What's 'wrong' with this forum?
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07-01-2013, 01:27 AM (This post was last modified: 07-01-2013 01:32 AM by DLJ.)
What's 'wrong' with this forum?
Nope. This is not...

a tantrum thread
a leaving thread
a de/motivational thread.

It's an analysis / solution thread.

I'll use the SPIN technique (Situation, Problem, Implications, Next Steps):

Situation:
What has been happening?

A number of incidents that indicated dissatisfaction with the forum, how it was being run etc.
Attempts to keep this forum, in Stark's words as: "a combination of what everyone thinks it should be."
Some members feel attacked and threatened, sometimes.
Some members who value free speech above all.


Problem:
What's it all about, Alfie?
Different people have different ideas of what the forum should be.

And, in reality, this forum is not a forum. Not just a forum.

I started a thread a while ago asking whether the members thought this place was a forum or a community and the majority opinion was that it is both.


Seth, himself, when referring to the TTA Community, is talking about the entirety (here, the YouTube viewers, the facebook users et al.) which means that the forum section probably should be the free-speech orientated (sorry Chas, oriented) section where anything goes.

Hitch said it well (check out around 3:00 - 6:00 but the whole thing is worth 20mins of your life):





But it is beyond doubt that many come here to join a family, a community, to find sanctuary. So should we change the name of this place from 'forum' to 'message board'?

Sometimes a "I got annoyed by a chisty today and I want to retaliate" thread is a cry for help, for sympathy, for love.
Sometimes those threads get pounced on with replies in the debate-style with "Well what did you expect when you were being a dickhead...?"

There is a confusion between the needs of a forum (free speech and open debate) and a community (empathy, support and advice).

Some threads are obviously not debate threads (e.g. the anxiety/depression thread) but usually it is not clear cut.

Implications:
What does this mean?

At one extreme, if the old free-speech ethos is maintained, there will continue to be the odd occasions where those who are here to be part of a 'family' will feel isolated and unsupported by the Forum Team when they complain they are being attacked.

At the other extreme, if the rules change to support the 'family'... well, here are a couple of analogies from another thread:

Family analogy:
A stranger walks into a house with a family. The stranger starts harassing one of the family members. Other family members tried to stop the stranger, but the stranger does not. One of the family members shot the stranger in response. Now, some disagreed with the shooting, while some were for it.

Free-speech analogy:
A stranger walks into a debating chamber. The stranger starts heckling one of the speakers. Other debaters tried to silence the stranger, but the stranger does not stop. One of the chamber's security staff shot the stranger in response. Now, some disagreed with the shooting, while some were for it.

Do I agree with capital punishment? Nope.
Would I kill someone who broke into my house and threatened my family? Fuck, yes!


Next Steps:
Where do we go from here?

I'm going to recommend a compromise.

Compromises have a tendency to be the wrong solution for everyone but are usually something worth trying in an attempt to reach a resolution.

Option 1: Self-categorisation (unenforceable by mods)
Each time we post, we self-tag our posts and new threads with an indicator of what kind of response we are hoping for e.g.:
a) I'm having a rant!
b) I welcome your opinions
c) help me!
etc.

Option 2: Pre-categorisation (enforceable by mods)
Each time we start a new thread, a pop-up asks if we welcome debate or not:
a) Message Board only
b) Submitting for debate
c) Message Board and open to challenges.
etc.

The self policing rules can still apply when the occasional dickhead wants to get nasty on a 'personal' / message board kinda thread.
But what this means is that we can have much more specific rules and expectations are set up front.

Essentially this means that there can be two sets of rules:
1) the existing free-speech rules for debate threads
2) 'no bullying' rules for the personal threads

So a member cannot hide behind the free-speech rules when they are being an arsehole in a pre-designated personal thread and similarly, they can't act like a pussy and claim 'bullying' in a debate thread.


btw, this is a 'debate' thread... go for it!

Cool

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07-01-2013, 01:43 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
Consider As opposed to rules as I am... both options offer a fair compromise.

I'd go more for option 1 - self moderation. I'm all about that. Thumbsup

Option 2 attends to the same issues with mod involvement. Personally, I don't need a babysitter but... whatevah. Dodgy

Cool David - great Hitchens vid, too. Heart

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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07-01-2013, 01:51 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
DON'T TAKE REFUGE IN THE FALSE SECURITY OF CONSENSUS. Excl

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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07-01-2013, 01:52 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
Free speech - good.

Mods sticking their noses in - bad.

People taking their free speech across lines of reasonable human decency and becoming abusive to each other - unacceptable.

While I prefer small government, including small forum moderation, I encourage mods to shut down abusive jerks. Other than that, let people say what they want, when they want, where they want.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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07-01-2013, 02:01 AM
 
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
(07-01-2013 01:52 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Free speech - good.

Mods sticking their noses in - bad.

People taking their free speech across lines of reasonable human decency and becoming abusive to each other - unacceptable.

While I prefer small government, including small forum moderation, I encourage mods to shut down abusive jerks. Other than that, let people say what they want, when they want, where they want.

And who's an abusive jerk? Anyone who disagrees with you or thinks your idea is stupid and says so?

Free speech, my ass. You wouldn't know it if it bit yours.
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07-01-2013, 02:10 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
(07-01-2013 02:01 AM)Egor Wrote:  
(07-01-2013 01:52 AM)Aseptic Skeptic Wrote:  Free speech - good.

Mods sticking their noses in - bad.

People taking their free speech across lines of reasonable human decency and becoming abusive to each other - unacceptable.

While I prefer small government, including small forum moderation, I encourage mods to shut down abusive jerks. Other than that, let people say what they want, when they want, where they want.

And who's an abusive jerk? Anyone who disagrees with you or thinks your idea is stupid and says so?

Free speech, my ass. You wouldn't know it if it bit yours.
Wrong. As usual.

See, I applaud your expression of your, well, character flaws. And I fully support your right to to express those flaws as much as you want. Your post isn't abuse; it's merely inane. But go for it, really abuse me, I can take it.

I wasn't talking about disagreement or using naughty words. I don't expect you to understand, you're not evolved enough to understand the difference. But I'm pretty sure the mods get my point, and since they allow me the freedom to express it on the forum they moderate, they seem to share my ideas on the subject, more or less, which is all I ask. Heck, I don't even ask them to do it, I just stay with the forums that do and move on from those that don't.

"Whores perform the same function as priests, but far more thoroughly." - Robert A. Heinlein
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07-01-2013, 02:13 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
(07-01-2013 02:01 AM)Egor Wrote:  And who's an abusive jerk? Anyone who disagrees with you or thinks your idea is stupid and says so?
Free speech, my ass. You wouldn't know it if it bit yours.

What's wrong Egsy... guilty conscience or just feeling threatened? Dodgy

What has Aseptic ever done for you to think he doesn't know what free speech is?

I think in the end, I just feel like I'm a secular person who has a skeptical eye toward any extraordinary claim, carefully examining any extraordinary evidence before jumping to conclusions. ~ Eric ~ My friend ... who figured it out.
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07-01-2013, 05:40 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
I don't think I agree with your problem definition, and I certainly do not agree with your solution.

We had a confluence of events occur, events that were unrelated in cause or origin, that interacted to create a shit storm.

An unusual influx of trolls and crazies happened at the same time as the beginning of a forum management change. The change in forum management was not yet visible, but it had started. The dissatisfaction with the crazies was exacerbated by the somewhat slow and confused response of the forum mods/admins.

There are no major changes needed to this forum or its rules. Shit happens.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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07-01-2013, 06:30 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
Sure, Chas, in this case.
But the tension between those who see this place as safe haven vs. those who treat it as a forum (and of course, there are those that hold both positions) has been tangable for a long time.

So even if my analysis is not 100% relevant to the recent incidents, it is still valid in a wider context.

Then, may I offer a third option:
The 'free-speech' rules are the default position and newbies are advised in the joining process that as this is first and foremost a forum, there is a likelihood that any and all posts could be challenged in the true spirit of critical-thinking and free speech.
If you come here to enjoy the warmth, friendship and support of like-minded individuals as part of a community (that undoubtedly exists here) it is best to preface your posts with carefully chosen words that indicate what you are hoping to gain from fellow members (i.e. raucous debate vs. help, advice, sympathy)

Or words to that effect.

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07-01-2013, 06:33 AM
RE: What's 'wrong' with this forum?
(07-01-2013 06:30 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Sure, Chas, in this case.
But the tension between those who see this place as safe haven vs. those who treat it as a forum (and of course, there are those that hold both positions) has been tangable for a long time.

So even if my analysis is not 100% relevant to the recent incidents, it is still valid in a wider context.

Then, may I offer a third option:
The 'free-speech' rules are the default position and newbies are advised in the joining process that as this is first and foremost a forum, there is a likelihood that any and all posts could be challenged in the true spirit of critical-thinking and free speech.
If you come here to enjoy the warmth, friendship and support of like-minded individuals as part of a community (that undoubtedly exists here) it is best to preface your posts with carefully chosen words that indicate what you are hoping to gain from fellow members (i.e. raucous debate vs. help, advice, sympathy)

Or words to that effect.


But this forum is not now, nor has it ever been, a safe haven.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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