to remind, forcefully if necessary, that this IS the way it's going to be.

Or frankly, it's like kids with a toy.

If they can't play nice maybe the toy needs to be taken away for a bit.

Honestly, and I know I know, I shouldn't say "I told you so" but I KNEW this would happen.

And the arguments I've seen in this thread advocating "making allowances" for the fact that it's a hot topic forum only reinforce my concerns that what in fact was being created was another potential tnz.

Lil
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#11 Ro-Astarte

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 08:02 PM

I understand the concern. I'd be happy to pin such a post along the lines we've been discussing here.

I'm not interesting in moding a free-for-all, but I don't bruise all that easily. :)  I don't want to see the standards be markedly different in the Current Events forum than they are in the other parts of the board.

Ro

#12 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 08:07 PM

An announcement like what I suggest will not alter the standards but acknowledge that the BEHAVIOR has been markedly different than in the rest of the forum and that this is no longer going to be okay.

If people can discuss Andromeda with a modicum of civility then they can damn well discuss women in combat with the same civility.

:)
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#13 Rhea

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 08:36 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2003, 10:54 AM, said:

An announcement like what I suggest will not alter the standards but acknowledge that the BEHAVIOR has been markedly different than in the rest of the forum and that this is no longer going to be okay.

If people can discuss Andromeda with a modicum of civility then they can damn well discuss women in combat with the same civility.

:)
Agreed (of course, you knew that because I literally screamed the same thing - in large type and red letters - in a thread where personal potshots were being taken recently).

I think something definitely needs to be said about separating the poster from the argument - respect the poster even if you *don't* respect the argument. Or to put it another way, argue topics, not personalities.

And I guess I don't need to say I told you so because Lil already said it. :p :p  :angel:
The future is better than the past. Despite the crepehangers, romanticists, and anti-intellectuals, the world steadily grows better because the human mind, applying itself to environment, makes it better. With hands...with tools...with horse sense and science and engineering.
- Robert A. Heinlein

When I don’t understand, I have an unbearable itch to know why. - RAH


Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.  - RAH

#14 jon3831

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 10:19 PM

Ro-Astarte, on May 14 2003, 10:49 AM, said:

I don't want to see the standards be markedly different in the Current Events forum than they are in the other parts of the board.
The intent was *never* to create a place where polite, civilized Jeffersonian debate didn't apply. If someone suggested loosening the Guidelines for this one forum, I didn't see it.

And save for a few unfortunate incidents, I think we've been successful. Do we need work? Yes. I don't think theres any denying that. Is it the rancorous pit of despair that some people claimed it would become? No. Just because the baby has a few teething problems doesn't mean you go out in back and drown it.

In the few weeks the forum has been open, we've seen a surge in postings and debate, the manner of which we hardly ever saw in The Beach. I'm not going to debate the "whys" here, but I don't think anyone can deny that it has happened.

Perhaps the thing to do would be to pin a primer on proper debate. One particularly good one is one that's posted on alt.startrek.creative called The Mannerly Art of Disagreement.

And that's my $.02
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#15 Rhys

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 10:26 PM

Yes, the same rules should apply everywhere, although the "hot topic" type threads (which can include discussion of Andromeda :p ) are the ones where we're likely to see behaviour closer to the "edge".

However:

When reading, you should try to be very relaxed about the rules.  Assume good intent and that all "uncivil" comments are the result of a misunderstanding.  When it's clear that they're not, remind yourself that the poster is only making themself look bad.

When writing, be very strict about the rules.  Assume someone will misunderstand what you write in the worst possible way.  Try to write it to avoid possibility of misunderstanding.

When moderating, the job is to clear up/avoid those misunderstandings. :)

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#16 Bossy

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 10:49 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on May 14 2003, 12:43 PM, said:

Honestly, and I know I know, I shouldn't say "I told you so" but I KNEW this would happen.

And the arguments I've seen in this thread advocating "making allowances" for the fact that it's a hot topic forum only reinforce my concerns that what in fact was being created was another potential tnz.

Lil
My I please ask where in this thread you saw someone advocating making allowances for a "hot topics forum"?

I seemed to have missed those.

Also, its not a hot topics forum. The threads containing reasonable discussions on a wide variety of topics seem to far out weigh the hot topics thread. Calling it a hot topics forum implies that all of the topics are hot. Unless, of course, you feel that any forum which contains hot topics should be called a hot topics forum. In that case, I think we better label General Media and perhaps reviews as hot topics forums as well.

One last point, I have seen people reminding others to remain civil in the HP&CE forum. I do not see people advocating a loosened standard of civility.

Bossy


#17 QueenTiye

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 11:09 PM

I have seen little or no reason to be all upset over the new forum.  The topics themselves engender heated responses sometimes - and sometimes not.  The obnoxious posts that drew bans were absolutely NOT caused by debate or anything like it - and the *slightly* heated remarks that I have seen certainly do not deserve to call the entire forum into question - and I also think that some discussions have caused hypersensitivity (on both sides of the debate).   In which case - a cooling down nudge or two isn't a bad thing to do (and isn't that what we stated we'd do in the policy?)

I fail to see what all the excitement is about.  (And I, for the record, voted AGAINST the new forum.)

QT

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#18 Bad Wolf

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 11:23 PM

It isn't a rancourous pit of despair (I like that phrase, can I use it?).  

Yet.

And yeah I agree also that the two bans were unrelated to the nature of the forum.

Bossy, to answer your question:

Quote

I think it's the nature of the forum. Anyone who thought this wasn't going to be a "hot topics" forum was kidding themselves, because it is.

Yikes, Rhea said that!   :wacko:  ;)

My point is that it seems that um, a certain level of downright rudeness that is pretty much uncharacteristic of ExIsle (imo) has crept into that forum and it seems to me that it's pretty much seemed to be..okay.

Well it shouldn't be.

It's not okay anywhere else on exisle and it shouldn't be okay there simply because of "the nature of the topics"

Am I making any sense or just babbling incoherently?

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#19 Godeskian

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 11:25 PM

You are quite right, at least in my view. As i said in the other thread, the issues aren't big ones. They aren't neon signs proclaiming a TNZ like free-for-all-brawl attitude.

but they are a step away from the rest of the isle in attitude. I'd like to believe we are better than that, but i understand enough about people to realise that politics and religion are two things people don't generaly debate politely. It's not even a problem with the people, as much in my view, a problem inherent in the subjects.

#20 jon3831

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Posted 14 May 2003 - 11:30 PM

Okay... I agree with the functional part of Lil's post, but not the substantive part... (Did that make sense?)

Anyway...

Without getting into the Hot Topic/Not Hot Topic quagmire, since I don't think it has any relevance in this thread, and everyone knows my feelings on the matter anyway, I agree with this statement:

Quote

My point is that it seems that um, a certain level of downright rudeness that is pretty much uncharacteristic of ExIsle (imo) has crept into that forum and it seems to me that it's pretty much seemed to be..okay.

Well it shouldn't be.

It's not okay anywhere else on exisle and it shouldn't be okay there simply because of "the nature of the topics"

There is no reason why debate of so-called "hot topics" cannot be debated within the Guidelines. And so far, I don't think I've seen anyone advocating suspending or loosening the Guidelines within that forum. If I'm wrong on that point, someone please correct me.

Now then...

Quote

It isn't a rancourous pit of despair (I like that phrase, can I use it?).

I like being quotable. ;)
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