[Senate] Proposed Rules Revision

Discussion in 'Communications' started by Jabba-wocky, Jul 24, 2013.

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Should The Senate Reconsider Its Forum Rules

Yes 33 vote(s) 84.6%
No 6 vote(s) 15.4%
Moderators: JoinTheSchwarz, LAJ_FETT, Ramza
  1. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    The Senate forum of the JC was originally established to foster in-depth, serious discussion and debate. Every iteration of the forum's rules have carried this mandate, and have been consciously designed to facilitate this point. When their are points of uncertainty or a lack of clarity in the rules, moderators have often publicly cited this principle in guiding what ultimately will and will not be allowed.

    However, in the years since it's original establishment, the user base has changed significantly. Combined with broader trends in online traffic, we now operate in a substantially different environment, despite using essentially the same rules as in years prior. I submit that these rules, though once appropriate, have now become a detriment to the stated mission of the forum. They scare away many potential users, stifle the sort of informal friendship building that allows for more open, rigorous debate, contribute to thread death by arbitrarily increasing the amount of investment needed to post, and do nothing to improve discussion quality, as the success of many parallel discussions in the Community forum demonstrates.

    I therefore propose that we scrap the current Senate rules and replace them with the Community forum rules to better facilitate serious discussion in a fun, user-friendly environment, per the original mission of this forum.
  2. Yodaminch Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 6
    When the discussion occurred about merging the forums in the first place, the rules and the atmosphere were cited as reasons to keep Senate separate. That again seems to be the reason. Other forums have managed to merge just fine without specific rules. The tags let the experienced users know what's expected and generally most users follow it. But even when there is a derailment of a Senate thread, it's corrected by the moderator. Now, if this were a busy forum, the idea of correcting a user and getting a thread back on track every so often would be a nuisance. But we are talking about a dozen topics at most where 2-3 are active daily and others are active weekly. Additionally, with the exception of the Sequel Trilogy forum, most other forums are maintaining the same activity they've had for a few years. As Knightwriter pointed out in the JCC thread, the activity hasn't really boomed since we moved back and is unlikely to do so in the same way it once did. Therefore, it makes more sense for the Senate to adapt to the Community rules instead of going into its own private forum

    As stated in the JCC thread, I was unaware of any Senate posters that were frustrated enough to request the forum be split off. The feedback back when we had the temp board specifically cited the value existing Senate posters found in having new blood join in discussions. There is also the 'drive by' factor in that users who would normally not post in Senate or even go into Senate were it a separate forum do so because they see a topic that catches their eye while looking at other topics. Finally, as stated before, other forums such as Amp and Census are doing just fine adapting without their rules. There have been plenty of serious posters and plenty of humorous posts as well. Senate topics have recently had that as well. But most Senate posters don't seem to bat an eye about it. So perhaps it is time to remove the rules that make this such a taboo and simply enforce that Senate topics encourage more serious discussion without killing humor and fun completely either.
  3. FatBurt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 21, 2003
    star 5
    I would rather see senate style topics discussed in the JCC with the allowance of the occassional JCC style drive by post. Whilst I've always read and occassionally contrbuted to the senate, I find the WALL OF TEXT responses a little heavy going and feel the JCC style WALL OF TEXT response with a touch of humour is more likely to be read by myself than an overly wordy and dry WALL OF TEXT which uses words that I have to resort to a dictionary to understand.

    Relax the rules, keep it in the JCC but encourage more reasoned debate within Senate tagged threads.
    Jarren_Lee-Saber and Sarge like this.
  4. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    There's nothing stopping you from discussing Senate-type topics in Comm once the Senate has split off. This is a little thought over petition.
    DarthBoba likes this.
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Exactly what do you mean it is "little thought over?"

    Why would the location of the Senate (whether as a tag, subforum, or completely independent website) stop us from having an opinion about its rules? Especially rules which are already in place, and which we've had several years experience with? What reason is there to delay consideration of a rule change?
  6. AaylaSecurOWNED Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 6
    Wocky, the Senate mods have made it clear what they want, the JCC mods have made it clear that now and after the split Senate style discussions will be welcomed in JCC, and the other Senate regulars have started a movement to make duplicate threads after the split and follow their discussions there. Just go with that and let the Senate mods rule over their little 4 person sandbox after the split.
    DarthTunick likes this.
  7. JoinTheSchwarz Comms Admin & Community Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2002
    star 8
    Okay, @Jabba-wocky, I'm going to apologize here. I misread your post and was too quick to jump. It certainly is a valid discussion topic. Carry on.
    Last edited by JoinTheSchwarz, Jul 27, 2013
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  8. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I'm re-upping this after reading the current discussion in the Senate.

    Let me be clear, for those unaware - I moderated the Senate from 2005 til 2008, so I have some idea what I'm talking about.

    In its time, the Senate served a valid purpose and had a valid reason to be as confident of its identity as the "serious topic" forum on these boards.

    However, the time at which that was relevant has passed. The forum's traffic is down on what it was back then, and the enthusiasm people have for paragraphs of debate is at best heavily diminished.

    In short, the Senate currently exists as a memorial to how it was, and that's precisely the kind of subjective nostalgia that kills discussion.

    I'm not going to list the ways in which the Senate's move was wrong; it's evident to all but a tiny handful.

    Instead I'm going to suggest that firstly, the decision does not belong to the tiny handful of Senate regulars or the Senate mods. It belongs to the whole community, and the poll above demolishes any suggestion that the Community supports the Senate's decision.

    Secondly, I'm going to suggest the following as a way forward for the Senate and the wider Community.
    1) Nothing says that the flavour of an old forum cannot be maintained in the new format. Census, Amp and Arena are proof of this.
    2) Nothing about compromise is bad if it's required to survive. I used the example of Porsche in the Senate, and it works
    3) The Senate gets merged back into the Community forum and the Old Senate rules are archived for those who want to pine for bygone days
    4) All serious topic discussion in the JC is branded Senate. That means topics on politics, religion, sex and sexuality, gender, race, equality, climate change, science (when not pop culture science).
    5) The requirement to not post one liner drive-bys is dropped
    6) Other users may insist upon proof to support claims but it is no longer mandatory to support claims with proof
    7) The only rule is you discuss the idea, not the person. Saying "that idea smacks of fascism", not "you're a fascist"
    8) Be respectful and open minded.
    9) Stick to the topic

    #7 and #8 are hardly new to the forums as a whole but it means Rogue Ten can't post in Senate tagged threads, lolz.

    The net effect, to summarise, is that the term Senate now means all serious discussion. It does not mean old Senate standards. It does not mean old Senate length. It does not mean post lulz pictures or cats. It means you can say "I seriously doubt that's the administration's goal" and that will suffice.

    The current situation is just ridiculous.
  9. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I think the most important point to be made about it is that the Senate "regulars" do not routinely follow their own rules as currently established. Nor do the moderators. The majority of threads in that forum have the look and feel of inactive JCC threads, lacking distinctive style or content. Hoped for activity never really materialized after the re-separation. Unless someone can explain to me specifically what justifies keeping them apart, I would call the rules reform proposed by Ender Sai a concession to reality and a move that brings in line the official policies with actual practice.
  10. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    I think we need to hear from the people in favour of the split as to why it's valid.

    I also strongly feel that this is a community issue and the Senate mods should not be given any special consideration - they should be given the same as any other member of MS.
  11. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Just centralising the discussion a bit.

    Focus on substance is however equally hurting you. Because you forget that 8 years ago or so, we didn't have Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram and a thousand other things capturing our online attention. We had more time to put into more substantive posts. Nowadays I think people would prefer to have a discussion without having to articulate a point over three paragraphs, with sources in case someone calls PPOR. Say what you will about the JC posters, but you had more Senate traffic then than you do now.

    And the "substance not lol" itself is a fairly elitist view, Boba.

    Regarding Senate style posting - so I notice these recent posts lack the substance you were talking about:

    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/israel-palestine.29649487/page-69#post-51178668
    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/israel-palestine.29649487/page-68#post-51124492
    http://boards.theforce.net/threads/revolution-in-the-muslim-world.31510198/page-49#post-51014074

    Nothing in these is actually problematic; they're reflective of the fact that Old Senate environment is dead. Pretending that there's more substance in the Senate, when there isn't, sounds to me a bit like "well, we're capable of more" which is unfair and inaccurate.
  12. Darth Tunes SfC Part III Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 10
    That maybe true, but at this point, why does it matter?
  13. Bacon164 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2005
    star 7
    Because the original decision was botched. Instead of attempting to justify its own subcategory, the Senate mods should've stepped down if they didn't think they could perform their job adequately. No other forum has been given the opportunity of expansion, because that would go against the health of the community forum, which is what everyone else seems to be forgetting when they ask why it matters. Secluding these topics does little to encourage new members to post about topics in the world that might interest them, nor is it particularly conducive to debate.
    Ender Sai likes this.
  14. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Yeah I agree with Bacon. No discussion was had about "look, we want to have this serious tag, but we're finding a raft of issues with the way it works now. One option we strongly favour is to back out of community. Thoughts?" It was pretty much a "this is happening, deal with it".

    Given it happened after the Community became one, it should've been a community discussion and decision. It does not appear to be the case that it actually was however.

    I like that Community works well but the whole attitude of "sorry, we don't feel we fit in with this awful riff-raff" has understandably put a lot of people offside.

    So is the tag "Senate" tainted by that perception of arrogance?
  15. Darth Tunes SfC Part III Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 10
    Again, I don't disagree with much of it (my lone objection: Just how many people were actually put off by that "riff-raff" sentiment? It seemed to me that the view of The Senate from the rest of the Community was already low.)... I just don't see the necessity of bringing back The Senate as a legacy tag (ala The JCC, Amph, Arena, etc) in order to foster topics with a more serious edge. Can or shouldn't that happen anyway if users so desire? If at some point the legacy tag is applied, and The Senate as a standalone forum ceases to exist, then fine... I just don't see it presently as such a pressing issue.
    Last edited by DarthTunick, Dec 8, 2013
  16. Bacon164 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2005
    star 7
    That should happen, but thanks to the Senate's existence, it doesn't, and due to the general lack of interest in the dead horse that is the senate forum itself, such topics generally proceed unposted. Issues are never pressing until people press them.

    press it tunick, press it tight
    Ender Sai likes this.
  17. Darth Tunes SfC Part III Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 10
    Given the traffic in Ender's Community thread about this, clearly enough folks find it to be a pressing matter. I guess it takes a debate over forum rules/legacy tags for there to be an uptick of traffic around here these days... in the Community forum anyway. :p
    Last edited by DarthTunick, Dec 8, 2013
  18. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    What Bacon said. There's an impasse created by the fact you have a forum that barely moves and does it's level best to discourage all but the most persistent user from entering.
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Ugh I am trying to get it discussed here... :(
  20. Darth Tunes SfC Part III Commissioner

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2000
    star 10
    The powers to be here will likely see it over there anyway, so there's nothing really to worry about.
    Last edited by DarthTunick, Dec 8, 2013
  21. Yodaminch Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 6
    Here is what I really want discussed, because it was never adequately addressed when the Senate cut and ran in the first place: What was so wrong that the Senate needed to isolate itself?

    Plenty of users seemed to abide by expected Senate rules whenever a thread was tagged Senate. Did some actively derail it? No question. But let's be clear: This was not the Prequel Spoiler forums at the height of activity. This was more than manageable for two dedicated moderators. Additionally, most posters would ignore the derailment and continue on. The reasons for leaving always lacked solid evidence and felt much more about wanting things back to the way they were. In so doing, the Senate moderators severed a connection that had been formed between other previously non-Senate posters and in citing a general group (JCC users) as the reason for leaving, alienated plenty of users who were contributing and enjoyed the discussion. These users had no desire to go to the Senate because they got the message that the Senate didn't want them. Whether that was the message that was supposed to be sent is irrelevant. That's what we saw.

    I'd like to see Ender's proposal implemented.
    Last edited by Yodaminch, Dec 8, 2013
    Jedi Merkurian, FatBurt and Ender Sai like this.
  22. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    NIAWYC

    The whole thing.
  23. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    @DarthBoba, can we bring the discussion in here pls?
    DarthBoba likes this.
  24. DarthLowBudget Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 5
    Not much to add to this debate, other than I agree with Ender, Wocky, Bacon, harpuah, etc, and that I think there reasoning is very sound.
    Ender Sai likes this.
  25. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Reposting my latest post here from the Senate thread:

    The rules you have on your list, Ender, is basically how things are going in the Senate on a day to day basis anyway and no one seems to have a problem with it. And if you go look at the stickied Senate Guidelines (first of all, notice the word guideline which in itself implies leniency), you'll see that they're not terribly strict either. You'll also notice that those guidelines are stricter when it comes to requirements of the opening post and more lenient on subsequent regular posts. And we haven't had an opening post there in a long time, as you know, so it's natural that posts have become shorter. No one expects essay posts on page 94 of a thread. Those supporting the split, I think, do so because it encourages a different attitude when you post in the Senate, not necessarily stricter rules or longer posts.

    Finally, as tends to be with rules and regulations, people inevitably bend them. This is to be expected, and I think that since we regulars break them regularly, but in a way where we have managed to find a balance that works for us, that those guidelines are intended more for noobs to read to get a feel of the place before posting there. We set a high 20 standard, to leave wiggle room and an expectation of 10 in practice. By all means, we can change some of the language to make it more relaxed if you think it scares newbies away. Old users ignore them altogether and go with their gut feeling, which seems to work out fine.
    Last edited by Violent Violet Menace, Dec 9, 2013
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