Senate Official Forum Rules and Policy Feedback Thread

Discussion in 'Archive: Community Rules and Policy' started by Mr44, Aug 28, 2005.

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  1. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    [:D] lub j00 teh owm! [face_love]

    Upping this for impending drama..?

    E_S
  2. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    i need to learn internet speak.

    Anyway, one thing I would to propose is that the more senior or "seasoned" members of the board take a more active interest in presenting BOTH sides of an argument.

    I mean, the conservative posters can't believe EVERY thing they say is 100% correct in a black and white way, there are many sides and considerations in any argument.

    I hate to see the forum act like a bunch of lawyers. You know, only bringing up points that help their cause, trying to only "win" arguments against people rather than trying to have a discussion.

    Combat posts are fun, but sometimes, I'd like to have discussions. I mean, even when I think someone is completely wrong, I still like to discuss the parts of their argument that have merit, or expose the flaws in my own argument.
  3. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    OWM, this was a theme we brought up in the last Focus Group.

    We resolved to try and foster discussion, and to avoid precisely what you're talking about we decided to crack down on posts that just existed to score points for one belief set.

    It worked to a point; but there's still a very "us and them" sense to politics in the Senate, and we're too divided along ideological lines to fine too much middle ground.

    If you have any ideas on how we can do this, this is the place for it.

    E_S
  4. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Lead by example. Treat others like you want to be treated.

    Instead of zinging your fellow posters, treat them with respect.

    Instead of throwing salt at your fellow posters with comments such as "its called the constitution. Perhaps you've heard of it?" you can make comments like "I think that's the beauty of our federal system."

    I think you can end idiotic thought-crime bans on "labeling" and banning people for expressing the idea that they think an idea is bigoted.

    Simply banning language in order to foster a better debate seems orwellian to me.

    Let people express ideas. There should be no ban on ideas. Only on insulting other posters.
  5. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
    Here's a thought: If you want this forum to be more inviting to users and not so intimidating, try being a little more compassionate and understanding in your moderating. KK's attitude towards me when I broke a rule, of which I was not aware as it was my first overall experience posting here, was abraisive, abrupt and rude. If this is how users are routinely treated here, then I can understand why many choose not to post here. I certainly will not be coming back. Try treating your users with respect and courtesy, especially when they are new and unknowingly break a rule of which they were not aware.
  6. Darth Mischievous Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 12, 1999
    star 6
    In this case, I have to tend to agree with KK's assessment of the situation.

    This forum tends to offer a more mature arena for discussion, and sometimes that includes a more direct moderating style to center the discussion. When it is done on an equitable basis, it is very effective for this venue.

    ---

    As far as the issue of speech in the forum is concerned, here's my take:

    Individuals are going to have their opinions, and they will most likely generally stick by them. I personally have no issue with an individual who staunchly and eloquently expresses their views, regardless of what side of the sociopolitical aisle they stand.

    That tolerance ends when ridicule occurs or a demonstratively condescending approach comes in to play towards others. That could mean belittling the other's viewpoint, making fun of it, telling them various insulting things about their intelligence, and so on.

    As I've said many times over, my best friend IRL is on the opposite end of the sociopolitical aisle as I am. We vehemently disagree on issues, but we have the best conversations!

    Why?

    Because I don't belittle his views, and I respect him as an individual.

    We need to remember that we are all individuals with a common interest in discussing issues in a serious fashion.

    The most important aspect of that is that our fellow members - who may not agree with us - can come to a realization of the rationale that we use to formulate our opinions and why we continue to believe that way. Of course, we do this by posting opinions, articles, and so on.

    We cannot force anyone to subscribe to our points of view.

    A little rivalry is fun and adds intrigue to the forum, as long as the participants can remember that these are just opinions.

    I don't subscribe to molding the forum into a quasi-PC atmosphere where no one can make an opinion known that may take on a firm position on something, regardless of ideological bent, because it may offend someone or go against their sensibilities. The opinion that people are stupid or bigoted for their views isn't applicable in this forum.

    The 'I'm right and you're wrong and stupid' idea isn't what this forum involves.

    It involves, "This is my opinion, this is why I came to the conclusion, and I believe it to be the correct assumption because..."

    There will always be varying levels of disagreement in the forum concerning opinion statements which inherently gives rise to opposing sides (the 'a v. b' discussion). Such is fine, so long as each side makes points that state their case and not berate the other individual for their viewpoints made.

    Athough it is an interesting occasional voluntary exercise, forcing individuals to take on opposing viewpoints of their own and defend them isn't a realistic nor attainable goal for a forum of this type. It is also as futile to expect those with solid beliefs on any side of the sociopolitical aisle not to express those opinions directly, albeit they must be done respectfully.
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Here's a thought: If you want this forum to be more inviting to users and not so intimidating, try being a little more compassionate and understanding in your moderating. KK's attitude towards me when I broke a rule, of which I was not aware as it was my first overall experience posting here, was abraisive, abrupt and rude. If this is how users are routinely treated here, then I can understand why many choose not to post here. I certainly will not be coming back. Try treating your users with respect and courtesy, especially when they are new and unknowingly break a rule of which they were not aware.

    No, it's not typical, but in some cases, it's required based on the situation.

    What you have to keep in mind is that some situations already come with a history here in the forum.

    For example, callling someone a bigot is one of those situations. As another example, using "liberal/conservative" as respective insults has the same effect. It's been found that some terms are so loaded that they instantly turn whatever thread they are used into a flame war. As such, they are more readily controlled.

    Think of it as the Senate's version of the "length of a Star Destroyer debate." Such a policy was developed through trial and error, and came about to eliminate problems, not create them.

    It's nothing personal, and we're glad you came around and contributed to the forum.
  8. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    Why can't people just have a discussion on what constitutes a bigot?

    Can I start a thread on that?
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    OWM, you know why, but I think with your unqiue brand of plucky contrariness, you overlook it.

    There is a difference between using potentially derogatory terms in a general manner, and directing them at a specific person.

    It's kind of like how your signature posting style labels everything you don't agree with as "conservative..." ie- why can't conservatives see things my way, or why are conservatives so out of touch, etc...

    I personally don't understand why you are so obessed with labels, especially since you are quite capable of explaining your ideas without them, but I don't think such behavior crosses the line. TripleB used to be the same way with his useage of "liberal," and when such useage crossed the line, it was dealt with. Because it is a fine line, which we constantly examine to find the right mix of discussion and protection.

    But using a derogatory term when it is directed at a specific person, or used to dismiss their beliefs is never allowed. If someone posts their beliefs, and someone dismisses them by calling them a name, it has the effect of stiffling discussion and it isn't fair to the original person.

    The goal here is to foster understanding, not simply to label the opposition.
  10. Obi-Wan McCartney Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 1999
    star 5
    COme on Mr. 44, many of the people here post to "shut down" the opposition, I for one at least try to point out weaknesses in my own arguments as well.
  11. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    I hope this is the right thread: Just wanted to say, for what it's worth, I've noticed a change for the better around here. The last time I even read/lurked in the Senate was a year-and-a-half ago, around the time of the 2004 US Election and afterward. Back then, the mood here was very, very tense. Now, it seems conversational and laid back - though I haven't read any political/religious threads. So, I don't know what's different, but something's noticeable from out here... :)

    (minor edit)
  12. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Thanks for the input. Things are in a bit of flux right now, and we are trying to find the right balance between being more laid back, but still upholding the same Senate standard.
  13. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    As Mr44 said, thanks for the input.

    What we're aiming for is a kind of CNN "Diplomatic License" style to the Senate, in effect; that is, we can be conversational about topical issues as well as being fairly accurate in what we present. Of course, we still hold the notion of substantiated claims to be Holy in the Senate; that is, if you can't back it up, yousa in big doodoos.

    E_S
  14. DarthMatter Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2004
    star 3
    That's interesting. Since I haven't followed the Senate in the interim, I guess it's working? Back then there was a whole throwdown over the ZTP, but now things seem much more open... Anyway, just wanted to say hello :)
  15. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Godwin's Law:

    (this is an abridged version of the Wikipedia article)

    Godwin's Law (also Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies) is an adage in Internet culture originated by Mike Godwin on Usenet in 1990 that states:

    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
    There is a tradition of protocol in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread in which the comment was posted is over and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress.

    It is considered poor form to arbitrarily raise such a comparison with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized codicil that any such deliberate invocation of Godwin's Law will be unsuccessful.

    Godwin's Law was named after Mike Godwin, an attorney who was legal counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation at the time the law was first popularized. He has since written a book about free speech and online privacy called Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age in which he discusses the origin of Godwin's Law.

    Godwin established the law as part of an experiment in memetics, the study of information transfer. On Usenet there was a trend toward demonizing opponents in arguments by comparing the position they held to that of Hitler or the Nazis, in Godwin's own words "a trivialization I found both illogical and offensive." [1] So, in 1990, Godwin developed the law as a counter-meme and began posting it in Usenet discussions after such a comparison occurred.

    Godwin's Law portrays an inevitable appeal to emotion as well as holding an implied ad hominem attack on the subject being compared, both of which are fallacious in irrelevant contexts. Hitler, on a semiotic level, has far too many negative connotations associated with him to be used as a valid comparison to anything but other despotic dictators. Thus, Godwin's Law holds even in making comparisons to normal leaders that, on the surface, would seem to be reasonable comparisons.


    As it says, not only does Hitler and Nazism hold too many negative connotations to be nothing less than an emotional appeal to the "evil" the poster sees and an ad hominem attack; it's evidence of both a poor argument on the poster's end and the death knell for any rational, intelligent discussion.

    Don't invoke Godwin's Law; it says basically, "I'm not smart or adept at expressing my thoughts enough to counter your argument so I'll make a vain emotional appeal to a historically accepted evil which implies that your ideas as evil too, lolololol!!11!! [face_flag]"

    Nazi references = laem. If you're not good enough to rise above them, try not posting. It saves us from rolling our eyes at you, which is mean. Bad us!

    E_S
  16. Silmarillion Manager Emerita/Ex RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 6
    It is possible to get the link colour changed from white to something that contrasts more with the background? It's almost impossible to see on my screen.

    Perhaps just change it to the dark green colour used in the background?
  17. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Is your screen set to be fairly bright, Sil? I can read it fairly easily... Anyone else have this issue?

    E_S
  18. Silmarillion Manager Emerita/Ex RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 6
    Yes, it is set fairly bright. Laptops are generally brighter than PCs. But the style sheet's been changed anyway, so it doesn't really matter.

    With the new stylesheet, the embedded links are showing up at a smaller font size than the rest of the text. I know you guys put a lot of hard work into it. Am I the only one who finds these small things annoying? Perhaps I should get a hobby, no? :p
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Well, you're Australian so I'm willing to accomodate these requests... :D

    I'll get back to you.

    E_S
  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    There ya go Sil. Gabe was kind enough to change it.

    E_S
  21. Silmarillion Manager Emerita/Ex RSA

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 1999
    star 6
    Brilliant! Thanks to both of you.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Just don't ask about what he wanted in return....
  23. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
  24. DARTH-SHREDDER Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 6, 2005
    star 5
    Hey, what happened to the Senate Thread Index?
  25. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It's been "un-stickied" for quite a while now. A couple of months at least...

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