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Is staff still considering issuing a statement on a policy change?


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#21 DWF

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:23 PM

View PostLord of the Sword, on 28 February 2012 - 09:10 AM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on 27 February 2012 - 11:03 PM, said:


With any luck, LotS, there'll be more stuff to talk about in reviews and games, and you'll have MORE reason to visit - every place isn't OT...

QT

Hope so, but EI won't be EI without OT...And while OT can be a flame fest at times, with hot and fast comments, the staff have never denied members the right to say what they want to say. If what a member wanted to say got them a warning, or suspension, then that was just that...But to boot someone from the thread entirely, as if to say: "you're no longer allowed to speak on this topic."....

oh hell no!

They day the staff boot me from a thread, is the day I never return to EI.

OT will be smoke free though. :tomato:
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#22 QueenTiye

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 09:45 PM

:spew: :laughlong:

Good one, DWF! LOL!

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#23 Lin731

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:56 PM

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OT will be smoke free though

No it won't be!  :devil:
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#24 NexusNine

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 11:59 PM

View PostCardie, on 27 February 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

We also hope that thread-bootings may actually save people from themselves by reducing the numbers of warnings they pick up for ignoring cool-its.

We also want to defuse the never-ending contentious AQG threads, so know that when this is implemented, complaints about being booted should be by PM to the Admins. A member is welcome to invite the WDs and any other friendly witnesses to the PM conversation but not to take it public.

Cardie
  

I'm just being honest here: how long do you really think it's going to take for "Why did you boot me?" threads to start appearing in AQG?  I know the rule says you can't, but do you really think it won't happen and happen often?  Because it will.  And if it's not started by the person booted him or herself, it'll be someone stepping up to defend them or question the decision.  Really, what's the point of calling this forum Announcements, Questions, Gripes if you're just going to turn around and tell people that they can't gripe about something?  

And I don't like this idea of booting people out of threads.  The idea is nice on paper, but this is something just waiting to blowup in the staff's face.  

Here's what I think: make OT and politics two different boards and let the fur fly as needed on the politics board.  The thing is, those who are going to argue over politics are going to do it no matter what.  In some ways they WANT to argue.  That's why they do it.  So why not let them?  Give them a board, post a warning about how heated that forum can be, and let those members go to town, stating that anyone who goes in there and argues is doing so on their own terms, and that only things that could land this BBS into legal trouble will be moderated.  OT is broken.  We keep putting band-aids on it hoping to fix it.  To do that you need to get the politics out of it, not just let it scab over so someone else can come along to pick at it.  

I don't know, it just feels like we're about to punish the many for the actions of a few.  If we allow thread booting in OT and, apparently, in AQG, then it's only fair to make it a board wide rule.  I don't want to see that happen because all of the forums are moderated in such different ways.  It also feels like it could lead to the stifling of conversations.  Unintentionally I'm sure, but it can still happen.  

And while I know there has been a push to settle things with the staff through PM, what's the point of this forum if the griping part is being limited to only what the staff will allow you to gripe about publicly?  I get that you want to defuse long, heated threads, but part of what this forum's function is is to allow members to gripe about things that bother them around here.  That shouldn't exclude gripes about the actions taken by the staff.  If a staff member can publicly hand out a sanction, shouldn't the membership be allowed to publicly argue against that sanction?  Unless the staff wants to make handing out sanctions a private matter, too, where all warnings and sanctions aren't publicly announced and instead are all handled through PM.  That only seems fair.
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#25 Cardie

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 12:15 AM

Discussing politics in a partisan way was never part of what this board was founded to be. LoP and the admins want to reclaim that original purpose, not have two forums (your proposed no-holds barred forum, NN, and a Gripy AQG) where people do nothing but snipe, attack and complain.

And until all the parameters of how thread-botting will work are announced, could people hold off on saying how they think it will be. There are still some details being hashed out.

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#26 QuiGon John

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 02:24 AM

^ I would sort of like some clarification, though.

Cardie, we've known each other for a while, so I hope you won't mind me using you for an example in what I'm about to say. You just happen to fit especially well for a number of reasons, not least of which that I think everybody knows you're a model citizen and basically never post intemperately.

We've both posted in OT. It has seemed to me, since I've returned to posting here and discussed things in OT, that we're fairly close together politically these days. At least, I've often found myself nodding in time with your OT posts, and I know you've posted agreement with my points a few times, as well.

Well, I happen to know I'm quite partisan. Fiercely left-wing, I would describe myself, without any intentional irony. I'm not as graceful in my posts as you are, I get hot under the collar sometimes, but I've never received a warning to my recollection, so I can only assume my comments have all been ruled in-bounds as well.

So where are we going to draw the bright line on "discussing politics in a partisan way," exactly? At the way you post, as a reasonable and respectful person who nonetheless often appears liberal? At the way I post, a liberal of similar opinions who strives for those qualities but sometimes falls short? Or...?

Or. What exactly would be considered partisan political discussion, in this context? I'm not sure I really get it yet.

#27 Nonny

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:07 AM

View PostJohn Burke, on 01 March 2012 - 02:24 AM, said:

^ I would sort of like some clarification, though.

Cardie, we've known each other for a while, so I hope you won't mind me using you for an example in what I'm about to say. You just happen to fit especially well for a number of reasons, not least of which that I think everybody knows you're a model citizen and basically never post intemperately.

We've both posted in OT. It has seemed to me, since I've returned to posting here and discussed things in OT, that we're fairly close together politically these days. At least, I've often found myself nodding in time with your OT posts, and I know you've posted agreement with my points a few times, as well.

Well, I happen to know I'm quite partisan. Fiercely left-wing, I would describe myself, without any intentional irony. I'm not as graceful in my posts as you are, I get hot under the collar sometimes, but I've never received a warning to my recollection, so I can only assume my comments have all been ruled in-bounds as well.

So where are we going to draw the bright line on "discussing politics in a partisan way," exactly? At the way you post, as a reasonable and respectful person who nonetheless often appears liberal? At the way I post, a liberal of similar opinions who strives for those qualities but sometimes falls short? Or...?

Or. What exactly would be considered partisan political discussion, in this context? I'm not sure I really get it yet.
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#28 Orpheus

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 01:17 PM

It's all about respect. It's less about what you say than how you say it. We all know the difference in real life.

Yes, a few people may have to change their accustomed style, at least if they want to discuss politics *here* because it has PROVEN itself, year after year, to be toxic to the spirit of our community.

People ask "why do people leave Ex Isle?" Well, the #1 reason is undoubtedly "changes in RL and interests", but a strong contender for #2 is burnout -- esp. staff burnout. Look at our top 100 posters: a large fraction left after a term on staff. Our staff was usually chosen from those who were very active, civil and trouble-free posters. To then thrust them into duties that require them to confront people, threads and arguments they would have previously ignored/glossed over --or even be targets-- is stressful. You can escape, they can't. It made EI less fun for them.

And contrary to what a handful like to imply, it's NOT the staff primarily creating the stress.

Bottom line: if some posts are regularly stressing other people out, be they staff of members, maybe they don't belong here. EI is meant to be a pleasant place, a respite and an escape, not a place to fight for personal versions of Absolute Truth. I've often heard "if what I say bothers other people, I don't care". Well, we DO care.

#29 Cardie

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:50 PM

John, I was using partisan in the way the media are using it these days, as shorthand for political beliefs that are rigid, uncompromising, tied to some group affiliation that must be defended in all instances AND are expressed in a nasty way that demonizes anyone who holds different views. The two kinds of posting we're thinking about are

1) Ongoing ad hominem arguments in which people get in each others' faces, sometimes on one side of the warning line, sometimes the other, but still obviously personalizing the argument. We particularly look at virtual feuds going when a post by menber A is almost guaranteed to garner a snarky response by member B. These members will often carry the argument offboard by reporting each other to the staff and getting into (separate) screaming matches about relative unfairness of the way any moderator actions are taken concerning one but not the other.

2) Demonization of groups with whom one violently disagrees, targeting not just members of that group who have done something egregious but everyone whose views might remotely intersect with some views held by the far-out person under discussion. Such posters will, if discussion goes on long enough, accuse group members of condoning or practicing terrorism, murder, pedophilia, rape, or emulating Hitler, bin Laden or the Spanish Inquisition. It's possible consistently to oppose certain ideologies without resorting to either hyperbole or incivility.

Here's a final clue: if you have never received a warning nor discovered that every time you engage on a particular topic or with a particular member that a cool-it ends up in the thread, you have nothing to worry about. If you have such a record, please just try not to engage with people you know will make your blood boil. Their hateful (to you) ideology will not really triumph unless you oppose them here at EI.

One promising sign, no one has yet started an OT thread about Andrew Breitbart's death, either to praise or vilify him. And if one does appear, let's hope we simply give condolences to his family, to whom he was more than a collection of political opinions some revered and some despised.

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#30 NexusNine

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 03:58 PM

View PostCardie, on 01 March 2012 - 12:15 AM, said:

Discussing politics in a partisan way was never part of what this board was founded to be. LoP and the admins want to reclaim that original purpose, not have two forums (your proposed no-holds barred forum, NN, and a Gripy AQG) where people do nothing but snipe, attack and complain.
  

But just what John said: where do we draw that line?  The problem is is that, like always, this is based on individual interpretation.  Some people are very passionate about politics and religion and so forth, and speak passionately about it.  Where do we draw the line between passionate debate and arguing just for the sake of arguing?  

Quote

And until all the parameters of how thread-botting will work are announced, could people hold off on saying how they think it will be. There are still some details being hashed out.
  

Cardie, what did the staff honestly expect from this announcement?  We don't need parameters to see the problems that naturally come with this idea in general.  It would be foolish for any of us to think that thread booting won't cause a problem or that some won't see certain situations differently from how the staff sees it.  And the biggest problem I have with not allowing a member to air their concerns or gripes about a thread boot publicly in AQG is that it leaves said member to defend his or her stance against the entire staff all alone (even with a watch dog present).  Members should have the right to see if other members feel as he or she does.  It's a natural checks and balances and one of the better things this board has to offer.  


View PostOrpheus, on 01 March 2012 - 01:17 PM, said:

Bottom line: if some posts are regularly stressing other people out, be they staff of members, maybe they don't belong here. EI is meant to be a pleasant place, a respite and an escape, not a place to fight for personal versions of Absolute Truth. I've often heard "if what I say bothers other people, I don't care". Well, we DO care.
  

The thing is, maybe politics don't have a place on this board at all then.  Maybe OT needs to go.  Completely.  I can already see that this reclaiming tactic isn't going to work as intended, and more stress stands to come out of it than not.  And here's the thing: we haven't even defined ourselves as a board yet.  

We've been talking about restructuring EI for the better part of a month or two now.  Why don't we do that first, define this place and see what that tells us?  Maybe politics really won't have a place on this board.  Rather than create a new rule to deal with the board as it is, why not see what defining this board will do to help us create an environment that isn't as toxic as it is.
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#31 DWF

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:14 PM

Politics, science, religion, TV shows and movies can all be discussed but we dn't need all the drama of the extremism that can and does go on. People don't post in thje OT forum because it's simply not a fun place to post. Personally I want to see what the changes are and what they mean.
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#32 Bad Wolf

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:15 PM

Wait, you're really going to have a policy that there is no room for political debate on ExIsle?  This isn't some kind of joke?

Let me ask you something:  Where does OT rank in terms of the forum in which the most posts happen?
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#33 EChatty

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:35 PM

I don't think we can get rid of political debate here. What we can get rid of is the rude, snarky posting in those debate threads. There are people who say that posting like that in the OT is 'just how it is', but it wasn't always so. Politics, abortion, religion and other hot topics were discussed without devolving into personal attacks. People did debate passionately, but respectfully, and then a few got in there and started with personally attacking other posters who didn't agree with them and 'got away with it' to the point that it started to become the norm because some thought that OT and AQG should have different standards from the rest of the board, but that hasn't worked so well and people started leaving because of how toxic OT and AQG were getting. Now we want to get the discussion back to respectful.

You want to discuss your view passionately? Go for it, just figure out the difference between passionate and disrespectful.

Any subject can be debated peacefully and respectfully, it just takes a little effort to proofread your post and ask yourself if you'd like someone else posting that to you.

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#34 BklnScott

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:43 PM

Lil, if I thought that's what this was about, I'd hang it up and walk away.  

But it's not.  

It's possible to disagree without being particularly disagreeable.  We see that in every other forum on the board.  We want to see more of it in OT.  That's what this is about.

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#35 QueenTiye

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:23 PM

I think the EASIEST way for everyone to understand it (based on what I've read here) is this:

Every time we come in here to argue about who was "baiting" and who was over the line, and who violated the cool-it.... we all know what we're talking about. We all know what behavior gets the finger point.  We all know.  We might not know when we do it ourselves - it isn't always easy to see one's self.  But we always seem to know when someone else does it.  THAT part is generally pretty easy.  Member after member gets upset because we sanctioned THIS, when clearly THAT provoked it... or we sanctioned THAT, when this, this, this, and this example never gets sanctioned.  We all seem to have a pretty good idea of where the line is, and how someone else crossed it.

The proposed changes revolve around what happens when we get close to the line in OT.  They don't propose a change in what can be discussed.  They propose a change in how staff reacts when people don't discuss things in a way that is respectful of those with whom they are discussing, or community norms.

And, Nexus Nine, the answer to who decides is simple as pie.  The moderators decide.  That's what they are there for - to make those judgment calls.

I'm still not really thrilled about the idea of thread booting.  It seems a lot like babying people who ought to know better. I like better the idea of booting folks out of OT if they can't behave there.  But I at least understand the goal - which is preservation of members who get into trouble only in OT. That's a goal I appreciate and share.  I also could be completely on board with ditching OT entirely, but this seems like staff's way of trying NOT to do that.

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#36 Tricia

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:48 PM

View PostNexusNine, on 01 March 2012 - 03:58 PM, said:

  And the biggest problem I have with not allowing a member to air their concerns or gripes about a thread boot publicly in AQG is that it leaves said member to defend his or her stance against the entire staff all alone (even with a watch dog present).  Members should have the right to see if other members feel as he or she does.  It's a natural checks and balances and one of the better things this board has to offer.  


Not exactly.
Per Cardie's own words--

View PostCardie, on 27 February 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

We also hope that thread-bootings may actually save people from themselves by reducing the numbers of warnings they pick up for ignoring cool-its.

We also want to defuse the never-ending contentious AQG threads, so know that when this is implemented,

Quote

complaints about being booted should be by PM to the Admins. A member is welcome to invite the WDs and any other friendly witnesses to the PM conversation but not to take it public.

Cardie

Appeals or complaints about being booted from a thread are to go only to the Admins by PM.  Not the entire staff.  

"Any other friendly witnesses" can mean other members or mods...but as invited by the member protesting their booting.  Only up to 10 allowed in a PM conversation though as that is all the system allows.



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#37 NexusNine

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:17 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on 01 March 2012 - 06:23 PM, said:

And, Nexus Nine, the answer to who decides is simple as pie.  The moderators decide.  That's what they are there for - to make those judgment calls.
  

No, it's really not that simple.  If it were, we wouldn't have the AQG threads that call it out as often as we do.  EI gave the membership a right to speak up and have a voice many years ago, which means the members can call out when they think the staff missed the mark.  We also allow the members to actively participate in policy changes and speak up about it.  Like I said, to even get this policy off the ground, who gets to decide?  

View PostTricia, on 01 March 2012 - 06:48 PM, said:

View PostNexusNine, on 01 March 2012 - 03:58 PM, said:

  And the biggest problem I have with not allowing a member to air their concerns or gripes about a thread boot publicly in AQG is that it leaves said member to defend his or her stance against the entire staff all alone (even with a watch dog present).  Members should have the right to see if other members feel as he or she does.  It's a natural checks and balances and one of the better things this board has to offer.  


Not exactly.
Per Cardie's own words--

View PostCardie, on 27 February 2012 - 07:18 PM, said:

We also hope that thread-bootings may actually save people from themselves by reducing the numbers of warnings they pick up for ignoring cool-its.

We also want to defuse the never-ending contentious AQG threads, so know that when this is implemented,

Quote

complaints about being booted should be by PM to the Admins. A member is welcome to invite the WDs and any other friendly witnesses to the PM conversation but not to take it public.

Cardie

Appeals or complaints about being booted from a thread are to go only to the Admins by PM.  Not the entire staff.  

"Any other friendly witnesses" can mean other members or mods...but as invited by the member protesting their booting.  Only up to 10 allowed in a PM conversation though as that is all the system allows.



There is a difference between arguing your point passionately and being insulting and many times people do not see that they have crossed that line.
  

My point is that if a member can be publicly sanctioned, then that member should be able publicly defend themselves.  Not to mention the complaint may not even be started by the member sanctioned.  And if we're going to allow friendly witnesses into the PM, then there really is no point not to make it public.  Further, when these things are hidden from the membership, it doesn't allow for flaws to be pointed out, meaning a possibly flawed policy will continue to go unchecked.  That's not something I want to see taken away from this membership.
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#38 QuiGon John

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 07:49 PM

Look, I don't know what to tell y'all. I've been out there complaining about various things on the board, saying that this or that needs to change, so I can hardly complain because you're trying to do that. Is the atmosphere in OT often toxic? Sure, we all know that.

But I'm not sure it's the unmitigated evil to the board it's often made out to be. Good discussions do go on in OT sometimes-- disagreements and all. Yes, a lot of people dislike it, but a lot of people dislike every forum. OT remains pretty active, and I think handled correctly, it could still be a large part of the board's appeal.

I guess I'm just saying, if this is Wyatt Earp coming in and firing off a shotgun and announcing there's gonna be law and order from now on, that's fine with me. Have at it; maybe we should have done that years ago. But some of this sounds dangerously close to saying "Just don't talk about controversial subjects here." "Just don't say anything that might offend anybody."

It's not just that I would personally find that troubling, it's that I think it would be an unsustainable attitude for a board devoted to discussion-- and should it prevail, might potentially be more toxic to the board than the contentious but relatively open atmosphere we have now.

Anyway, I can see both sides. Please proceed with care. That's all.

Edited by John Burke, 01 March 2012 - 07:50 PM.


#39 Mikoto

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:06 PM

I may regret entering this discussion but there is a fine line between saying "I think my warning should be appealed because of <insert reason here>" in a calm and reasonable manner and the constant barrage of attacks (I use the word "attack" only because I honestly can't find a nicer way to say it) on staff that an OT mod has to deal with almost every time they so much as issue a coolit.

Take a look at what happened to Cait only recently over issuing coolits. She had multiple members demanding explanations over and over again in a very unkind manner. Orpheus was accused of a conflict of interest because he apparently helps Cait tech admin her board. And that is but one minor example of the many accusations they often face. Accusations of bias based on politics and other similar matters.

I quote NexusNine here...

Quote

And the biggest problem I have with not allowing a member to air their concerns or gripes about a thread boot publicly in AQG is that it leaves said member to defend his or her stance against the entire staff all alone (even with a watch dog present). Members should have the right to see if other members feel as he or she does. It's a natural checks and balances and one of the better things this board has to offer.

Ironically this is much like what, currently, an OT or AQG mod must face all the time. One Mod having to defend his/her moderating decision against multiple members with very little support. The system is not balanced IMO and it needs to be because Staff are burning out as things currently are.

And of course here is my usual disclaimer. This post is my personal opinion only and doesn't necessarily reflect the opinion of the rest of the staff.

Edited by Mikoto, 01 March 2012 - 08:10 PM.

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#40 Cait

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 08:26 PM

View PostNexusNine, on 01 March 2012 - 07:17 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on 01 March 2012 - 06:23 PM, said:

And, Nexus Nine, the answer to who decides is simple as pie.  The moderators decide.  That's what they are there for - to make those judgment calls.
  

No, it's really not that simple.  If it were, we wouldn't have the AQG threads that call it out as often as we do.  EI gave the membership a right to speak up and have a voice many years ago, which means the members can call out when they think the staff missed the mark.  We also allow the members to actively participate in policy changes and speak up about it.  Like I said, to even get this policy off the ground, who gets to decide?  

Since we're actually discussing it here and now, and everyone can give their input, I'm not seeing that the membership is being shut out or silenced.  Cardie asked that this not go off into wild speculation before something is even presented to the membership, but as I read it, no one said Staff would implement it and the rest of you could bugger off.  Even some of the suggestions made for what "might" be included in this are not fixed in stone yet.  In fact the only thing set in stone for the staff is to remove the hostility in OT and the subsequent hostility as members defend their right to actually be contemptuous or hostile.  An OT discussion does not have to end up being a battle field each and every time.  

Would you have the staff not look at this problem and just let it continue as is?  Do you have any suggestions to offer for how we could achieve the goal without thread bootings?  I can see you feel this will blow up sooner or later, and there are elements of the idea that all of us can find fault with, but do you have any ideas about how to achieve the goal of a free for all - free OT?  Because we're all open to some ideas.  What I don't think is helpful is just dismissing any changes out of hand [before you really know anything about the particulars] and not offering an idea or a suggestion for what might work better.  

Members want to be involved.  Well good.  What would you do to bring OT more in line with the rest of the board?  Can we agree that OT needs to find its way back to a more civil place for discussion?  Don't worry about how we get their for the moment, do you think it's a worthwhile goal?  How many members have we lost because of the burnout and negativity in OT?  Both staff and members?  How many people avoid the forum like the plague?  Isn't there a valid reason for that avoidance?  Isn't there something that could use improvement in OT?  Isn't there?

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My point is that if a member can be publicly sanctioned, then that member should be able publicly defend themselves.  Not to mention the complaint may not even be started by the member sanctioned.  And if we're going to allow friendly witnesses into the PM, then there really is no point not to make it public.  Further, when these things are hidden from the membership, it doesn't allow for flaws to be pointed out, meaning a possibly flawed policy will continue to go unchecked.  That's not something I want to see taken away from this membership.

This is a valid argument, but like not all trials are conducted in public, not all gripe threads must be public.  Not every issue needs to be battled in AQG.  It's actually become almost a blood sport in AQG.  Moderator actions can be questioned and should be, but isn't there a line between questioning moderator actions for valid reasons and just harassing staff because a forum exists where you can do it?  I see your point, and even with the WD's monitoring PM traffic, taking it all behind closed doors [from a members POV] can be unsettling to be sure.  I'd agree that we don't have a shy or uninvolved membership and to cut them out would create pushback.  So, your point is valid.

But, so is the point staff is trying to correct.  In AQG threads staff can answer and the battle just continues on and on.  Sometimes it is valid, but often it is just another place to have a fight with the moderators.  There is a line where transparency strops being helpful to the membership and it just becomes more toxicity and more of the same kind of contempt that infects OT much of the time.  And, since I know [because we've talked about it at some length you and I] that you feel that this is the mantle staff puts on when the join staff I'm not going to ask you if you have any suggestions.  

Joining staff does have its cost.  I've learned I can't even participate in my own forum as a member as much because I need to try and stay out of partisan threads. So, my favorite forum is no longer one where I can enjoy myself.  That was a cost of being on staff.  I know there are more.  But joining staff isn't about being lynched every time you say something either.  So, where is that line?  Where is the line between what the membership needs to know and participate in and moderator lynchings?  Just saying "we've always been able to gripe in AQG", doesn't mean there isn't a problem with public threads sometimes. And just because, from a membership POV, you want to continue to have public airings doesn't mean that the POV of staff isn't valid as well.  It's not an either or situation.  

You make good points, [and so do others], but staff has a point as well.  Additionally, we've all been talking about forum reduction and trying to be inviting to new people.  People who will join our community.  But, if they visit OT or AQG what do they find?  It is hostile.  So, along with trying to bring OT and AQG around to the tone of the rest of the board, there is the goal of trying to make the community itself a more enjoyable place to visit and participate in.  

So, what suggestions do members have.  Involvement isn't just telling staff "that won't work" or WTH is going on".  It's participation in the process.  So, what are some suggestions?







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